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Omnivore - Get in Ma Mouth: Ham Bar Edition

Ham is good

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  • James Camp
  • HAM-WASTED: The Ham Bar exists at Southern Art


Ham. Bar. Are there two words in the English language that, when paired together, better elicit a joint feeling of hunger and curiosity? I think not. “Ham” is unequivocal. Ham is good. It drives that initial pang of hunger. Then “bar” comes in, nonchalantly, begging study, piquing curiosity.

Is it “bar” as in “granola bar” or “candy bar” — meaning a long, rectangular piece of ham, possibly wrapped in plastic? Or is it “bar” as in “a counter or place where beverages, especially liquors, or light meals are served to customers”? And what would that mean, if so? Ham-centric cocktails? Non-fat-grande-soy-lattes with ham garnish? Or, simply, a place with lots and lots of ham.

Luckily for us all, the “ham bar” that exists in Atlanta fits that last description. It is a place with lots and lots of very good ham. And not just ham — but first-rate, artisan, Southern (mostly), country ham. The ham bar of which we speak is at Southern Art, which opened at the Intercontinental Hotel in Buckhead almost a year ago. By all accounts, the ham bar idea sprung from the mad genius of celebri-Southern-chef-entertainer Art Smith, but it’s executive chef Anthony Gray who is tending the bar day to day. And tending it very well.