4 Decatur Bars Among Eater’s “Essential” List

pinewood fireworks

Eater just published a map-listicle(?) of the 18 “essential” bars in and around Atlanta.

The list runs the gamut from iconic dive bars like Clermont Lounge and Northside Tavern, to hipster hangs like Holeman & Finch and The Porter, to Atlanta classics like Manuel’s and Atkins Park.

Decatur rounds out the final 4 spots on the list with the following Decatur establishments:

  • The Pinewood
  • Brick Store Pub
  • Leon’s Full Service
  • Kimball House

And not to be the guy who closes his posts with a question in a desperate attempt to drum up conversation, BUT.. “Looking at the breadth of the full list, would you have included other Decatur watering holes on this list??”

Photo courtesy of Pinewood Facebook page

Leon’s Announces New Exec Chef, Promises Menu Changes


From a Leon’s press release sent out today…

Leon’s Full Service in downtown Decatur, Georgia is pleased to welcome Cameron Octigan as its new Executive Chef. Octigan is a passionate and innovative chef with more than 10 years of culinary experience. His creative approach to using local and seasonal ingredients will bring a new dimension to this neighborhood favorite.

Growing up in Florida, Cameron always helped with the cooking because his mom worked nights or early mornings. His first paid job was at Crabby Tom’s in Brandon, FL. “We were out in the country, where there wasn’t much else to do, but we always found fun. Tridents for frogs, machetes for walks, and cornmeal for fish.” This fondness for adventure and his love of the kitchen led him to pursue his passion for cooking.

A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles, California, Octigan has had a career that spanned the country – from the West Coast at Blair’s and Cook’s County in LA to the East Coast at Momofuku and Selamat Pagi in New York. While the “local” locale has changed, his focus on farm-to-table cuisine never wavered. The birth of his son in 2013 brought Octigan home to Atlanta, where he worked at Ford Fry’s St. Cecilia and No. 246 before joining Leon’s Full Service.

“I love Atlanta. My family is here. This is our home,” says Octigan. “I want to focus on the great produce grown and meat raised in our state at local farms, and on bringing that product to our community in interesting ways at a price and in an environment that is accessible for everyone.”

“Leon’s is about to make some changes. Some you may notice, some not. We will continue with an even greater focus on local foods, a more international and yet focused menu, but always thinking of ways to make great food that you love to go with drinks you love,” says Octigan. While menu favorites like the warm chickpea cherry salad and the brisket with frites won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, you can expect new items like Painted Hills beef tartare and a baked half Grassroots Farm chicken cooked to order with a skin so crispy you would swear it was fried. Octigan’s sense of adventure also shines through with new menu items of pigtail with peach grastrique and coleslaw, and a cioppino – a stew with market fresh fish and shellfish.

Joining Octigan in the kitchen is Sous Chef Jeff Sellers, who has been with Leon’s since it opened in 2009. “We have an amazing team of young and talented professionals in our kitchen, and we are thrilled to have Chef Octigan on as our Executive Chef to lead their efforts,” says Ryan Gallagher, Partner in LEON’s Full Service. “We have always strived to support our local farms and producers, and procure the freshest local ingredients for our patrons. Chef’s passion and commitment to farm-to-table, seasonally-inspired fare will enhance the menu as well as the customer experience, and really let us start having fun with food again.”

Photo courtesy of Dennis

Leon’s and No. 246 Featured in A.C.O.D. Trailer

You all may recall the movie A.C.O.D. (aka “Adult Children of Divorce”) filming in Decatur a while back.

I recall reading it had trouble gaining a distributor, but it’s now finally about to be released and if the trailer is any indication, there should be a good bit of Decatur featured as the backdrop.

h/t: Eater

Kimball House Build Out Estimated to Take 4 Months, Leon’s Bocce Court Remodeling

Since it seemed like there seem to be a couple of outstanding questions surrounding the build out of the Decatur Depot as the Kimball House (reported here) and the construction work being done to the bocce court next to Leon’s Full Service, I asked owner Dave Blanchard for the latest scoop.  Here’s a summary of his reply…

Kimball House: Dave wrote back that the Kimball House just received its building permit on Friday and that they are anticipating that it will take four months to complete the total renovation of the interior and a fresh coat of paint on the exterior.

Leon’s: As for Leon’s, In Bloom was hired to total rebuild the bocce court area, with an “all new properly built court with drainage and the whole bit. New landscaping, benches, lighting and irrigation.”  Additionally, he added “There is one more phase for over there which will include a bit of covering  and new dumpster surround and enclosure.”

Depot photo courtesy of jimmywayne via Flickr,

Leon’s Bartender Miles Macquarrie Featured in Southern Living


Cathy sends along this photo of the latest Southern Living magazine with Leon’s bartender Miles Macquarrie front-and-center and notes that a post on their website makes it sound like Southern Living folks might be hanging out at Leon’s this evening.

Head out to one of our favorite bars in the South this February 1st and sip alongside other Southern Living readers and editors.

Leon’s Full Service (Decatur)
Drink & snack combo! Blazing Saddles with hickory-smoked Redemption Rye cocktail and sweet potato biscuits with red pepper-bacon jam, $13 from 5 to 7pm


Leon’s Ranked as One of the “50 Best Bars in America” By Food & Wine

Check it!

Photo courtesy of Food & Wine