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Restaurant

    Pie making is a tasty pastime for many.  But when the hankering is really strong, it may be best to leave it to the professionals. When we've got so many sweet spots around town, why not let the connoisseurs of cooking prepare the pies – if nothing else, it may spark some creativity in your own kitchen. Whether this list prompts you to get out the rolling pin or the car keys, we can all agree on this: We all want our piece of the pie. »RELATED: This pie was voted the best in Atlanta in 2017 Crave Pie Studio  3107 Main St., Duluth When Crave Pie Studio says its artisan bakers skillfully craft creative pies with fresh seasonal ingredients, it doesn't take that lightly -- not even as lightly as its meringue. With rotating recipes such as jalapeño cherry with bacon streusel, cherry hazelnut ricotta, salted lavender honey, tequila key lime with salted pretzel crust, you'll be craving more than one slice. But if none of its creams, custards, fruits or quiches hit the spot, just tell the bakers and they'll come up with something special just for you. Even better, they'll prepare a pie from your own personal recipes when you don't have time to bake. Want a taste now? Stop in at its historic Duluth shop to enjoy a 5-inch mini-version, with a cup of Batdorf & Bronson coffee. Mary Mac's Tea Room 224 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta,  Entertaining houseguests from out of town this holiday season? Treat them to an Atlanta institution for more than 70 years. Mary Mac's Tea Room is the last of 16 tearooms that once dotted intown Atlanta in the 1940s. Today, the Midtown location still draws large crowds by focusing on made-from-scratch Southern fare served with genuine Southern hospitality. Round out a meal of fried Southern goodness with a slice of Georgia peach cobbler (we won't rule that out as 'not a pie'), key lime with homemade whipped cream and traditional pecan pie.  Sugar Shack 4058 Peachtree Rd NE, Brookhaven, GA  The philosophy here is that life is sweet, and we couldn't agree more. Located in Brookhaven Station, this counter service serves more than sugary treats. In fact, its coffee (only $1 between 8 and 10 a.m.), breakfast foods, breads, salads and sandwiches invite you to stay awhile – but ultimately, get back to the business the name suggests. It's a tough decision between the large selection of cakes, cookies, brownies and more stocked by Metroentertainment Bakery, but we first went for the white chocolate banana cream with no regrets. Try a mixture of mini pies to maximize the wow factor. Buckhead Diner 3073 Piedmont Road NE, Atlanta The Buckhead Diner, like its surrounding neighborhood, takes things up a notch. An anchor at Piedmont Avenue and East Paces Ferry Road since 1987, this dressed-up American dining venue offers snappy service and innovative takes on longtime favorites. Be sure to check out the James Beard Award-winning white banana cream pie. Share a slice, at least, with the table. Joy Cafe 1100 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta We just can't get enough of this place. Since expanding its catering business to a shop in Midtown, Joy Cafe has earned a reputation for keeping things real. After all, the restaurant prepares foods without preservatives and uses recipes passed down for generations. Despite camera crews that continue to swing by the kitchen – The Food Network and CBS have both featured this spot – the husband-and-wife team and their staff haven't slowed down. Seasonal variations include Mississippi mud pie with layers of cake and chocolate mousse and the caramel bourbon peach pie with pecan streusel. But the cookies and milk pie is the most requested year-round. It's made with layers of house-made chewy chocolate chip cookies dipped in fresh vanilla bean milk and layered between lightly sweetened whipped cream, all in a graham cracker crust.   
  • This story was originally published in May 2017. This story is based on the latest ranking of America’s pizza joints by Tasting Table.  Whether you prefer yours deep dish with doughy perfection or thin crust covered in rich cheeses, veggies and meats, finding the perfect slice of pizza is no easy feat. »RELATED: In the Atlanta fast-casual pizza wars, who comes out on top? But the self-titled “pizza freaks” over at Tasting Table, a website and newsletter for culinary enthusiasts, came up with a state-by-state list of the nation’s best pies. Atlanta’s Varasano’s Pizzeria made the cut for its savory Neapolitan-style pizzas. Here’s what Tasting Table had to say about the local pizzeria: Bronx-born pizza master Jeff Varasano opened Varasano's in the Buckhead back area of Atlanta in 2009 but spent a lifetime before that studying the science of the perfect pie, specifically the dough—a pizza must if you're in the hood (and even if you're not). The foundation of these Neapolitan-style pizzas is Varasano's natural sourdough base, which ferments for four days. Order the Nana’s, which is the house special—just don't use a knife and fork to cut it. You can also grab a slice on your way out of town at the Atlanta airport or try your hand at making one of Varasano's pies at home. » RELATED: 4 places OTP to satisfy your pizza craving Former AJC food editor John Kessler raved about Varasano’s after its Buckhead shop opening in 2013, lauding the chefs’ carefully constructed crusts, tasty tomato sauce and milky cheese. “The crust — thin, crispy, pliable, lightly soured, well salted — tastes good whether you’re folding it to cram in your mouth, cutting it with a knife and fork or picking at the leftover bits with your fingers,” he wrote. But according to Atlanta voters who participated in last year’s Best of Atlanta poll for best pizza, the most delicious pie isn’t from Varasano’s — Max’s Coal Oven Pizza was the top ranked pizza out of more than 2,400 votes. Varasano’s locations in Atlanta: Buckhead: 2171 Peachtree Road NE Atlanta, GA 30309 Hartsfield-Jackson Airport location: Terminal A Full list of America’s best pizza by Tasting Table.
