I have many fond memories as an Emory student spending late nights at R. Thomas’ Deluxe Grill, often during crunch time prior to an important exam. My friends and I often ended up there looking for something a little healthier at 2 a.m., having learned our lesson of how not to eat during freshman year.
Ahead of its time, R. Thomas has been offering a huge menu of healthy dishes for over 25 years. You wouldn’t expect it in a city filled with fried chicken and BBQ joints (ironically, before changing his ways, owner Richard Thomas served as President of Kentucky Fried Chicken, and was one of the founders of Bojangles’).
From fresh-squeezed juices and yummy smoothies, to free-range meats, organic, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan menu items, there is something for everyone on a menu that is equal opportunity carnivore and herbivore.
The purple and green-tented edifice is a stark contrast from the new high rises lining Peachtree in South Buckhead. One of the most charming things about the place is R. Thomas’ collection of birds inhabiting the cages leading up to the entrance. From toucans to parrots to cockatiels, the birds often make an appearance with R. Thomas himself in the colorful mobile-decorated dining room. He might just plop one down on your head: definitely a highlight for My Little Foodies.
As for the food, breakfast all day (literally…they are open 24/7) is always nice. Smoothies like the Busy Bee (pear juice, mango, dates, organic bee pollen and honey) or Banana Boy Toy (kefir. bananas, vanilla, and honey) are perfect to split between two little ones. They also offer kids’ smoothies in more basic flavors, and substitute agave for the honey for those worried about botulism. For starters, we always get R. Thomas Chips Deluxe, the healthiest version of nachos you can find: organic corn chips topped with white cheddar and “cha cha” veggies (sautéed carrots and zucchini) served with red bean dip and hummus.
I love the fresh Dr. Joe’s Mango Salad composed with fresh mango, avocado, tomatoes, and pea sprouts in a tangy vinaigrette, and have to fight Little A for a decent share as he’s developed an oddly strong love for all things salad.
The kids’ stuff is pretty straightforward with a delicious grilled cheese on whole grain bread or a kid’s scramble. The best part is the choice of any of R.’s Veggie Choices as a side (a side by itself is almost the same price, so why not get the kids’ meal…it’s not like you won’t enjoy the grilled cheese yourself). From the “starchy” such as butternut squash or cinnamon sweet potatoes, to the “grains” like rosemary quinoa and blue corn posole, to “ocean veggies” such as sesame seaweed salad, and “nonstarchy” root vegetable salad and shoestring ginger beets, this might be an opportunity to convert your Little Foodies’ love from fried chicken to something a little healthier. And while some might think many of the items featured are “for the birds” (both figuratively and literally), you might just be surprised by these healthy and fresh offerings.
R. Thomas Chips Deluxe-$10.25
Dr. Joe’s Mango Salad-$8.25
Smoothies-$6.50; Kids’ Smoothies -$3.25
Grilled Cheese (with Side) -$5.69
R’s Veggie Choices-$4.99
R’s Vegetable Combo (4 Choices) -$14.25