Our fans have spoken and voted DISH DIVE- The Best Under The Radar Restaurant of 2016.
Our fans have spoken and voted DISH DIVE- The Best Under The Radar Restaurant of 2016.
The 10 Most Important Atlanta Restaurant Openings of 2015
By Christopher Hassiotis | December 14, 2015
2015 was a big year for the Atlanta food and beverage scene, with long-anticipated restaurants opening alongside surprise newcomers. Many made an impact, while many others who opened may yet still. These 10 spots all influenced the way we dine, or are otherwise representative of the current state of Atlanta.
6. Dish Dive
Atlanta has plenty of glitzy culinary palaces whose construction cost multiple millions of dollars. We do that well. What we should do well too, but don’t do nearly as often, is the small neighborhood places that still turn out creative American cuisine crafted by thoughtful chefs. That’s just what the new Kirkwood spot offers — a modest (okay, tiny) space, modest prices, modest selections, and quality and flavors that are anything but, y’know…modest. A real gem.
Sometimes, going to the other side of the tracks ain't so bad... Now, I know why Anakin went to the dark side. Because of this great little dive. If you blink you will fly pass it. The place is tiny, it really is like going to a friend's house for a dinner party. Except the food quality here is a lot better than the shitty casseroles, soggy twist off biscuits and terrible box brownies people bring to your house. Plus, you don't have to clean up here. Since coming back from NYC and eating at tiny dives like this, I was really digging what Travis and Jeff is doing here. There aren't many places like this in this town and we need more of them. The menu is small but diversified, the price point can not be any better, the quality is top notch and made fresh daily when they run out they run out, tough shit... And it's BYOB. Fuck me, am I dreaming? Let's go eat some tiny kitchen grub... Kinda like the tiny hamster eating tiny food. I love those videos!!! I hope the food is not tiny though because the pouch is not tiny by any scientific measurements...
Oyster Po Boy. The bun was nice but the star is the fat plump crunchy oysters. These were pretty sizable, you don't find larger fried oysters down here unless you go to a Chino resto. I even liked that they switched it up a bit from the traditional French bread. It's different and it totally works here. I had them sub out the salad for fries since I couldn't eat a whole order of one of their Dive Fries and the hand cut fries alone were pretty good, might need a little more time in the middle but the garlic on top makes them addictive nonetheless.
Wings. I love it that they serve whole wings. I prefer it that way. It's just tastes better. So, stop being lazy and wrap your nasty piehole around these tasty cheekan arms. The honey mustard vinegar sauce was a perfect balance of "sweet and spice"and the pickled veggies gave them that crunch needed to offset the savory. These were fat finga lickin' guud... Serio, I kept lickin' my stubby digits because the sauce was so sticky and tasty.
Brussels Sprouts. They didn't have the cauliflower on this visit but they sub it with brussels sprouts... Ah, fuck yeah. I know they're just as common as kale now but I have grown to loves these sprouts. The boiled peanut romesco was great, a nice nod to a southern tradition. The wax beans looked like french fries at first which was a nice laugh but it paired well with the rest of the dish.
Pink Spaetzle. This was an interesting dish, not that anything on this menu wasn't... I was on the fence between this and the pork belly but the Pink always wins out in the end. Who doesn't like their tongue on a little pink? So, the spaetzle was made with beet puree, a refreshing different take on this noodle/pasta/dumpling thinger. Can't really taste any hint of beets but it was totally worth a try, the runny yolk was a nice addition to it. I don't know but runny yolks always makes things better. The composition of the dish sounded great but it was missing something on my taste buds... I know, pork belly! Get some bacon on there and this would be on another level.
Love the simple menu... I wanted to order everything!
I can't say enough about how awesome it is to see this tiny resto concept thriving (like the tiny house movement)... The place was packed, not that it takes a lot of people to do that in here. I want to see more tiny places like this pop up with the great menu, ingredients, price, cozy space, real hood feeling... I mean you see it everywhere in NYC because of the lack of space but it is just cool. And I think the people will definitely support this type of dining. I can't wait to go back when they change up their menu... Love to see what they come up with next.
2233 College Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30317
BEST BYOB: DISH DIVE
Calling this place a restaurant almost feels too pretentious, given the bare walls and hand-ful of seats. Still, locals flock to the spare space, where you can BYO beer and wine and order a spread of affordable small plates that include shakshuka with fried egg, Green Goddess tagliatelle, and pork belly on leek grits.
