When I was attending Ga Tech in downtown Atlanta, myself and the other students were constantly on the lookout for nearby restaurants that offered good food at a low price. It had to be in a convenient location (parking in Atlanta is a bit of a joke), and it had to appeal to a large selection of tastes so that we could take an entire group there for a meal. One restaurant really stood out as a great example of tasty food done right: the Tin Drum, located at 88 5th Street in the middle of Tech Square.
The Tin Drum (their menu can be seen here) is a small chain of 5-6 locations, all within the downtown Atlanta area. They serve asian cuisine in a modern, comfortable setting. There is typically a line stretching out the door during peak lunch time. There is seating for about 30 people, although finding a table can be hard as many students come here by themselves and are forced by necessity to sit at a table of four. The Tin Drum offers a range of currys, soups, stir frys, and rolls (Asian wraps). My personal favorite is the teriyaki chicken, which is a mixture of bean sprouts, carrots, and mushrooms along with tempura chicken. It’s normally served over white rice, although this can be switched to brown rice if desired.
The major attractions of the Tin Drum are that it is fast, affordable, and offers a good quantity of tasty food. You rarely have to wait more than a few minutes for your meal; the kitchen is large and well-staffed, especially for a restaurant of this size. It arrives at your table piping hot and exactly how you ordered it; everything is cooked to order, so there is no problem if a dish is minus vegetables and so forth. Most meals are just under $7, with another $1-$2 for a drink (free refills) if water not enough. There is quite a lot of food for the price. The teriyaki chicken comes in a deep bowl with just the right amount of the Japanese sauce to coat the rice. On the side you can pickup various soy sauces as well as a container of Sriracha sauce, which is an extremely spicy combination of peppers, garlic, vinegar, and salt. I first tried Sriracha sauce while dining at the Tin Drum, and now I always keep a container around for home cooking as well. It’s the perfect addition to the Tin Drum dishes and everyone is able to season with it to the extent that they desire.
The Tin Drum is everything a downtown diner should be. The food is extremely good, it doesn’t cost you very much to eat there, and you can be in and out on your lunch break with no trouble. For Georgia Tech students, it’s easily within walking distance, or you can also catch a ride on the “Red route” shuttlebus from any bus stop in campus; the bus has a stop directly in front of the Tin Drum. For anyone located in downtown Atlanta, it’s worth a trip to this restaurant to see “fast food” Asian done in a beautiful way.