One of my favorite things to do on vacation is to sample street foods in different cities. Often you can walk up to a ramshackle little cart and get one of the best meals around for a few bucks.
In Atlanta, this isn’t so easy. Food trucks and street carts have made been more or less impossible to license by the city, and unless ice cream from the ice cream truck is your thing, you’ve been out of luck. Until now, that is.
Streatery, a small chain of hot dog carts, popped up downtown earlier this year and has miraculously found a way around Atlanta’s street cart red tape.
I tried Streatery for the first time the other day at Woodruff Park. I ordered the big, plump, and delicious all-beef frank for $3.50. The toppings were generous enough that I spilled mustard and tomatoes all over my jeans. If that isn’t a successful hot dog, I do not know what is. All the usual fixings are available (including grilled onions, which aren’t listed on the menu), with sausage and turkey dogs to boot.
My hot dog was a firm “pretty darn good.” Yet the most important thing about these dogs is that they’re available on the street. You don’t even need to go into a stuffy “restaurant” with pretentious “walls” and a confusing “front door” — no, you can just pick up a hot dog at 5 different locations downtown (with more locations coming) and be on your way.
Atlanta’s beautiful weather practically beckons street carts. Their accessibility will bring more folks out of office buildings and parking decks and help revitalize pedestrian life on our streets. Let’s hope that Streatery will be the first the first of many street cart options in Atlanta.