Atlanta’s Jim Stacy Is Cooking With Gas
Lately everything the Pallookaville owner and television show host touches turns golden brown and delicious.
Habitués of the Starlight Drive-In, the Buford Highway multiethnic markets or Georgia Public Television will recognize corn-dog chef and owner of Pallookaville Corn Dog Wagon Jim Stacy. Or maybe you remember him from bands such as Redneck Greece Delux, the La Brea Stompers or AM Gold. There’s no mistaking his shock of strawberry-blonde hair, the trademark overalls and engineer’s cap, and, of course, the multiple tattoos. And though he may appear crispy and crackly on his inked-up exterior, inside he’s all candy-coated charm — with a pickle-juice chaser.
On his publicly broadcast show, Get Delicious!, Stacy visits Georgia’s better-known charcuteries like the Spotted Trotter or Pine Street Market as well as hole-in-the-wall eateries like Havana Sandwich Shop and the Crawfish Shack. All the while he is charming and entertaining. When he is not eating well, he doles out cooking advice in some of Atlanta’s most interesting locations like Oakland Cemetery.
See Inside Pallookaville and Meet Jim StacyView All 15 Photos
“Ketchup is an abomination,” he said. “The only reason I serve ketchup is because I got so tired of everyone [complaining] about not having it.”
Earlier this year Get Delicious! walked away with multiple local Emmy awards, including best magazine show. He now finds himself plunging into the national spotlight and co-hosts a cooking challenge program, Deep Fried Masters, on Destination America, part of the Discovery Channel. Contestants prepare carnival food with a twist, like deep-fried pecan pie and funnel-cake pizza. His charisma on the show caught the eye of the producers of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and last month he served up corn dogs and deep-fried pickles — all while slugging down Jameson Irish whiskey with Saturday Night Live star Jason Sudeikis. The segment proved so popular he was invited back.
For the past seven months or so, Stacy has been lovingly restoring a historic building in Avondale Estates that will house his first sit-down restaurant, Pallookaville Fine Foods, a logical extension of the Pallookaville Corn Dog Wagon.
“It will be an old-school diner and soda fountain,” said Stacy. “We'll have a full bar as well, so you can get specialty ‘boozecreams,’ which are egg cremes with hooch and ‘shaketails,’ milkshakes with booze. Our Bananas Foster corn dog split is going to be a thing of beauty.”
For the interior of Pallookaville, Stacy and his team are refurbishing and restoring many of the space's original elements, like the knotty pine wainscoting. Sheetrock was torn out to expose nearly century-old brick walls. Many other components, such as doors, seating and lighting, were salvaged, acquired creatively or repurposed — about 40% of it. He worked closely with Atlanta’s Lifecycle Building Center, which directs salvaged materials to new businesses and homes that would otherwise make the landfill.
“I won't build without using repurposed materials and I don't like using this new materials do things,” said Stacy. “They won't have the right patina. I don't want a bright look and would look like I went to the Home Depot and bought the place.”
Pallookaville is poised to open sometime this fall. In the meantime, check out a few of Stacy’s favorite things below and his candid opinion of what direction he thinks Atlanta should go.
Q: Where is the best place to get barbecue?
A: Depends on the type. For ribs go to Daddy D'z on Memorial Drive; the best brisket is at Community Q in Decatur; for stew I hit Fresh Air in Jackson, Ga. For fancy stuff I go to Heirloom. I love their Korean slaw and am just about a fan of everything they do there. For Korean barbecue, hit Cafe Todahmgol in Duluth.
Q: Best place to see a movie?
Q: Best place for thrift shopping?
A: Definitely OTP (outside the perimeter).
Q: Name the best farmers' market.
Q: Best place to see live music?
A: Star Bar in Little Five Points.
Q: Best yearly festivals in Atlanta?
Q: Your favorite neighborhood?
Q: Name your favorite local band or national band that is from Georgia.
A: Ray Charles. Hands down.
Q: What would you like to see change in Atlanta? Stay the same? What are you most hopeful for?
A: I'd like to see our city and county governments get their collective heads out of their a--es and their hands out of the cookie jar. I think we have enough high-density 'live, work, play' developments to hold us over. The trend of trying to force big-box stores into neighborhoods that don't want them can stop. We need to wise up about infrastructure, education, arts and research in the town. We need to get a public transit and light-rail program going, like 10 years ago. We need a traffic-control solution and developer oversight and responsibility.
See part one of Stacy's Leno appearance on YouTube.
See part two of Stacy's Leno appearance on YouTube.