stillhouse – atlanta, ga

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well, folks.  week three of NRW found us at stillhouse in the east andrews area of atlanta, where burgers and moonshine reign as kings.  we had 10 people and lots of opinions, so hold on tight for a lot of perspective!

stillhouse has received many reviews and much attention in anticipation of their unique spin on moonshine-based cocktails, hand-crafted and formulated in-house, and their uncommon approach to “the burger.”

reviewers like atl insider have called stillhouse a “game-changer” with their imaginative approach to good food and good drinks.  well, based on the many different opinions we had at our table, ill let our critics be the judge of that.

when you are making your way there, be sure you are prepared to park valet and provide a tip.  do keep in mind, though, that stillhouse will validate your ticket for you.  follow the stairs down to the lower level of the courtyard to find it tucked away amongst the crowd.  the dining room is a tad on the small side, which kept our group from sitting together.  however, they gladfully seated us at two booths right next to each other, which was perfect.

in true NRW fashion, the best place to begin is the start of the meal with the drinks and the atmosphere.  the consensus about the ambience of stillhouse was slightly varied but generally the same across the board:  they might be trying a tad too hard.  the décor is a bit confusing, between the rustic, heavy wood booths and the faux crystal candle votives.  ben very accurately put it by saying that stillhouse may have “somewhat of an identity issue.”  “the rustic and low-key aspirations” were somewhat “modern-western” in a way, as stated by andrew and hannah, but overall it just lacked for us something that makes a restaurant “the place” where people go.  it was just too calculated and expected.

ive got good news for you, though, readers.  the feedback on the drinks was, for the most part, outstanding!  we’ll start first with those that were not so favored and then save the best for last.  alison’s carolina mule left much to be desired, considering she described it in the following manner:  “[it] was like a starbucks gingerale but spiked – so in other words, it starts out great and over time becomes solidly mediocre.”  her husband nathan’s southern bramble, a combination of blackberry and moonshine, was much better.  speaking of blackberries, jamie loved the blackberry mojito she ordered, proclaiming that it “restored [her] faith in mojitos.”  andrew, who also had the southern bramble, thought it was a bit sweet for his taste, but it was smooth and tasty.  kari and i both ordered the blood red moon margarita that, in both of our opinions, was a touch on the sweet side and did not quite resemble the standard margarita taste we were expecting.  i guess that is a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it.  hannah ordered the mountain sunrise, a combination of orange juice, grenadine, and moonshine that was fine but not anything special; it was the only drink she ordered all evening.  last but not least, ben (aka batkinson) had quite an opinion on the drinks.  he had heard a lot of hype over stillhouse for their drinks, and it seems they delivered, especially since he described himself as “a kind in a candy shop” when he cracked open the drink menu.  as we now know, stillhouse offers all kinds of libations, from custom house cocktails to beer to moonshine infusions, which was batkinson’s calling.  per the waiter’s suggestion, he started off with a pineapple coconut-infused moonshine.  when the drink arrived, it had quite a pungent smell that left no one guessing as to how high-proof this drink just was.  surprisingly, though, there was little burn as the concoction smoothly slid down.  in his humble opinion, these drinks were “top notch.”

after getting our starter drinks, it was time for the main event, the burgers.  alison said the southern burger was a tad on the sweet side but all the components were delicious and made for an awesome meal.  she even dared to state that she had a “mini-orgasm with every bite.”  wow!  nathan ordered the augusta bbq burger and quite sarcastically stated that it “altered the way [he] think(s) about reality.”  phil (aka dynamics phil) also had a bbq burger, giving the spicy memphis bbq pork burger a try and declaring it delicious.  jamie ordered the classic burger, which was simple and true to itself.  jamie reviewed her meal as “just good, not necessarily superb.”  batkinson wanted to have a fair judgment of the burgers here, so he also gave the classic a chance.  the burger came un-sauced and was not “that special at all.”  he even chanced it to say that he would much rather prefer to go to yeah! burger or farm burger, where you might get more bang for your buck.  in his final comments on his meal, “the food left a lot to be desired.  A LOT.

hannah was reassured by the waiter to order the strange but delicious pb&j burger.  this choice met and exceeded any expectations she would have had for beef patties topped with peanut hummus, fig jam, peach slices, blue cheese, and pecans.  she would “definitely recommend it” to others and would “order it again [herself].”  i myself devoured the steak and eggs burger, which proved to be everything i was wanting in a meal that evening.  any sandwich with deviled eggs, cheddar cheese, and tomato relish cannot go wrong.  the final burger on our tables was the bacon and eggs chicken burger that both kari and andrew tried.  this burger/sandwich was topped with diced boiled eggs (“a great addition“, per andrew), bacon, spinach, and melted cheddar cheese.  kari was a tad thrown by the chicken as the patty and the bacon and eggs as a dinner topping.  she also was not crazy about the size of the burger, which was two patties stacked on very thick buns.  these were burgers you had to smash down to handle, which is either something you like or something that annoys.  andrew felt the toppings worked together and that the chicken was seasoned well.  another great point andrew made was that the thicker bun kept juices from soaking it before you finished.  clever!

your sides will be ordered a la carte, so be prepared to order those separately.  both tables ordered the north carolina gouda cheese smothered french fries.  the general consensus was that they “were tasty but not particularly notable.”  i would have to agree.  like andrew, i was wanting more cheese and more flavor.  nathan and jamie both tried the bacon cream corn that was “exceptionally creamy” and “delicious.”  an order of the thick-cut french fries went around at our table, and they were pretty standard.  you need something to dress them up, so if you want a bit of a kick, try the spicy ketchup – it “really packs a punch.”  dynamics phil went with the collard greens but was not the biggest fan.  his reaction to them?  “who puts maple syrup on collard greens?

the service during our meal was positively wonderful.  not just the waiter, but the entire staff was very attentive.  they were all laid-back and friendly in their vests, that jamie just loved!  the service could have been a tad quicker, but with a party of 10, i suppose we can only expect them to crank our orders out so quickly.  and when you’re having a good time, what’s the rush!

finally, the dessert course arrived.  a handful of diners order the krispy kreme bread pudding that got a rave review from them all.  from what i was told, it practically melted in your mouth.  to round out our meal, four of us enjoyed the cat daddy moonshine cocktail.  the review?  it was a pleasant and spectacular surprise.  the moonshine was mixed with coca-cola, vanilla, nutmeg, and who knows what else.  andrew very accurately described it as some kind of eggnog that was “the best eggnog you have ever had.”  i have no qualms agreeing with that statement completely.  the drink was the perfect finale to a delicious meal and experience on a cold winter evening.

for all you local foodies seeking out the best burger in atlanta, swing by stillhouse and see where it falls on your list.  it might be your new go-to.

tastefully yours,

kelsey v

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