Archive - October, 2010

Alpharetta’s 10 Year Plan Survey

You’ve gotta love consultants.

The City of Alpharetta is working on a 10-year economic development plan. I suppose things like this are somewhat normal in every organization. Our church just went through one a few years ago. And just like the city, we employed a consultant or two in the process. I’m always leery when these jokers are invited to participate. I’m sure they will produce a few colorful graphs that’ll look good on a powerpoint.

Nevertheless, the consultant has created an online survey! The public is invited to answer the questions which will be used to shape the plan. If you’re looking for a cure for your insomnia, this might be up your alley. Or if you’re a local blogger who writes about issues like suburban life and rootless relos, it is a goldmine of blog fodder.

I’ve submitted my answers already. Well, I submitted answers to the questions that require only a click. The city asked several questions with free-form text answers. I’m not about to write an essay on their survey site… not when I can be painfully verbose here in my little blog, right? And like a lot of surveys, the creator is leading the participants toward several themes. The ones I see are:

So I’ll make these topics of a little series of posts in the following weeks. In general I think the questions in this survey are interesting yet also show a general lack of knowledge of our community. Did I mention a consultant was involved? Okay, good, just checking. Stay tuned. Next post is about jobs.

New/Closed Restaurants – October 2010

Every Friday, Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series I like to call Foodie Friday.

K Cafe – Windward Parkway Alpharetta

You can’t make this stuff up. Do you know Krystal? Yeah, those nasty little steamed burgers. Well someone at Krystal HQ has a bright idea, and it is being tested on Windward Parkway guinea pigs. They’ve quietly opened a test concept restaurant in the space where Carvel Ice Cream used to be (near Costco). From best I can tell they are trying to get into the fast-casual sandwich business, along the lines of Panera or Atlanta Bread Company. These are not restaurants I like anyway. Combine that with the folks behind fast food’s most disguising burger… sounds like we’ve got a winner on our hands! Krystal burgers give me gas, wonder what their sandwiches will do to my innards?

BB’s Bagels – State Bridge Road

The legendary bagel joint on McFarland is working on a second location. They will take over the old New York Bagel on State Bridge just west of Jones Bridge. A soft opening is scheduled for next week.

Pig-N-Chik – Closed

They closed up shop literally days after my review for my summer BBQ series. While they were doing a great lunch business, this space gets zero traffic at nights and on weekends. Beware of the backside of this strip mall! It is where good restaurants go to die!

Venice Pizza – Mansell

From the owners of Lakeview Bistro, the place right next door. Looks like a new and fairly authentic Venetian-style pizza in the burbs. All I know about this place I learned from a post by “uOTPia Dweller” over at 285foodies.com. I’m so behind on Mansell eats… I just recently tried Lakeview for the first time this week. But this joint looks promising.

Chip’s Southern Cooking – Old Milton

This joint closed many months back. They’ve been resurrected in the shopping center across the street. Look for them near Cuzifresh. Southern cooking is lacking in Alpharetta.

And let me mention again the website and online foodie forum 285foodies.com. They are one of several sources I use for this new/closed restaurant article I post from time to time. You’ll find some nice folks over there, many with insight into the Alpharetta foodie scene. I’ll post my new restaurant sightings there usually before I post here on the blog. I’ll also post new restaurant sightings on twitter. You can follow me at http://twitter.com/rootsalpharetta.

The Running of the Tennis Moms

It’s the closest thing we have to Pamplona in Alpharetta, and it’s just as dangerous. I’ve come close to being trampled many times.

For several years now our kids have attended the preschool program at a downtown Alpharetta church. It’s also the church we’re members of. Once or twice a week I’ll take a late lunch and join my wife at preschool pickup. It’s a frightful scene. So scary is preschool pickup that our church’s staff deliberately avoids the area around 1:00. Why?

