What’s in your refrigerator?
A quick scan of mine reveals Jb Farm eggs, Mountain Fresh Creamery milk, Tink’s grass-fed beef, freshly ground almond butter and the like. But it also contains little indulgences such as my trashy maraschino cherries basking in their syrupy red liqueur. I also must confess to having little conveniences like Duke’s mayonnaise and jars of roasted red peppers. We won’t mention the container or two of leftovers a touch past their prime.
Chef Shaun Doty believes that “you can judge a chef by his personal refrigerator.” Many talk a good game, but if you get a peek in the fridge, “you’ll know what’s really going on between his ears.”
I can’t tell you what’s in Doty’s refrigerator, but I can tell you what’s in the one at Chick-a-Biddy, his newest spot at Atlantic Station. Chicken — much of it from White Oak Pastures. You’ll also find beef from White Oak Pastures, eggs from Jb Farm and Patak’s bacon and sausage. Sound a little like sister restaurant Bantam & Biddy?
Local product use, chef-driven menus and a diner-esque vibe are trademarks of the two chicken haunts. After that, they begin to distinguish their unique personalities. The family-friendly Bantam & Biddy was developed to fit the Ansley community, which it does so well. According to Doty, both the decor and the menu take inspiration from the past at Bantam.
Chick-a-Biddy, on the other hand, serves the Atlantic Station crowd, folks out for a little fun and entertainment. Here, owners Doty and Lance Gummere take a more modern and forward-thinking approach. What they’ve created seems to resonate with this audience, but like Bantam & Biddy, may require additional settle-in time to evolve into a true destination.
Chick-a-Biddy speaks diner in a lively new way. Vibrant orange and yellow oversized graphics dominate the clean space in a way that somehow feels energizing rather than dizzying. The fare echoes the decor, the progressive approach infused into the menu.
Chick-a-Biddy isn’t your typical greasy spoon, instead offering a range of more healthful options. But make no mistake: You can still satisfy indulgent cravings here. Need a double-stacked Doty burger ($11) after a long, late night? Sure thing. You can even slop on some chili, eggs or pimento cheese ($1).
As much as you may need that hamburger, I suggest you take a chance on the chicken burger ($11). The blackened, pasture-raised ground chicken offers a robust chicken wham-pow on a bun. Trust me on this.
Maybe you need a little fried chicken love? Fried chicken ($12 for 1/4 chicken) gets top billing here. Pick your poultry: traditional fried, hot chicken or buffalo-style.
The traditional bird features a crusty gluten-free coating. Though enviably moist, the pale batter doesn’t make for the eye (or taste) candy of a glimmeringly greasy golden fried chicken.
The gluten-free chicken tenders wear the same coat of batter, but when paired with the puffy cheddar-flecked waffle swirled with honey butter and warm maple syrup ($12), you may fail to notice. That’s how I’ll take mine.
If gluten-free is your thing, this is your place. As with many of Doty’s past restaurants, menu items can be converted to gluten-free versions. You can get that fried chicken and you can have pancakes. With the crispy-rimmed almond pancakes ($9), you won’t be able to tell they are free of anything. Betcha can’t eat just one of these fluffy white cakes topped with thin rounds of fresh ginger and spiced apples.
Here’s where we slide into the uncharted part of the menu: healthier diner fare. Instead of potato chips and blue cheese, you’ll find papery-thin vertical slices of plantains served with a peppy guacamole ($5). The Sardinian flatbread ($6), beautifully arranged on a banana leaf, comes loaded to the rims with chilled grill-marked veggies, sunflower sprouts and a swipe of house-made hummus.
Instead of having your chicken fried, you can have it wood-grilled ($12 for 1/4 chicken) with smudges of thick pepper-and-chile-based piri piri sauce. Though moist, the lackluster chicken leads me to opt for the tortilla-wrapped fish tacos dripping with Key lime mayonnaise and juicy broccoli-jalapeno slaw ($10).
For your side, you could go with the thick hand-cut fries ($3.50) and even add chili and cheese ($1.50). Or, you could have the kitchen assemble a lime-y little salad with sunflower sprouts, sliced pears and flax seeds ($3.50).
You may go to Chick-a-Biddy for a burger and a Red Hare Long Day Lager ($4), or you may be there for the flatbread and the very green-tasting Green Monster juice concoction ($5) containing kale, celery, apple, cucumber and lemon. You choose.
And maybe you’ll soon have tempting Chick-a-Biddy leftovers in your fridge. I will.
Overall rating: 2 of 5 stars
Food: New American diner with healthy additions and gluten-free options
Service: varies, but mostly friendly and helpful
Best dishes: chicken burger, flatbread, chicken and waffles, fish tacos
Vegetarian selections: flatbread, falafel wrap, salads, brunch items
Price range: $$
Credit cards: all major credit cards
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Tuesdays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Wednesdays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-midnight Fridays, 10:30 a.m.-midnight Saturdays, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays
Parking: Atlantic Station street metered or fee-based garage parking
Wheelchair access: yes
Noise level: moderate to high
Address, phone: 264 19th St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-588-1888.