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In my life, food carries the role of nurturer, loyal sidekick, consoler, stalker and best friend (also, worst enemy when I look at the scale), and there’s nowhere I like to celebrate my “buddy” more than at the coolest new restaurants opening in Atlanta. Rejoice in spring’s return by visiting three new Atlanta restaurants — cool hot spots where the line between “restaurant,” “bar” and “entertainment destination” gets a bit blurred.

3 New Restaurants in Atlanta

Punch Bowl Social

875 Battery Ave., Atlanta, GA 30339 • (470) 443-1443
Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to midnight (Must be over age 21 after 10 p.m.)

The Battery Atlanta hosts the best in sports, food and entertainment, thanks to the recent addition of Punch Bowl Social. This lifestyle brand is a unique cross between award-winning food and craft beverages with social activities like shuffleboard, bowling, virtual reality and classic video games. It’s a 25,000-square-foot space that puts just as much weight in the quality of entertainment as the quality of dishes and cocktails.

This Atlanta location marks Punch Bowl Social’s first opening in the Southeast region (the brand began in Denver and has more than 12 additional locations across the country). The level of menu quality is elevated with Punch Bowl Social’s culinary partner, and Atlanta’s golden boy, Hugh Acheson. Hugh helped distinguish Punch Bowl Social as a food destination with his fantastic, diner-inspired menu, featuring the OMFG GF Southern Fried Chicken (served with tomato jalapeño salad), Hugh’s Pimento Cheese, Lobster Bacon Fries and It’s Nacho Mama’s, featuring chips, queso and (unsung hero) roasted cauliflower.

All that food needs a good washing down of a tasty drink, and the innovative craft beverage program at Punch Bowl Social doesn’t disappoint. Go the boozy route with options like the Van Damme!, made with cognac, housemade pear syrup, lemon juice and more … or perhaps something punchier? Per its name, Punch Bowl Social offers four different kinds of 21+ punches, which come in serving sizes for one, four or a rowdy group of eight. Personally, I’m down for the Watermelon Polo Bowl, an invigorating combo of tequila, watermelon flavors and tangy lime, but there’s also It’s A Mer-Man’s World, The King’s Cup and the featured punch of the day. Here’s what I love about Punch Bowl Social – if you prefer a boozeless concoction, there’s a huge menu of house-made juices, sodas (grapefruit anyone?) and a visit to the soda jerk menu (the Coco Fresca is freaking amazing – coconut milk, coconut water, simple syrup, sparkling water and fresh lime juice). Seriously, I’d drink that Coco Fresca all day, everyday. There are also soda floats, egg creams and fantastic fizzy combos (whimsically located on the Preschool section of the drink menu). And by the way, these drinks look great in one hand, with a bocce ball or a ping-pong paddle in the other. Just don’t try to multitask when experiencing virtual reality – those drinks will spill faster than you can say Ready Player One.

The crafted beverages at Punch Bowl Social are fantastic. Make sure to try one of their namesake punches, like the Watermelon Polo Bowl, or an adult milkshake like the Malted Maple Royale, with Jim Beam Maple Whiskey, malted milk, vanilla soft serve, nutmeg and the pièce de résistance, candied bacon. Image: Punch Bowl Social

Need an activity while you wait for the food and drinks to arrive to your table? Try bowling at one of the eight lanes or perhaps a little karaoke in one of the private rooms. Image: Punch Bowl Social

The Lil’ Street Tacos feature cocoa-dusted pork carnitas, salsa adobo, refreshing queso cotija and crema, all finished with invigorating cilantro and lime. Image: Punch Bowl Social

No, we love you, Punch Bowl Social! Image: Punch Bowl Social

James Beard Award-winning chef and Atlanta heavyweight Hugh Acheson is Punch Bowl Social’s culinary partner. With his insight, the brand offers delish menu items like the Serious(ly) Sloppy Joe, topped with kettle chips, and the Impossible Burger, with a meaty, beef-free patty that lets those vegetarians get in on the fun. Image: Punch Bowl Social

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The White Bull

123 East Court Square, Decatur, GA 30030 • (404) 600-5649
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., bar opens at 3 p.m.; Sunday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., bar opens at 3 p.m.

Decatur Square isn’t just historical for history’s sake; it’s historical for launching some of the best, most popular restaurants in Decatur and Atlanta. The White Bull is its newest tenant, making waves for its wonderful, seasonal fare, made exclusively from Georgia ingredients, and the team that helped make this bull come to life. Esteemed executive chef and partner Pat Pascarella, who recently served as executive chef at The Optimist, and partner/general manager Gabriele Besozzi joined forces to create a new Atlanta restaurant serving farm-forward American fare. Seasonal fare is always a welcomed sight on the dinner plate, knowing that you’re eating fresh ingredients, but when those ingredients are also locally sourced, the quality is elevated even higher. Places like Ticker Farms, Stone Mountain Cattle Co., H&F Bread and other local purveyors provide the inspiration for the fantastic creations that White Bull presents.

