Staying on the south side near the airport because you don’t have time to get into Atlanta proper? Only here for one night? Got a long layover, but not long enough to venture far? Fear not, you can still find good eatin’, cheap dranks, and some trouble while staying in Atlanta. I live very close to the airport and when I’m not globe trotting about or stirring up trouble in Atlanta proper, you can find me at these fine establishments in the Tri- Cities area. Tri Cities is made up of three small cities – Hapeville, College Park, and East Point. This post is all about Hapeville.
The downtown area of Hapeville (rhymes with vape) is a sweet slice of Main Street USA complete with colorful murals, friendly faces, mom and pop businesses, and several tasty food options. You’re still so close to the airport that you can throw a rock at the planes passing overhead (but don’t). Hapeville is also home to the new Porsche North American Headquarters and the original Chick-Fil-A Dwarfhouse.
Drip Coffee – Sleek and cozy spot for a latte or any other caffeinated concoction. Drip also serves pastries, quiche, assorted sandwiches of the breakfast and lunch varieties, and other light fare. It’s a great spot to meet up with someone, study/write, or catch up on your reading.
Volare – Quaint bistro offering salads, delicious sandwiches (my favorite is the steak sandwich), small plates (I like the asparagus, bruschetta, and roasted beets), several entrees, and a fine wine selection. Their desert menu changes regularly, but I haven’t met a desert I didn’t like at Volare.
Mami’s La Cubana Cuban Restaurant – Hapeville’s newest restaurant and my current favorite local spot to dine. Ya’ll… it’s so good I ate there three times in one week. While everything there is delicioso, I recommend the Jerk Chicken (best I’ve ever had) or the Ropa Vieja (the plate or sandwich option). This no frills hole in the wall is a hidden gem. The portions are generous, the service is friendly, and the prices are nice. Treat yo’ self to moist, creamy tres leches cake or flan for desert – you’re worth it. Limited seating can make for a bit of a wait if you come during peak lunch hours. You can call ahead, get your food to go and have a picnic at the park across the street or sit by the fountain alongside the train depot.
Chapman’s Drugs – In business for nearly one hundred years, this family owned establishment is a rare find complete with an old fashioned soda fountain. My dad used to take me here as a special treat after preschool back in the day. Their malts are thick, creamy, and so darn good. The limeades put Sonic’s to shame and the lime sours… what? You’ve never had a lime sour? My goodness, if you like salty, tangy beverages you’ve gotta try a lime sour. It’s just lime juice, soda water, and salt to taste – I load my so full of sodium that it’ll make your lips pucker! This blast from the past also serves hand dipped shakes, Lime Rickys, sundaes, and real cherry and vanilla cokes. You can also get prescriptions filled here because it’s an actual drugstore. Check out the antique pharmacy bottles and other items on display while the soda jerk mixes up your tasty treat.
Slideways – This corner spot offers up a variety of sliders (mini burgers) and regular sized burgers in tasty combinations like the YOLO (Burger, Beef, Chili, Pimento Cheese, Bacon, Onion Ring, Fried Egg) and the Seared Salmon ( Salmon with Lemon, Caper & Dill Mayo, Lettuce, Tomato). Their caramel pie is like crack. So good.
Pit Boss BBQ – Just down the road from the downtown area lies my neighborhood go to for BBQ. This place is always hopping. At lunch, it’s jam packed with Delta folks. You’l get the meat sweats – Pork, Sausage, Turkey, Beef … it’s a meatapalooza. You’ll leave full as a tick, happy, and smellin’ like smoke. Everything I have had here is tasty. The Smokehouse Burgers are legit. My favorite dish is the Best Bet Brisket Sandwich served with portabella mushrooms and pepperjack cheese on a toasted buttery bun. I pair it with Brunswick stew or mac n cheese and then I get crazy and indulge myself with peach cobbler (so good – just like a Southern granny would make). The banana puddin’ is also a solid choice.
Hammer’s Goodtime Emporium – You won’t believe this place until you see it. I affectionately describe it as a trapped in time beach bar set in 1994 Panama City Beach, FL. It ain’t nothing fancy, but it’s entertaining. Pretty much anything goes here (see below photo of me holding snakes at the bar). Hammer’s has two bars – an indoor bar (smokey and dark) and the beach bar with views of their full sized outdoor volleyball court. If you didn’t know any better, you’d swear you were in Florida. You’ll find me sittin’ on the beach side unless it’s Trivia night. Both sides have pool tables and plenty of people watching. There’s always a mix of regulars, locals, airline employees, and travelin’ folk. The drinks are cheap, the waitresses are friendly, and the DJ loves to party (he’s only there on weekends). There’s no judgement on this dance floor, so get on out there and shake what your mama gave ya. Hammer’s has no frills, basic bar food. Their philly cheese steak isn’t too shabby. Their grilled cheese and fries are my go to, but I’m always three sheets to the wind when I order either. If you come on Wednesday or Sunday evenings during warm weather, you can witness some volleyball action. If your looking for love in all the wrong places, you may just get lucky at this emporium of good times.
Beer Girl Growlers & Bottle Shop – If you want to sample some local brews or grab a nice bottle of wine, visit Beer Girl. Located in the downtown area of
Hapeville on Central Ave., Beer Girl has a HUGE selection of brews – local, domestic, and imported. They also have a stellar selection of wines at great price points. I leave with something great each time I visit. Alexia and Erik are always on hand to guide you to a tasty brew or wine adn they’re happy to let you sample anything on tap. Beer Girl has recently starting serving pints on site – stop in before or after a meal for a drink.
*The Hapeville Chick-Fil-A Dwarf House is open 24 hours a day, 6 days a week thru 4 am Sunday mornin’. Always closed on Sundays (when you want that chicken sammich the most). This location has an optional tiny dwarf door entrance, dine in seating, and features a motorized, musical display of the seven dwarfs. Ask the staff nicely and they may let you push the button to activate it.