Since my hometown of Tampa woefully lacks direct flights to the West Coast, I find myself in the Atlanta airport a lot. And lengthy layovers used to mean a dreadful plate of fast food that haunted me during the next five hours. Until now…. when we discovered the chic One Flew South in the E Terminal at Hartsfield International Airport. Someone on Foursquare squealed so loudly about how good it was that we hightailed it over there to check it out. So psyched we did… it turned a four hour layover into something worth smiling about.
One Flew South and Chef Duane Nutter introduce a novel concept to Atlanta: Fine dining in an airport. Wine bars are starting to become commonplace in airports but, until now, I hadn’t stumbled across any serious dining destinations. Decent food? Maybe, but rarely inventive like at this place.
The wine list instantly wooed me. Gruet Brut Rosé by the glass? Laurenz V Grüner Veltliner? Torbreck Les Juveniles? Shazamm. I can’t even get these on a list in Tampa, much less in the mini metropolis of an airport food court.
Someone poured some serious cash into the decor, most of which was sourced from local Georgia origins. Wood floors are native heart pine, and the marble tabletops, structural columns and bar came from quarries in Cherokee and Jasper, Georgia. It’s so serene, you really don’t feel like you’re in an airport. A respite from the hustle, if you will.
The food menu is a mix of comfort and stylish, ranging from Duck Breast with Porcini Ravioli to Clam and Miso Chowder. We devoured the best 1/2 pound, perfectly medium-rare cooked Kobe Burger ($16) ever put on a plate, slathered with Sweetgrass Dairy goat cheese, shitake mushrooms and sliced cherry tomatoes. Accompanying them was five spice dusted, housemade French Fries. But the highlight? The Thyme Roasted Pork Belly with a Black-Eyed Pea Arugula Salad and Onion Marmalade ($18). Holy schomoly, this dish blew me away. Succulent slabs of subtly seasoned pork layered with juicy, salty fat. Be sure to combine the arugula with each bite, as Chef Duane Nutter intended it. Makes a difference in the experience.
If you have the time, don’t skip dessert, you’d be doing yourself a disservice. Caramel Bread Pudding ($7) topped off the experience, plus a glass of Smith Woodhouse Late Bottled Vintage Port ($12).
This place is decadent, slightly pricey but worth it. And if you’re on an expense account, all the better.
One Flew South
Concourse E, Atlanta Hartsfield Airport