Tattoo artists from down the street and neighborhood seniors belly up to the counter together at Cabbagetown Market and Little's Grill, a revamped neighborhood grocery store that is both quirky and quintessentially cute. The market serves as the corner store every neighborhood longs for; in place of lotto tickets and walls of soda are eggs and cheeses and veggies from local farms, sandwiches and soups made with care, and a funky feel befitting Cabbagetown.
On the wall are photos of the location's past as Cabbagetown's staple market, long-owned by Mr. Little, who agreed to turn it over to a restaurant worker and a former caterer in March. The new owners, Lisa Hanson and Maria Locke, keep the neighborhood feel of the store alive, as well as adding organic and eclectic elements.
Chowing down in C-town: The regular menu and special sandwiches are hearty with ingredients and imagination. The muffuletta ($6.50) is piled high with thick slices of special herbed veal, salami, provolone and distinctively crunchy and garlicky olive spread on a thick ciabatta. Vegetarian options include homemade falafel. The mixture is dense but surprisingly moist, stuffed with fresh herbs in a chickpea base, topped with a light lemony tahini and bundled in a fresh pita. Another meatless marvel is the fresh buffalo mozzarella. The large pillows of delicate cheese are layered with roma tomatoes and large basil leaves and served on an olive-oil-brushed French roll. Think spring day in an Italian farmhouse with opera in the background. The eclectic "Hungarian tourist" ($5.50) features hard salami, Liptauer cheese and fresh radishes on peasant bread. Daily specials might include a beer-cheese-spread sandwich or homemade lentil soup served with veggie-and-spice-stuffed samosas on the side ($6).
Shack snacks: Less gourmand and even more pocket-friendly fare includes Patak's hot dogs and bratwurst (from an Austell smokehouse). For just $3, the fat, white brats can be smothered with the spicy mustard that sits on the counter next to the enormous unabridged dictionary. An egg on a roll and a small version of the grass-fed burger are available at a similar price. The grass-fed beef is so lean as to beg for a rarer rendering to leave the fresh flavor and juices more intact.
There are plenty of homemade sweet treats. Cranberry blondies for only $1. Oatmeal cookies plump full of nuts and fruits. Cupcakes glazed with coconut. And the store is full of eye candy as well as the literal sweet stuff. Check out the home-sewn vintage handkerchiefs and chefs' aprons. There are international condiments (such as harissa hot sauce in a tube) as well as locally produced panko bread crumbs, turnips grown at a farm nearby, Swedish mints and good old-fashioned candy necklaces.
Sweet stuff to wear and sweet stuff to eat. What store could offer more?