Alpharetta Restaurant & Retail News – May 2013

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

There’s not a lot of new restaurants to report. We continue to chip away at our “coming soon” list. The first to open from that list is BurgerFI. I was initially critical of this chain for opening in a challenging location on west Windward. Three competitors operate within a mile. But FI had a strong first week. Their burgers are easily the best on Windward. Smash and Five Guys are on the ropes.

Also opening in late April was Rio Balsas Taqueria on Peachtree Parkway in south Forsyth. This is a second location for the restaurant started in north Forsyth.

Also in Forsyth, Indian restaurant Zafraan is changing names. The eatery on 141 will now be called OM Hyderabadi Indian Restaurant. I’m told that “om” is the Hindi word you say during yoga. This is strictly a name change, the ownership and menu of the restaurant will remain the same.

And to wrap things up in Forsyth County… a Mexican restaurant called 7 Tequilas Cantina will open on Post Road in the Midway Community. This will be the third location of this growing chain out of the Woodstock area. Look for them in Smokejack’s old space.

North Point Mall announced two new additions to their food court. Charleys Philly Steaks and Moe’s Southwest Grill will open this summer. With The Collection at Forsyth (nee The Avenue) and Avalon both striving for top-caliber restaurants, it’s strange that North Point continues to lease to the same type of eateries.

The only new restaurant to report in Alpharetta (outside the mall) is Jose’s Mexican Grill. They will take over the space formerly occupied by TRE Vietnamese. Look for them at Northpoint Parkway and Webb Bridge Road.

Relief may be on the way for shoppers at Windward’s Costco Wholesale. The city of Cumming approved plans for a new location at exit 15. Cannibalizing their stores is probably a smart move for Costco. The Windward store packs people in like sardines.

Restaurants Coming Soon

Fish House Seafood Kitchen – Seafood buffet coming to Boga’s old space in Milton.
Branchwater – Concept from Todd Hogan coming to Vickery Village in Forsyth.
Salt Factory – Coming to Tifosi’s old space on South Main Street.
Main Street Kitchen – From the folks behind Roswell’s Nine Street Kitchen. They will be at 52 North Main.
Chill Restaurant and Lounge – Coming to the massive Rainwater space on Haynes Bridge.
Hop Alley Brew Pub – Brew pub coming to downtown Alpharetta.
Crafty Draught – This growler store’s second location is coming to Old Milton Pkwy.
Draft Beer Market – Another growler store to open on Jones Bridge in Johns Creek.
Kitchen of Atlanta – Coming to Johns Creek Walk.
Casa Del Sol Mexican Bar and Grill – Mexican joint in Forsyth near 141 and highway 9.
First Watch – Breakfast concept building at Northpoint and Old Milton.
Chipotle, Corner Bakery Cafe, Pollo Tropical, Zoe’s – Making quick progress building on Haynes Bridge near the mall.

16 Responses to “Alpharetta Restaurant & Retail News – May 2013”

  1. Greg May 10, 2013 at 9:07 am #

    Whatever happened with the proposed Walmart on 141?

  2. Glen May 10, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Jose’s Mexican Grill? Wasn’t that supposed to go into the old Rio Nuevo spot? Anything going in there now? As far as North Point Food Court… It is not top caliber, but remember its a Mall Food Court. Moe’s is actually a big step up from what has been there before. What is needed (especially with the movie theater coming in) is mid priced casual to fast casual dinning inside the Mall. I am sure that the theater is part of the reason that Chipotle, Corner Bakery Cafe, Pollo Tropical, and Zoe’s are coming. I had heard that the Mall was trying to get a restaurant to open up on the upper level by the coming theater, but that was months ago.

  3. Lee May 10, 2013 at 10:25 am #

    @Greg – Walmart submitted two plans on 141. I heard that one of them was recently approved. Not sure which one yet. I’ll try to find out.

    @Glen – I was thinking the same thing about Jose’s. I can’t confirm that it’s the same place, but that’s certainly a possibility. Quite possibly the same folks behind Rio Nuevo/El Azetca.

