Years ago, I watched a Travel Channel special narrated by John Goodman (I love John Goodman!) that praised an exclusive late-night hangout to get a top-shelf cheeseburger in Atlanta, Georgia. That place was Holeman and Finch Public House, and it only served 24 burgers a night. That television program (which I’ve struggled to locate on YouTube in recent months, though that’s where I first saw it) succeeded by making me desperately want one of those burgers. I never got one.
Recently while planning a trip to Atlanta with my wife Molly, I came across a place called H&F Burger. I was delighted to find out that the spot is, as I guessed by its name, an offshoot of Holeman and Finch, home of the hallowed nighttime burgers. H&F makes more burgers at more times (like all day!) and offers more seating opportunities to partake of those burgers, though it can be a challenge to get a seat at busy times.
H&F’s home is on the bottom floor of the incredible Ponce City Market, a beautiful and historic former Sears, Roebuck & Company building and a current haven for dining and shopping in the heart of the Atlanta metro. If you’re in Atlanta for more than a day, check out the market, even if you’re not in search of a great restaurant or snack spot (and there are several inside the massive building). Do be prepared to pay to park nearby as many garages and lots will cost you a by-the-hour fee at a kiosk.
Once you reach H&F, just walk up and find a seat at one of the many bar counters. Someone will approach you with a menu and take your order. You can order a fountain Coca-Cola from a very-nifty historic soda machine with a great story itself. You can get sweet tea, the nectar of the South. Or you can opt for a beverage from the local Red Hare Brewing, which also makes a tasty root beer that Molly sampled on our visit.
The menu at H&F offers plenty of delicious treats, including some very solid French fries. But the star of the show is the burger, of which we suggest The Original on your first visit. That’s what I went with, and here’s what I have to say about it.
The H&F Original burger is what a cheeseburger is supposed to taste like. The melted-cheese-covered beef is juicy and tender. The bun is soft and buttery. The pickles and red onion give a slight kick. The whole sandwich jives with my tastebuds. I love it, and it might be one of the best new burgers I’ve had in a long, long time.
If playing it straight and simple with a burger isn’t your jam like it is mine, then try the Mushroom & Swiss burger, or go adventurous and try a lamb burger or the Ted Turner Bison Burger. Molly ate the Bison, her first try of such a sandwich, and greatly enjoyed it.
The atmosphere at H&F is entertainment in itself. The place continuously hops with families and couples and singles, seemingly all feasting on the pleasurable experience of a great burger and a crisp refreshing beverage.
When you’re done, you can walk the downstairs and upstairs loops of the market to help your meal settle a bit and keep from being so full. Of course, you can always use that walk to also find a doughnut for dessert like we did at a bakery all the way on the other side of Ponce.
H&F is now one of my favorite food experiences in Atlanta. So it’s also pretty cool that the market isn’t the only location. You can feast on the eatery’s food at Atlanta Braves baseball and Atlanta Falcons football games, too. Both teams’ stadiums have satellite H&F locations.