Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.
BW Tavern isn’t afraid of taking chances. You don’t have to look very far to see new and creative thinking in south Forsyth’s latest concept restaurant. Their former self, Mulligan’s, was a dive bar that had a loyal following. They took a chance when they flipped this somewhat successful, yet cigarette smoke-filled restaurant on its head.
The name “BW” pays homage to Benchwarmers, an Atlanta sports bar in this same family of restaurants. It was this original owner who took a chance bringing in a new partner – Alex King. This young man with spiky hair brings youthful energy and confidence to BW Tavern. It’s hard to miss his presence both in the restaurant and in their already active social media campaigns.
BW is taking chances with their menu. It would be easy to follow the Mulligan’s model of burgers, chicken fingers and tater tots. Fear not as these items are still around, just a little jazzed up. The burger now has a pretzel bun and the fingers are hand-tossed in panko breadcrumbs. The menu relegates these guys to a lonely corner, a space called “the staples.” Far more adventurous cuisine awaits on the rest of the menu.
BW’s Thanksgiving spring rolls may put these guys on the map. They start with tender morsels of fried turkey made in-house. It’s rolled and fried in a spring roll wrapper and served with a cranberry sauce for dipping. The sauce is more sweet than tart and contrasts with the peppery dressing inside the roll. Don’t dare come here without ordering this appetizer, in November or any month.
The menu has three entrees offered as bowls. They all are stick-to-your-ribs, manly choices. The Asian chicken bowl ($11) is an eclectic mix of braised chicken thighs, Asian-flavored black beans and collard greens. Each ingredient is great on its own, but they didn’t mesh well together. The rasta bowl ($11) is a creamy and spicy mix of sausage, shrimp, bay scallops, beans, rice and veggies. It’s a playful and delicious take on jambalaya.
BW makes their own ciabatta bread for half a dozen different sandwiches. Try the bayou gobbler ($9). They start with the same smoked turkey from the Thanksgiving spring roll and slice it deli thin. It’s moist and delicious all by itself. Crawfish tails give the sandwich a bayou influence, but the flavor of these mudbugs gets lost in the pepperjack cheese and mayo. It’s still a very solid turkey sandwich.
BW Tavern isn’t afraid of taking chances with local vendors. While a lot of restaurants talk of sourcing product locally, it’s rare to see it taken to this degree. For example, sausage for their Brunswick stew comes from Woody’s Meat and Sausage just down the street. Partner Alex King liked the arrangement so much he starting buying just about all his meat products from Woody’s. “Anything with a hoof we buy from Woody’s,” said King. You’ll also find a boiled peanut appetizer on the menu from D’s Nuts. You might remember these guys from their road-side peanut stands in Forsyth County.
King even sources his music locally. You’ll find live music on weekends, which certainly isn’t out of the ordinary. What’s unique is that BW will pipe in tunes from these local musicians during the week. It’s refreshing to see this restaurant’s honest and sincere desire to keep their business local.
Any restaurateur takes a chance when they open in this extremely competitive market. BW Tavern is upping the ante when it comes to dining in the Midway community of south Forsyth. You’ve gotta like their chances.
Photo Credit: Robyn Guy Photography
Disclosure: I received free food from this restaurant. You can read my disclosure policy on my about page.