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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Colonnade Restaurant (Morningside/Lenox Park)

Toddler Foodie Rating: 5 out of 5 Gummy Bears

:) = Convenient location.  Ample parking.  Spacious dining area.  Genuine Southern hospitality and a nostalgic, old-fashioned feel.  Nice, helpful, experienced wait staff who seem to have no problem with serving little ones.  Warm, pleasant crowd.  Noise level that's loud enough to drown out a toddler's crying fit, but low enough to allow for conversation at your own table without having to yell at each other.  Delicious, authentic Southern comfort cuisine.  Wine for mommies (and daddies).

:( = Putting aside the fact that Southern food isn't the healthiest choice, the only real downside to this restaurant is that you have to pay the cashier at the front of the restaurant.  This means that if you're a parent dining alone with your little one(s), you may have to stand in line and wait to pay - and keep your little(s) entertained/under control while you wait.  This really wasn't a terrible experience for Mommy, though, because the other diners waiting in line to pay were all so friendly to us. 

Notes:  The restaurant does accept cards - not sure if they accept AMEX, but they definitely accept Visa/MC.  Mommy thinks we should mention that the restaurant is near some adult establishments, in case that will make a difference to anyone.  (We didn't notice anything but the bright signs, but Mommy thinks this is information that some parents would want to know.) 
So many pretty neon signs around here.  What's not to love?

We have all kinds of friends.  Some of our little friends are like us and will eat anything that doesn't eat them first.  Other friends are more selective.  We don't judge our friends' eating habits because we think taste is subjective, and people - especially tiny people like us - just want to eat different things at different times.  (Mommy even told us that when she had us in her tummy, she hated the smell of fish; but now she eats fish that isn't even cooked!)  However, we do think there are some types of cuisine that most of our little friends will eat, no matter how "picky" they are.  One example?  Southern food.
Now, there are lots of good places to get Southern food in Atlanta.  And folks from around here will probably agree to disagree on which local eatery truly offers the best or most authentic Southern cooking.  We chose Colonnade Restaurant over all the other options because Eater Atlanta recently named it one of the 20 Classic Restaurants Every Atlantan Must Try- and neither we nor our Mommy had ever visited it, despite having lived in Atlanta for all/most of our lives.

Mouth full of rolls, just like a true Southern gentleman.
(And, yes, that placemat says "Since 1927!") 
Colonnade was packed even though it was 6:30 on a weekday.  Thankfully, we didn't have to wait for a table.  The host greeted us warmly upon our arrival and led us to the dining area.  We walked in and found that it was filled with well-dressed, smiling, chattering grandmas and grandpas.  Grandmas and grandpas!!!  We knew then and there that this place would be magical.
The host was clearly accustomed to dealing with kids.  He knew to bring us one high chair, mentioned that servings at the restaurant are big enough to share, and even guessed our 14-month age difference.  Our server came over right away to greet us, bring us drinks and dinner rolls, and get our order.  We ordered the fried chicken plate (mixed dark and white meat), which came with two sides.  We chose whipped potatoes and macaroni and cheese.  Mommy also ordered a side of collard greens so we would have some veggies.  Then, because she simply couldn't resist, she ordered the fried chicken liver appetizer.  All of the food came out quickly, and we quickly gobbled it down.  Then, for dessert, we ordered the Colonnade Coconut Icebox Pie.

This is only one third of the fried chicken plate!
Everything we ate was really yummy.  The fried chicken was crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and not too oily or salty.  The whipped potatoes were smooth, and the mac & cheese tasted just like what Mommy makes in the oven at home.  The collard greens had a nice smoky flavor to them, as all Southern-style collard greens should.  The fried chicken livers were not our favorite dish, but Mommy liked them.  She could only eat two bites, though, because she was stuffed.  The appetizer portion of livers is huge - in fact, our server had the wherewithal to bring out a to-go box with the fried chicken livers because he knew Mommy wouldn't finish them.  And we all adored the mildly sweet, creamy, chilled, coco-nutty pie. 

"Enjoy Southern food responsibly. Eat it in moderation.
Do some cardio afterward."
"Try the pie, y'all."
The food was great, but the service was what pushed us all the way to 5 Gummy Bears.  Our server's name was Orlando, and he was, by far, one of the best servers we've ever met.  Mommy even gushed over him on the way home.  Mommy was a waitress for many years and is somewhat obsessed with the quality of restaurant service; so we know Orlando must've been really, really good.  He brought us water in to-go cups and even made sure to tell us that the lids would not stay on well.  He was honest about which dishes would be good for kids.  He checked in on us periodically and took care of our requests quickly, but he did not make us feel rushed.  He even noticed that Mommy pre-bussed the table for him, which made her smile - she loves it when other servers notice that she is (well, was) one of them.  When we go back to Colonnade, we hope Orlando will be our server again.   

Long story short, we truly have nothing negative to say about Colonnade Restaurant.  We think even the most selective eater can find something on the menu to enjoy, even if only the soft, buttery rolls given at the beginning of the meal.  And, if all else fails, there are lots of grandmas and grandpas to give out free coos and smiles.  There's no toddler on earth who doesn't have a taste for that. 

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