Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.
Old Milton Parkway, from North Point east to Kimball Bridge Road. This two mile stretch of road has an interesting international character. Over the years a unique collection of restaurants have opened. Most offer cuisine unavailable in Alpharetta or the surrounding area.
Today let’s explore this stretch of road, seeking out a few stripmall gems you might have otherwise overlooked.
Our first stop is Coisas do Brasil (4055 Old Milton Pkwy). This little shop offers Brazilian expatriates a number of grocery items and services. They also have a lunch counter serving up the most bizarre sandwich in town.
Let me introduce you to the X-Tudo. The name comes from Portuguese slang meaning “cheese everything”. It’s typically a cheap snack bar item in Brazil. Alpharetta’s version is no different.
The sandwich starts off innocently enough like a burger. To the hamburger patty they add ham, a fried egg, mozzarella cheese and a sausage link split lengthwise. Somewhere in there is lettuce and tomato. And for good measure, a generous helping of peas and corn are crammed into the nooks and crannies. It’s a sight to behold. Complement it with a random selection of a Brazilian potato chips and you’re good to go.
A few doors down is Coisas’ sister restaurant Ipanema Brazilian Steakhouse (4055 Old Milton Pkwy). I’ve heard this place described as a poor man’s Fogo de Chao. They offer Churrasco-style meats in a very casual and affordable setting. The all-you-can-eat meat orgy will cost you only $12 during the lunch hour. At that price this place gets pretty crowded. Unfortunately it’s not nearly as good as their more fancy competitors. But as of this moment, it is the only Churrascaria in town.
No mention of Old Milton grub is complete without Jerusalem Bakery (4150 Old Milton Pkwy). For lunch try their chicken shawarma sandwich. It starts with a fresh pita, baked on the premises. Next comes chicken cut to order from a rotating spit. It’s juicy with a bit of singe. Throw on some lettuce, tomato, onions, red cabbage and a few pickled veggies. Don’t pass up the garlic, tahini and hot sauces. Wrap it all up and give it a quick warm up on the grill. What you’ll find is an explosion of Middle-eastern flavors and textures. The veggies are crisp, the pickles tart, the tahini creamy and the pita fresh. And at only eight bucks including a side and drink, Jerusalem Barkery’s chicken shawarma is one of Alpharetta’s best lunch values.
Indian restaurants are ubiquitous in Alpharetta. But Madras Chettinaad (4305 State Bridge Road) stands out in a crowded field. They are by far Alpharetta’s largest and most beautifully decorated Indian joint. Their lunch buffet is enormous and is a bargain at only ten bucks.
I like Madras’ vegetarian selections best. Try the bean poriyal. It’s a sauteed assortment of green beans, peas and lentils. They don’t hold back on the spice here either. I went back for seconds – and thirds.
Caribbean food dominates at the other end of Old Milton. Caribbean Fiesta (4000 North Point Pkwy) serves up Jamaican food in a cafeteria setting. I usually stick with the jerk chicken. Ask them to spoon some sauce over your beans and rice. It’s terrific. Braised ox tails are also available but the price scares me away.
Trinidadian cuisine can be found as Tassa Caribbean Buffet (4005 Old Milton Pkwy). This is a spinoff of Marietta’s Tassa Roti Shop. Their buffet is a little small but offers good variety. Try some of their curries and chutneys.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Mr Taco (4000 North Point Pkwy). The salsa bar is popular here. But when ordering you should stick to the authentic, Mexican specialties side of the menu. Be adventurous and order the lengua tacos. It’s beef tongue.