Food court food is usually hit-or-miss, and it’s usually only to serve a specific purpose: to satisfy the hunger that has crept up on you over the past few hours or so.
Fortunately, this isn’t a tale of general food court fare.
Although the setting for Richards’ Southern Fried is technically a food court, it is decidedly upscale and perfectly reflects both the greater neighborhood as a whole, and its more local counterparts inside of the Krog Street Market. The decor of Richards’ is visually satisfying, with soft glowing orbs adorning the awning, and a lunch counter reminiscent of the 1960’s, albeit shorter than what was often depicted in pictures. You can sit and eat here, but get there early: seating is at a premium both in front of the restaurant (only 6-7 stools available) and in the food court area as a whole.
One large positive about the location is that it offers much more to do than just eat: the Atlanta Beltline is mere steps away, as are bicycles you can rent for a leisurely ride. The area is bustling with activity, and has a relaxing feel whether it’s daytime or night.
However, one drawback is parking. There is little free street parking available, and even if you snag a spot, you’ll pay for it with your feet. Closer, paid lots are across the street from and in back of the Market, but even those seem to fill quickly because of the bevy of options in the general area.
Due to the format of the location, the vibe can range from quiet and serene to loud and boisterous. It all depends on the time of day you arrive and the weather outside: sunny, warm days promote an active crowd, while rainy or cold days could see a dearth of life. For this reason, Richards’ is fine for singles, families and seasoned couples. Those who haven’t been dating for a while could certainly come here after an activity date on the Beltline, but making it a destination during the evening is something to be done at your own risk, due to parking, scarcity of seating, and crowd noise.
Customer service at Richards’ was your standard fare. The cashier was polite and friendly, and tended to the upkeep of the area between taking orders. No complaints here.
No grandmothers would be harmed after tasting the chicken from Richards’, but they should be concerned. The taste does beckon to a simpler time when family dinners were more prevalent. Arguably the favorite part of fried chicken is the breading, and although it has a delicious crisp and isn’t heavy on the oil, there were many parts of the chicken that couldn’t hold on to this sought-after crust. The price of admission ranges from $9.95 for 4 wings and no side, to $23.95 for a ½ chicken with two sides, so be forewarned. Other options include chicken & waffles, chicken sliders, catfish sandwiches, and a chicken cobb salad.
Co-starring with the chicken is undoubtedly the macaroni & cheese. It’s appearance through the container at first looked more like corn than the cheesy comfort food it was supposed to be, but one look inside brought both relief and a concern. Like Karen from work and her potato salad (SNL reference… or you may actually know someone like this), this mac & cheese sported an additional ingredient: scallions. Bright, green scallions. Fortunately it actually meshed well, and helped to make this side item a standout for this restaurateur. Be warned though, as it’s only available on certain days, so you may want to call ahead to be sure a fresh batch is available.
Now I am a lemonade connoisseur, so I was anxious to try out Richards’ version of the fresh-made concoction. However, to my surprise, the lemonade was actually cranberry lemonade (not listed as such on the menu), so again here’s another “extra” ingredient. And if you are used to the fast food standard offered at either Chick-fil-A or Wendy’s, you’ll be in for sticker shock here, as a 16 oz cup will set you back $3.95.
The taste of the cranberry lemonade is refreshing, but at $4 a pop and no free refills, the value is severely lacking here.
Rounding out the meal are the cornbread and pickles that get served with each order. These were also pretty standard and no reason to write to momma about them, but they were tasty. The food was served in compostable containers with excellent quality utensils, but you will need more than the one included napkin that they give to you.
Richards’ does have Wi-Fi available, as well as the larger food court as a whole (Xfinity). Their website is better than average, and all of the normal payment options are at your disposal (there’s even an ATM in the food court). They have all social media channels available to answer questions and post seductive pictures of their meals, so keeping tabs or in touch is pretty easy.
Richards’ Southern Fried has good food and a great experience, so whether it’s date day or a treat on a Sunday afternoon, you’ll have a meal that will be remembered for a long time.