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1. Ann's Snack Bar. It's located in the ghetto on Memorial Drive, but don't let the neighborhood hold you back. Besides, Ann doesn't put up with crap from anyone. Think Soup Nazi. It's a standard lunch counter type of joint and home to the Hood burger; which is highly recommended. But if you're like me, and not a big fan of coleslaw, ANY of the regular or double burgers with cheese are sure to satisfy your craving for ground beef on a bun. Chili Cheese fries make the perfect side, but split the order with someone else. Yes, it's a lot of food, but well worth the cardiac arrest.
(Take 20E from the Connector and exit at Maynard. Take a left off the exit and another left on Memorial. It's on the left hand side of the road next to the Checkers.)
2. Vickery's. Located in the heart of Midtown's club district, Vickery's is a classy type of place that's perfect for a first date. I recommend getting a seat at one of the high back crescent shaped booth's in the bar area where service is always pleasant and the burgers are awesome. I usually get mine mid-rare, topped with both bacon and blue cheese, and a side of Bass Ale-on tap. It's the perfect indulgence. The rest of the menu is outstanding as well, and the prices aren't nearly as high as they are in places with a similar ambiance.
(From the southbound Connector, get off at 14th street and take a left. Take a right on Crescent Ave. a couple lights up, and Vickery's is on the right; adjacent to Front Page News.)
3. The Vortex. Like the Varsity, The Vortex is a staple eatery in Atlanta. Appealing to the counter-culture types (just read the back of the menu for their "No Idiot policy"-yes it's required), their burgers are available in various pre-defined styles, and your vegetarian girlfriend can even get a suitable non-animal replacement for beef. Feel free however, to create any variation you want. Just be clear and specific with your order as your server is likely hung-over from the night before. But whatever you do, make sure you get tatter tots instead of fries. In fact, go nuts and top them with cheese.
(Two locations; Midtown and Little 5 Points. Check their site for more info: »www.thevortexbarandgrill.com/