It’s gonna be hard to shake the KFC vibe. The guys behind Tifosi knew this going into their new concept, which they built within Alpharetta’s abandoned KCF on South Main. I exchanged a few emails with the owners during their buildout way back in November and was assured the space would look nothing like its former self. For the most part they were right, although it would have been kind of funny to leave the life-sized Colonel Sanders statue. (yes, I’m ashamed to admit I dined at this KFC once or twice)
Tifosi Gastropub opened a little less than two weeks ago. They’ve done remarkable work inside this small space. The brickwork on the walls is beautiful and is framed by wood floors below and exposed rafters. I never knew an old fastfood joint could look so cool. The bar, near where the drive thru window used to be, is warm and inviting with a decent beer selection. Unfortunately they didn’t do much with the outside of the building, something they should consider in the future.
The menu is typical for gastropubs in the burbs but with a touch of Italian influence. You’ll find stuff like braised short ribs, fried mac and cheese, risotto fritters, ravioli (which I almost picked) and an array of sandwiches. Unfortunately most of the menu is priced outside of my typical lunch range, with the exception of sandwiches and salads. If you’re on an expense account or entertaining clients then no problemo.
My wife and I split two sandwiches. The first was the rosso chicken sandwich which was suggested by our waitress. The chicken breast was tender and juicy and brought a little bit of a spice kick. The thyme aioli cut the spice and the ciabatta was perfect. I might put this sammich in the same league as Wildflour. Tifosi’s side items stole the show. Parmesan risotto… amazing. The rice was cooked a perfect al dente and was wonderfully creamy. I could eat buckets of the stuff. Even the garlic mashed tatters were off the hook.
New restaurant jitters were something I didn’t observe at Tifosi for the most part. The staff were very attentive and knowledgeable of the menu. The kitchen missed execution on one sandwich which I didn’t bring up… but the manager took notice of it. He took care of it without any prompting whatsoever. All in all, it was very professional, especially for a joint opened for all of eight days.
How does Tifosi’s stack up? It’s a little too early to tell. I’d rank them ahead of River Tavern in Milton and behind Kozmo’s. They have the potential to rival Kozmo’s if they can be creative with the menu and execute. However I don’t think they will ever match the sexy atmosphere at Kozmo’s. In the meantime, I think Tifosi will be a hit; a welcomed addition to Alpharetta’s struggling downtown scene. It won’t be long before people know them as something other than “that new place where KFC used to be.”
Tifosi Gastropub is located… (where KFC used to be) at 102 South Main Street near downtown Alpharetta.
Disclosure: After I wrote this review I received a free tasting from Erwoods, Tifosi’s sister restaurant.