Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.
Sit at a table at Scootz and close your eyes. Imagine being surrounded by dozens of crazed and carbohydrate-fueled children. They’re giggling and laughing at Spongebob on television and playing video games.
I had this little flashback when first visiting Scootz. Yes, this place used to be a Cici’s Pizza. If you look around you might see something that reminds you of the franchise pizza joint. The pizza oven is still visible from parts of the dining room. The video games remain but their days are numbered, soon to be replaced by a private room.
A makeover has transformed this space into a much more comfortable eatery. The Scootz bar beckons visitors to the rear of the restaurant with a few flat screen TVs. Tables are separated by young little ivy plants, ambitious to climb a little trellis set up for each of them.
Like a lot of new, independent restaurants, the menu at Scootz is a hodge-podge of different ideas. It’s heavy on burgers yet includes a Maryland-style crabcake ($22.99 for the entree) made with lump crab meat. You’ll find fish and chicken sandwiches next to a handful of Italian entrees.
The menu didn’t make much sense until I met owner Scooter Aselton. “We’re trying to fill a niche between white tablecloth and everyday,” explained Aselton.
Burgers are a feature here and also a top seller. Their Scootz Burger ($7.99) is your basic, classic hamburger. They start with organic Angus meat, giving it a decent sear. It retained a decent amount of juice but not enough to make soggy the toasted bun. Burgers come to the table impaled through the top of the bun with a large knife.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say Scootz is “reinventing the burger,” a tagline they are using. However, they do an above-average job putting together a classic, well-made burger. It’s easily worth the visit.
The fish and chicken sandwiches at Scootz don’t get enough attention on the menu. The grilled chicken sandwich ($9.99) is made from organic free-range birds and is moist and tender. Topped with marinated and sauteed mushrooms, this sandwich is a winner.
The mahi mahi sandwich ($10.95) comes brushed with garlic butter. What steals the show is a lime aioli that comes on the side. There’s something about the combination of lime and fish that creates an explosion of flavor. I’d rank this fish sandwich among the best I’ve had in the Alpharetta area.
On the Italian side of the menu, try the chicken piccata ($14.99). It features the same tender chicken from the sandwich. The lemon butter sauce is a little on the creamy side but still tasty. If you’re a Scootz regular looking for something different on the menu, I’d give their Italian food a try.
The talent in the Scootz kitchen comes from Chef Eric Banks. This Le Cordon Bleu graduate has a passion for baking. That explains the numerous pies on the menu. They even feature New Orleans style beignets, something not usually seen in our suburb.
Chef Banks is often in the front of the restaurant greeting patrons. His demeanor is friendly and genuine, asking for and usually receiving constructive feedback on every dish.
All in all, Scootz Gourmet Grill has impressed me on several visits. “I’ve catered to kids,” says Aselton of his restaurant’s transformation. “Now I’m ready to feed their parents.”
Scootz Gourmet Grill is located at 5905 Atlanta Highway in south Forsyth.
Photo Credit: Robyn Guy Photography