Cheeky Taqueria at Avenue Forsyth

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Adjective – obviously planned, artificial

That’s our word of the day, and it was the first word I thought of after setting foot inside Cheeky. Taquerias are popping up everywhere, and most are not true taco shacks. To Cheeky’s credit, they are going for that taco shack feel. But you don’t take a brand spanking new strip mall space and pretend it is a shack. Ask anyone who’s been to Jim and Nicks if they thought it truly felt like a down home barbecue place. All the folksy pictures and faux farm implements on the wall don’t change the fact that you’re in a STRIP MALL! So the fake garage doors at Cheeky were not fooling me, nor were the menus printed on wood.

My other first impression was that management was over-training the staff. They opened on Monday. I was there on Tuesday. Two employees asked me if this was my first visit. Duh! If you’ve been to Chepes Mexican, it is kinda like that. The employees are almost too friendly, to the point of smothering you with their helpfulness.

But even with these annoyances, I kinda liked Cheeky’s. For lunch I tried the trio of tacos. They use fresh ingredients and combine them in creative ways. I found my tacos to be a good mix of spice, heat and sweetness from things like pineapple salsa. They also had contrasting textures. The sliced pork in one taco was soft, delicate and flavorful. The shrimp tacos were pretty good, but could use a few more of the critters. The crab croquette tacos (a signature item) were just fair, I wasn’t impressed. The beans (both refried and charro) left a lot to be desired.

I really liked Cheeky’s bar. They feature tables with self-serve beer taps. You’ll also find TVs in the bar that measure how much beer of each brand has been served that night. If you are competitive in nature, this might be dangerous. But it is a concept I’ve yet to see in the northern burbs. Their margaritas also looked pretty good.

All in all, I think Cheeky might be a winner. They are in a prime location at the Avenue, right across from Barnes and Noble. It is certainly not like your run-of-the-mill ubiquitous Mexican restaurant, pushing entrees called “Speedy Gonzales”. Is it in the same league as Pure Taqueria or CANS Taqueria? No way, Jose.

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18 comments on this post.
  1. Bob:

    Lee, love the blog. I’ve heard that Alpine bakery is moving to the Silos.

  2. Amy @ Atlanta With Kid:

    That’s good to know! At first I thought, it’s a clothing store. :)

    You know, you can’t expect too many shrimps because they have to pay for the rent after all. :)

  3. Lee:

    Amy, you’re right about the name. On the building it just says “Cheeky”. That alone almost sounds like a teen clothing store or something.

  4. Durty Mind:

    I must need therapy but if I hear “Cheeky,” I’m thinking of a place I can go with the boys after a Braves game, before heading back home and pretending the game lasted 17 innings.

  5. Jennifer:

    We tried out the new Cheeky restaurant last night at the Forsyth Avenue location and was very happy with the food and service. I too had the Taco Trio with one fish, one shrimp and one crab cake taco. They were all delicious and I highly recommend the fish tacos.
    In response to the employees asking if this was their first visit, it’s probably in reference to their other location on Peachtree Pkwy in Gwinnett. Many of the patrons coming in have been to the other location. As far as the “Draft O Meter” goes, I’m pretty sure that it is the first in GA if not the entire US.
    We enjoyed the evening and I highly recommend you giving it a try!

  6. Sherlock Holmes:

    Hmmmmm. I put an old wrinkly $5 that “Jennifer” owns, works or has a stake at Cheeky. Just sayin’!

    Too peachy (weak pun intended).

    Too insidery: funny, when I go to new restaurants, I don’t really have a way to gauge that ‘many of the patrons have been to the other location’.

    Too convenient: pops out of nowhere.

    Google News is great to scan the web, find the buzz about your business, and spin the buzz. Web 2.0, baby!

  7. Merilise Doris:

    Contrived is a good word, it’s great to see that people these days are able to utilize their expansive vocabularies.

    I’d like to point out that Cheeky @ Avenue Forsyth is actually NOT called Cheeky “taqueria”, contrary to it’s original location in Suwanee (though I could be wrong, I failed to read the Taqueria on both the sign and menus). I visited Cheeky for the second time last night and was quite satisfied with the food and service. I know I’m no professional restaurant critic, but as a patron, I think a sports bar would be a more appropriate label than a taco shack. Like Taco Mac, I don’t think the owners of Cheeky were necessarily shooting for that feel.

    Y’all should definitely go visit in the spring time when the ,quote, fake garage doors, unquote, are wide open.

  8. Knee-High P.I.:

    Nice to see that some restaurants know how to use the Web 2.0.

    Reminds me when a marketing manager at some hardware company was caught red-handed posting tons of favorable reviews of their products on and other similar outfits.

  9. Lee:

    Don’t get me wrong, I liked Cheeky. Very good food. But you’ll find that I like to make fun of these new restaurants and their decor. You can bet that if it looks something like Chotchkie’s from Office Space, I’m gonna poke fun at it.

  10. Rick:

    There is a place with the table top beer taps down by the aquarium in Atlanta. I do think it is cool, but Cheeky’s ain’t the first. I disagree with your assessment of the crabcake tacos. I thought they were awesome. It might be contrived, but it isn’t cheezy. I thought it was better than going to Taco Mac to watch a game and throw a few back.

  11. Roots in Alpharetta » Blog Archive » Dickey’s Barbeque Pit – Milton:

    [...] took some grief in my review of Cheeky Taqueria when I called their restaurant “contrived”. I still stand by that claim. However, [...]

  12. Neal:

    Cheeky Peachtree Pkwy was the first to open with taps on table in Georgia.

  13. Terah:

    Love Cheeky – have never been disappointed with the food. Fish tacos are my favorite. I just wish that like most other restaurants that they would post their nutritional information online somewhere for the days that I’m trying to make a good food decision.

  14. The Real Merilise:

    i did not write thatt^ creeepy

  15. SCSA:

    I had the habenero margarita at Cheeky’s. Holy mouth burn. It was good, but waaaay too much heat.

  16. Roots in Alpharetta » Marlow’s Tavern – The Avenue Forsyth:

    [...] rehydrate it. The menu promised a cream sauce but I didn’t taste much of it. By comparison, Cheeky’s around the corner has a much better fish [...]

  17. Sara:

    If you didn’t try the calamari or the calamari tacos, you missed out. They use thick strips, not the usual rings and tentacles. Worth trying, not fishy or rubbery at all!

  18. Lada:

    Sorry for the place. We used to love it, but 2 days ago visiting it we were VERY disappointed and will never go back. Food was horrible, service very bad.

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