Over the last several years writing for this blog, I have seen the Alpharetta restaurant scene evolve from a chain wasteland to a thriving, diverse, indy hip place. Yes, there are a great number of pizza parlors. A lot of them have really good pizza and different styles from Neapolitan to stuffed Chicago style to classic NYC pies. The taquerias, the brew pubs, the Indian places, we’ve got ‘em all.
Sometimes, though, when I cruise through downtown, Windward Parkway, or even across 400 to the “other” side, I want what I can’t have. I want restaurants that don’t have a location in our area, places where I love to eat that aren’t close by. Lots of really great places from around Atlanta have opened Alpharetta locations. Antico at Avalon, Cafe at Pharr on Windward (psst, it’s near Firefly under the trees. You still don’t see it? It’s ok, sadly not many will find it), Big Pie in the Sky on Mansell. Ok, that last one isn’t that great, but you get the idea.
Many people I’ve spoken to don’t want to drive a long way to visit one of these spots, and by a long way I mean Cumming is too far. Come on guys, it’s a couple of exits north and there are some really good options. Georgio’s for example. Excellent Italian and Greek food. Plus that guy from the Bachlorette’s family runs the place, so you’ll probably see him.
There are places that I will make the drive to because I love them so much and can’t get them here in Alpharetta. Bub-ba-Q is one of them. They have locations in Jasper and in Woodstock, each is about 30 miles from my front door. I will make that drive. Yes, Cue and Grand Champion BBQ are good and a lot closer, but the ribs at Bub-ba-Q are something to behold. Skip the sauce and order them dry. They’re tender, but not fall off the bone sloppy. The millions of competition trophies littering the place are testament enough that this is Q worth the journey. I don’t go on a regular basis, and folks say I’m nuts for spending 40 minutes in the truck to get there, but I don’t apologize when my mouth is full of delicious ribs.
There are a handful of other spots scattered throughout the metro that I visit. Guthrie’s and the Mad Italian in Dunwoody. The buffalo chicken pizza at the Mad Italian draws me down to the perimeter every time. I was sad when the one on Windward closed. My wife went to Alabama (Roll Tide), so Guthrie’s is a staple to her.
There was a frozen custard place in Tucker called Sheridans that we went to all the time. It closed several years ago, and with it, went the best desert place I can think of. Creamy custard made on site mixed with fresh fruit and toppings or blended into a smoothie was the best. Wild cherry mango was my smoothie of choice. Can we get a custard place up here please?
Let’s not forget the 57th Fighter Group and the Downwind at PDK. Sometimes the drive down 400 isn’t pleasant, but the view at these Atlanta institutions always is.
What are the faraway places that you will make the trek for to get some good grub? How far do you travel to answer the siren song of your favorite place? Now is your chance to voice your desires for the next restaurant to either pull up stakes and transfer to Alpharetta or to open a new location. Comment, and we’ll see just how far you go for that elusive meal.