A good breakfast starts off the day, and what better way to start the day than at Atlanta Breakfast Club.
If you’re a tourist who happens to be in the area.
For this particular business model, the location near the corner of Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd and Luckie Streets is an excellent choice. It attracts a lot of tourists who are in the area, and is one of the only breakfast options available in that immediate area (no wonder the place is always packed! My visit was actually the 2nd attempt in as many weeks!).
The parking, however, is practically non-existent. Sure, there is a parking lot in back of the restaurant, and there is street parking nearby, but the prime spaces in the front get taken quickly. VERY quickly. It’s a good thing they are only open during the daylight hours (save for winter, as it’s still dark at 6:30 am), as the street leading to the rear parking lot is very alley-like, and the area is within walking distance of a local homeless shelter. If you don’t want the adventure of gambling on getting a sparking space out front, an Uber or Lyft is recommended.
Atlanta Breakfast Club is both fast-paced and slow all at the same time. The staff move quickly, as do the number of guests entering the restaurant and those who are leaving after they’ve finished their meal. But once seated, you do get the chance to breathe and relax. No one rushes you through your meal or makes you feel bad for lingering after the food is consumed.
Getting seated is the off-putting part. The place is super busy, so the thought of having to wait for seven or eight parties ahead of you may send you looking for other options (lemme save you some time: in that area of town, there are none, save for a Waffle House a couple of long city blocks away). However, as previously stated, those tables turn very quickly, so what may seem like a 30 minute wait is actually more like a 5-10 minute pause before being seated.
There are 4 TVs inside and they all have something different on them. However, you may not like what you see, as the content was either strange (Formula 1 racing at 9AM?) or repetitive (2 TVs with a loop of employees in the restaurant smiling and in different poses). The owners should work on this to maybe only have one TV with business pics, and the others with something more pleasing for patrons.
Speaking of patrons, the one thing that you will notice when visiting this black-owned establishment is the dearth of black patrons. Perhaps due mostly to the location, the spot attracted many different racial backgrounds, most notably Caucasian. This is not a negative at all, but rather an excellent snapshot of what black owned businesses should be: a welcoming place that attracts more than one type of person, and more than one type of ethnicity. After all, all of our money is green right?
Finally, the servers were amazing. Even though we were assigned to one server, others would come and ask if refills were needed, and if there was anything else they could do. The staff were always seen moving; none of them was seen in a corner or looking around as if they had nothing to do or on their phones. This focus on excellent service was refreshing, and one that I wish other establishments — black AND otherwise — would adopt for the long term.
The food was generally OK, but this reviewer won’t be manually writing a letter to any parents about it. I ordered a cinnamon roll, the chicken and waffles, and the shrimp & grits. The grits were excellent, and while it left you wanting more, it’d be great if they increased the portion given with this $14.95 plate. There was more than an adequate number of shrimp, and the taste was decent.
The cinnamon roll was touted as being freshly baked daily, but didn’t knock my socks off. The waffles were great; they were slightly crispy on the outside but satisfying soft on the interior. The chicken left more to be desired however; while the portion size was fine, the taste was a little on the bland side. Also, the presentation of the chicken & waffles was uninspiring to say the least. It looked as if there was something else that was supposed to be on the plate, but it was removed right before sending it out. I then presumed that it was there as space to remove the top layer of waffle to access the chicken inside. I guess.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t discussing the pricing of the food. The “combos” are hit or miss; either you like them or you don’t. I would have liked to try their pancakes, but I don’t want to only eat a stack of pancakes for $9.95. Adding a meat adds $3 to the price, and if you include a drink, this breakfast becomes kinda expensive. The breakfast bowl seems to be the best value, combining eggs, grits, cheese, and a choice of meat for $10.95. With this pricing, it’s easy to see that locals aren’t necessarily the target customer (get ‘cho money black men!)
The check-in system was amazing. Once you sign in and submit your phone number with the host/hostess, you’re sent a text with a link, and from there you are able to monitor the status of your table. Pretty cool.
However, be warned: another popular site reports that wait times have been exaggerated to be less than what they actually are. This is completely believable, as the later in the day you go, the busier it is. To be on the safe side, I recommend going before 10 AM.
(Wi-Fi access could not be determined, but the status of this will be updated at a later time)
Atlanta Breakfast Club is a spot worth visiting at least once. Try the chicken and waffles, and see if you have a differing opinion.