Saturday, August 13, 2011


An odd Atlanta institution, the Colonnade (1879 Cheshire Bridge Road, 30324), in business since 1927, is a restaurant of unparalleled Southern hospitality, where genteel ladies and eccentric queer sofa salesmen eat grilled calf's liver and wash it down with a Sea Breeze. Opening at 5 pm on weekdays, the restaurant quickly gets packed with the 70 and up crowd, who order dishes that no longer exist in present day reality. Later, the Colonnade's clientele gets gayer and louder, tending toward groups of middle aged men talking smack about some guy named Leonard. The two spacious rooms and bar clear out by the early 9 pm closing time, 10 on weekends.

Not far from the door is the Colonnade's affable host, an elderly Don Knotts looking fellow, who announces through an amplifier, "Constance, party of three, Engelbert, party of five, Sodom, party of two." All the wait staff are as sweet as butterscotch pie and the food is endearing and heartfelt, ranging from traditional Southern classics to uppity, somewhat schmantzy specials to dishes that began to go out of favor during Reconstruction.

At the table next to you, you might overhear someone ordering...

"Now let's see, I will have the grilled polecat with apricot remoulade and zipper beans on the side and oh, I guess for my second side, how about fluffy whipped parakeets. And I'll start with the dill osprey salad with... goat beard vinaigrette."

"And what would you like to drink? Perhaps some flannel tea with a little lemon zest or a Heifer Gingerale," asks the waitress enthusiastically.

"Uh, no, I think I will live a little and have a cocktail. How about a Hotel California with two cherries and a mint?"

"Coming right up. And you sir?"

"(Spoken slowly with beard in mouth) I will have the Rutherford B. Hayes smoked pork loin with the tomato aspic and the Prussian mayonnaise salad, easy on the giblets, and to drink... a Nipper with a twist of green fruit."

Such is the daffy world of the Colonnade, where bow ties are still in style and gooseberries are always in season

The bar at the Colonnade (those are not real books.)