Tennis moms. Here’s their background… They were popular sorority girls in college with active social lives. After college they married handsome fraternity boys and eventually moved to a suburb. Everything changed when the baby came along. The social life took a back seat. But now, two or three years later, the kid is old enough for preschool programs at churches. Ah ha, new found freedom suddenly exists! Well, at least from 9 until 1:00 it does.  Eager to get back into a social life, these ladies gravitate towards what we do in the affluent burbs… tennis!

By the second week of preschool these moms have purchased new coordinated tennis outfits and are plugged into a league. What they didn’t figure is how fast the morning goes by. 9 to 1 isn’t long, especially if you factor in a hoity-toity lunch, driving and traffic. By the time they arrive at the church property for pickup, they are a mess. They’re racing through the parking lot like Mario Andretti while texting or talking on their iPhone. Speed bumps don’t phase them. Handicap parking spaces? If that’s what it takes to park their Escalade then so be it! These ladies are important and their little precious is waiting!

Seriously though, tennis moms are all over the place and will run you over if you dare cross them. A certain air of suburban entitlement surrounds these ladies when they don the tennis outfit and drive the Escalade. Mere IT cubicle dwellers like yours truly are very out of place in their realm. I mention this only to demonstrate my true suburban bravado. Stand safely clear of the running of the tennis moms.

Final Thoughts on Alpharetta Barbecue

Every Friday, Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series I like to call Foodie Friday.

Way back about four months ago I started my summer barbecue series. It’s too bad I didn’t do a before-and-after on my LDL cholesterol! If you didn’t read it back in May, check out my kickoff article to this series. I reviewed a total of nine barbecue restaurants in Alpharetta, Milton and south Forsyth. It’s been fun, taking me outside my shell a little bit. And even in this short amount of time, the BBQ scene has changed a bit.

My overall impression of the Q here in Alpharetta hasn’t changed. We don’t have a barbecue tradition in this part of the country and as a result we have substandard Q. What I’ve come to appreciate more from this series is the craft of making barbecue. Those restaurants that attempt to honor the craft of making barbecue gravitated toward the top of my list. That wasn’t by design; I attempted to give everyone a fair shake. But when you cook in a glorified oven for ease of cooking and efficiency, you sacrifice a LOT in quality. The end product shows. It comes as no surprise then that joints like Woody’s and Dickey’s fall to the bottom of my list.

And what is that list? I struggled to rank these guys, but here goes:

  1. ‘Cue
  2. Dottie’s
  3. Smokejack
  4. Jim N Nicks
  5. Pig N Chik
  6. Slopes
  7. Dickey’s
  8. One Star
  9. Woody’s

Everyone has different taste, so I welcome your comments and criticisms. A lot of folks like Smokejack, so I’ll probably take some heat for placing them in the #3 spot. They practice the craft of barbecue well and run a top notch restaurant. I just find their heavy basting of the barbecue disagreeable. It does an injustice to the barbecue flavor I know is there in their meat.

Dottie’s may come as a surprise. I think this little dive joint is worth a shot to aficionados of swine. Good barbecue doesn’t have to fall into the boutique category. Don’t be afraid to eat it off a paper plate in a musty old building!

I’m taking a bit of a risk putting Jim N Nicks up there. I stand by my claim that they are the best chain/franchise Q joint around. However, this south Forsyth location is failing on execution. Were they to make some adjustments, they could be outstanding.

‘Cue’s top spot is tenuous. They can be inconsistent at times. When they’re on, they’re on! I sometimes find their outside meat too crunchy and lacking in rub. But they aren’t afraid to put their Q out there to stand on its own.

In just these four months we’ve seen some changes to our barbecue scene. Pig N Chik closed up just days after my last visit. ‘Cue announced expansion into Cumming. Both of Alpharetta’s boutique Q joints (‘Cue and Smokejack) now have a presence in Cumming. It will be interesting to see how northern burb Q joints continue to expand.

I may add onto this list in the future. I didn’t touch on Roswell’s barbecue scene at all, and there are joints in Cumming I didn’t get to. But nevertheless I’m putting a bow on this series. I welcome your comments and will not be critical of anyone’s favorite. If you like someone’s Q then that’s good enough by me.

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