Streamlined Simplicity

Ford Fry’s latest Atlanta restaurant, LITTLE REY, combines high-quality cuisine with laid-back comfort

If you’re an Atlantan, it’s safe to assume you’ve visited one of chef and restaurateur Ford Fry’s acclaimed restaurants—which span from Buckhead’s King + Duke and Decatur’s No. 246 to Tex-Mex titans Superica and El Felix. His newest restaurant, Little Rey, located in Piedmont Heights, centers around wood-smoked chicken al carbon and all things Tex-Mex.

Offering a counter-service setup and a menu developed by Fry and chef Kevin Maxey, it’s Fry’s most casual restaurant to date, a “slightly distant cousin” to Superica. The 3,500-square-foot eatery’s playful design—
accomplished in partnership with Smith Hanes Studio—strikes a “funky Austin vibe,” Fry says. Think hand-painted signage, vintage memorabilia (including folk art from the 1970s and Mexican festival masks), hanging plants and punchy pops of pinks, blues and aqua-green.

Though laid-back, the menu is comprised of top-notch ingredients. In addition to chicken and Tex-Mex staples—tacos served on handmade tortillas, salsa and queso, for example—the menu also highlights fresh salads (we recommend the La Superica), breakfast tacos and soft-serve ice-cream flavors such as tres leches and churro. There are also fresh margaritas (of course) and a rotating selection of house-made agua frescas.

“We wanted it super simple,” Fry says. “Kevin comes from a background of super-fine dining and is talented and technical. I don’t believe he (or I) know how to cook while taking shortcuts and using inferior ingredients.”