Archive - April, 2011

Legends Deli & Cafe – McGinnis Ferry

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

People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.

-Rogers Hornsby

The folks at Legends Deli peppered their Facebook page with sports quotes like this during their recent buildout. It was a neat way to use social media to build some anticipation for this new little restaurant. They’ve been open for about two weeks now in the old Bada Bing Wings location. They’re a bit tough to find if you don’t know this strip mall. Look for them on McGinnis Ferry Road east of Windward next to the big gymnastics place.

My first impression on decor was a bit of a letdown, especially after reading all these wonderful sports quotes. The walls are painted a dark red color with nothing on them at the moment. I guess I remember the cheesy Sopranos decor from the previous tenant too much and expected a lot of sports bling. I’d imagine decor is a work in progress.

But let’s talk food! The menu features manly sandwiches, a theme I’m seeing more and more of these days. You’ll find stuff like Philly cheesesteaks with provolone, burgers, a reuben, deli selections with Boar’s Head meats and even Italian-style sandwiches like chicken parm. They also serve breakfast all day. I enjoyed seeing a breakfast item called “The Doctor’s Visit.” It features two eggs, bacon, Taylor ham, sausage and cheese. My LDL level jumped 5 points just reading this.

I’ve tried the cheesesteak. The meat is tender and juicy, the bread fresh and the portion generous. I thought the peppers and onions lacked something and were on the bland side. I ended up adding salt and pepper… a lot actually.

As far as sides go… The french fries are fresh cut and thick but a little undercooked. I didn’t care for the potato salad at all. I suppose you might call it rustic, with large hunks of red potatoes and just a tiny bit of mayo holding it together. And like the fries, these spuds were also undercooked.

They have a handful of kids items that come with a large cookie. The two my kids took home were rock hard. That didn’t seem to phase my little cookie monsters though.

Overall I think Legend’s is a cool little family-run joint. There’s enough stuff on the menu to bring me back a time or two. I’d imagine they’ll work through a few more kinks before hitting their stride. They don’t seem to be hurting for business at this point. If you go, watch the hours of this place. They are open for breakfast and lunch but often close halfway through dinner time (about 6:00). That’s deep sixed a few attempts I’ve had to try this place.


Legends Deli & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Consultants to Crabapple: Saddle up, partners!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 14 year career in information technology it is this… consultants are worth their weight in gold. Yep, it’s true. They have amazing abilities of perception and knowledge that surpass anything mere cubicle dwellers might have. They can always be counted on to provide innovative solutions that show a deep understanding of both the customer and the problem.

That’s why I was excited to learn that the City of Milton hired a consultant to study redevelopment in Crabapple. I studied with interest the cartoons streetscapes that were presented to the public. Surely they were the result of hours of painstaking work. Yet it wasn’t until I read this article in The Patch that I truly understood the sheer genius behind this effort.

You see, Crabapple has a little traffic problem. It’s quite bad actually. On my last visit it took me nearly 45 minutes to drive there from my home east of GA-400. I foolishly thought additional road capacity was the solution. But again let me remind you, I’m not the consultant here. I guess you could say that my armchair traffic analysis missed the mark completely. No, we need the complete opposite. The consultant said we need…. wait for it….

“Traffic Friction”

To make traffic better we need to make it worse… by slowing cars down. Let’s install things on the roads that actually make it difficult  to drive. I suppose the idea is that if traffic becomes so unbearable, people will stop driving all together. This strategy is, in a word, brilliant. Extra capacity and lanes, according to Mr. Consultant, might encourage people to drive. Driving makes traffic. I’m kicking myself while writing this, furious for not thinking of this idea first.

Pedestrians, Bicycles, Horse Trails, Cars

This will be the transportation priority order for Crabapple’s future development. Notice that cars are dead last. Again, it’s sheer genius. It made me think of the owner of the Crabapple antique shop mentioned in this article. Traffic problems are killing his business and he’s struggling to hang on. Can you imagine all the antique furniture he will sell to customers on bicycles or horseback? Saddle up, partners!

Like any good consulting effort, his ideas have spurred my creativity. Why stop at these suggestions? If roads are the enemy then let’s just jackhammer them all! Mayfield and Crabapple Roads would cost far less to maintain if they were gravel roads. I’d also suggest passing new ordinances requiring hitching posts in front of all Crabapple restaurants and shops.

So how would you create “friction” on Crabapple’s roads? I’m sure my blog readers can think of some outstanding ideas to hasten a traffic apocalypse. Together we can declare war on roads and automobiles!

Number of the Month – Commute Times

Around the first of the month I publish the number of the month, a random bit of local trivia.

27.1 versus 29.1

The average travel time to work for Fulton County residents, 2009 versus 2000. Yes, it has gone down!

Figures from the 2010 census are slowing being released. Unfortunately commute times (or as the census calls it, “Mean Travel Time to Work”) isn’t out. Yet I did find this bit of information. The census bureau conducts yearly surveys that get rolled up into five year intervals. So from the years 2005 – 2009 the average commute time for Fulton County residents was 27.1 minutes. This figure is less than the 29.1 minutes Fulton commuters spent in 2000. I’ll post some other north metro counties below to see how they compare. As a general rule, commute times have remained flat or declined slightly over the last decade while populations have boomed.

Why do I bring this up? City and regional planners are considering drastic actions to tackle traffic. Those include spending billions on MARTA rail expansion and zoning for very high density. Perhaps we should keep this traffic statistic in mind before we dramatically alter the shape and character of the communities we love.

Commute Times - North Metro Atlanta

County 2005-2009 Commute Times 2000 Commute Times
Fulton 27.1 29.1
Forsyth 30.5 33.2
Cherokee 33.4 34.4
Cobb 29.8 31.3
Gwinnett 32.4 32.2

New/Closed Restaurants – April 2011

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

I’m way backed up on writing this week. My apologies. Thought I would update readers on a few new concepts soon to hit the area and a few that have bit the dust. And as always, feel free to let me know if I missed any. There’s some crazy stuff coming.

Dal Cuore – Johns Creek

I don’t know a lot about this new restaurant except that it will be in the location next to the old Flippin’ Out burger joint. Two months ago in this column I mentioned that Flippin’ Out closed and will be replaced by a gourmet burrito joint called Gorilla Burrito (strange stuff). Dal Cuore is from this same group and promises to be an authentic Italian restaurant. The new Rosa Mia is nearby and is getting a lot of attention. Let’s see if this concept can make it (in perhaps the worst location for a restaurant).

Roadkill Grill – Alpharetta

I received an email from the fella behind this new concept. They will open in the former One Star Ranch space on North Main in Alpharetta. The theme is all redneck with the tagline “You kill it and we grill it”. I’ve been told that the owners liked the decor in the One Star location and will use their old smoker. The menu will include a lot of barbecue with a few wild game options like rabbit.

Sidney’s Pizza – South Forsyth

This underrated pizzeria in Vickery recently changed ownership and they are expanding. They could certainly use the extra space as it was always packed. It’s worth a visit if you haven’t been. I hope they can maintain the consistency of the pizza.

Dalia’s Grill – Closed

While they were not the best choice for middle eastern food in Alpharetta, they were a very good alternative to chain restaurants near the mall. But alas they have closed.

Canvas Creek Grille – Closed?

Thanks to blog reader Darryl for this one. Seems that this new joint in south Forsyth on 141 may have closed. They didn’t last long.

Tossed – Closed

This expensive salad joint on Windward has closed but has been replaced by…

Leaves & Loaves Fresh Market Cafe – Windward

Menu concept seems similar to Tossed… healthy sandwiches and salads and stuff. This ought to appeal to those working out at nearby LA Fitness. But for my lunch dollar, any new sandwich joint on Windward has to compete with Wildflour and others. The sammich competition here is fierce!

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