2233 College Avenue, dishdivekitchen.com
Just when you thought restaurant groups and food courts had a death grip on Atlanta’s restaurant future, a pint-size naysayer tipped the scales for local indie restaurants. Kirkwood’s Dish Dive embodies everything about small restaurants we hold dear: food that’s as inventive as it is affordable; groovy tunes; and the rare owner who waits tables in his own shop. Co-owners Jeff Myers and chef Travis Carroll, both formerly of Top Flr, do things their way at Dish Dive — and their way works. Between the restaurant’s 16 seats, the no-frills DIY decor, Carroll’s free-form menu, and Myers’ mom’s cheesecake listed as the only dessert, Dish Dive is the effin’ American dream. Earlier this year, Carroll somehow tamed a deluge of sliced peaches, watermelon, cannellini beans, shaved radishes, dried cherries and figs, cashews, and spiky frisée into a seamless, balanced salad. The gravy-topped chorizo dive fries — partly crispy/partly soggy fries blanketed with sausage and chewy clumps of curd-like queso fresco — is a textural triumph. Carroll’s sweet and savory pork belly with French toast is a refreshing, breakfast-for-dinner remix and a reminder that at Dish Dive, anything goes.
It's 6:30 p.m. on a Wednesday and all the bright blue tables inside the 16-seat Kirkwood restaurant Dish Dive are taken. A line of people holding bottles of wine and mixed six-packs of beer snakes out onto the patio where people dine al fresco in the summer heat. Electronic dance music plays. The bass vibrates the floor and the wood walls the restaurant shares with next-door hair salon Molasses. The interior of this small house on College Avenue across from the train tracks is alive. The people keep coming.
Dish Dive is co-owned by Jeff Myers and chef Travis Carroll, both formerly of Sound Table and Top Flr. Myers is a fun front-of-the-house man to watch. He doesn't walk. He struts. With his salt-and-pepper hair pulled back into a ponytail he weaves in and out of the kitchen. Myers, who also DJs, is in charge of the tunes, which play louder here than other restaurants. Dish Dive feels like less of a job and more of a lifestyle for Carroll and Myers. Their independent spirit and "I do what I want" attitude are what I love about this place.
Carroll's kitchen is so small it only has three tiny refrigerators. No walk-in. Even in such extreme proximity, the cooks seem to work in harmony. Everyone at Dish Dive is a food runner, a cook, and a server. Despite the space constraints and the staff's all-hands-on-deck attitude, the pace of a meal here feels unhurried. The food is exactly what I picture a chef would want to eat after his shift: a little indulgent, but still refined. The menu is only 10 items long on most days and includes a mix of appetizers and entrées, although there's no such delineation on paper. Ordering dishes with the intent to share is the best way to sample Dish Dive's offerings. At first, Carroll changed the menu often. Now a core of diners' most-requested items is available on a nightly basis. The six-month-old restaurant is still building relationships with farmers. For now, Your DeKalb Farmers Market, which is just down the road, is where Carroll does the bulk of the restaurant's daily shopping.
At lunch, a crusty YDFM semolina Kaiser roll served as the foundation for a pork, provolone, and broccoli rabe sandwich — the best thing I've eaten here during my daytime visits. The bread is colored a rich yellow from egg yolks, the pork cooked down and shredded so that its texture merges seamlessly with pungent cheese and intensely bitter rabe. The gooey mixture achieves that perfect ratio of bread to stuff so that everything stays in its place when you take a bite. The oyster po' boy, which is served at lunch and dinner, is not as easy to eat. The delicate brioche bun is a poor choice for the crunchy cornmeal-crusted fried oysters, sloppy cabbage slaw, and spicy rémoulade sauce. The oysters are propelled from their breading as soon as you bite down.
A mix of peaches, watermelon, and great white northern beans lightly dressed with lemon juice, ginger, and a pinch of coriander is pure summer in a bowl. Another appetizer, a plate of whole fried chicken wings, changes depending on what's in season. One night, Carroll used some of this summer's gorgeous peaches to add a little sweetness and tang to the spicy wing sauce. I suggest ordering them extra crispy (as I do everywhere). The Dive Fries are irresistible. One of the two versions on the menu is draped in mushroom gravy, pickled onions, okra, and cheddar cheese. It's everything I want in a guilty pleasure. The other version is covered in spicy pork gravy with flavors that remind me of those found in a taco seasoning packet, but so much better. The refined gut bomb is brightened by chunks of avocado, queso fresco, and more pickled onions.