The thoughtful menu at White Bull focuses on wholesome dishes, complete with vegetable-forward plates and pastas made with single-ingredient whole wheat flour (stoneground in-house daily). The agnolotti (think small ravioli) with goat cheese, orange, fennel pollen and honey is a flavor powerhouse, and the black spaghetti with red shrimp, asparagus and jalapeño is a fresh take on seafood. And if you’re just too excited for the food to arrive to your table, White Bull offers a tasty surprise – instead of bread service, guests receive a tasting of the day’s select veggie. If you do love bread and butter, though, dry your eyes. White Bull has the option on its menu, complete with housemade airy, tangy butter, made daily with cream sourced from Rock House Creamery in Covington, Georgia.

The White Bull’s “Prescriptions” are “powerful remedies intended to cure all of life’s ailments by order of your licensed bartender.” These cocktails are artfully crafted, and I’d definitely go with the “Frozen” martini, featuring vodka, blended vermouth and orange bitters, or the Once More With Feeling, with bourbon, strawberry citrus and a surprising addition of chocolate bitters. Whatever you choose on the menu, you won’t go wrong. And that ain’t no bull.

The White Bull takes homemade, from-scratch food seriously. Their house-made butter is made daily, with locally sourced cream. This is the only butter used in-house, for cooking and on finished plates. Image: Andrew Thomas Lee

The name of the restaurant was inspired by literary icon Ernest Hemingway, who referred to the blank page as “the white bull.” In this same spirit, the restaurant showcases a creative, thoughtful menu with approachable food. Image: Andrew Thomas Lee

Delicate dishes, like this yellowtail with white soy, buttermilk and green strawberries, are created with ingredients that come from across the state. Image: Andrew Thomas Lee

Just like the culinary side of The White Bull, the bar program offers amazing drinks with seasonal, farm-grown ingredients. For example, pictured here is the bottled We’ll Always Have Paris cocktail, with gin, Campari and other high quality ingredients. Image: Andrew Thomas Lee

The Painted Duck

976 Brady Ave., Atlanta, GA 30318 • (404) 352-0048
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to midnight; Friday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, noon to midnight

Distinguished drinkery. Gaming parlour. Restaurant gone quackers (get it?). However you want to describe The Painted Duck, it’s just plain fun. Located in the Stockyards Atlanta development, The Painted Duck brings together duckpin bowling (the balls and pins are smaller than traditional bowling, and players get three rolls per frame), shuffleboard and other games. Oddball games like snookball (hybrid that combines pool with soccer), Belgian feather bowling (a wooden “cheese wheel” rolled down a trough-shaped alley towards a feather), toad in the hole (toss brass coin “toads” to the hole) and knuckleball (something to do with hitting a ball with a duckpin mallet …) are pub-tested games that work best with a nearby pint.

The Painted Duck, which comes from the creative minds behind Atlanta’s The Painted Pin, has lots of bar-friendly drinks sure to satiate your thirst. Pick up local bottles and drafts from Atlanta brands like Creature Comforts, Scofflaw, Monday Night Brewing, Sweetwater, Second Self and more. If beer isn’t your thing, try one of the signature cocktails like the Frosted Duck L’Orange, with vodka, orange and coconut, or the gin-happy Ornithology. The classic cocktail list has the tried and true from today and yesteryear, sure to give you a delicious buzz.

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And my favorite part of any restaurant article is, of course, the food. So yes, The Painted Duck does have a few dishes with Donald as the main ingredient. Duck Phat Fries, Duck Nuggets and the Whole Roasted Peking Duck (served family-style with King’s Hawaiian Rolls) will make Daffy hang his head as you smile with pleasure. Other standouts on the menu include the Quills, barbecued skewers featuring proteins like Thai ahi tuna, Peruvian filet mignon, king crab scampi and more, as well as the smoked beef brisket sandwich and the au poivre burger with Gruyère cheese.

The Painted Duck is bursting with traditional and unique interactive games. Bowling is a given at this gaming parlour, but guests can also try knuckleball, shuffleboard, toad in the hole, Belgian feather bowling and more. Image: Heidi Geldhauser/Our Labor of Love

The whole roasted Peking duck is served family-style, with peppered bacon, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions and King’s Hawaiian Rolls. Just be aware that the kitchen requires 90 minutes to prepare this item. Image: Heidi Geldhauser/Our Labor of Love

The Painted Duck may have bowling and shuffleboard like some other gaming bars, but I guarantee you’ve never seen a bowling alley, or a bar for that matter, that looks like this. Image: Heidi Geldhauser/Our Labor of Love

The Frosted Duck L’Orange is a delicious cocktail, featuring vodka, orange and coconut, that has its own sassy cup to go with it. Image: Heidi Geldhauser/Our Labor of Love

This is the au poivre burger, featuring a 6-ounce patty topped with caramelized onions, arugula, gruyere, garlic mayo and peppercorn sauce, all sandwiched together by a sesame seed bun. Image: Heidi Geldhauser/Our Labor of Love

Whether you like playing games while eating a delicious meal or the meal itself is a game for your taste buds, these new Atlanta restaurants and gaming destinations are sure to entertain all your senses.

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