One Eared Stag Hosts Sixties-Style Lunch for MLK Day

Chefs Robert Phalen (One Eared Stag) and Deborah VanTrece (Twisted Soul Kitchen & Bar) will collaborate on a luncheonette menu straight from the 1960s to be served at One Eared Stag in Atlanta, which occupies a space where Dr. King himself dined.

MLK dinner
The intersection of Hurt St. and Dekalb Ave. in 1957, where One Eared Stag’s current building can be seen at center-left, with Inman Park United Methodist Church visible behind it. Photo courtesy of Georgia State University Library via

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 2016, Chef Deborah VanTrece will join Chef Robert Phalen at One Eared Stag in Atlanta to serve a lunch uniquely focused on the civil rights movement. The chefs will collaborate on a menu authentic to the late 1950s and 1960s, the beginning of the civil rights movement in Atlanta and a time when One Eared Stag’s space was occupied by Burton’s Grill. According to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food, Deacon Burton’s legendary restaurant was frequented by many leaders of the civil rights movement.

Chefs VanTrece and Phalen will prepare a menu true to the time period, including fried chicken, smoked trout, braised oxtails, smothered pork chops, mashed potatoes, green beans, glazed carrots and peas and rice. All dishes will be available a la carte with prices authentic to sixties as well. While most meals may only cost $1.50 or so, each diner will be asked to contribute $35 to the King Center on their final bill, or more if they choose.

“We were inspired when we learned that Dr. King had often eaten in a building that now holds one of our favorite restaurants, One Eared Stag,” said Chef VanTrece. “We planned this event with Chef Phalen so that our friends and neighbors could add perspective to their experience of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. They can sit where Dr. King sat and enjoy a meal that the leaders of that time may have eaten.

Hopefully our guests will reflect on what’s changed, what hasn’t changed and start conversations over good food.”

The building that houses One Eared Stag was constructed in 1920 and has been the home of Burton’s Grill and Son’s Place, earning itself a reputation for upholding the Southern food tradition. It is located at the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Hurt Street, a short walk from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic District on Auburn Avenue.

All donations from the MLK Day lunch will benefit the King Center.

Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (404) 525-4479.