Atlas Diner Merges Morning-to-Night Americana with British Class
Chef Richard Knight’s new endeavor is Atlas Diner, located in Bravery Chef Hall at 409 Travis in Aris Tower, diagonally across from Market Street Park. While it has classic diner features, such as a long counter lined with seats and an open kitchen, the mesh of influences include classic British fare, including dishes that reflect that country’s long affection for Indian cuisine, as well as dishes as American as apple pie. In fact, Atlas Diner does have a rotating selection of pies, cakes and cookies baked by the very capable Hannah Reece of Hannah’s Pantry.
Atlas Diner now serves breakfast starting at 7:30 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. It just started offering Late Knight (get it?) hours from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Important note: guests must go to 408 Main and walk through The Secret Garden (one of Bravery’s multiple onsite bars) to enter. The rest of the hall closes at 11 p.m., so the main entrance will be locked.
The new Late Knight menu has a good sense of fun about it. Diners often crave breakfast-for-dinner after a downtown bar crawl, and Atlas offers plenty of choices. A few examples include Dakota’s Blueberry Pancakes (named for the chef’s daughter; add optional candy and ice cream toppings to make it dessert-y); warm-spiced Jamaican Pancakes topped with vanilla ice cream, crème fraîche, toasted coconut and rum syrup; a breakfast taco duo with eggs, cheese and a choice of bacon, sausage or hash browns; and for those in the mood for a big old breakfast that practically has it all, The Full Montysaurus with two fried eggs, pork sausage, chicken-apple sausage, bacon, hash browns and toast.
Those more in a dinner mood have options, too. Discover some of that Brit-Indian influence with the Butter Chicken & Chips. In British parlance, “chips” are fried potatoes and the “squirly fries” used in this dish are exceptional. The rough wedges sport frilly, crispy exteriors thanks to a thin batter, and the spiced butter chicken sauce pulls no punches. Three housemade chutneys come alongside: mint, apple and green pea; tamarind and Mysore chili.
Other choices include Mr Reuben, a classic execution of corned beef, sautéed onion, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing and the Butcher’s Meatloaf, formed with 44 Farms ground beef and then wrapped in bacon. Mashed potatoes and green beans come alongside, as is proper.
When only a burger will do, turn to The Atlas Patty Melt, which is also made with 44 Farms beef and topped with caramelized onions as well as American and Swiss cheese. Fries come alongside.
Those who ducked in mainly to satisfy a sweet tooth may find favor with the Knickerbocker Sunrise Sundae, an over-the-top concoction of ice cream, berries, whipped cream and “lots of naughty chocolate things,” garnished with a banana cut into a dolphin shape. For something a little more conscientious yet decadent, try Carrie’s Goat Cheese Cheesecake with berry jam. It’s the chef’s wife’s recipe that uses fresh chèvre from Blue Heron Farm in Waller, Texas. Alternatively, you can have one of those aforementioned pies with a variety of fillings.
Atlas Diner is tucked behind a wall in Bravery Chef Hall. If you use the “late night entrance,” you’ll walk right into it. However, if you are coming through the normal front door, walk past the wine bar, then hang a right. After that, you can’t miss Atlas Diner — and, in fact, really shouldn’t.
Atlas Diner in Bravery Chef Hall serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and a late-night menu. The hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays, 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays.