Little Rey’s is family-friendly and conveniently located

Little Rey’s’ neon sign can be spotted easily on the busy Piedmont Ave..

Little Rey Chicken Al Carbon is a new restaurant addition to the Piedmont Heights area. The big, bright space is full of customers day in and day out.

“It’s nice having an additional place to get quick, good food. It’s family-friendly and very convenient to get to. It’s also just more appropriate for a neighborhood than a tattoo parlor,” said Sigrid Vale, a customer who lives in the neighborhood.

Every night the parking lot is packed full and a line accumulates outside the door. The lively corner wasn’t always that way.

Before Little Rey opened this year. The building was used as a tattoo parlor called Anchor Bar and Tattoo Studio The building has history, but Little Rey is the first heavily utilized space.

This space was mysterious and obviously not family-friendly. With the rapid development and renovation of the area, including the construction of the Morningside by Windsor apartments and a Starbucks, the gloomy tattoo development fell out of place.

According to Hayley Chamberlain, a freshman at Grady, Little Rey has brightened up the area.

“Little Rey has definitely made an impact. It has been an upgrade since the tattoo parlor. It is nicer and makes the neighborhood cleaner,” said Chamberlain.

Little Rey was opened by Ford Fry, an American chef and restaurant owner. The restaurant prepares Tex-Mex food. He owns 12 different restaurants, some of which have multiple locations, throughout America. Ten of these are present in Georgia, and nine out of those ten are located in the immediate Atlanta area. However, Little Rey has a completely different structure and vibe than Fry’s other restaurants.

“This is Ford Fry’s first fast casual restaurant. His other restaurants are full service restaurants, but there is definitely a range. There is fine dining and more casual dining, which is like El Felix and Superica, but right now, we are in an avenue of our own as his first fast casual restaurant,” said Jasmine Yates, the manager of Little Rey.

The restaurant does not have sit down service. Rather, you stand in a fast-paced line coming from the back door.

Andy Thompson, a local customer and Grady parent appreciates the prompt service. Once up to the counter, the customers order their food from friendly employees. This whole time, lively music is playing, people are laughing and talking loudly, and friends are catching up.

While waiting for their order, customers head to fill cups with vibrant salsas and flavorful dips. The food is cooked and served minutes after the order is taken, and a waft of beautifully seasoned, fried chicken consumes the room.

“Little Rey has a very cool vibe to it. It is a great place to go get Mexican food. The set up is unique and the atmosphere lets you enjoy the food even more,” said Chamberlain.

Little Rey is a popular spot throughout the day, in part to their breakfast and dinner selections.

Little Rey has breakfast tacos for the morning and traditional or al carbon tacos for lunch and dinner. The food served at the restaurant is based off of Kevin Maxey’s, the vice president and a chef of the restaurant, and Fry’s Texas background.

Vale says that the long line outside is really the only downside to the restaurant, but that it shows the restaurant’s success.

“The atmosphere feels like that of a more expensive, hipster restaurant, but the food is decently priced and really good,” said Grady sophomore, Nola Pickering. “Also, it’s pretty much the only place in Atlanta where you can get Tex Mex breakfast tacos. It’s like being in Texas.”

The food served at Little Rey comes highly recommended. The chicken sandwich has also made a very prominent reputation. Thompson said that the fried chicken sandwich is really good. Tim Hart, a Grady parent as well, says he is intrigued to try the popular sandwich. He describes in detail the fresh, authentic food.

“I ate dinner but eventually want to have breakfast as well as their famous chicken sandwich. The food was delicious and the tacos al carbon puerco, and steak, were particularly tasty. The guacamole was fresh and had the right amount of spicy heat. The watermelon was a refreshing cleanse of the palette,” said Hart.

Little Rey is a fun experience for customers of all ages and appeals to a wide variety of people. The food has options for all different palettes. The restaurant incorporates authentic cuisine, while also putting a twist on the recipes. Little Rey prides themselves on their piquant flavors. They achieve this through the al carbon process.

“Al Carbon means fresh off the grill, or that it is cooked over a firewood grill, and that is the heart of what we do. The inspiration comes from the flavor from the open fire grills. We use mesquite and oakwood so the food has this nice robust, bold Texas flare. That’s what we strive for every day, and I feel like we’ve accomplished that when it comes to the flavors of our proteins,” said Yates.

Little Rey is an all around good restaurant that has made a nice impact on the Morningside area. Anybody can come to get fast, but authentic food in the modern space. The Tex-Mex joint is a prospering replacement to the uninhabited tattoo parlor. The community is happy to have the new restaurant, and customers like Hart are excited to have another Ford Fry restaurant in town.

“Overall, it’s one of my favorite restaurants, especially for breakfast,” said Pickering.