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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pallookaville Fine Foods (Avondale Estates)

Toddler Foodie Rating:  4 out of 5 Gummy Bears.

:) = GREAT spot for kids of all ages (and kids at heart).  Creative, fun throwback-carnival-meets-cartoon theme with fun décor to keep littles entertained.  Extremely friendly, kid-conscious staff.  Huge menu of tasty soda fountain-style beverages, including a booklet full of delicious boozy soda fountain beverages for stressed out mommies and daddies.  Casual, no-fuss dishes, such as corn dogs and an array of deli sandwiches made from locally-sourced ingredients.

:( = Not the healthiest menu in town, although it's a contender for one of the "funnest" (yes, Mommy told us that's not a real word).

Note:  Our friends at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently announced that a take-out only version of Pallookaville is opening in Little Five Points soon.  Fun stuff!

Carnival/deli-style feast (clockwise from top):  Garbaged Fries, Pork Burger, side salad, Brunswick Stew, Fryinstein Monster

Pallookaville Fine Foods is a "you have to see it to believe it" spot.  We learned about it through a recent article in the AJC listing family-friendly restaurants in Atlanta and, upon taking one look at the menu, we just had to pay it a visit.  Pallookaville is a retro carnival, soda fountain, and deli flavored with tongue-in-cheek grown-up humor (the adult humor is subtle enough that only adults would detect it).  Pallookaville is filled with fun décor, from a huge sculpture of Mike from Monsters, Inc. to a large wooden elephant on the wall to kitsch 1950's paraphernalia featuring cartoonish drawings.   And there are TVs mounted to the ceiling showing old school Bugs Bunny cartoons.  We were enthralled.

"Duuuude... look at this place.  Pure magic."
Our server, Nathan, came over to greet us right away. What a nice guy!  He was so helpful, answering all of Mommy and Daddy's questions, giving them recommendations on what to eat, putting up with us every time we interrupted.  With his expert guidance, we ordered a smorgasbord of items off the retro menu:  Boilt Nuts (hard-boiled peanuts) to start the meal, the Fryinstein Monster corndog (one beef frank, one Polish kielbasa, and one Italian sausage dipped in cornbread batter and fried), a side salad, a cup of Stacy Family Brunswick Stew, a 1/2 Pound Pork Burger (the burger patties are made with ground pork and bacon and taste like breakfast sausage), and an order of Garbaged Fries (which the menus describes as cheesed, onioned, peppered, and poutined).  Because she absolutely couldn't resist, Mommy also ordered a chocolate New York Egg Cream off the soda fountain menu.  

In general, we liked all the food we ordered.  The hard-boiled peanuts were fresh (as in, stems were still attached to some of them) and had great flavor with just a little hint of spiciness. 

"These peanuts are so fresh, they still have stems in them!"
The Fryinstein was HUGE.  The four of us shared it and ended up bringing half of it home.  At first bite it was clear that it was a premium corndog made with top-quality ingredients - not the frozen type you would normally get at the carnival.  Pallookaville offers three different types of corndog batter, which is pretty neat.  We went the traditional route and ordered the Golden Cornbread batter. 

"My corndog is bigger than yours."
The rest of the food was okay - edible, but not so memorable that we would suddenly crave it.  The Brunswick Stew was a tad salty.  The Pork Burger was interesting because it was like breakfast food for dinner; but it wasn't interesting enough to make us swear off regular burgers for life.  The salad tasted like something you would find in a public school cafeteria (hmm, now that we're thinking about it, maybe that was the point).  The Garbaged Fries had lots of interesting flavors and textures due to the multitude of toppings, but the fries themselves were a bit bland.  The highlight of our meal was the New York Egg Cream.  What a frothy, bubbly, chocolatey treat that was!
"Mommy said I have to eat five bites of salad for one sip of that Egg Cream.  Oh, the injustice!"
For Mommy and Daddy, however, the highlight of the meal came at the very end, when Mommy ordered the Toasty Cinnamon Crunch Shaketail (vanilla ice cream, cinnamon toast crunch cereal, butterscotch, and Fireball whiskey) upon our server's recommendation.  Of course, we didn't get to try any of that milkshake; but we could tell from the looks on Mommy's and Daddy's faces when they took the first sip that it was ahhh-mazing.  Maybe life-changing.

All in all, we liked Pallookaville.  We will definitely stop by again or check out the new Pallookaville Jr. opening up in Little 5 Points.  Even though some of the menu items disappointed us, the awesome service, super kid-friendly atmosphere, and incredible soda fountain menu justify an occasional visit.  And we suspect Mommy and Daddy will be back without us one Date Night to try some of the other Shaketails. 

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