  • Chick-fil-A is offering its customers the savory tastes of a backyard barbecue with two new summer menu items. >> Read more trending news The Atlanta-based fast food chain introduced its new Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwich and Watermelon Mint Lemonade on Monday. The summer sandwich and beverage will be rolled out nationwide at all Chick-fil-A locations today through Aug. 19. The barbecue sandwich includes up Chick-fil-A’s signature grilled chicken with bacon glazed in a brown sugar pepper blend and Colby Jack cheese on a Hawaiian-style bun, topped with a smokehouse barbecue sauce. The 500-calorie sandwich costs $5.59 before tax. The new minty beverage, which Chick-fil-A suggests pairing with the Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwich, adds watermelon and mint flavors to the chain’s beloved fresh-squeezed lemonade at 200 calories. A small drink costs $1.85 and is also available in a diet variety. Chick-fil-A backs its new seasonal sandwich up with science, reporting more than 95 percent of U.S. consumers like barbecue. “We know our customers love the flavors of our grilled menu, and we are excited to offer two items this season that will give them something new to try,” David Farmer, Chick-fil-A vice president of menu strategy and development, said in a news release. The Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwich “was incredibly popular in test markets. I hope our customers are as excited as I am to get this kind of high-quality sandwich at the drive-thru,” Farmer said. “We hope customers will enjoy the new ingredients and flavor combinations in our Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwich and Watermelon Mint Lemonade all summer long.” >> Four Atlanta restaurants are the 'best barbecue joints in America,' according to ranking Chick-fil-A added another limited-time menu item in March when it introduced the Frosted Strawberry Lemonade, a spin on the Frosted Lemonade, which the company introduced in 2015. The Frosted Strawberry Lemonade, described by Chick-fil-A as a “seasonal twist on a customer favorite,” is a combination of Chick-fil-A’s signature lemonade, the vanilla Icedream and strawberry purée. It’s being offered nationwide through May 20. Brianna Chambers contributed to this report. 
  • A Texas woman found what she thought were teeth in barbacoa tacos ordered at El Rincon, a restaurant in Pflugerville. According to San Antonio’s KENS, Courtney Aguilar took to Facebook to share a picture of the tacos, saying, “When you order barbacoa tacos, but get teeth instead.” Aguilar wrote that she asked a restaurant server if she was seeing teeth in her food, and the server responded, “baby teeth.” What she was seeing was actually cow lips. >> Read more trending news The restaurant responded to Aguilar’s claim on Facebook, saying they get their barbacoa from a vendor. The vendor in turn responded clarifying that what the woman saw was actually cow lips. “Barbacoa is one the few items that we buy pre-made from an approved FDA vendor, and we are no longer going to buy from that vendor,” the post reads. “Barbacoa is cooked with different parts of the cow, but mostly from the head or cheek of cattle. El Rincon will stop selling barbacoa until we get a new vendor.” “The reality is this: Barbacoa is a rough business. It starts with a whole skinned cow’s head, wrapped in burlap and baling wire and buried in a smoking hole in the ground overnight,” the San Antonio Express News’ food writer Mike Sutter wrote. “In the morning, somebody with a sledgehammer opens up that skull and the harvesting begins: all the fatty and lean soft tissue from lip to crown. Sometimes the brains, sometimes the eyes, sometimes the tongue if it’s not being held out for lengua.”
