Saturday, September 30, 2017

Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" - Nine Mile Station

This month Nikki and I visited Nine Mile Station on the rooftop of Ponce City Market. I'd been before, but it was Nikki's first time—to Nine Mile Station, not Ponce City Market—and Nikki's husband Dan joined us. It was a gorgeous day with a splendid breeze...perfect for a rooftop brunch!

Welcome back to our Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers", a monthly series by wanderlust ATLANTA and super-popular food Instagramer atlantafoodie! Our ninth stop on this 10 restaurant tour was Nine Mile Station. 

What we believe is a unique spin on 'Top 10' lists, we're not counting down, but instead, we're showcasing some of Atlanta's restaurants with numbers in their names! Some we've been to before and others will be a first-time experience. We're going to make all of them FUN!

By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

Let's get right to the delicious food! 

We knew without even saying that the three of us would have different entrees so that we'd have more photographs, but we verbalized that we were willing to share. I had the Eggs Benedict—two poached eggs, an incredible pretzel croissant, Benton's bacon, spinach, and hollandaise! This hollandaise is creamy, smooth...absolutely sublime!

I offered to share a bite before I dug in...and secretly rejoiced a little bit when the others said, "No, thanks." I'd had this dish before and had been looking forward to enjoying it again. Eggs Benedict is my go-to brunch dish, and now, especially at Nine Mile Station! 

The sauce, the combination of flavors, the pretzel bagel...simply said, it's flavor combination perfection.

By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: atlantafoodie
By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: atlantafoodie

Nikki said, eyes wide, that the gravy  is the star in the Egg-in-a-Hole dish, made with brioche and truffle oil. The chunks of sausage are huge and Nikki says the truffle was excellent. She ate all of it. Actually, we all demolished our main dishes!

Dan had a small bite of the accompanying shoestring potatoes and went back for another bite (or two)...they must have been really good! If you like your eggs sunny side up, this is the dish for you.

Our server, Iesha, was excellent! She's charming, funny, attentive, kept a close eye on our table and made sure our every need and desire was met. 

Iesha has been with Nine Mile Station since it opened 10 months ago. When I asked her why she's stayed so long—relatively uncommon in the restaurant industry—she said, without hesitation, "The views!"

The views are indeed spectacular! From Nine Mile Station and Skyline Park you practically have a 360° vista of the Atlanta horizon.

Skyline Park is a nod to the early 1900s Ponce de Leon Amusement Park—dubbed "the Coney Island of Atlanta"—and features mini-golf, carnival games, and Skyline Slide!  

By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: atlantafoodie
By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: atlantafoodie

Dan had the Merguez Sausage Hash, with crispy potatoes, caramelized onions, and harissa agrodolche. He gave it high marks, and I agree—I'd had this dish before, too. Nikki gave it a third "thumbs up", particularly noting the amazing flavor of sausage.

The poached eggs temper the richness of this totally satisfying dish, especially when they're perfectly poached!

By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

I had the Banana-Stuffed French Toast, with Grand Marnier syrup and candied pecans, on a previous visit. We didn't have it this time—just not enough room in our already topped off bellies—but I wanted to share it in this post because it's so remarkable.

By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

Some of the dishes are served on their own, and are plenty for most appetites, and some come with sides. I, going for a full-on brunch experience, ordered a side of the House Potatoes. Wow! I could make an entree of these potatoes! They're a potato-lover's dream-come-true and will make converts of anyone on the fence about potatoes!

Ask your server if the dish you want to order comes with a side and decide if you'd like one, or another one, from there. I do highly recommend the House Potatoes! 

By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: atlantafoodie
By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: atlantafoodie

Nine Mile Station endeavors to give its diners a unique experience, and their menus—food and drink—reflect that. They do not serve iced tea—you can get that anywhere, right?—but they do have LOTS of other amazing beverage options.

Nikki had the Sunday Smash, made with a choice of gin, vodka, tequila, rum or bourbon—Nikki had gin—and lemon, jalapeno maple, and seasonal fruit, in this case a plump blackberry. Nikki said it has a nice, light spicy aftertaste. Blackberries are my favorite food, so I was oggling the garnish the whole time.

By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

Dan mentioned that he's not a fan of tomato juice and I'm right there with him, BUT I do love a good Bloody Mary.

The 9 Mile Bloody Mary isn't's fantastic! Its house-made mix is generous on spice and flavor and the garnish is over the top...literally! I've had this classic brunch cocktail at Nine Mile Station before and it's still just as amazing as the first time. 

By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

Nine Mile Station is dubbed, "An Elevated Beer Garden"'s that and more!

