Glass windows rakishly slant outward at the angle of 1950s tailfins at the Silver Skillet. The place is a blast from the past: faded yellow walls covered with decades of newspaper clippings and a gallery of equine portraits, green-and-orange pumpkin-colored upholstered booths at boomerang-pattern Formica tables. A sign above one booth advises, “Use a little sugar and stir like hell. We don’t mind the noise.”
Lunch is fine, but breakfast is outstanding. Skillet-cooked ham is astonishing, even a little scary. It is dark, dark red and about twice as thick as typical country ham. But oh, it is a joy! Less dense and compact than thinner slices, it nevertheless packs the salty powerhouse tang of long-cured pig meat. And it comes with a dish of marvelous dark red-eye gravy for spooning on top (or for drizzling onto grits). Biscuits are tall and creamy-centered with crunchy golden tops. Pancakes are excellent, too. They are plate wide, thin and tender with a faint crispness to their crust.
Beyond the excellent diner food, we love the Silver Skillet for its ambience. This is a true-blue diner, with professional waitresses who give no quarter and present the check along with your meal. The clientele includes Atlantans from all walks of life. Rich and poor, famous and unknown, politicians wanting to look normal and average Joes seeking a square meal all make themselves right at home in these old booths.