Spring Garlic Tortellini at Lazy Betty. All images courtesy Lazy Betty. Credit: Graftable

The RundownAtlanta

What To Know About Lazy Betty, Now Open in Midtown


When a restaurant as revelatory to a city’s dining landscape like Lazy Betty relocates, there’s always excitement … and nervousness. Add that it’s going to a more heavily trafficked, mainstream part of town and a higher-capacity dining room, and the pressure’s on.

Coming from a garage-like space in Candler Park, where everything was elevated because it had to be just to lure guests in, would the scrappy eagerness, ingenuity, and dedication that’s earned chef-partners Ron Hsu and Aaron Phillips one of Atlanta’s first Michelin stars and multiple James Beard Award nominations survive? Or would it become a commercial commodity resting on its laurels; another frou-frou restaurant manufacturing experience without heart?

Luckily for Atlantans, the pair’s mindful, loving reincarnation of Lazy Betty still has soul to spare. In fact, against all odds, they’ve managed to make it even more intimate and true to their ethos of “live unhurried,” despite being able to seat and serve more guests than ever in more ways than before.

I say this with confidence because I personally went to be the most annoying, inquisitive cover they had that night. For this edition of the Resy Rundown, I spoke with the chefs, sommeliers, both pastry chefs, sous chefs, and nosily accosted other staff innocently passing by to find out what anybody might need to know about dining at the new Lazy Betty.

Getting there is easier than ever.

Let’s be real – a lot of people first choose neighborhood favorites out of convenience, then become loyalists for experience. You know the parking/valet situation, the cost of a Lyft, et cetera. So it goes for Lazy Betty’s Candler Park spot. But don’t fret! They’ve thought of everything.

For drivers, there’s fully validated garage parking at the 999 Peachtree building – those who frequented the spot when it was Hugh Acheson’s Empire State South will well remember it. There are several entrances to the garage, but all will generate a ticket that the host/ess will validate at the end of your night. And best of all, the restaurant picks up the tab for however long you stay.

That’s right. Whether you come for a quick drink, stay the usual three hours, or while away the night Euro-style, it’s on the house. Brilliant.

However, rideshare is strongly recommended, especially for those who opt for the wine pairing. The various reservation text reminders even go so far to offer detailed instructions the day of your reservations for rideshare drop-off (at the lobby of the Hyatt Centric Midtown Hotel), as well as other useful tips leading up to the day of your dinner.

Finally, the Midtown MARTA station is a block and a half away.

The decor’s gotten a low-key glam glow-up.

Those in the know will smile to recognize some elements from the Dekalb Avenue location and see how they’ve become even more graceful in their new digs. Hsu says, “We really wanted to honor our first home for the restaurant and brought a lot of furniture over; we had them refinished for the space.” For example, some banquettes were given new life and the large pendant lights in the main dining room are now dressed with abstract imagery in bold tones.

However, a larger space in a glossy building also meant more room for details. Hsu shared, “Our new 4,300-square-foot space was designed by Kat Blue of Blue Lantern Studios, and she wove elements with hints of nature throughout, including natural textures, earthy tones, organic materials, heart pine floors, painted elements by local artist Christina Kwan” – who also worked on the original restaurant’s décor – “and plants throughout.”

The bar area is also considerably larger, with more foliage, brass and wood accents, and notably, beautiful flocks of birds floating in on the walls of the lounge area by the entrance. This element is another connection between old and new, as Jenifer Thoem also provided sculptural works for the previous location.

But overall, it’s less industrial though the vibe remains the same – tidy in a mid-century modern kind of way, but soothing, warm, and unpretentious with wood tones, peaches, golds, turquoises, and minute details to linger over during a long dinner.

The Obi-Wan Negroni at Lazy Betty. Credit: Colette Collins
Aaron Phillips and Ron Hsu. Credit: Andrew Thomas Lee

Grab a seat at the bar … and stay there.

Phillips is particularly excited about this feature’s very existence. “We have an actual bar here! Whereas in our old space, the bar was converted into a chef’s counter,” he shared. And boy, did they make up for not having what they considered a proper bar before.

Stemware sparkles from hanging shelves showcasing beautiful bottles and windows with surprise colorful inlays lends natural light to the inviting counter. Even peeking below lends delightful surprises: custom wood accents beneath, brass foot rails, and gold medallion purse hooks.

And another major change – there’s a bar menu! As Phillips shared with Atlanta Magazine, “In this building, there are a lot of people in large business firms. After work, they may not be able to commit to a tasting experience, but they could stop by … and enjoy an elevated bite or two.” The rest of Atlanta will also benefit from this, with the ability to get a sneak peek at the chefs’ talents at a lower price point than the service-inclusive $205. When we asked him about its permanence, he assured us, “It’s available anytime we’re open and will be available indefinitely.”

