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A little bit of country in the city—what’s not to love? Photography by James Camp

Milkin’ It

by Kelsey Bjelland & Asif Lakhani | Jezebel magazine | November 28, 2012

Here in the South, homestyle cooking is not just something we enjoy—it’s practically a religion. With all the places that do Southern cookin’ right, new restos certainly face a tough time following the same act. But not Buttermilk Kitchen. You can’t miss the bright-blue building (the former Cafe at Pharr space) on Roswell Road—it looks like it might fit in better at the beach than on a busy Buckhead street. Though the space is small, the buzz surrounding the resto’s opening is huge. It might have a little something to do with Buttermilk’s chef and owner, Suzanne Vizethann—a pretty young thing who took home top honors on Food Network’s Chopped last year.

Vizethann, who has worked under top toques like Richard Blais and Eli Kirshtein, previously started The Hungry Peach—a quaint little café in ADAC—with fellow Atlanta-native and friend Conor Hubbard. On to bigger things at Buttermilk, she’s taken a relatively simple approach to the Southern-classic menu.

Sitting down at a table topped with butcher paper and surrounded by mismatched chairs that you might find at your grandmother’s house, you feel right at home. Settle in and start things off with pimento cheese and toast, or warm up with a bowl of Brunswick stew with pork belly, smoked chicken and cornbread croutons. If you’re in the mood for breakfast, blueberry cobbler and banana pancakes will do the trick—as will the traditional steak and eggs, with sides of country sausage, bruleed grapefruit or crispy potatoes. Hearty staples like shrimp and grits, and biscuits and gravy are not to be taken lightly (quite literally)—but the signature item is Dad’s Waffle (inspired by Vizethann’s father): a grass-fed hamburger patty served on top of a homestyle sourdough waffle (made from a 104-year-old whole-wheat starter!), with loads of syrup and butter.

As much as we love late-morning brunch at Buttermilk (it closes at 4pm daily, except on Tuesdays), the recently added, once-a-week fried-chicken dinners steal the show. On Tuesday nights, the cozy spot stays open till 9, and Vizethann serves up a four-part meal—salad or soup, cheese and dessert courses, intersected with a serving of sustainably raised, unbelievably juicy chicken, which isn’t on the regular menu.

“To make people happy, that’s what cooking is all about,” reads a quote from Thomas Keller, painted on one wall. Leaving with stuffed bellies and feeling fully comforted, we say Vizethann has achieved just that.