Erika Preval - Simply Put

Category: Eating Local

About Last Night – Serpas True Food



It’s a standing tradition that my husband and I share the evening of Mardi Gras together. We’ve only missed one year – when he was in Cleveland due to a work assignment. Our venue of choice, for the past couple of years, has been Serpas True Food. Located in the ever-evolving Old Fourth Ward neighborhood of Atlanta, Serpas always offers a live jazz band as accompaniment to their menu of New Orleans favorites on Fat Tuesday. Though limited to a special menu last night, I decided to stick with an old favorite of mine to get you started during your visit.


The House Smoked Salmon Chips are a go-to item when I dine at Serpas! A generous serving of smoked salmon and capers piled onto seasoned house chips makes this appetizer an ample meal for one, or a great appetizer for the table. If seafood isn’t your thing, I highly recommend the Eggplant Hushpuppies as your starter.

Serpas is definitely a place to try something new, so explore both the food and cocktail menus. Be on the lookout for Chef Scott Serpas and his wife, Dawn, while you’re there. Both are committed to the community, and will certainly make you feel right at home!

 Serpas True Food | 659 Auburn Avenue NE, Suite 501 | Atlanta, Georgia

That’s Italian! – Ippolito’s


It’s a bit ironic how I discovered the neighborhood eatery serving up the most amazing Italian comfort food. I was completely inverted on the reformer, when my Pilates instructor struck up a conversation about her addiction to Ippolito’s salad. Others chimed in about their favorites – from cocktails to pasta dishes, but when their rolls came up everyone gave an audible gasp, followed by a moment of what seemed to be meditation – closed eyes and all. Again, I was in the middle of my Pilates session, so, abs engaged, I decided to be “good” and forego stopping by. That day.

It seems that these rolls they spoke of were only a stone’s throw away from the studio. As a pure test of willpower, I was able to resist stopping in for the next three sessions. Well. It wasn’t really willpower as much as I’d booked a series of 8AM sessions prior to my knowledge of Ippolito’s existence and the restaurant wasn’t yet open. I was a bit more strategic about my next series of appointments, however, and scheduled one at 10AM, so that I could try these infamous rolls and salad after my workout. AND I walked to the restaurant instead of driving, so it cancels out, right? Right!

I really can’t put into words the Ippolito’s roll. You’ll have to just experience it for yourself. They serve them warm, glistening with butter – dusted with parmesan cheese and accompanied by a generous portion of piping hot tomato sauce for dipping. Honestly, though, I feel that Ippolito’s secret ingredient is love. From the time you enter the restaurant until your server returns with your check, you’ll feel it. Ippolito’s is just one of those gems with the right balance of great food, great people and a cozy atmosphere. That’s why they’ve been around since 1989, inducing moments of deep reflection – just at the thought of those rolls!

Ippolito’s (Six Locations – Click for details)

My Favorite | 2270 Holcomb Bridge Road | Roswell, Georgia 30076

Octane Coffee – The Office


It’s taken awhile for me to post my first Eating Local entry. That was due, in part, to the fact that I dine out a lot and enjoy a great majority of the local restaurants that I happen upon. This made for an amazingly difficult choice of who to lead with. It just came to me this morning, though, to begin with the place where “it all” started – The Office!

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have noticed that during the pre-launch and early days of Charm Etiquette, I spent a lot of time doing work at Octane Coffee’s Grant Park location. It didn’t take long before I began referring to it as The Office. I got to know the staff there, stayed true to my goal of supporting local business, and found the perfect balance of white noise and people watching to spur on the creativity needed to start a business of my own. Little did I know that my frequent visits would also change my palette for coffee (my apologies, Starbucks) and incite urges to attend cuppings and such.


I’ve met lots of charming people and created great memories at Octane. I’ll share this one: I was writing copy for Charm’s website one morning, and a small group entered Octane. Casually dressed (smartly so) but in a bit of a hurry – production cameras in tow, they placed their orders and sat down in preparation for a meeting of sorts. A tall gentleman in jeans and a button-down joined them 10 minutes later. Double take. It was Anthony Bourdain! He was quite the gentleman, patiently taking photos with fans and the Octane and Little Tart Bakery staff. I snapped this from my desk – my sole momento of the day one of my favorite culinary icons stopped by The Office.

Octane Coffee - Atlanta Locations

Westside (Original) | 1009-B Marietta St | Atlanta, GA 30318
Grant Park (The Office) | 437 Memorial Drive Suite A5 | Atlanta, GA 30312