If french fries are the all-American side dish, then tater tots are its plumper, more reclusive cousin. These deep-fried grated potatoes remind us of childhood days, waiting in the school cafeteria line or having Mom scoop a few on our plate for a special home-cooked meal. Whether dunked in ketchup, sprinkled with seasoned salt or just as is, tater tots balk when classified as a side dish … these babies ARE the dish.
Tater tots are our pals — perhaps it’s no coincidence that removing one small letter turns “friend” into “fried.” StyleBlueprint readers, you know we have a thing for these fanTOTstic potatoes if you’ve read our Little Five Points piece. To start November off right and stuff our face with these airy morsels, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite Atlanta restaurants serving the yummiest tater tots.
1144 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 745-9222 • thenookatlanta.com
There’s not much to say other than “Totchos.” The standard bar/after-work food of chips and liquid cheese has been replaced at The Nook. This Piedmont Park staple substituted scrumptious tater tots for passé chips, and the toppings are now at a whole new level when it comes to taste and creativity.
No matter what flavor profile you enjoy, you’ll have your Totcho soulmate on The Nook’s menu. You can choose from Nacho Totchos (tots with grilled chicken, Pico de Gallo, cheese sauce and classic nacho fixins’), Loaded PoTotchos (tots with cheese sauce, sour cream, bacon bits and scallions), Redneck Totchos (tots with mesquite smoked pork, signature BBQ sauce, cheese sauce, jalapenos), Buffalo Chicken Totchos (tots with grilled chicken tossed in spicy Buffalo sauce, warm blue cheese dressing, green onions), Cajun Totchos (tots with Andouille sausage, blackened shrimp and bell peppers, cheese sauce), Mac Daddy Totchos (tots with mac and cheese, chili, more cheese) and of course the Macho Totcho (all the above Totchos in a five-pound massive ensemble, also available as part of the Macho Totcho Challenge). Most Totcho dishes are $9, except the Mac Daddy at $10 and the Macho Totcho motherload that comes in at $35.
Besides all that Totcho craziness, The Nook has other super tasty offerings as well, including stuffed burgers, salmon BLT and amazing wraps (all offered with tots on the side). Additionally, The Nook offers some healthy fare, as well, including the ahi tuna salad and The Tree Hugger sandwich, a vegetarian item featuring The Nook’s homemade hummus. Plus, the drinks at this Midtown hangout are superb. Order the refreshing Local Lemonade, which features muddled strawberries, simple syrup, VeeV Açai Berry Liqueur and Sprite, and The Nook donates a portion of the proceeds to the Piedmont Park Conservancy, and VeeV plants a tree in the Brazilian rain forest. Drink to save our planet!
878 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
Little Five Points:
438 Moreland Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
We’re going to be honest — The Vortex rocks our world. We love the food, the people and the cool ambience. Both restaurants are in fun locations with a ton of fun things to do within walking distance. And, of course, the thought of devouring The Vortex’s tater tots makes us drool every time we walk through the door.
The tasty tubers at this over-21 establishment are less statement pieces and more side dish heroes. You’re probably already familiar with the delicious burgers and sandwiches at this restaurant from our Little Five Points neighborhood guide last month, but all of these entrées can be served with french fries (boring), loaded potato salad (sigh), fried plantains (snooze), chips (ho-hum) or tater tots (PAR-TAY). And if you’re really adventurous, The Vortex crew will replace the tortilla chips from the Borrachos Nachos, $9.95, with tater tots (for an additional fee), and you can have these potatoes covered in meaty chili, cheese sauce, salsa, tomatoes, chopped lettuce and sour cream.
Visit either of The Vortex’s wild and wacky locations (only if you’re over 21), but just be sure to wear pants with an elastic waist because the portions and taste factors are out of this world.
5500 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, #3, Dunwoody, GA 30338
Three other Atlanta locations in Chamblee, Chastain and Smyrna
Step into the one of the four Wing Factories, and you’re going to get great wings, obviously. This Atlanta hangout sells wings in almost every flavor imaginable, with different combinations, sizes and sauces. But as you can tell from this article’s headline, we didn’t come for the namesake wings. We want tater tots, and we want them now.
