Every Friday, Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series I like to call Foodie Friday.
Let’s talk college dive bars for a moment. No, I’m not a UGA grad. I went to Clemson and we had some killer college joints. I’m a big fan of this genre of eatery. Doesn’t matter really which college town you’re talking about, they all have character that is hard to capture.
However, God forbid if someone attempted to franchise one of my favorite college dive bars and plop a location down in the burbs. I’m sure I’d be critical of every aspect of the new location. There are probably many UGA grads who cringe at the thought of The Taco Stand being here. Then again, they’ve been in franchise mode for a few years now, with some locations crashing and burning. Will this Alpharetta location make it?
Strike one for The Taco Stand is location. They are on the corner of Mansell and the Old Alabama Connector. This spot has ruined a few restaurants over the years. I don’t get down this way much at all. Unless you happen to work on east Mansell, I doubt it is convenient to you either. It also isn’t easily seen from the road.
However, the layout inside is pretty cool. The bar is separated from the rest of the restaurant, almost like at Wild Wing on Windward. It helps to keep any rowdy boozers away from the families next door (not that I saw any rowdy types on my visit, but who knows). The decor is that of a UGA sportsbar. Shocker, right?
The menu sounds similar to what I’ve read about the original Athens location. You’ll find typical bar favorites like wings (baked and fried) and burgers but also some Americanized Mexican grub like tacos and burritos. Some of their food is locally sourced including the Angus hamburger meat. Otherwise it is a very simple menu, almost too much so. Nothing jumped out saying “try me!” The prices are very affordable for these parts except for the kids meals. At $4 a pop, they are expensive relative to the cheaper adult meals.
I’m not going to talk too much about my visit last week. They clearly have a lot of new restaurant jitters to work through. The front of the house executed well on my visit but the kitchen was way off. I’m giving them a pass on any additional criticism at this point considering how new they are. Nevertheless, I’d give them a few more weeks or months to get things ironed out.