Every Friday, Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series I like to call Foodie Friday.
Erwoods opened about a month ago in the former Little Azio’s space in Crabapple. They are the second concept from owner Rob Forrest and chef Trevor Moore, their first being Tifosi’s Gastropub in Alpharetta. Unlike Tifosi, Erwoods aims to be a higher end sportbar, but not quite what one would consider a gastropub. The decor lacks tacky sports nicknacks and college pennants which is refreshing. You’ll still find enough high definition TVs to have whatever game you’re looking for.
Erwoods is suffering from an identity problem. It’s easy to describe what they are not, as some staff are quick to do. They are not a Taco Mac or even a Hudson’s. I get that. I also understand exactly what sister restaurant Tifosi is trying to be (an Italian-inspired gastropub), I just haven’t figured out exactly what Erwoods is. The menu, while chef inspired, is all over the place. They’ve got flatbreads, sliders, sandwiches, barbecue, a steak, lamb lollipops and… a three-foot-long hot dog. They’re even doing breakfast.
A few weeks ago Erwoods management invited me and another food blogger over to discuss things and sample a few menu items. It was clear that Erwoods is still in a transition period. Big menu changes are probably in their future. In the meantime there are still some decent eats to be found.
Their shrimp and grits are above average. They make the grits with smoked gouda cheese, which is also available as a side. The shrimp and sauteed veggies are tasty and complement the smokey nature of the grits. My wife disagreed with me, finding the grits to be overcooked. She was also disappointed that the red peppers could not be removed from the sautee.
I also like the country fried steak sliders. The menu and its description doesn’t do these things justice. Chef Moore explained to me that they use ribeyes rather than a cube steak. On the side for dipping is a country gravy made with chorizo.
The chicken sandwiches don’t wow me, maybe because I’ve tried similar items at their sister restaurant. I know what they are capable of at Tifosi and Erwoods is missing the mark.
The bar at Erwoods features a nice selection of microbrews and imports sure to please any beer snob. They also have a terrific outdoor bar, something that’ll be a hit in Crabapple.
So Erwoods just needs more time. If you’re willing to explore the menu you’re likely to find a few gems. In the meantime, give these guys some time to figure it out, make a few adjustments and rewrite the menu. Rob Forrest seems to have quite an entrepreneurial spark and is putting a lot of attention into this endeavor. They’ve got potential, especially if they can build a more cohesive offering and communicate it better.
Disclosure: I received a few free samples from this restaurant.