If you go into the free-standing building that says “” on New Street in Decatur, you won’t find a restaurant – just a kitchen. It can throw you off, until you realize that the restaurant is across the small courtyard. It’s unusual for a restaurant to have its kitchen in another building, but Duck’s didn’t start out that way.
The restaurant, which opened in 2005, started out as a kitchen with only outdoor seating. But the increase in customers caused them to outgrow the space, so they were able to rent more space in the complex across the courtyard. That space was too small for a restaurant and kitchen, so owners Ann “Duck” Duckworth and Cindy Diamond decided to keep the kitchen in the original location.
“It’s unique. It helps us keep an eye on our customers since we have to constantly walk by them from the kitchen to the restaurant. We’re a bit off the beaten path, but it’s a good location, and it’s very affordable compared to downtown Decatur,” Diamond said.
Menu items – most under $10 -- are made fresh daily including small plates, specialty pizzas, sandwiches, salads and a soup of the day. “We made everything here – the bread, sauces, and we slow cook the meats. We never use a microwave,” Diamond said. Three of the most popular sandwiches are The James Calvin, named for a co-owner’s late father; the veggie burger, which they make from scratch; and the chicken salad made with dates, celery and pecans. The chicken salad is so popular that customers order it by the pound.
Also popular with customers are Duck’s famous baked goods, including their popular brownies and cinnamon sugar donuts. “People go crazy for the donuts. And the AJC gave us the name ‘home of the ultimate bagel’ because we make them the old fashioned way. We make the dough, let is rise, and boil them. Our sandwiches are special because we make our bread from scratch. We also sell it by the loaf, but since the dough has to rise overnight, customers must order it a day ahead,” Diamond said.
The restaurant has a partnership with in downtown Decatur. They provide them with bagels and other baked goods, while Dancing Goats provides Duck’s with great coffee. First-time customer Lindsey Stillman of Reynoldstown said she’s enjoyed Duck’s cinnamon sugar donuts at Dancing Goats. “I’ve been eating them for a while, so I decided to check out the restaurant for lunch. I don’t know what it is about the donuts, but they’re just so good! I’m on a diet right now, but if I weren’t I’d try all of the pastries here,” she said.
The restaurant is always busy.
“We have the best customers. Our regulars have come here since we first opened. We can name at least half a dozen customers each day – it’s like 'Cheers,' ” Diamond said.
Duck’s appreciates their customers and their local farmers. They get their meats, cheeses and produce from places like D & A Farms and in Avondale. They also host a monthly dinner called “The Go Local” where local farmers, cheese makers and beekeepers speak. “It’s a four –course meal with all local foods. It’s $30 per person. We’ve been doing it for four years and it’s sold out for several months in advance. We have a long waiting list,” Diamond said.
But don’t worry if you can’t get on the waiting list, because by the end of June Duck’s will be taking its food on the road with the new “Wow Truck.” They’ll be selling items like Venezuelan stuffed corn cakes, sandwiches, donuts and breakfast foods at private events until they get a permit to sell to the public. Then they’ll be spreading their home-made goodies all over town.