Soul food is the fabric of Atlanta,” explains Lorenzo Wyche, creator of the restaurant Rare. “For lack of a better term, it’s comfort food, the food we grew up with at Sunday dinner. But we challenge the palate a little bit.” Ready for that challenge, we kick back, cozy on upholstered “beds,” watching vintage cartoons projected on a blank wall (no sound, just memories). The food begins to arrive. First and favorite―lobster mac and cheese, creamy with white Cheddar béchamel. Next: a BLT salad, featuring lightly fried green tomatoes. Then teeny versions of chicken and waffles; Jamaican jerk-spiced tilapia; and pot stickers filled with collard greens, wild mushrooms, and fresh ginger. The concept is tapas, a series of small plates you share.
The music builds as the hours pass; Betty Boop replaces Popeye. The place fills up, the music grows even louder―but people come for the food. “The menu is the story here,” says Lorenzo, waving a hand at the bounty. So dig in.
554 Piedmont Avenue; (404) 541-0665. Open from 5 p.m. daily. Plates begin at $5.
Editor’s note: At press time, Rare had closed temporarily due to a small fire. It should be open by mid-June, but call before you go. It’s definitely worth the trip.
Lorenzo loves to start Atlanta restaurants. His Harlem Bar serves traditional soul food,and The Social House cooks farm-to-table breakfasts. His next vision: a restaurant for pure African-inspired recipes.
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