  4. Christoph May 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Forgot to tell you OVR Coffee Cafe in Vickery Village is finally open as of about 3 weeks ago.

  5. Greg May 10, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    Thanks. BTW – my take on Taste of Alpharetta:

    Best thing I had: Short dog from Bite

    Also good: Smokejack’s pork slider, Miller Ale House’s ribs, Bagel Boys’ smoothie.

    I wasn’t disappointed in anything, but I’ve also learned to avoid some of the disappointing places.

  6. Lee May 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    Thanks for the update on OVR Coffee. I had written these guys off.

    Also noticed that Rio Balsas says on Facebook that their new Peachtree Parkway location is now closed. Don’t know why or how. It’s only been open a few weeks.

  7. Heidi May 10, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    I can’t remember if I’ve seen you mention this, but a new Panera is soon to open in Cumming at exit 14 in Lakeland Plaza near Belk. Also at exit 14, it appears that the building that was formerly Cumming Fish Market is being turned into something else. Any ideas?

  8. Cool Papa Bell May 11, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    I’m not sure Moe’s even qualifies as a big step up from starvation.

  9. Billy May 11, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Rio Balsas was terrible at lunch yesterday. Slow service, sending out wrong orders, undercooked food. The head Chef was “out sick” our server said.

  10. David May 12, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    Just got back from BurgerFi. It was packed! The burgers were good. On par with Five Guys and better than Smashburger. The menu size was impressive. The best part of the meal was the onion rings. They’re huge. Had the Red Velvet shake to top it off and it was so thick you couldn’t eat it with a straw.
    My only complaint is they have no sweet tea. What restaurant in the South doesn’t have sweet tea?

  11. Mark May 12, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    Rio Balsas on 141 is not closed. I was there a few days ago. According to Facebook “Starting today [last Friday], Rio Balsas Inc. does NOT take responsibility for the food or service given at the Suwanne location.Thank you.” And then later: “… legal differences that can’t be discussed yet.”

    I though the food was reasonably good, but salsa was bland and I had to ask for hot sauce.

  12. Mark May 12, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    I tried BurgerFI on Saturday. I didn’t think it was any better than 5 Guys, and a new (ridiculous) high price for soft-drink machine (I believe it was $2.47). Place was incredibly noisy due to wood plan walls and steel/concrete ceiling). I could not even hear the cashier repeat my order. I sat outside to get some quiet, but mediocre music was blaring on the speakers.

  13. Mark May 13, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

    Went to Rio Balsas on 141 at noon today (Monday 5/13/2013) and a small sign on door said it was closed for lunch on Monday. But there were people inside doing stuff, so I assume they will reopen as planned later today. As mentioned above, there seems to be some dispute with the original Rio Balsas.

  14. Heidi May 13, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

    I thought I had seen a recent story in the Forsyth news that the new Rio Balsas had been busted for serving alcohol to underage patrons, though I’m not sure that would shut them down. The timing is odd, that’s for sure!

  15. Lee May 14, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    @Heidi – I don’t usually cover restaurants in Cumming, but there are some changes coming. Panera has been in the works for a while. Pollo Tropical is also coming to Market Place Blvd. And the new occupants of the old Cumming Fish Market space will be an Asian restaurant called Silk Road.

    As far as Rio Balsas… I don’t think they have been busted for alcohol. You’re likely confusing them with La Coz down the street. But based on some rather strange posts on Facebook, I think there’s been a falling out between business partners. The Cumming location and the south Forsyth store are no longer affiliated. Wouldn’t surprise me if they changed the name of the south Forsyth restaurant. Crazy still for a restaurant that’s only been open for a few weeks. Doesn’t bode well for their chances for survival, especially considering how poorly past tenants have fared in this space. I hope they make it though.

  16. Jeff May 17, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    I have not even tried BurgerFI and I am less than impressed. I sent them a couple of inquires regarding gluten free options and they have yet to reply even to say they have none…..well I guess we will stick with scratch & Five Guys…..

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