Often I draw blogging inspiration from my cubicle life. How sad is that? Tis the season for annual peer reviews, which means our start/stop/continue exercise. It is sort of a kinder and gentler way of telling someone what they should or shouldn’t be doing. The idea is to list things an employee should start doing in the new year, bad habits they should stop and activities they should continue. Here’s my take on stuff I observe in Alpharetta. I did something similar last year with restaurants, so I’ll keep half of this year’s foodie focused. Don’t leave me if you’re here for Foodie Friday!
Start – Fine and Performing Arts
If you look on the Alpharetta CVB website for the arts, you’ll find a paltry list. We’ve got a handful of art boutiques downtown, the ACT1 theater group (they are terrific) and Encore Park. Alpharetta seriously lags our suburban peers in the fine arts. Roswell has a small arts center with a 600 seat auditorium. Marietta can boast the Cobb Energy Center. It’s something we need to look into, I just cringe thinking about paying for it!
Stop – Mixed-use Development
…or at least enact a moratorium. Not a single mixed-use development has been successful in this area. The Vickery development in south Forsyth is half-baked and has been in and out of foreclosure. Prospect Park is egg on Alpharetta’s face. I don’t know if these failures are because of some inherent flaw in the mixed-use concept, or just victims of the real estate meltdown. Either way, it is more than prudent to put a temporary stop to these. There are mixed-use developments planned or in the works on Windward Parkway and Haynes Bridge Road. Alpharetta’s got the potential to have a trifecta of Prospect Park mud pits at exits nine, ten and eleven.
Continue – Job Creation
HP, Vesta, Global Payments, ThyssenKrupp, Macy’s… These are all companies that are bringing jobs to our area. City leaders and Chamber officials deserve heaping praise. Keep it up guys! You’re exceeding expectations!
And now, allow me to shift gears and talk about Alpharetta’s restaurant scene…
Start – Farm-to-Table Restaurants
If you want to know the next trend in Alpharetta dining, just look at what’s trendy ITP. Whatever cool hipsters in Atlanta are doing today will arrive in the burbs a year or two later. My prediction is that we’ll soon see farm-to-table restaurants.
And no, I’m not some crunchy granola-type who wants us to eat local to reduce carbon footprints. That’s hogwash. Local produce just tastes better. A few Alpharetta-area restaurants have toyed with farm-fresh ingredients. Milton’s Cuisine planted a vegetable garden this past year, but it was mainly to supplement their menu offerings. Casa Nuova Italian in south Forsyth sourced some produce from a farm about a mile from their restaurant. I’d like to see more!
Stop – Self-serve Frozen Yogurt
Enough already! 2010 saw just about every traditional ice cream joint close and get replaced by this concept. We’ve got Yoforia, Yogli Mogli, Brain Freeze, Menchies and more. Strangely enough many opened at the end of summer or even this winter. If you’re pushing cold treats, don’t start before your seasonally slow period. Nevertheless, predicting some closures in this space isn’t a long shot by any means.
Continue – Social Networking
More and more local restaurants are connecting with diners on twitter and facebook. This seems especially true with newer shops that are generating pre-opening buzz online. Check out this list for Alpharetta restaurants on twitter.
Photo Credit : beautifulcataya