Carroll says he came up with his riff on the Middle-Eastern classic shakshuka while camping with friends. Shakshuka is practically a one-pot meal where you can dump in peppers, tomatoes, and other veggies to create a base for eggs. It's a bold dish that should be more spicy than sweet. Dish Dive's version was underseasoned. A sweet potato purée at the base of the dish overpowered the tomatoes' acidity. The fried egg on top was cooked through so there was no velvety yolk to break. The pork belly with French toast hit all the sweet and savory notes you expect from a breakfast-for-dinner dish, but had a few minor execution errors. The big wedges of deep brown French toast were laid on their sides with a large hunk of tasty but limp pork belly placed in between. I would have liked to see more of a crust on the pork belly. The grits beneath the pork, studded with wild mushrooms and leeks, was a pleasant, earthy foundation. A swipe through the floral maple-sorghum jus drizzled on the plate gave the dish its balanced sweetness.
There is no beverage program here and they don't plan on changing that. You bring your own booze and drink it out of short, thick glasses. The only dessert option is a slice of spectacularly creamy cheesecake made by Myers' mom served with chunks of fresh Pearson Farm peaches. The most expensive dish is currently $16. Most others hover around $8-$11, making Dish Dive a super-affordable, solid lunch or dinner option.
Recently, chefs David Sweeney and Shane Devereux took over Dish Dive's kitchen for a week while Carroll was on vacation. While both of those chefs are well established, Carroll says he'd like to see more chefs come in and cook so that his restaurant can be a launching pad for new talent. His open-door approach is a perfect fit with how he and Myers run their business. "It really is an extension of ourselves," Carroll says. "It's like our second home. We both love restaurants, we love what they can offer, but we spend so much time there we created this one really to have that homey feel." And it does. It's just what the neighborhood ordered: A casual spot with a plucky spirit that serves good food at a nice price. This is the house that Carroll and Myers have built and they want you to stop in some time for a plate of food.
"There's a fresh energy, a kind of post-ression, post-farm-to-table spirit that celebrates creativity, vision and technique. It flows through the new high end (Buckhead's luxe Atlas), the new bistro (Inman Park's fabulously meat-crazed Cocktentrice) and the new low-key (Kirkwood's funky Dish Dive).
Dish Dive- This excellent, inexpensive and tiny BYOB is the kind of restaurant Atlanta has long needed.
The hallmarks of good service are timeless. A friendly mien, attention to detail and an ability to read a guest’s mood and preferred level of interaction will always earn repeat business. A few new restaurants go a step further and curate the experience.
At the minimalist 16-seat Dish Dive, owner Jeff Myers pops out of the kitchen to take your order on the iPhone he uses for his POS, chats a little and opens the bottle of wine you’ve brought to this strictly BYO establishment. You choose from the six or seven dishes on the menu (heck, get them all and don’t miss the lamb-neck gravy fries), and pay by swiping your finger on the phone. It’s like a handshake that says “until next time.”
ATLANTA MAGAZINE- MAR 2015
written by Christiane Lauterbach
Fresh on the Scene: The Cockentrice, Made Kitchen and Cocktails, and DISH DIVE
In a restaurant era that favors the big, splashy, and boozy, this BYOB hideaway from Top Flr cofounder Jeff Myers and chef Travis Carroll is a rare sight. Dished out of a postage-stamp-sized cottage, the low-key offerings are cheaper than expected and big on comfort. Shakshuka topped with fried egg and crumbled feta and the charred Brussels sprouts with sweet yucca root stand as some of the more high-minded plates. Just as easily, the kitchen will let loose with hot dogs with beer mustard and french fries with mushroom gravy and duck confit. 2233 College Avenue, 404-790-0418 - See more at: http://www.atlantamagazine.com/dining-news/fresh-scene-cockentrice-made-kitchen-cocktails/#sthash.3GxkcavT.dpuf
By Wyatt Williams - For the AJC
Restaurant owners and chefs often function like figureheads.
When we say, “Jeff Myers serves a delightful mash-up of pork belly and French toast at his new Kirkwood restaurant Dish Dive,” what we usually mean is that Myers has hired cooks and servers and managers to prepare and serve that dish in the manner that he designed. It is a light metaphor, the same way we curse the president for a policy determined by a member of his cabinet.
In this case, though, the statement is literal. When you sit down at Dish Dive, Myers will take your order for pork belly, Travis Carroll will prepare it in the kitchen, and Myers will return to serve the dish to your table. They are the restaurant’s only two full-time employees.
By most restaurant standards, this should be a disaster. (Just imagine what would happen if Ford Fry and Adam Evans tried to run the Optimist without help.)
