Hidden. Secretive. A little bit adventurous. No, we're not talking about the formula for Donald Trump's coiffure. We speak of the pop-up dinner, that fleeting, underground, oh-so-enticing concept that allows chefs to color outside the lines—and gives intrepid chowhounds the chance to dine on unexpected food in even less expected places. Pork heart tacos in a neighborhood market? Check. Tonkatsu ramen in a coffee shop? Naturally. Below, a handful of the brand-new, under-the-radar culinary adventures popping up around town. There's almost one for every day of the week, so gird your loins and get to feasting. (On Saturdays, we rest.)
TONTON Ramen at Octane Grant Park
Sundays, 5 p.m. (through March)
Like a pork belly-wielding seductress, Guy Wong has effectively teased our ramen lust on and off for the last few years. The chef behind Miso Izayaka instantly cultivated a cult-like following for his slow-simmered broth back when one could only procure the stuff after 10 p.m. on a Tuesday, resulting in countless ramen-thirsting Atlantans staying up past their bedtime just for a chance of getting their hands on the stuff. Now, after a woefully ramen-less dry spell, Guy is once again coming through. Starting this weekend, Guy's Ton Ton Ramen will be up for grabs and ready for the slurpin' at Octane Grant Park every Sunday night through March, for weekend warriors seeking a way to wind down and warm up. Our pork prayers have been answered, Atlanta: The Ramening is once again upon us.
Jimmy's Hot Chicken at Gato Bizco
Mondays, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
This wee little Candler Park cafe has already hosted its fair share of curious dining experiences, from the star-studded BATON series to the still-ongoing Gato Arigato. Now, we can add a staple of the Nashville foodways to the roster of cuisines up for grabs any given night at Gato. Via Eater, one James Ellington (formerly of Holeman & Finch) is spearheading Jimmy's Hot Chicken, a weekly homage to the Nashville sauce-slathered bird, on Monday evenings. (We have a feeling you might need to bring along some WetNaps.)
Chef Jarrett Stieber at the General Muir
Wednesday — Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
After emerging from the kitchen of Empire State South, Chef Jarrett Stieber spent the latter part of 2013 whipping up pork heart tacos and crispy tofu inside the Candler Park Market as a semi-permanent pop-up (sounds like an oxymoron, but we swear it's a thing). Now, the man behind the "fine foods in unorthodox locations" of the Eat Me series is setting up shop inside Atlanta's doted-upon delicatessen, The General Muir, three days a week. According to his conversation with Zagat, the chef plans to focus on Israeli foods with "brighter colors, brighter ingredients." Sounds like a tasty answer to winter doldrums to us.
Queso Kings at the Lawrence
Thursdays & Fridays, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Can those King of Pops boys do any wrong? We think not—particularly when armed with cheese. Indeed, the Queso Kings have risen again, resurrecting their cheesy pop-up concept that we first encountered two years ago at the Lawrence. This go-round, they're back at it for two days a week, and though the duo have been vague about exactly what kind of deliciousness we can expect (Steven Carse simply hints at "something new/fun"), we're pretty sure it will be just that: delicious.