Table & Main

If you haven’t already been to Table & Main, a Southern
Tavern, on Canton Street in Roswell, you’ve been missing out on some of the best food in Atlanta. After years of successful stints in the restaurant business elsewhere, Chef Ted Lahey, an Athens native, and owner Ryan Pernice, a graduate of Roswell High School, crossed paths when Pernice was searching for a chef and Lahey was looking for a kitchen to call his own.

It took eight months to renovate the quaint old house into the cozy restaurant it is today and only about six months for Chef Lahey to be recognized as one of “Atlanta’s Hottest Chefs.” A year later, as Table & Main celebrates its first anniversary this month, the restaurant continues to be one of Atlanta’s best places to pull up a chair for delectable fare. Perhaps patrons are drawn to the patio and the porch, both of which certainly contribute to the warm welcome, but I’ll bet a mason jar full of delicious cheese straws that the real deal isn’t the ambiance. It’s the food, as Lahey’s culinary creativity lies in his stamp of simplicity. Once our complimentary cheese straws disappeared into thin air — at a surprisingly quick clip, I might add — we opted to follow one southern bite with another, starting with the hushpuppies and a plate of Hogs ’n Quilts made with barbecue pork, chive crepes, vinegar sauce and slaw. For our main entrées, my friend chose the venison with Gouda grits and veggies, while I went for the fresh fish over smoked tomato grits (better known as heaven on a spoon). Of course, we could hardly resist a side of fried okra.

Printed above the bourbon menu is a quote by Mark Twain: “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” As if to perfectly bookend our memorable meal with another literary tie, we were pleasantly surprised to find our check delivered inside a used book. Ours was “Fried Green Tomatoes at The Whistle Stop Cafe” by Fannie Flagg, while a quick peek at the neighboring table showed others flipping through a Faulkner novel. According to Pernice, many folks have taken it upon themselves to sign their names and compliment the restaurant inside the books. As with everything else at Table & Main, we simply couldn’t resist the temptation.

Photo courtesy of Iain Bagwell.

Table & Main
1028 Canton St.