Start/Stop/Continue – Alpharetta Restaurants 2013

Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.

Sometimes I draw blogging inspiration from my cubicle life. Hey, you gotta get it from somewhere. But it’s cool because this is the fourth year of this story idea. Here’s how it works.

At the office we follow this routine during annual reviews. Your peers are asked to list things you should start doing in the new year, bad habits you should stop and activities you should continue. It is sort of a kinder and gentler way of telling someone what they should or shouldn’t be doing. I’ve adapted this theme for Alpharetta’s restaurant scene.

In this column’s past we’ve talked about things like the froyo craze. It didn’t take a crystal ball to predict closures. Here are a few trends I’d like to see start, stop and continue in 2013. Let me know what you’d like to see happen in Alpharetta’s restaurant scene this year.

Start – Craft Desserts

Why hasn’t the amazing success of Dutch Monkey Doughnuts inspired more? I would have thought by now we’d have a handful of small dessert shops making silly little things like whoopie pies. It hasn’t happened.

Jilly’s Cupcakery was the first cupcake place to open and now has a second location in Roswell. Competitors never quite got traction. Two cupcake joints came close to opening in south Forsyth but never cut the red ribbon.

What I’d really like to see… a craft ice cream shop. They’d make real, honest-to-goodness ice cream in small batches right there in the store. Locally sourced dairy would be nice as well as seasonal fresh fruit.

Stop – Fast-casual Burgers

Enough already! It seems that chain burger joints want to land in the Atlanta suburbs first before going ITP. That’s true of places like Smashburger (which continues to get sub-par reviews). We’re saturated with Five Guy locations, some of which I’d imagine will close.

BurgerFI will open on Windward almost across the street from Smashburger. Down the street is Five Guys and locally-owned Scratch Fresh. Can west Windward support four of these joints? Doubtful.

Perhaps that’s what scared off Burger 21. The Florida chain was eying the Alpharetta/Milton area for a location. They’ve backed down for now. But if you really wanna try their concept, expect the first Atlanta location near Mall of Georgia.

We also have one of Atlanta’s last Fuddruckers locations near the mall. The Counter is on Mansell and Kennesaw-based Cheeseburger Bobby’s is still flippin’ patties.

So unless you have a truly unique burger concept, please don’t bring your spatula to Alpharetta.

Continue – Building Credibility

Alpharetta’s restaurant scene is slowly earning the credibility it deserves. We saw that late last year when notable restauranteurs started lining up at the city’s border. Ford Fry wants to open a new concept at Avalon. Salt Factory is coming up from Canton Street in Roswell to downtown. Expect to see this trend continue in 2013.

Photo credit: Lodigs (creative commons)

3 Responses to “Start/Stop/Continue – Alpharetta Restaurants 2013”

  1. Laura January 5, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    DMD might get a little competition from the Sweet Apple Doughnuts and Coffee opening in the former Bada Bing Wings (and that sandwich shop) location on McGinnis Ferry. We’ll see. As far as Five Guys is concerned, the one on 141 by Pops Liquor store has gone downhill in a big way- fries are soggy and limp, burgers are tasteless.

  2. DJ January 5, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    I’d love to see Scratch survive. Locally owned and nice people. And not just great burgers but great breakfast as well.
    I gave up on Smashburger. The last time I was there it was a bunch of teens working (including what appeared to be the manager) and they had the music blasting. They were more concerned with dancing to the music than getting my to-go order correct. (They ended up giving my order to another to-go patron who left, leaving me wait again for my food). Never again.
    I don’t mind Five Guys. Good burgers and staff is decent.
    But I agree that is enough. Much like the FroYo phenom that has seen a handful already close, not all these joints can make it.

  3. Eric January 8, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    DJ, you’re quite correct about Smashburger on Windward. The staff, the quality, everything has nosedived over there. When they opened, the food prep, the staff, etc. was quite good, but now it’s awful and takes forever to get anything even if they are quiet. When will these places learn that with so much competition, it’s quite easy to just go somewhere else?

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