Instead, Dish Dive is an object lesson in simple cool, a place nearly defined by what it doesn’t do. There is no raw bar, no cave for curing meats, no local cheese cart, no barrel-aged cocktail, no beer taps, no alcohol available for purchase at all. The menu on any given night has less than 10 dishes. The restaurant has just 16 seats.
Distractions, obligations and ambitions out of the way, Myers and Carroll devote themselves to serving an idiosyncratic New American cuisine, elegantly and on the cheap. That’s it. Few restaurants set their aim so low, but fewer still realize it so clearly.
Let’s get back to that pork belly dish. Carroll plates thick wedges of it alongside wedges of deep-fried French toast atop a bed of thick, savory grits and sweet sorghum syrup. It is brunch on a plate, a breakfast-for-dinner riff with a sophisticated balance of crunchy and melty pleasure.
Speaking of crunch and melt, Carroll also serves a few variations on poutine that he calls Dish Fries. The chicken-gravy-and-cheese version tastes a bit like nachos with chicken stock. Superior is the duck-confit-with-provolone-cheese, a fried delight that begs for a good beer to wash it down.
Myers said he fully intends to keep Dish Dive a BYOB establishment, which makes Ale Yeah, an excellent beer shop located almost next door, the de facto beverage program. It also means your bill will be surprisingly low. A feast for two won’t run more than $50.
That feast also won’t leave you overstuffed, either. That’s in part because Carroll’s menu is deceptively vegetablecentric. After the pork belly and fries, the menu is mostly devoted to colorful, rich arrangements of vegetables. Roasted cauliflower is brightened by red, chile-flecked romesco. A grain salad pairs roasted squash and beets with discs of raw roots, both crunchy and satisfyingly rich. A salad of kale and chard is topped with pickled slivers of chard stems.
Best of the vegetables might be shakshuka, a stewed dish of tomatoes, okra and peppers topped with a fried egg. My head says that a dish like that should be saved for summer, but my stomach was warmed by the spicy, rich depth of flavor. The ring of sweet corn sauce, like other sweet notes on the menu, doesn’t suit my palate, but it is inoffensive enough.
The elegance of Dish Dive, though, largely depends on the subtle touch of Myers. He doesn’t bore you with the obnoxious “how the menu works” speech, but he answers every question you have. The soundtrack is crafted like a mixtape. The interior is homey without being cloying. It makes me wish more restaurateurs would bother working their own tables.
At the end of your meal, Myers will pull his iPhone out of his pocket and swipe your card. You’ll notice that the screen is cracked. No matter. It is simple and it works.
written by Brad Kaplan for Creative Loafing- Feb. 4, 2015
Have you had enough of the big and flashy restaurants that draw equally big and flashy crowds? Are you eager for something more, well, intimate? A place where you can walk in with friends, carry a growler of beer or bottle of wine, and sit down to some flat-out interesting and affordable food? Look no further than a little house by the train tracks, on the edge of Kirkwood and Decatur, where you'll find tiny Dish Dive — a 16-seat ode to being small, friendly, and quirky.
A meal at Dish Dive is like hanging out at your cool friend's house while he cooks you dinner. Here, the cool friends are chef Travis Carroll and co-owner Jeff Myers. You may remember them both from their time at Top Flr, another relatively quirky little endeavor. At Dish Dive, Jeff will greet you with a warm smile, talk you through the menu, maybe even offer you a few pieces of pickled onion as you discuss how the cinnamon-heavy and completely unusual chicken pot pie could use a quick hit of acidity. The vibe is chill, the decor spare but homey, and the open kitchen is probably about the same size as yours. Jeff and Travis want you to feel at home.
Dish Dive's menu comes on one single printed piece of paper, less than a dozen dishes in all. But the curious collection of small plates somehow spans from flat-out-grubber gravy-drenched fries to healthy and intricately-composed seasonal veggies, with a sprinkling of German, Middle Eastern, and good ol' Southern inspirations thrown in. There's pink spaetzle, and shakshuka, and pork belly with sorghum. I said this place was quirky, right? And the prices encourage you to embrace the quirk with abandon — most dishes are $7 or $8, with the pork belly being the most substantial and pricey plate at $14.
For those of you who remember chef David Sweeney's Dynamic Dish, a similarly intimate and quirky restaurant, Dish Dive's boldly flavored veggies may lead to happy reminiscing (though Dynamic Dish walked a far more serene path). There's the salad of warm winter greens serving as the setting for a collision of flavors and textures — sweet and crunchy caramel-spice pecan brittle, tart dried cherries, an intricate smoked blue cheese and bacon vinaigrette. Or how about that pink spaetzle, chewy but happily-light, tossed with house-made ricotta and asparagus coconut sauce and topped with a runny egg. On the simpler side, pan-roasted cauliflower comes charred around the edges, laid out over a spread of thick boiled-peanut romesco sauce that tastes vaguely of Thailand.
