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Cheap Eats: Pijiu Belly

Ten random facts about a very random new restaurant

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Random facts about the new Pijiu Belly bar and restaurant on 10th Street near Howell Mill, one of the most random restaurants you might randomly walk into in Atlanta:

Fact 1: Pijiu is Mandarin for beer. There is plenty of beer at Pijiu Belly, but little else that is even remotely Mandarin. The 16 taps mostly pull from a wide range of local craft breweries (currently including Creature Comforts, Monday Night, Orpheus, Second Self, Sweetwater, Terrapin, Three Tavers, and Wild Heaven), with a Sapporo (from Japan) and an Angry Orchard (from Cincinnati) hard cider thrown in, because, why not? There's also a handful of Asian lagers - Hite (South Korea), Chang (Thailand), Kirin Light (Japan), Tiger (Singapore), and Lucky Buddha (China) - plus some random beers by the bottle or can, from the likes of Allagash, Anderson Valley, Full Sail, and Miller High Life.

Fact 2: Belly is English for belly. You can get a spicy roasted pork belly sandwich on a sesame bun ($11), or fill your belly with good old American (and Canadian) (and American-wanna-be-Mexican) junk food like loaded nachos, poutine made with hand-cut frites, and house-battered mini corn dogs made with Nathan's Famous beef franks. Expect more Korean-influenced pub food to join the menu in the coming weeks as the restaurant continues to ramp up.

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Fact 3: Pijiu Belly's signature dish is rotisserie chicken. Dry rubbed with spices, "roasted for hours, then crisped." For $17, you get a whole chicken, a side of sugary sweet ginger collard greens, and a pile of crisp mu (pickled Korean white radish). This goes nicely with beer. In fact, Pijiu Belly's logo is a chicken drinking beer. I'm guessing he died happy as he jumped in to the rotisserie to get all crisp and juicy.

Fact 4: Beer is not everything. Pijiu Belly offers a full bar, centered on cocktails that might be described as being built for the redneck country music set, like the soon to be famous Red Solo Cup - "a well vodka hunch punch made with whatever the bartender feels like making it with" ($6.50) - or the Whiskey for My Men ($10), with rye, vermouth, Memphis BBQ bitters, and candied bacon. There's also a small assortment of wines by the glass and a half dozen sakes. Oh, another random fact - on my visit to Pijiu Belly, country music was indeed playing in the room, perfect accompaniment for my Red Solo Cup.

Fact 5: House-made kimchi ($4) and German potato salad ($4.50) can peacefully coexist on a short list of sides. As can cole slaw with poppy seed dressing and pickled cucumbers. None of those things are Mandarin. But Pijiu still remains Mandarin for beer.

Fact 6: Everybody loves cheese and charcuterie plates. You can get one here, ranging from $4 for one single selection, up to $32 for an assortment of every single one of Pijiu Belly's five available cheeses and five available cured meats. The cheese selections span half the globe - from Georgia to France to Spain to Italy and back to New York. But nothing from China. Or Korea. Or Mexico. Or Canada.

Fact 7: I haven't mentioned the burgers, yet. But Pijiu Belly has burgers. The Pijiu Burger ($13) comes with a fried egg, kimchi, cheese and beer-BBQ sauce. The Classic GT Burger ($10) comes with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles. I think GT stands for Georgia Tech, where they like burgers. And beer. Pijiu's burgers come with a side of hand-cut frites, skin-on around the edges, a little oily, a little salty. They go well with beer.

Fact 8: You can play darts. Actually, I don't know if you personally can play darts, but you do have the opportunity to play darts at Pijiu Belly, where two dart boards reside in the front corner of the restaurant. But there is no Galaga, nor Chinese Checkers, nor Jinga. Just darts. And beer.

Fact 9: Pijiu Belly is located on 10th street, just east of Howell Mill, right across the street from Sherwin Williams. Sherwin Williams sells paint. And Pijiu Belly used paint to gussy up the place. Beyond paint, Pijiu Belly also used old Sears warehouse trolley carts as wall decor and built in to some of the dining tables. Other tables are built from old wooden doors. The aesthetic seems to be old American stuff meets stark minimalism, with a side of badly drawn chickens drinking beer playing darts.

Fact 10: Pijiu Belly comes to us from Lenny Shou, owner of the small chain of Noodle pan-Asian restaurants. He describes the new restaurant, which opened December 9, as "American-Asian pub fare." With a healthy dose of random thrown in.

Pijiu Belly
678 10th Street Northwest
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 343-6828

Tue - Fri:?11AM - 3PM, 5PM - 9PM
Sat - Sun:?4PM - 9PM

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  • Brad Kaplan
  • Fact #11: It's a bit too dark inside Pijiu Belly to get a decent iPhone photo of their chicken