The Vortex in Midtown is, from the outside, the toned down, prettier analog of the Little Five Points location. Gone is the entry way through the head of a skull. There is nice looking outside seating here, a lot of chrome, housed in a tall building, as opposed to a rambling ranch style complex. And the sass? There is plenty of that, but only once you get inside.
Inside, one wall was dominated by provocative photos of what I assumed were waitstaff, the girls advertised on Vortex web pages as the “Girls of Vortex”. Along another wall were small signed autographs, not only of various TV stars, but adult models as well. On the wall closest to me was a painting of a nude from the midriff up, on black velvet. Beside the velvet beauty was a water buffalo, who in my imagination was speaking to me and calling himself “Fred”. Other interesting props included a swan assembled from a vacuum cleaner, bombs falling from the roof, skeletons with the wings of an angel, and several variations of a skeleton riding a motorcycle, preferably with a bottle of Jägermeister close by. Other props, such as license plates, trays, old adverts were scattered about. What was missing were the demure older nudes that seemed to pepper the Five Points location.
Despite all the apparent toughness projected at Midtown, my waitress was actually quite normal and very cute. Ordering was easy. I asked for a house salad and also a cheeseburger, medium rare. There was a decent crowd when I arrived and it took a few minutes for the food to arrive. IPhones and touch pads started appearing and I was worried my neck of the woods would become insufferably yuppie. That issue resolved itself with the appearance of food.
Eating out can be tricky with my diet; you have to watch everything. However, a simple modern utensil can save those of us on long extended diets, and that is the stainless steel knife. Applying it, we also get to see that when you order medium rare at the Vortex, you actually get medium rare at the Vortex.
The salad was good. Perhaps 2 cups in size, there were plenty of tender, tasty greens and the vinaigrette was tangy and flavorful at the same time. The burger, in a word, was fine. The meats were juicy and tender. The cheese was delightful. I guess I need another trip sometime, to see if I can get a second slice of cheese on my burger. I need that extra fat at dinner.
Verdict: One of the primo burger shops in the city, as long as you can handle the attitude. Highly recommended.
Vortex Bar and Grill (Midtown)
878 Peachtree St
Atlanta, GA 30309