  • The Republican National Convention will be held at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland from July 18–21.  But whether you're in the area before the convention, during it or afterwards, the city boasts many delicious foods for hungry visitors to fill up on.  >> Read more trending stories  The city’s food culture is heavily influenced by its Chinese, Italian, Polish, Ukrainian, Slovenian and German immigrants, as well as African-Americans and other ethnic groups. Here are some of the best places to eat in Cleveland and what you should order, according to Dayton.com:  Corned beef sandwich from Slyman's Restaurant Antipasto at Guarino's Pierogi from Sokolowski's University Inn Polish boy from Hot Sauce Williams Brick oven meatball pizza from Valentino's Pizza Beer from Great Lakes Brewing Company
  • In celebration of the first day of spring, Rita's Italian Ice is offering free frozen bliss Sunday. >> Read more trending stories   The Pennsylvania-based frozen treat shop will give away free Italian Ice drinks to customers between 12 p.m. and 9 p.m. during its First Day of Spring celebration. The franchise has locations in Florida, Ohio, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and the Carolinas.  For the last 24 years, Rita's Italian Ice has offered the giveaway to mark the beginning of spring. Those that visit Rita's on the first day of spring are encouraged to share their experiences on their social media pages with photos and the hashtag #ritasfirstdayofspring.  For more on Rita's First Day of Spring celebration, visit their website. These cups are waiting to be filled... #RitasFirstDayofSpring FREE Italian Ice Giveaway is TODAY from 12pm-9pm! Find your nearest Rita's on www.ritasice.com.#RitasStorePic from Rita's of Bryn MawrPosted by Rita's Italian Ice on Sunday, March 20, 2016 The First Day of Spring is coming! Stop by on March 20 for FREE Italian Ice! And don't forget to tag your photos on Instagram and Twitter with #RitasFirstDayofSpring for a chance to win free Ice for a year!Posted by Rita's Italian Ice on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 #TBT The First Day of Spring in 2015 was a snowy one for much of the east coast. What surprises are in store for 2016?! See you on March 20! #RitasFirstDayofSpringPosted by Rita's Italian Ice on Thursday, March 3, 2016
  • Video includes images from Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0 and Mr.TinDC / CC BY ND 2.0. A New York IHOP employee was arrested for giving customers free drinks between August 2015 and February 2016. >> Read more trending stories Prosecutors allege William Powell, 27, who worked as a waiter at a Brooklyn IHOP, gave away more than $3,000 in free soft drinks to customers, according to the New York Daily News. The owner of the location, Akrell Cox, discovered the discrepancy after realizing drink orders made up as much as 20 percent of receipts logged by Powell's co-workers. In contrast, drinks were only 6 percent of Powell's logged receipts.  Surveillance footage at the restaurant showed Powell serving customers the typical number of drinks. Powell compared himself to Robin Hood. “I am the modern day Robin Hood. I am not stealing. I am serving the ones in need,' he reportedly told investigators. 'I take from the rich and give to the poor.' 'You'd be surprised how many people are on a really tight budget in Brooklyn,' he told the New York Post.  Authorities charged Powell with possession of stolen property and felony grand larceny. 
  • Dairy Queen will “proclaim the end of winter” five days before the calendar does with a free ice cream cone offer on Tuesday, March 15. >> Read more trending stories   The restaurant and ice cream chain will collect donations for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in lieu of charging for the cone, Dairy Queen officials said in a release. Participating Dairy Queen locations will serve each customers one free small vanilla soft-serve cone with the signature curl on top (limit one per customer while supplies last) during regular business hours on Tuesday. “Last year’s success of Free Cone Day surpassed all expectations and we have our fans to thank for that,” a Dairy Queen spokesman said. “Together we raised $140,000 in one day for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and we averaged serving more than 1,330 cones per store. We are looking to surpass those numbers this year.” Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals raises funds for 170 children’s hospitals across the U.S. and Canada. On Tuesday, March 15th, DQ is bringing #SummerNow on #FreeConeDay. The day where DQ gives a free small vanilla cone to every Fan in America.Posted by Dairy Queen on Wednesday, March 9, 2016
  • Columbus, Ohio has been known to be a fast-food test kitchen where restaurants try new menu items and see how consumers react before deciding whether or not to add them to the national menu. Now, the world's largest fast-food chain is using locations in the city to try out a new breakfast sandwich.  >> Read more trending stories   McDonald's will be testing the Chicken McGriddle, a sandwich containing a fried chicken patty between two maple syrup-infused pancake buns, at 11 central Ohio restaurants, according to Columbus Business First. “We’re always looking for new ways to offer relevant tastes to our customers,” McDonald’s Ohio region spokesperson Phil Saken told BuzzFeed. “As with all of our tests, we’re seeking customer feedback, and this region was selected to provide that valuable feedback in this case.” The Chicken McGriddle is being tested at two price points – $1.49 and $2 – and is available at selected restaurants until March 27, according to the site.  Road trip, anyone?
  • Looking for something that’s sweet and salty? McDonald’s announced Tuesday that for a limited time, most of its restaurants in Japan will serve “the latest fry innovation to hit their menu” — french fries drizzled with white and milk chocolate sauce. >> Read more trending stories   Yes, the McChoco Potato is available only in Japan, for now. According to a news release, the limited-run item will be served in restaurants from Jan. 26 through mid-February, tentatively. A McDonald’s news release calls the blend of french fries and chocolate an “ideal combination.” Customers can either pay 330 yen (roughly $2.80) for an order of McChoco Potato, or upgrade the medium fries with their value meal to the chocolate-covered treat for and extra 60 yen (50 cents), according to a news release, originally in Japanese and translated to English, from McDonald’s Japan.