OK Cafe

October 28, 2009 · 14 comments

in atlanta, cooking at Home

There are certain restaurants in Atlanta, which serve mostly forgettable food, but remain immensely popular, particularly with the Buckhead crowd. Jalisco and Silver Skillet immediately come to mind. These places are packed all the time, and the best I can figure is that nostalgia, sense of community, cliques, and modest expectations all play a part in their succes. OK Cafe is definitely another one of these types of places.

Don’t get me wrong, the food isn’t terrible, I’m quite comfortable in their large leather booths, and the service is outstanding. But is the thirty minute figure listed on their exterior wait-time LCD warranted? Not to me.

Particularly in regards to breakfast, I think Buckhead as a whole lacks originality, opting for the more traditional breakfast items such as various meat/egg combinations and pancakes. I much prefer the creative offerings and the surrounding vibe at Radial or Ria’s.

This got me wondering – why is there this separation in style between the various geographies of Atlanta? Would it appear that the suit-clad business man is much more apt to prefer a breakfast of two eggs over easy with toast and potatoes, than perhaps a sampling of chilaquiles verdes with soysauge? That sort of stereotype shouldn’t apply, right? Maybe it’s not the clientele. Maybe it’s the locale which dictates the style, driving the tastes of the consumer. Would Ria’s, which is slammed on weekend mornings, be as popular at Roswell & Peachtree? I don’t know, but if I find something like that in Buckhead, you’ll see my dissenting, J.Crew clad ass there.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

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lots of branding around OK Cafe – I like this lamp base

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the booth

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vegetarian “breakfast” plate – tofu stir fry. pretty bad actually.

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two eggs with potatoes and link sausage: it is what it is

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dessert

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Ok Cafe on Urbanspoon

  • http://runningwithtweezers.com tami

    No hate here for this post. OK Cafe is mediocre at best. Most of the time, any experience I’ve had here has been pretty dismal. Squash casserole has been the highlight of dining here and even that is top of the s**t pile.

  • http://www.livetofeast.com LTF

    HATE HATE HATE!!!!!!

    Not really….I happen to agree. I think it is one of the most appropriately named places in Atlanta, as it is almost always just OK. I live in Buckhead and will always happily make the drive to West Egg or Sublime Donuts to get a better breakfast.

  • http://Takethoufood.com Sean

    I can totally relate to this review. Take for example all the dismal Mexican reataurants around campus serving questionable food. Food isn’t good but it’s still packed every night (okay maybe the basis of why it’s packed is a little different).

    At least the dessert is free?…

  • http://foodnearsnellville.wordpress.com foodnearsnellville

    It’s imprinting. Get caught out on an Interstate, 100 miles from civilization, and the diner shows up. Suddenly you have warm eggs, and sausage. There are lots of potatoes and hash browns, and you haven’t eaten for 15-20 hours. Enough travel and imprinting takes place. Eggs + bacon + sausage = good.

    When I was a kid and we were going to travel, my dad would get us all up between 4 and 6am, start driving on no food, and wouldn’t stop until he was half way to where he wanted to be. And it was breakfast places where he would stop, something very much like the OK Cafe.

    So even today, I look at these photos, see the grits and butter and suddenly I’m hungry and wanting to eat.

    FnS.

  • Matt N

    Wouldn’t Cracker Barrel be the epitome of this “genre”?

  • http://eatitatlanta.com jimmy

    Matt – Yes, except for the country club clientele. I’ll take The Sunrise Sampler at CB any day over OK Cafe. :-)

  • Leslie

    Heeee, great observations by all and a good topic to ponder!

  • Leigh

    I think a lot of people tend to go to places they’ve been going to for years. There is something about going to a place where someone knows your name and what you want to order. My parents are victims of this trend. But, whenever I get them to try a new place they usually love it and want to try it again. And with the OK Cafe, I feel like a lot of people have lived in that area forever and are just used to going there. I’m sure if one of their rich buddies pointed them over to West Egg, they would love it and would be willing to go there more often.

  • Jay Dubbe

    Taste, in everything, is subjective.

    Your opinions just prove that you are a snob. I went to Radial’s web site to verify this creative breakfast selection you speak of. I only see about three items that differentiate it from OK Cafe. Again, you are a snob. A snob of geography rather than true culinary merit.

    Critics deride the efforts and achievements of others because they have never achieved anything on their own. Consider yourself in this company.

  • http://eatitatlanta.com jimmy

    Snob? Well, yeah, maybe.

    3 differentiating items seems like a lot to me.

    Thanks for the comment.

  • http://www.foodiebuddha.com/ FoodieBuddha

    YEAH!!! Jimmy has haters too!! Welcome to my world :-)

  • http://www.livetofeast.com LTF

    So, Jay Dubbe, following your logic that “critics deride the efforts and achievemets of otheres because they have never accomplished anything on their own” what does that say about someone that is deriding the opinion of one of Atlanta’s more successful food bloggers?

    If you have such strong opinions against the merits of food critics, why read and comment on a restaurant review?

    In a perfect world, restaurant reviews would be all ass-kisses and roses, but the reality is that sometimes an establishment is found wanting, as is the case here. Simply calling someone a snob because you disagree with their opinion isn’t exactly constructive criticism.

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