Nothing To (B)rave About

The Atlanta Braves’ recent season could best be described as tumultuous. With their pattern winning and losing streaks, it can be difficult to get invested in the team, especially if Atlanta is not your hometown. Oddly enough, the Atlanta Braves All Star Grill has more in common with the baseball team than just the moniker. The entire experience worked out to be just as so-so as the team.

I ordered the signature “Braves Burger” medium rare without a tomato, served with steak fries and a pickle. It came out to my specifications, with some pink and no red. I relished the brioche bun, which was the perfect combination of buttery, fluffy and fresh. Though I had no complaints about the burger, it was not any more memorable than one from the Ray’s Pizza at Woodruff Cafe or Student Activity and Academic Center (SAAC).

Immediately after stepping through the restaurant doors, I was inundated with various baseball memorabilia from Braves manager Bobby Cox’s jersey to actual stadium seating. Although the restaurant has a niche design, the gift shop seemed tacky. I was seated near a chain-linked enclosure toward the rear of the restaurant. Upon closer inspection, I found the structure to be a pitching cage inside the dining room. For an 85 miles per hour pitch or higher, you will receive a free shot if you are of age or a free ice cream sundae if you’re not. Let the record show that I did not win.

The side of french fries were well-cooked and lightly dashed with kosher salt. The portion of fries was a bit stingy, which did not fully supplement the burger. The waiter was somewhat apathetic — he came over rarely and seemed fairly uninterested in my table’s questions about the menu.

The contents of the menu are more than merely banal sports bar food. Rather, pleasant surprises such as fish tacos and flatbreads complement the obligatory chicken wings, burgers and hot dogs. With clever headings like “field of greens,” the menu, like the rest of the dining experience, is well-designed to simulate eating at the ballpark. Also similar to the ballpark, the majority of the clientele were shouting disruptively at the plethora of televisions broadcasting the Falcons and Braves games. I did not find this atmosphere particularly enjoyable for a relaxed Sunday night dinner, but I think it would be a fun environment to devour some hot wings while watching my teams play.

Since the Braves’ move to SunTrust Park in Cobb County this past spring, it is significantly more laborious to take public transit to a game. Fortunately, the Braves All Star Grill is in Atlanta proper, one block from the Peachtree Center MARTA station. However, if you enjoy schlepping to the perimeter for that Braves experience, the sports bar also has a location in concourse D of Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

3.5 stars