Dante's Down the Hatch Closes

The legendary Buckhead establishment sets sail for good this week.

Photo by: Ashley Boatman The legendary establishment makes way for another Buckhead high-rise. 

It is with great fondness (and fondue) that we say goodbye to another Atlanta institution this month. After more than four decades of serving up cheesy goodness and hot jazz in a Pirates of the Caribbean-like atmosphere, Dante’s Down the Hatch closes its doors on Tuesday, July 30, to make way for another high-end housing development.

There’s been a lot of buzz about relocating the 18th century-inspired sailing vessel and its live crocodile-stocked moat, but according to Dante’s Facebook page, the contents of the restaurant are set to be auctioned.

Erika Sams of Smyrna said that she doesn’t necessarily have room for an anchor or a ship’s masthead in her home, but that the Atlanta establishment has room in her heart forever.

“Dante’s will always hold a special place in our hearts because my husband, Jason, and I went there the night we got engaged,” said the mother of three. “It was magical and unique; there’s no other place in the world like it.”

Photo by: Holly Aguirre Atlanta's Anthony's restaurant hosted Oscar winner Julia Roberts and now operates under the name 3109 Piedmont Estate and Gardens.

Many other legendary dining establishments and businesses such as The Coach & Six, the Abbey and the Chateau Fleur de Lis no longer exist. And while it was spared the wrecking ball, the historic structure that housed Anthony’s Restaurant for more than 40 years was recently stripped of many of its historic contents including a Tiffany stained-glass window to make way for a nautical-themed private club. When that idea failed in less than a year, it was turned into a private-event venue.

The 1797 home located at 3109 Piedmont just south of Peachtree was originally located in Washington, Ga. In 1960 it was dismantled and moved to the Buckhead location and reassembled. Architects carefully numbered all the bricks and boards and the entire process took about three years. A few years ago, Atlanta real estate mogul Jim Cumming, who now owns the property, almost had it razed for a parking lot. Frankly, my dear, we’re glad that didn’t happen.

Atlantans are used to seeing mom-and-pop establishments move over for corporate chains or simply mowed over for parking lots and high-rises, but there are a few places still thriving in need of support now. We suggest ignoring the so-called foodies' reviews on Yelp or Urban Spoon and going for the Old School Atlanta atmosphere — while you still can.

Photo courtesy of Pittypat's Porch Doors opened in 1967. 

Should you have a hankering for mouthwatering fried chicken and Mint Juleps, venture downtown to Pittypat’s Porch. This fabulous establishment opened in 1967 and not much has changed since. The menus are still printed on church fans and bourbon concoctions are still poured. Interestingly, the same restaurateur that brought us Anthony’s was also behind Pittypat’s. 

Photo courtesy of McKinnon's Doors open since 1972. 

Back up in Buckhead, McKinnon’s Louisiane has been serving up New Orleans-style cuisine since 1972. Opened by Billy McKinnon, who was once a stockbroker, ownership was passed to the general manager in 1980, keeping McKinnon’s and its traditions “in the family.” We recommend the crab cakes followed by the creole bread pudding or just cocktails at the bar.

Photo courtesy of Le Petite Auberge This little house rocks night after night. 

Located behind an unassuming door in a Toco Hills strip mall is Le Petite Auberge, French for “little house.” Get dressed up, request one of the romantic circular booths and order champagne. And tell us, when was the last time you had a Caesar salad and/or a Baked Alaska prepared table-side? The Druid Hills location has been shakin’ and bakin’ for 39 years.


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