Eat, Drink & Bring Home the Yum.
By Hope S. Philbrick
The closer you live to downtown Atlanta, Georgia, the easier it is to ignore the suburbs. Conversely, if you live in a suburb, unless you work downtown, you may only visit the city when you’re hosting company and you probably never venture to different suburbs. Some blame the traffic. Truth is, though, this phenomenon is not unique to Atlanta or even The South. We get stuck in our routines, even when it comes to eating, shopping, playing. But a recent visit to Alpharetta, about 27 miles north of Atlanta, confirmed that’s a mistake.
Make time to experience the awesomeness of Alpharetta.
Everything seems bigger in Alpharetta; it’s the Texas of Atlanta. Stores seem newer, shinier, more spacious. Restaurants serve more generous portions and/or charge slightly lower rates. Hotel lobbies sprawl. Roads have wider shoulders (or maybe it’s just that traffic thins out a bit). You may even hear a few “howdy”s and “ma’am”s uttered if you listen closely enough.
Best of all is the authentic flavor on local menus. Restaurants, breweries, bakeries, markets and other culinary destinations offer tasty options to discover and savor Alpharetta. Among our favorite discoveries…
Bite Bistro & Bar (11500 Webb Bridge Way, 770-754-5500) serves eclectic, Southern-infused creations like “hog toes,” which are peppedew peppers stuffed with smoked pimento chees and bacon jam, plus fried pickles and okra, crab cakes, fig and prosciutto flatbread, smoked chicken and grits, cowboy ribeye and more. Our group filled a big table with various menu selections, sampled as much as we could stomach, and still found dessert irresistible . Odds are you’ll leave feeling over-stuffed but happy.
Brine Seafood Shack features dishes inspired by East and West Coast American seafood favorites, from lobster rolls to fish tacos; press materials describe the style as “Cape Cod-meets-Santa Monica.” Fittingly, you’ll find Southern favorites like peel-and-eat shrimp, crab cakes, and shrimp & grits, too. Read more.
Donut Theory (11550 Webb Bridge Way; 470-275-5530) is on a mission to bring back hand-made from-scratch doughnuts, so you won’t find assembly lines or shortcuts here. In addition to classic yeast doughnuts, the bakery offers bismarks, fritters, cruellers and other treats. Indulge: This is no place to fret about calories. Whether you prefer chocolate, sprinkles, plain or whatever, temptation is here.
The El Felix (1130 Avalon Pkwy., 678-248-5239) is one of famed Atlanta restaurateur Ford Fry’s creations and mimics an Austin, Texas-style roadhouse. The Tex-Mex fare is prepared by lead Chef Kevin Maxey, a Texas native. So these tacos, enchiladas and fajitas are authentic and seriously delicious. The margaritas are top-notch. If I ever go missing, you may find me here.
Hop Alley Brew Pub (25 S. Main St., 770-696-2097) pours approximately six of its own brews along with a selection of guest draughts, most from Germany and the Southeastern U.S., plus some interesting bottled and canned selections. The house-made beers include standards, seasonals and a few barrel-aged options—order a sampler to taste them all and choose your own personal favorite before committing to a full glass. The food menu offers bar bites, sandwiches, burgers, tacos and select entrées including shrimp & grits.
Jekyll Brewing (2855 Marconi Dr., 844-4JEKYLL) was Alpharetta’s first brewery and is named to honor the Deep South’s first brewery, which was founded on Jekyll Island in 1738. Brew master and co-owner Josh Rachel creates a lineup of craft beers in a broad range of styles. Sip your way to discover a favorite; mine is Cooter Brown, a smooth rich American brown ale that also inspired one of the brewery’s most hilarious T-shirts: “Keep Your Dang Blum Hands Off My Cooter.” 21 plus, indeed.
Original Pancake House (5530 Windward Pkwy., 678-393-1355) compares making pancakes to making beer because precise chemistry is key to both. Everything on the menu is fresh-made, from-scratch, on site; even the coffee is the restaurant’s own blend. The buttermilk pancake batter is made with the restaurant’s proprietary sour starter. There are also German, French and Swedish -style batters. The apple pancake is about the size of a whole apple pie and just as savory-sweet. Don’t like pancakes? No problem: There are also eggs, waffles, salads, sandwiches and other options.
South Main Kitchen (9 S. Main St., 678-691-4622) is located in the heart of Alpharetta’s Historic Downtown District and offers a taste-forward dining experience in a casual atmosphere with upscale service. Read more.
Take The Taste of Alpharetta Home…
Alpharetta Farmers Market (Old Canton Street, Saturdays, April-October, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.) showcases the season’s best produce, natural meats, fresh flowers, baked goods, artisan soaps and other local products from more than 60 vendors. Wear comfortable shoes and enjoy the mouthwatering, nose-tingling, eye-popping stroll. Bring a big bag to carry your chosen bountiful loot.
Salud! Cooking School at Whole Foods Avalon (2800 Old Milton Pkwy., 770-442-3354) makes sure you can recreate the taste of Alpharetta at home: Take a cooking class, eat the tasty results, then recreate the experience later in your own kitchen. Enthusiastic instructors ensure all students of any cooking level learn something during the hands-on lessons. Choose from a wide range of class subjects. Before you leave, shop this Whole Foods location’s selection of local goods.
Atlanta Marriott Alpharetta
5750 Windward Parkway
Alpharetta GA 30005
678-297-2811 or 877-202-5961
– Photo Credits: Top image and Salud! courtesy Alpharetta CVB; remainder © HSP Media LLC
This post was first published on October 21, 2016.
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion. Thanks to the Alpharetta CVB for hosting a group press trip.