For the time being, eating breakfast at Grandma Luke's in Little Five Points is a relatively peaceful experience. This is a rare pleasure in Atlanta: no servers frantically rushing around, no screaming kids, no cutthroat brunch veterans jockeying for a table. It's something to be enjoyed while it lasts, because it never does.
ROOM WITH A VIEW: Grandma Luke's is squeezed into a long, narrow space among the shops that face Finley Park on Euclid Avenue. There's only enough room for a row of tidy two-tops flush against one exposed brick wall, with a breakfast bar standing opposite the tables. A sunny four-top in the front window is the best seat in the house, with its view of the park. It looks surprisingly pristine out there in the bright morning sunshine; the traffic of both the high and lowbrow sets has yet to fire up.
LOCALS ONLY: Neighborhood folks seem to be the only ones who have discovered Grandma Luke's for the moment. A couple with a toddler in a fancy stroller peruses the New York Times over scrambled eggs, studiously ignoring the tattooed bruisers at the next table. A neighborhood cop pops in for a coffee to go, making small talk with the friendly server behind the counter. A foursome in ironic T-shirts and skinny jeans stubs out cigarettes on the way in; they look slightly worse for wear at 11 a.m. on a Saturday, but breakfast seems to revive them. It's a convivial Little Five Points scene -- everyone doing his or her thing, but content to dine elbow-to-elbow in this sunny little corner of the world.
TOP BANANA: The fact that breakfast is delicious doesn't hurt, either. French toast made with dense banana or fragrant pear-cinnamon bread is a house specialty. The bread would be perfectly nice on its own, but once it's been dipped in egg batter, griddled and doused with syrup, it's downright decadent. A side of bacon cuts the sweetness just so. Fried eggs are a welcome addition to a classic BLT -- a little bit breakfast, a little bit lunch.
BE STILL, MY BEATING HEART: Brace yourself for the Kick-Ass Breakfast -- if you haven't come with a monstrous appetite, it will in fact kick your ass. Two eggs come with your choice of bacon or sausage, spicy roasted potatoes and two buttermilk pancakes. The flapjacks will remind you how fantastic pancakes can be, airy on the inside with just a little golden crispness around the edges. Cheese grits are so light and fluffy that they practically taste like a souffle. We can only pray that the Heart Stopper -- a massive omelet filled with potatoes, sausage and cheese and doused with gravy -- won't live up to its name. If you've got the courage, round out breakfast with a wedge of coconut layer cake or turtle cheesecake.
LUNCH MONEY: Lunch hour is even quieter than breakfast, but that's bound to change before long. Standouts from the sandwich menu include the Hillbilly Cuban -- a grilled chicken sandwich topped with pepper jack cheese, pickles and spicy mayo -- and the luscious Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana. Don't fight the childhood memories, even if they're tortured. Three cookies and a glass of milk (it's actually listed on the menu that way -- how cute is that?) will ease the nostalgia.