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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Scoutmob Excursion: The Beautiful Restaurant (Cascade Heights)

Toddler Foodie Rating:  4 out of 5 Gummy Bears

:) = Atlanta landmark in a historic part of town.  Friendly, down-home crowd.  Private parking lot behind the restaurant and ample street parking available.  Variety of yummy, home-cooked, soul food dishes that change daily, all at a great price. 

:( = Food is served cafeteria-style, although there is some table service if you ask for it.  Be prepared to juggle trays of food and beverages while wrangling your little ones.  And, yes, we know this cuisine is not necessarily the healthiest for your body; but, eaten in moderation, it truly is good for your soul.

Notes:  Scoutmob has a deal available for this restaurant.  Also, diners who are unfamiliar with this neighborhood should not shy away from coming here, even for breakfast or lunch - it is worth the trip. 

"Come and get your soul food."
One beautiful spring evening, after surviving a particularly draining weekend, we decided we needed a little comfort food.  We were born in Atlanta, and in Atlanta "comfort food" is generally synonymous with soul food.  That's right, we're talking about fried chicken, pork chops, stewed oxtails, macaroni and cheese, boiled greens, black-eyed peas, peach cobbler, and a whole host of other yummy Southern staples that warm your heart with every bite.  Mommy dug through her Scoutmob stash and found a deal she had saved for The Beautiful Restaurant in historic Southwest Atlanta.  And off we went. 

We got there around 6:30 PM and found the restaurant was already pretty full.  A group of older gentlemen seated at the tables near the entrance made an excited fuss over us when we arrived, exclaiming warmly, "Hey there, handsome young fellas, how are y'all doin' tonight?"  Our souls immediately felt comforted by the genuine welcome and homey, nostalgic feel of the restaurant.  The place looked like it hadn't been renovated or updated in decades - and we loved that.

Mommy brought us to the serving buffet where drooling commenced.  The Beautiful offers a meat + 2 sides (plus cornbread and a beverage) for $6.99 + tax.  There were three different meat offerings and an array of sides.  We chose stewed pork neckbones, macaroni & cheese, and black-eyed peas.  We also ordered a to-go box for Daddy, filled with two fried pork chops, creamed corn, and boiled turnip greens.  And we got some banana pudding and peach cobbler for dessert.  Total cost for this huge spread once the Scoutmob deal was applied?  $14.99! 

Clockwise from top:  Banana pudding, black-eyed peas, cornbread, neckbones, mac & cheese, peach cobbler.
Photo taken by 3-year-old Toddler Foodie.
Fried pork chop meal with turnip greens and creamed corn.
We enjoyed everything we ordered.  We even had to dip into Daddy's to-go box because we were dying to try his food, too.  The neckbones were cooked just right.  Sometimes when neckbones are over-stewed, they get mushy and sort of blend together with the broth like a puree.  These neckbones were perfect - the meat was tender and fell off the bone, but retained its own texture and firmness.  The pork chops were yummy, too, but a little salty.  (Mommy removed the breading so we could just enjoy chewing on the flavorful pork cutlets without the added salt.)  The sides were all delicious.  We ate multiple helpings of each of them - even the turnip greens! - and can't decide on a favorite.  After we ate enough dinner, Mommy let us try the banana pudding and peach cobbler.  The peach cobbler wasn't really our cup of tea, although Mommy seemed to enjoy it.  We liked the banana pudding best - it was the real deal, topped not only with 'Nilla wafers, but also a chewy, sweet meringue unlike anything we've ever tasted before.  Mommy had to cut us off from the banana pudding when we asked for thirds.   

"This right here... this is the good stuff."
"I can't believe I asked Mommy for a second helping of greens.  Am I maturing?"
The food at The Beautiful isn't exotic or unique or creative.  It's simple.  But what sets it apart from some other places we've tried is that it's clearly made with a lot of love.  One bite of these dishes tells you these are recipes that have been handed down through generations.  You can almost see the image of a mother or father standing at a stove, meticulously stirring a bubbling pot of black-eyed peas while a curious child looks on.  When the food you're eating evokes those kinds of images, you know you're eating well.

We got more from The Beautiful than full, happy tummies and hearts.  We learned something new, too.  As we were winding down our meal, we overheard the group of old-timers who greeted us when we arrived talking about "the old days."  They then started swapping stories about Atlanta's dark history of racial segregation, being turned away from certain restaurants around town, and their memories of the first restaurants in Atlanta that were integrated.  How fitting it was for us - a new generation of foodies who have never had to experience the pain of being told we can't eat somewhere because of our race - to learn about this embarrassing blot in Atlanta's history from people who actually went through it.  On our ride home, Mommy tried to explain the word "segregation" to us.  Our response?  "But everyone should be allowed to eat at the restaurant." 

"Brother, can you imagine a world where everyone can't eat at the restaurant?  That sounds terrible."

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely wonderful! Toddler Foodies Rock!!! Thank you for the wonderful memories. I'm going to have to pay a visit sometime this week.