Our award-winning local treasure, Piedmont Park, provides the perfect setting for sunny-day fun throughout the year. Summertime brings the crowds down for all manner of activities from swimming at the aquatic center to frolicking with Fido at the Dog Park to sophisticated swinging on the stunningly-sculptural Noguchi Playscape to fishing at Lake Clara Meer. When a picnic’s not part of the plan, the prime location as the centerpiece of Midtown offers no shortage of area dining options just within wandering distance. We’ve noted some of the most convenient and casual spots ready to feed happy park enthusiasts.
Amsterdam Cafe Park Side
Typical pub dining gets some added character in this quirky little cafe just behind the Northeast corner of the Dog Park entrance. This family-friendy spot serves tasty standards accompanied by a generous beer selection with a heavy focus on craft brews and often adds live music to the vine-covered patio. www.amsterdamcafeparkside.com
On the North side of the park, off Monroe and on the Beltline, Couscous opened a year ago and has already made a big impression. Is there such a thing as a casually-exotic ambiance? Well, Couscous offers just that with incredible Tunisian fare that maintains a deliciously approachable quality while still transporting us from the edge of Piedmont Park to the North Africa shores of the Mediterranean in just the flick of a lamb skewer. Wander over, settle back into a banquette and gaze up at a magical turquoise ceiling as you consider the creative cocktails or sample small plates before your main course. www.couscousatlanta.com
Tots. Mounds and mounds of tots. Yes, there’s a wide variety of casual delights all across the menu of local haven, The Nook. But, it’s the signature “Totchos” that get the most press — take common nacho platters, substitute tater tots for tortilla chips, and there’s the base for these bar-platter presentations, which pile on all manner of toppings from pulled pork to mac and cheese to Buffalo chicken. Carb overload not your thing, go for the wraps or salads or the stuffed burgers (oh, the Cari-Bean stuffed burger … so perfect after a day at park play!) www.thenookatlanta.com
This classic Atlanta fixture began over a hundred years ago, constructed as a racehorse stable then evolving into a gentleman’s club and golf clubhouse by the late 1920’s. For the last couple of decades, it’s become one the premier event venues in town boasting a beautiful vista of both Piedmont Park and the Atlanta skyline. The covered patio on the Tavern’s lower level overlooks a wide corner of the Meadow section of the Park and features a deliciously diverse menu. www.parktavern.com
Real-deal, classic Italian pizza satisfies every palate, and Varuni Napoli rolls out the best. Traditional recipes, straight from Naples, joyfully prepared in a vibrant atmosphere. Turn your attention to the pizza chefs in the prominently central kitchen and watch the masters perform their artistry. varuni.us
Sure, this ubiquitous burrito chain practically self-propagates along the Metro landscape, yet this location slams the others with it’s phenomenal position at the edge of Piedmont Park, outdoor seating spread and pitchers of margaritas. Stake a claim on one of those park side tables and sip to your heart’s content. www.willys.com
Now you’ve got your list … grab some sunscreen, a water bottle and a frisbee, and spend the day at Piedmont!