Some of the combinations, including a predilection for throwing sweet into the savory, may have you questioning the quirk. But somehow, chef Travis pulls disparate notes together with aplomb. The strangest example is the dish labeled pork belly with wild mushroom and leek grits, French toast, and maple sorghum braising jus. The pork belly and French toast both arrive cut into thick triangles with deep mahogany exteriors, both looking like charred cuts of steak. Slices of strawberry (say what?) dot the creamy grits, adding a touch of color. As you tentatively tap your fork to confirm which is pork, which is waffle, your doubts may rise. And then you take a bite. Perfectly cooked pork belly, meaty and fatty and tender and crunchy, plays off the (deep-fried) French toast, and somehow the mushrooms and berries and grits and sorghum all merge into something magical.
The so-called dive fries offer a junkier diversion. You can choose to have them topped with chicken gravy or mushroom gravy with white cheddar, or go all out with duck confit, sharp provolone, and a mess o' peas on top. A fellow food writer had some inexplicably off experiences with the duck and the chicken gravy on two different visits, so we opted for the mushroom gravy version. The non-meat rendition conjured childhood memories of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup. The fries arrive in a tangled nest held together by cheddar, the gravy drizzled lightly so as not to weigh them down. This is perfect beer food, so be sure to run down to Ale Yeah! a few blocks away to grab a growler before you enter the door.
Oh, and the dessert? It's not listed on the menu, but we asked Jeff what they had. When he told us it was "Chicago-style" cheesecake made by his mom (who hails from Chicago), I just couldn't say no. I have no idea if this dense but straightforward cheesecake is actually what folks eat around Chicago, but I'll happily return for Jeff's mom's baking anytime.
Atlanta could use a bit more of what Dish Dive is trying to bring to the table — the intimate, the modest, the quirky. Jeff and Travis do manage to make you feel at home, but also leave you thinking how comfortably strange your meal was as you walk out the door.
YEAR IN EATER
Industry Insiders Share Their Biggest Dining Surprises of 2014
We continue our look back on the year in Atlanta's restaurant scene.
As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of restaurant industry insiders. We've already covered the restaurant standbys, best newcomers, 2014 in one word, and the best dining neighborhood. Now it's time for the year's biggest dining surprises. Readers, please leave your thoughts in the comments.
What was the biggest dining surprise of 2014?
Krista Miller, Atlanta Eats director of content
I'm not sure why it was such a surprise, because all the pieces were there, but the pure level of joy Krog Street Market inspires. Everything I've eaten there has been great. From Craft Izakaya to Fred's to Grand Champion BBQ, I've loved it all. And based on my Instagram feed, I'm definitely not the only one.
Joshua Charles, Flags of Origin owner/designer (Bocado Burger, Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall)
5 & 10 in Athens. Tucked in the middle of hormone central (fraternity and sorority row) in a beautifully remodeled craftsman home in Athens. It was the best ramen I've ever had ever. Best surprise was it was off-menu, BUT... apparently on Tuesdays it is available. I may make the drive every Tuesday.
Zach Meloy, Better Half chef/owner
That the whole hamburger thing is still going strong.
Jason Santamaria, Second Self Beer Company co-founder
Krog Street Market. It brings a new experience to Atlanta, and it's exciting to see a venue so well-received.
E.J. Hodgkinson, King + Duke executive chef
Todd Richards, The Pig & The Pearl and The Shed at Glenwood chef/partner
The dining offerings from Peach Dish. Usually home delivery meals are scoffed at, but the quality of ingredients from Love is Love Farm and White Oak Pastures truly will make any chef cook at home.
Linton Hopkins, chef/restaurateur/empire builder
Linton's in the Garden! We didn't know that was coming, but we love it and we're so excited to be a part.
Alex Brounstein, Grindhouse Killer Burgers owner
Hugh Acheson's amazing Cinco y Diez closing after less than a year in Five Points in Athens. WTF people??
Julian Goglia, The Pinewood owner/bartender
The first time I stumbled into Jarrett Stieber's Eat Me Speak Me, hands down. He is killing it.
Zeb Stevenson, Parish executive chef/soon moving to Watershed on Peachtree
Joe Schafer leaving King + Duke and resurfacing at Abattoir. Perfect fit for such a great cook.
Jarrett Stieber, Eat Me Speak Me chef