For those of you who live in Atlanta, this one's for you. If you haven't already, you've just got to go and get Nailed.
The Rusty Nail is on Buford Highway near Druid Hills, not exactly the culinary epicenter of the city, but do not be fooled by its location or humble exterior. The chow is this place is mouth-watering - literally. The menu has a good mixture of bar food like burgers and wings, but the real focus here is barbeque and the homemade side items that come with it. First of all, I SWEAR the Rusty Nail did not pay me to write this, but never in my life have tastier green beans or macaroni and cheese passed my lips.
In short, I'd eat here every day if it didn't mean that I'd be buried in a piano box and would eventually wind up on some humiliating Discovery Channel special so fat I would have to be draped in awning fabric and propped up with 2x4s. Plus I don't think the Rusty Nail delivers, so the key to keeping it coming is not getting too fat to drive. Anyway, I digress...back to business.
Having spent many years in Texas, I can tell you that the barbeque scene in and around Atlanta is decidedly weak with the exception of the Rusty Nail. Even the venerated Swallow at the Hollow doesn't compare to the incredible brisket and pulled pork, which is cooked inside a giant gun-shaped smoker in front of the restuarant.
Speaking of smokers, this restaurant does allow smoking on one side of the bar, so there is a slight odor of smoke when you first walk in, so unless you're really sensitive to the smell, it's not too noticable. Like all other establishments in the area that allow smoking, the under 18 crowd is verboten. Even though I don't like living under the laws of nanny government, I do like not having small kids around while I'm trying to relax, so it works out for me.
One last thing about the Rusty Nail, and this is one that only the ladies will be able to enjoy. In the 2nd stall of the ladies' room, there is some really amusing invective directed at, of all fictional paramilitary mariners, Cap'n Crunch. One clearly agitated potty-stall poet calls the Cap'n a rat bastard, and invites him to make love to himself in some very crude terms.
I love the Rusty Nail.