The Wing Factory puts the tater tot on the coveted french fry pedestal and thus both tasty potato snacks get equal coverage on the menu. You can get either one of these fried potatoes as a side dish or as a highly recommended starter. Forget the boring as-is flavor because The Wing Factory sprinkles their tater tots in the flavor of your choice — Cajun, lemon pepper, seasoned or ranch, all for $3.25. You can make things even crazier by getting your tots “cheesed” (drenched in spicy queso or “bowling alley cheese”) or chili-cheese (spicy queso and chili). If you’re really brave? Order the Totzilla — melted cheddar-jack cheese, bacon, jalapeños and ranch dressing.
Once you get your tater tot and wing fill, The Wing Factory offers some other great items like Man the Rudder fish tacos, The Roswell Road salad and other yummy dishes.
121 Perimeter Center W., Atlanta, GA 30346
Additional locations throughout Atlanta
We don’t know a ton of Spanish, but when it comes to filling our bellies with great FlexMex food, Tin Lizzy’s is muy bueno! Honestly, Tin Lizzy’s had us with their refreshing margarita and turned-out Tex-Mex food — no wonder the Buckhead location spawned other Atlanta locations (and one in South Carolina).
But forget all those kind words and scrumptious tacos, we want TOTS! Tin Lizzy’s doesn’t disappoint on that side, with The Hot Mess — a skillet with tater tots, queso, pulled pork, bacon-cilantro coleslaw and drizzled with honey BBQ sauce. If you’re not salivating for this starter yet, at $7.99, we’re not sure you’re human (or maybe it’s just us who has no self-control). Make sure you wash it down with one of Tin Lizzy’s signature margaritas, like the Thai Basil, Chipotle Pineapple, Grapefruit or Beach Bum (with coconut tequila).
1238 Dekalb Ave., Atlanta GA 30307
(404) 577-4030 • foxbrosbbq.com
Texas barbecue made a stamp on the Atlanta cooking scene in 2007 when Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q opened near Inman Park. The ATL went OMG for this amazing BBQ and the rest was HST (history … c’mon, don’t make us spell it out and wreck our abbreviated train of thought).
We will get to the barbecue in a minute, but Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q offers two tater tot doozies: The Tomminator and The Lopez. For those looking to go the more Southern route, The Tomminator features tots smothered in Brunswick stew and topped with melted cheese. The Lopez features tater tots topped with the restaurant’s famous brisket chili and topped with melted cheese. Both are $9. These dishes too heavy for you? Order a starter basket of tots for $6, and you can add cheese or melted pimento cheese for an additional cost, or just get some tots as a side.
Enhance those tater tots with some of Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q’s famous plates, like pulled pork, beef brisket, St. Louis-style rib racks, smoked chicken and many more meaty choices. Even the sides at Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q are so good, you can make a whole meal out of them — Frito pie, Fox-a-Roni, chili-mac, collard greens, fried fresh okra … hold on, we need to wipe the drool off the keyboard.
931 Monroe Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
(404) 872-0060 • thehighlanderatlanta.com
This over-21 establishment takes its food, booze and rock star personality very seriously. The Highlander is so much more than a restaurant/bar — the Midtown staple offers a party that goes until 3 a.m. most nights. If the conversation at your table gets boring, pop into the game room and get competitive with pool, air hockey, pinball and lots of video games.
Let’s forget all those distractions for a second because we’re here to discuss tots. The Highlander serves a pitcher of tater tots (that’s right, you heard us) for $6. To that, you can add cheese, chili, bacon, jalapenos and onions for an extra charge. And if tots aren’t your thing (although we’re not sure why you’re reading this article), try delicious menu items like the Highlander Pub Filet, Red Wine Braised Short Ribs or perhaps one of the many mussel dishes.
There are many other delicious tater tot spots we couldn’t fit in this list (we’re looking at you Zesto, H. Harper Station and Hudson Grille) but we think you’ve got a good start to your tour through Atlanta’s great tater tot stops. We’re heading to the gym to work off the inevitable side effects of writing a very thorough tater tot article.
Get your fill of other tasty Atlanta articles by visiting our Food & Dining section on StyleBlueprint Atlanta. Enjoy!