There are many other dining options on the first two floors of Ponce City Market, some wonderful dining destinations, and most of their beverage menus are generously peppered with local beers—which is awesome—so, to distinguish itself, Nine Mile Station offers a few local beers, but goes mostly out-of-town/state/country for the majority of its brews.

Rob Merrick, one of the Managers, is a beer aficionado. Nikki and I typically begin our "By the Numbers" outings with a cocktail and then I'll often switch to wine. But, when Rob told us about his beer expertise, we all three went the beer route.

I was still working on my Eggs Benedict, so Rob made a few beer pairing recommendations for that dish, and while I typically would have gone for the sour, I went for the perfectly light Bavik Super Pils

By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

So, to get to Nine Mile Station you take a dedicated elevator. You have two options. (1) Make a reservation at Nine Mile Station—your $20 per/diner deposit goes toward your tab, which can't be applied toward tax or gratuity (please tip based on your full tab, including the credited deposit amount), and it's non-refundable. (2) Walk-in from Skyline Park and be seated based on availability. There is an admission fee for Skyline Park.

Either option you choose, I think you're going to have an awesome time!

On your ride up, you'll be given a very brief history lesson about Ponce City Market and some of the inspiration for the rooftop experiences. Our "guide" spoke incredibly fast—it's a short ride—so listen closely!

By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
By the Numbers | Nine Mile Station | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

When you get to the top, you're on top of the city! Well, you're at the peak of, and the intersection of the four Atlanta neighborhoods of Old Fourth Ward, Midtown, Virginia-Highland, and Poncey-Highland, with many other neighborhoods within spectacular view.

Do plan some extra time to play in Skyline Park! There's putt-putt, skee-ball, food and drink, Heege Tower—it's a "ride" with a view—and be sure to climb to the top of the Skyline Slide and grab a slide blanket before going up if you want to ride back down! When you're up there, you're exactly behind the huge PONCE CITY MARKET letters on the North Avenue side.

THINGS TO KNOW before going to Nine Mile Station:
  • You need to make a reservation. A popular destination for tourists and locals, tables are in high demand. Reservations require a $20 deposit per diner, but that amount goes toward your dining tab. Walk-ins are permitted from Skyline Park when seats are available.
  • There's seating indoors, covered outdoors, outdoors (with some umbrella shade), and there are a few seats at the bar. Every seat is an excellent seat.
  • The food menu is relatively limited, but its flavors are expansive. The beverage menu offers a considerable number of options, though, and includes specialty cocktails, wines, and beer.
  • If you're a history buff, check out the history of Ponce City Market dating back to the 1860s! As a fellow history enthusiast, I think it'll enrich your visit.
  • Immediately behind Ponce City Market is Historic Fourth Ward Park. You can't see it from ground level, but it's definitely worth a walk across the street to check it out!
  • Nine MIle Station and Skyline Park are 21+ after 5:00 p.m.
  • Parking at Ponce City Market is easy and relatively inexpensive. If using one of the pay-on-foot stations, know your license plate before you get there (I usually make a photo of it before I leave the car), or, even better, use the Parkmobile app.

: In early 2014, Travel + Leisure Magazine ranked Ponce City Market, which includes Nine Mile Station, as one of the 25 in its list of "The World's Coolest New Tourist Attractions." 

Here's our visited and planned Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers", one per month in 2017:

ONE midtown kitchen
599 Dutch Valley Road, NE, Atlanta, GA 30324

TWO urban licks
820 Ralph McGill Boulevard, NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

Local Three Kitchen & Bar
3290 Northside Parkway, NW, Atlanta, GA 30327

Bar Margot at Four Seasons
75 14th Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

5Church Atlanta
1197 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30361

Six Feet Under Pub & Fish House
437 Memorial Drive, SE, Atlanta, GA 30312

Seven Lamps
3400 Around Lenox Road, NE, Atlanta, GA 30326

Eight Sushi Lounge
930 Howell Mill Road, NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

Nine Mile Station
675 Ponce de Leon Avenue, NE, Atlanta, GA 30308

10th & Piedmont
991 Piedmont Avenue, NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

Disclaimer: If you live in Atlanta or visit on a regular basis, you know how quickly the Atlanta restaurant scene can change. Our lineup is subject to change based on the Atlanta restaurant landscape over the first 10 months of 2017. Also, all opinions are our own and not at all influenced by the restaurant owners, staff or PR firms, whether we treated ourselves or were hosted by the said restaurant.

If you're enjoying this series, please follow:

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Thank you for coming along on what we think will be a FUN food journey over 10 months in 2017. Our selection of restaurants is a subjective choice of what we think will be an exciting new way to experience Atlanta restaurants: "By the Numbers". Please, tell your friends and family what we're doing and invite them to also come along for the taste tour!

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