Hsu adds, “Now we have the lounge, where people can enjoy the bar menu only, and the bar, where guests can enjoy the bar menu and our tasting menu as walk-ins” for even more accessibility.

Start with a drink.

The pacing here is impeccable – timed just so that you’re never kept waiting, wondering, or getting too full or hungry, and it begins before even the first treat’s dropped. Order a sip of something bubbly to peruse the menu with; it’s perfect with the seasonal brioche and flavored butter or to cut through the richness of the milk-laminated biscuits. Or try one of the craft cocktails they’re known for. They’re back on with their liquor license (finally) firmly in hand. But here’s a Pro-tip: order the Old Fashioned, and ask for it with the Lazy Betty Barrell bourbon, a custom private blend exclusive to this restaurant. Only 80 bottles remain of this Kentucky-made Armagnac-aged liquor, so get it while the getting’s good.

For dinner, go for the mocktail ($85) or wine pairing ($145). Both sommeliers – Gracie Barwick and Janice Shiffler – take turns sharing their favorites with those who partake and add their own color to the flavors on your plate.

Eat for the senses, however you experience them.

While an evening here is meant to be devoured as a whole, it’s still the exquisite food and its presentation that takes center stage. The tip-included $205 multi-course tasting – also available with equally thoughtful vegetarian alternatives – is the traditional and most intended way to spend the night, and it’s well worth the price tag.

Seasons are always on fine display at Lazy Betty, which makes the menu subject to change, but the artistry and attention to detail is perennial. Expect premium ingredients like thin-sliced blue fin tuna wrapped around a delicate Feuille de Brick tube encasing lemon crème fraiche and topped with caviar, and to be offered upgrades like Wagyu slices in a “tongue and cheek” sauce. See peeks of Hsu’s heritage in caviar service with milk buns and scallion pancakes. And go ahead and poke your food as you marvel at techniques you’d never try at home. (Dare you to try to layer your own foie gras and cherry terrine and top it with yogurt baked into meringue cookies and oat tuille.)

It’s all high-touch service, but without formality.

That’s because a tasting at Lazy Betty truly is meant to be an interactive experience. Tableside pours – from Madeira chicken nage on darling two-toned spring garlic tortellini to blackberry gastrique perfect on both the crown-roasted duck breast and its adorable duck confit vol-au-vent capped with seared foie gras – bring the oohs; bonuses like a quad of seasonal amuse presented on what is essentially a diorama of a forest floor, edible flowers and all, bring the ahhs.

Finally, Hsu and Phillips were again at the forefront of an important restaurant movement when they earned Sensory Inclusive™ certification by KultureCity® for both Humble Pie and original Lazy Betty. And their dedication to awareness and sensitivity to those who are neurodivergent is continued in their new location. Available kits for those who experience sensory overload situations from PTSD, autism, dementia, and other similar conditions allow guests to step back as needed so that they can center, refocus, and better enjoy the whole experience.

Don’t get too attached to any one server.

First of all, sunny hospitality is as much a signature at Lazy Betty as accolade-collecting cuisine. It’s all high-touch service, but without formality. Expect to feel welcomed in a homey, cozy, and familiar manner by anyone wearing jeans, a white shirt, a khaki jacket or apron, and of course, a Lazy Betty floral pin. But don’t bother trying to figure out who your primary server is.

Lazy Betty is one of those revolutionary restaurants where gratuity is conveniently included in the menu price, ensuring wage stability for the staff and team service for their guests. That means every table is everyone’s and credit is shared. The talented kitchen crew even gets their flowers on the back of the menu, but they’ll still pop out to see how you’re doing. At the end of the night, you’ll feel like you’ve been group hugged by a collective of people who are so genuinely proud of what they’ve literally brought to the table.

Private events are now a go.

One thing you’ll notice are several different dining spaces that feel loosely connected. Phillips said, “The space is larger and a bit more refined with added flexibility for different uses of the space. We love how it flows from one room to another.

“We also have a private dining room and a semi-private dining room, which is something our old space didn’t have. Velvet drapes give privacy in the semi-private room, and there’s a glass window where guests can see from the room into the action of the main dining room.”

“The main dining room now seats 70,” Hsu added … but rest assured, you won’t ever feel it thanks to the lofty ceilings and spacious set-up. Overall, the semi-dining room accommodates 30 and the private room fits up to 18; the two can be combined to seat 50.

Come with the highest expectations.

They will exceed them. After all, as Phillips said with eyes soft as his smile, with both lit from within … “This is what it was always supposed to be.”

Su-Jit Lin is a rehabilitated New Yorker, former New Orleanian, and current Atlantan, in addition to being a travel, food, and lifestyle writer. She has contributed to EatingWell, HuffPost, Epicurious, The Takeout, Eater, The Kitchn, Vinepair, Thrillist, Food & Wine, Serious Eats, Southern Living, and more. Follow her on Instagram. Follow Resy, too.