This fixture of classic Southern eats on the grounds of the Atlanta History Center has a pretty remarkable history itself. Go for the refined atmosphere and time-tested cheese straw recipe–stay for a “Swan Collins” and a peek at the in-house art gallery.According to the beaus and belles at Swan Coach House, you’re “not official married” in Atlanta until you’ve broken bread in one of their beautifully wallpapered dining rooms. And they’re not exaggerating as much as you might think. They’ve specialized in showers, anniversaries, and other elegant occasions (when we stopped by, they were setting up for Cotillion) since opening in 1967. Initially, the whole place seems to be part-tunnel-of-love, part-tearoom. They serve their signature chicken salad in heart-shaped timbales, for crying out loud. But, in reality, it’s so much more.
Before our Buckhead foremothers converted the space into a restaurant, the structure served as a garage for carriages with attached living quarters for coachmen. Today, it houses an art gallery on one side, fulfilling the founders’ desire to serve the local community, and a number of formal dining rooms on the other, showcasing the building’s rich history. In time, it’s become a dependable constant in Atlanta’s tumultuous midday-dining scene. It acts as a True North for sophisticated Buckhead luncheons as well as an ode to the kind of hospitality one only finds in the South. There are always, and we mean always, white linens and fresh-cut roses on every table and, of course, plenty of sparkling cocktails to go ’round.
You might suspect that a restaurant with this longstanding of a reputation would start getting strict about things like dress code and table etiquette. Thankfully, the Swan Coach House is steeped in enough Southern charm to make the most casually-clad among us feel welcome – even the non-newlyweds.
Salad Sampler, $15.75
Coach House Burger $14.00
Coach House Punch, $3.95
Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.