When it comes to food court dining, I feel like I left most of that back in my teenage days. However, the downtown Peachtree Food Court has added two restaurants that give new appreciation to food court food.
I first sampled Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival several years ago. Though not in Atlanta at the time, they hail from Memphis. What struck me was how crispy, spicy and juicy Gus’s Fried Chicken was. I put it in the back of my mind that I must have it on a visit to Memphis. Luckily for Atlantans, Gus’s Fried Chicken decided to open up in Atlanta! They are located downtown in the Peachtree Center Mall food court. They can be tricky to find as you must go downstairs from the main food court. Surprisingly, rather than just a standard kiosk as I was expecting, Gus’s Fried Chicken has a stand alone restaurant.
If you want fried everything you can certainly find it at Gus’s with starters of fried pickles, tomatoes and okra. However, the star and the main reason for coming here is the fried chicken. Ordering a plate of two pieces dark (I was tempted to get an 8-piece to take home for later), but having stepped on the scale that morning, I thought better of it. I’m lucky that Gus’s Fried Chicken is located at Peachtree Center, far away from me, or else I could see myself making a weekly stop here. They use fresh never frozen chicken and fry in peanut oil. Don’t expect fast food prices – an 8-piece pack is $22.80. But as an indulgence once in a while, it’s so worth it.
They offer six different kinds of savory pies at Panbury’s. While I didn’t care for the spinach pie, it was the jamaican patty that was a spicy treat. From behind the counter, the pies look deceptively small. If you are starving, you might be tempted to order a couple of pies. Just beware, Panbury’s pies are very filling and full of hearty ingredients, be that beef or chicken.
Choosing from the handful (approximately six or seven) savory pies available, I would have chosen the Thai Green Chicken Curry. On paper it sounds good, but something about the thai flavorings didn’t pair well at all with the crust. By itself the filling was flavorful, but it just wasn’t a match to the flaky crust to me. I guess there’s a reason Thai food is served with rice and noodles.
My favorite savory pies from Panbury’s were the Country Chicken and the Black Pepper Beef. Panbury’s Beef pie is made with braised beef shoulder in a rich brandy sauce. There were thick slices of beef in this pie, not just ground beef as I would have expected for the price of just $7.50 (chicken pies are $7). I’m so glad Panbury’s sent me home with the Country Chicken pie. It is one I would have definitely overlooked, it’s description sounding like a simple chicken pot pie. Not sure if it was the leeks or the tarragon cream sauce, but I’d file this under foodgasm for sure.
Tip: On Fridays they offer a chicken pie, mash with gravy and a soda for $10. Also, they cater and offer 9″ family style pies. Prices start at $32 for Panbury’s Savory Pies for the family.
If you live or work in the Downtown area and are looking for a quick yet hearty meal that is not your average casual fare, check out Gus’s Fried Chicken or Panbury’s in the Peachtree Center Food Court.
Disclosure: I received the food samples at no cost, but the opinions expressed are my own.
Read about more downtown Atlanta restaurants and hot spots: