New/Closed Restaurants – May 2011

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

Before I begin, allow me a quick shout out to Kelly, who I met before yesterday’s Taste of Alpharetta. Thanks for reading and for the kind words about my Foodie Friday column.

Some closures and transformations to report this month. Don’t blink ’cause Alpharetta’s restaurant scene is changing fast!

Tifosi Gastropub – Closed

Yeah, you read that right. Why can’t Alpharetta’s restaurant goers embrace the gastropub concept? But I wouldn’t really call Tifoso a closure. They are reopening as…

Poquitos Cantina

Almost literally overnight the management of Tifosi decided to change course. The staff, including Chef Trevor, still seem a little shell shocked about the decision. They are reopening today as a cantina/taqueria. At Taste of Alpharetta they featured a few menu items including a Korean pork taco. Look for a review here on Roots soon.

Café Efendi – Closed

Word on the street was that Cafe Efendi was looking to relocate to Main Street. They closed their location on Old Roswell Street last week. Still no word on when or where they will relocate, or if for that matter. I hope to see them reappear somewhere soon. In the meantime, the next tenants are not wasting time transforming the old home. They are…

La Casa Italian Grill – Alpharetta

If you’re familiar with the Sugar Hill/Buford area then you might know of Cardamuro’s Italian Cafe. The chef/owner of this restaurant, Pasquale Cardamuro, is packing up and heading for the Cafe Efendi spot in Alpharetta. They promise to deliver authentic Italian cuisine with homemade sauces and breads. Many Italian joints promise authenticity but few deliver here in the burbs. Let’s see how La Casa stacks up. Stay tuned.

Elements Coffee – Closed

Please please quit going to Starbucks and support independent coffee shops! Elements closed at the end of April. Sad to see them go.

Good Grub Subs – South Forsyth

I love the name of this new sub shop on Highway 9 in south Forsyth. Menu looks to be straight up subs using Boar’s Head meats. They also have gluten free hoagies.

21 Responses to “New/Closed Restaurants – May 2011”

  1. Greg May 13, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    Yeah, that was kind of bizarre. Last night at TOA, I went right to the spot on the map where Tifosi was supposed to be, but they were gone, and some “cantina” was there. Very disappointing.

  2. Lee May 13, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    Yeah Greg. My story was more bizarre. Ran into a friend yesterday at lunch talking about how he wanted to try Tifosi but they were closed at lunch. Strange. Then I went there for a beer before TOA last night. The staff were all wearing T-shirts for the new place and they were decorating the walls. I started asking around and sure enough… owner Rob Forrest just thought it was time to change things around. It’s too bad because I like the gastropub concept, and I generally thought Tifosi was better than sister restaurant Erwoods.

  3. Greg May 13, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    Speaking of TOA, my thoughts were:

    - Impressed, as always, with Smokejack.

    - Disappointed with Sage – their chicken piccata was downright rubbery.

    - As I mentioned, disappointed with the Tifosi confusion. I would have tried Poquitos if I’d known that’s who they were.

    - Biggest pleasant surprise: Flying Biscuit. I’d had breakfast there before (excellent), but didn’t know their lunch/dinner was so good.

    Anyone else find something/somewhere new and good?

  4. Lee May 13, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    I didn’t try the Flying Biscuit. Maybe I should have! My overall thoughts were…

    I get tired of pork sliders and soft tacos. Restaurants… please be original and stop bringing this stuff to TOA. Even Milton’s fell into this trap this year. Absolutely none of the pork stood out to me.

    I enjoyed the stir fry chicken with lemon grass from TRE Vietnamese. Also was pleasantly surprised with a jambalaya from Miller’s Ale House. Madras Chettinaad had some darn tasty samosas, even if their portion size was too big. The panna cotta from Tasca was pretty good and refreshing. Their braised pulled pork was fair at best. I heard a lot of folks talking about Delightfull Biteful. I didn’t make it there. Turns out they won the people’s choice. Go figure.

  5. Cool Papa Bell May 13, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    Can not disagree more. Tifosi failed because we can’t embrace the concept of mediocre food. I told you all along the place is okay at best.
    I don’t think the ownership gets it. If the Tex-Mex is the same midding food as Tifosi, it will fail.
    If Tifosi put out quality food like Kozmo’s Gastropub, they would be overflowing with customers.
    I’m just being blunt, but I will say it now and not after Rob is knee deep in debt. Tifosi was a good concept but an average restaurant at BEST!

  6. Greg May 13, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    We had good ribs from Miller Ale House. Now that I think about it, it seems like I’ve enjoyed their offerings in the past, too. Maybe I should stop overlooking them as a place to go.

