Goodbye, Houston’s on Lenox Road: Atlantans explain why the chain is such a big deal

posted on March 17, 2018 at 10:29 am

When I heard the Houston’s on Lenox Road would be closing its doors for good after service on Saturday, March 31, I was heartbroken. The restaurant opened in August 1978, a year after the first Houston’s appeared in Nashville, and became an Atlanta institution—a place to be seen with shopping bags in tow after doing some damage to your credit card at nearby Lenox Square or Phipps Plaza.

As someone who grew up in Atlanta in the 1980s, the restaurant was an indelible part of my childhood. It was the place my mother took me and my sister after back-to-school shopping at the now-shuttered Rich’s Department Store for tempura chicken fingers and crispy shoestring fries. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I went at least twice a week thanks to an intense, pregnancy-induced craving for their loaded baked potato and a club salad—grilled chicken, not fried—slathered in chunky blue cheese dressing. The valet guys always remembered my name and asked about my baby. And after my daughter was born, they never failed to ask for status updates about her whenever I ducked in for a quick cheeseburger.

If your perception of Houston’s is that of an overpriced chain restaurant, you might be surprised to learn that it’s beloved by many in the food world, including Anne Quatrano of Bacchanalia (who is a big fan of the grilled artichoke) and Steven Satterfield of Miller Union (who, like many we talked to, loves the spinach and artichoke dip and loaded baked potato).

“Whenever any culinarian scoffs at me for saying I like Houston’s, I always say ‘Have you ever actually eaten there? It’s wonderful,’” Satterfield says. “Everyone comes here. It’s the people’s restaurant—casual fine dining for the masses, and no one has done it better. I moved here in 1987 and I’ve probably gone [to Houston’s] at least six times a year since. That’s more visits than any other full-service restaurant.”

“The veggie burger—I have no idea what’s in it, but who cares it’s so good. The melt-in-your-mouth Hawaiian rib eye, the smoked salmon and toast points, and the tortilla chicken salad are all dishes I’ll want any time, any day,” says TV and radio personality Mara Davis.

Click here to read the rest on Atlanta Magazine…

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