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Review: Leon's Full Service (1)

Decatur gets what it deserves

It’s a rare but beautiful thing when a restaurant inhabits its surroundings so thoroughly that it immediately feels like an intrinsic part of a city’s landscape. Leon’s Full Service, located in Rue de Leon's old location on the corner of Ponce de Leon Avenue and Church Street, has managed to become such a natural part of Decatur already, it’s hard to believe the restaurant is only eight weeks old.

The reason may be the owners' intimate familiarity with the hopes, desires, and beer enthusiasms of Decaturites. They've spent the last 12 years running the legendary Brick Store Pub around the corner. But it’s more than Leon's pitch-perfect reading of what a young, booze-friendly customer base requires. The space is brazenly appealing, evoking a slightly nautical feel with its white wooden booths, blue walls and red accents. Just enough of the building’s vintage character has been left in place to communicate its aesthetic, and just enough has been done to modernize the space to make it feel clean and vibrant. It’s Decatur all over. Don’t you just hate Decatur sometimes for being so … awesome?

There are certain qualities of Brick Store the owners have imported to Leon’s. The commitment to outstanding beverages includes a manageable but thrilling beer selection, and extends into wine and cocktails. (Try the Belgian champale cocktail for something truly weird and delicious.) The enthusiastic service here mirrors the passions of Brick Store's brew-loving barkeeps. It’s not uncommon for a server to take a seat at the table to fervently discuss a certain beer, cheese or dish. It sometimes makes for slow service at other tables, but is wholly worth it for the attention when you do get your turn.

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(Photo by James Camp)