  7. Mike May 14, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    I tried the Good Grub place today and have a few thoughts. I went at 12:30 and they were slammed. The ordering is the same concept as Wich Wich. They have laminated cards with choices where you check off what you want and give to the cashier. The counter where the card is was very small and only 1-2 people at a time can fill out the cards. At least Fosters (remember Fosters?) had multiple stations to fill out orders. While they were super busy, they got my sandwiches out fast. The longest wait I had was waiting to place my order, which was about 10 minutes. It was mostly due to large families and the staff figuring out what everybody had checked. There were a few orders that were wrong while I was there. The corrections were made quickly and politely. I got mine to go, but unfortunately, no one asked ‘here or to go’ so I got two paper wrapped sandwiches with no bag or anything. The food itself wasn’t half bad. The sandwiches come in 4, 8, and 12 inch sizes. 8 inches may seem like enough, but like Wich Wich, the overall size is small. 4 inches would be a tiny snack at the least. Don’t know if I would go back. 2 8 inch sandwiches were about 14 bucks. Not cheap. And I’m not into all that gluten free stuff, but if you are, there are plenty of choices. We’ll see if/when they get traction there. Thoughts?

  8. Lee May 15, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    Thanks for the feedback/review, Mike. With all the food allergy stuff out there, maybe they can carve out a niche with the gluten free menu. But I’m not going to be in a hurry to try them. It takes a lot more than Boar’s Head meats to get me into a sandwich joint in this town. There are some outstanding sandwiches to be eaten for the same money.

  9. A May 15, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    Agree with Cool Papa Bell about Tifosi. Ate lunch there twice, and while food was fine, it wasn’t anything special. Service was bordering on hovering, and prices were just too high for what you got. For $12 you got 5 raviolis, but no bread or side salad. I won’t bother to try the new Tex/Mex concept. Tara Humata on Windward is already the best Mex in Alpharetta!

  10. John Peltier May 15, 2011 at 11:46 pm #

    I was more interested in Tifosi than I am in “yet another” TexMex place. I had planned to return to Tifosi but will be going elsewhere in the future.

    More encouraged by the Italian – though I still want to try Efendi.

    Not surprised about Element, sadly metro ATL is rather poor at supporting local coffee shops.

  11. Mike May 16, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    Just give me decent food and a good wait staff and I’ll come back , oh yeah and a good beer selection, Tofosi only got 1 out of 3

  12. Mike May 16, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    Does anyone know who has placed the restaurant facility across from Effendi under contract?

  13. Cool Papa Bell May 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    @Mike, it will be interesting. With Trattoria*141, RosaMia’s, Alpine, and Franco’s the quality of Italian restaurants in these parts continues to go up. Plus I know the owners of Gorilla Burrito are promising one.

  14. Kelly May 16, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    Thanks for the shout out Lee!
    My husband and I tried out a couple of tacos at Poquitos and they were actually good. (The korean barbecue and the chimichurri taco) The one issue we had, tortillas were not house made and tasted store bought. The chef said he does have plans on making the tortillas on site once everything settles down. We’ll see….
    Great talking with you and thanks for all that you do!

  15. Kim May 16, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    Yes I noticed this too about the brick building across from Efendi. I think that just happened within the last month.

  16. Kim May 16, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    @Mike, does anyone know Brian Patton well enough to call him and ask?

  17. Cool Papa Bell May 17, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    Mike, you are correct. Unless somebody can convince me that Chef Trevor does a lot better with concept No. 3 than he did with the first two, I just can see myself saying strike three and they are out. The count is already 0-2.
    Just too many good choices to support a guy who convinces himself it’s the concept, when clearly it is not.

  18. Rachel May 18, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    I can not wait for La Casa Italian Grill to open in Alpharetta. I have been a huge fan of Pasquale Cardamuro’s athentic italian food for over 10 years. It’s the real deal!
    Great for a date or a family night out. Pasquale will make you feel right at home and you will leave feeling like you just took a fast trip to Italy. You can’t beat them for your catering needs either. beautiful food preparation, very generous portions and great prices. Make note of this one folks! It is sure to be on your favorite places to eat list.

  19. Hilda May 19, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    La Casa Italian with a Chef out of Napels can only be good!!! I know Pasquale and his food and cannot wait for the new place to open. Thanks for moving to Alpharetta, we will be there!


  1. In the news: Cafe 101 reopens, OMG Taco to open in Little 5 Points | Food and More with John Kessler - May 18, 2011

    [...] Roots in Alpharetta has reported Mediterranean restaurant Café Efendi has closed. Gene Lee, International [...]

  2. Roots in Alpharetta » Poquito’s Cantina – Alpharetta - May 20, 2011

    [...] of course he flipped this restaurant space almost overnight. As I mentioned last week in this column, Rob decided to close his gastropub concept called Tifosi and open a cantina in a blink of an eye. [...]

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