Java Saga

A "hole in the wall" typically implies a small, obscure restaurant; typically it's a description of affection implying a wonderful place in spite of its modest environment. But in the case of Java Saga, the moniker is not just a figurative label, it's quite literal. Java Saga serves ridiculously great food and coffee out of a hole. In a wall.

Sitting in the living room of his fraternity house, Alvin Sun, an econ major at UGA, dreamed of a coffee and chicken sandwich concept. He even taped up the layout of the food truck on a wall and had his fraternity brothers pretend to be customers so he could visualize the dimensions. Sun launched his food truck (trailer) in 2016 catering to Georgia's burgeoning film productions, festivals, and other events where food trucks delivered caffeine and a few menu items. Now that COVID has slowed the mobile part of the business down, Sun is focused on his brick and mortar location over on the Prep Atlanta campus near Spaghetti Junction and has developed a full breakfast and lunch menu revolving around the chicken sandwich--specifically the Taiwanese Fried Chicken sandwich. Set your GPS for Java Saga (you'll never find it otherwise) and get ready for some mind-blowing surprises.

Sun said he developed his palette from the years of being an overweight child and then learning to cook for himself in high school to drop some lbs. During that time Sun watched a lot of cooking videos on YouTube and commenced a trial and error experiment on his version Taiwanese fried chicken. Taiwan chicken preparation includes marinating overnight in soy sauce and spices, dipping in egg and then dredging in sweet potato starch (gluten-free!). Finally, it's fried to a light brown/yellow exterior, the crust is crunchy and the inside is juicy and flavorful. In Taiwan, it's served popcorn-style as a street snack in the night markets in Taiwan where you walk up to a window and order. But living in Chick-Fil-A's backyard Sun knew of the reverence of a great chicken sandwich and thus created his masterpiece, the Taiwan #1 Fried Chicken Sandwich.

These behemoth beauties have it all--sweet, savory, crunch and tenderness. The flavors are explosive and absolutely crave-worthy. Versions include the 886 (with pickled daikon carrot slaw), the ABC (with pepper jack cheese and Asian sweet slaw), the Jolly Rancher (with bacon, egg and pepper jack cheese) and the Taiwan #1 Hot Chicken ("drown in Java Saga Lava" and served on a piece of brown sugar milk toast and with sweet pickles). His "exotic fries" are a must as well, perfectly fried sticks with an unusual herbal seasoning. It's hard to say which is best; these are all really special units.

Breakfast all-day also offers many delicious and intriguing twists: The Diggity Dan Bing (a Taiwanese crepe with cage-free eggs, cheese, cilantro, and basil) or the Eggcited Croissant, a sweet egg salad on a fluffy croissant. And naturally with a coffee-centric name the beverages deliver as well--espressos, coffees, teas, smoothies and specialty creations are made fresh and can either warm you up or cool you down and refresh you.

One caveat: despite the laid back setting, this is not fast food. The sandwiches are made to order so I recommend a preorder and then you can sit and enjoy at a small table outside the window or take to-go. Java Saga is onto something special here...but don't expect a bunch of franchises. Sun said he hopes to put his UGA degree to work and crawl-walk-run the concept from it's a current hole into to a number of locations around the city that he will control himself. In the meantime look for me peering into the hole in the wall, waiting for my favorite sandwich.

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