Well, it looks like a diner (lots of clean, brushed chrome, glass, and cobalt blue neon), and tastes like a diner (comfort food, but with a suspiciously whimsical twist), and sounds like a diner (a busy, open kitchen with white-coated chefs scurrying about), but Buckhead Life Restaurant Group's Buckhead Diner isn't a diner at all, at least in the strictest sense. The valet parking, the long waits and the creative menu suggest a lot more–but the art-deco diner “feel” remains, and that's the essence of the Buckhead Diner.
This is The Foodie's “go-to” place as soon as possible after landing at Hartsfield International. A cocktail whipped up by a friendly bartender, a basket of hot, just-made potato chips slathered in melting-as-we-speak chunks of intensely flavorful Maytag Blue cheese (or perhaps a dish of crispy Shrimp Spring Rolls with a hot Thai dipping sauce) goes a long way to calm airport stress. Cold Mesclun Greens with piping-hot Goat Cheese Fritters with apples and walnuts is also recommended for that condition.
Some of the stars of the entree show include Beef Short-Rib Stroganoff (over buttered Noodles with Mushrooms and Pearl Onions), Buckhead Diner's signature Veal and Wild Mushroom Meatloaf, and the Grilled Mahi-Mahi Tostada (with White Cheddar Grits and Guac). When in Atlanta, go to the Buckhead Diner. If you're one of the lucky few, they might seat you at the “window” seat (where the food in placed for pickup). Smile while sitting on those magical stools: All kinds of little noshes will be tossed in your direction if the expediter likes you.
UPDATE: A recent trip to Atlanta resulted in a Buckhead Diner lunch. The 2-Fried Egg BLT (on incredibly fresh bread from right across the street) was perfect, especially with the homemade potato chips. The (slightly) more sedate ultimate 4-cheese grilled cheese with soup was also quite delicious, toasted with a light, cheesy crust. A red velvet cupcake showered with shaved white chocolate sealed our fate.
The Buckhead Diner is on Piedmont, barely a block down from Peachtree. Reservations are recommended (see the number on the logo image) and the waits can be long. Click here to see the dinner menu. (B (weekends)., L., D., Bar) Price range: Moderate +.