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Minis by Maria – North Point Mall

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

Alpharetta has been buried under a mountain of cake the last few years. Cupcakes, regular cakes, bundt cakes, gluten free and organic cakes. I have had to go to the dentist to get several additional sweet tooths implanted to handle it all.

minis by mariaThere’s a small kiosk at North Point Mall at which North Georgia native and self taught cake decorator Maria Lawson has carved out a niche in the sea of frosting. She makes tiny little bite-sized cupcakes. If you left your normal cupcakes in the dryer and they shrunk, you’d have these cupcakes.

Although these are not your normal cupcakes. Scratch made daily from old family recipes in 15 normal and one rotating flavors, these cupcakes are the perfect little treat. The cake is moist and the icing is just the right sweet hat for the cake. It’s not super heavy like a Jilly’s cupcake.

Minis by Maria opened right before the Christmas rush in 2013 and they have been going gangbusters ever since. People love these little cakes. Maria’s husband Scott runs most of the day-to-day operations. You’ll find Maria on hand Saturdays. Minis by Maria does a ton of work with corporations for events and parties. They did all the cupcakes for the Avalon’s opening. No job is too big or too small ranging from a few cupcakes to hundreds. They also can make custom cakes for birthdays, graduations, etc. Just email a picture to Maria and she will make it happen.

In addition to the cupcakes Maria is churning out, you can also get cake pops. Normally, cake pops are soft and mushy, falling off the stick after the first bite. Not in this case. Maria’s cake pops are dense and chewy and delicious. I would go back to the mall just for those and that’s saying a lot. I hate the mall. And if you don’t want to go inside, call ahead and they will meet you at your car at the mall entrance by the parking deck for carside pickup.

I have tried nearly all of the flavors that are available. (except coconut, yuck) Here are my top 5:

1. Lemon Drop – Topped with a Teddy Graham
2. Cotton Candy – Crunchy sprinkles
3. Red Velvet – Red sugar crystals make this one
4. Brownie Bite – Chewy brownie cake
5. Salted Caramel – A small pool of salted caramel instead of a drizzle is the way to go.

So how does the cost of these mini cupcakes compare to their larger siblings? A dozen will set you back less than $11.00. Considering you could get 12 different flavors, I’d say that’s a pretty good deal. And there’s no paper wrappers, so nothing will get in your way to cupcake glory.

You can find Minis by Maria on the web, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Minis by Maria is a welcome addition to Alpharetta’s cake scene. I guess you could call it the little cupcake shop that could.

Disclaimer: I received some free food during my interview with Maria. I had previously visited and had paid for several cupcakes.

Alpharetta Restaurant News – March 2015

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

The rumors seem to be true. Ricco’s Italian & Tapas will not open as planned in the former Zola Bistro space in Milton. Instead a restaurant called Mondo’s Pizza Kitchen is building out in the space along Highway 9.

Senor Fajitas coming soon signA little ways up the street you’ll soon find Senor Fajitas Mexican Grill & Cantina. They’ll open in a rundown little space just above McFarland Parkway. It’s been home to a few Mexican restaurants, most recently Picante Grill.

The scene changes almost daily down near North Point Mall. We reported earlier this week about the drive-thru Starbucks set to start construction next to Taco Bell on Haynes Bridge Road.

Mayuri Indian Restaurant has closed in the former Pizza Hut space close to the mall. The concept will change and become Bawarchi Biryani Point Indian Cuisine. The chain has a smattering of locations across the country including one in Sandy Springs.

Cupcake purveyor CamiCakes announced recently on social media that they will open in the Mansell Crossing shopping center near the new REI. There’s no word on exactly which storefront they will occupy and buildout has not started.

Also making an announcement on social media was Mugs on Milton. Downtown Alpharetta’s little coffee shop will open a second location in Crabapple at the former Scoops Ice Cream store. It would be great to see an independent coffee shop thrive here but it’s proven hard to get people out of Starbucks. Element Coffee Company brewed a very good cup of joe there in Crabapple a few years back yet folded.

And not to be confused with the Sedgwick’s concept, a Mexican joint called Pura Enchilada Taqueria will open at 11550 Jones Bridge Road near Kimball Bridge in Johns Creek. These guys also operate a restaurant at the Pendergrass flea market. Definitely not the Sedgwicks.

anabelles table logoWe’re watching for a French-inspired concept called Anabelle’s Table to re-emerge soon. They pulled back on plans to open last year on Peachtree Parkway in south Forsyth. Recently on Facebook they teased that they may lease space on Windward very close to GA-400.

And finally, let’s take a quick trip through south Forsyth. Jay’s Mexican Grill opened about a month ago on McFarland Parkway. We had high hopes for these guys, but they’re bush league compared to our beloved El Trompo. Jet’s Pizza will open a store on McGinnis Ferry in the shopping center with Sweet Apple Donuts. And Cuoco Italian Table has closed on Peachtree Parkway near Sharon Road.

Restaurants Coming Soon

The Farmhouse – Still waiting on this coffee and crepe shop in Johns Creek.
Cook-Out – Moving along on their buildout on Haynes Bridge. No word on an opening date.
Cafe at Pharr – The sign went up this week at their new location off Windward in the old Pig-n-Chik.
Chad Thai Urban Asian Kitchen - Coming soon to Milton in the old pretzel store near Target.
Ceviche Taqueria & Margarita Bar – Opening on Milton Avenue in downtown Alpharetta next to 2B Whole Bakery.

Special thanks to Mike Christensen for his help scouting restaurants around town.

St. Patrick’s Day 2015

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

GuinnessThree years ago I wrote an article profiling several locations to celebrate the luck of the Irish in and around Alpharetta. Sadly, most of those places back then are now out of business. (See Firkin and Crown, Crafty Draught, Erwoods Kitchen and Keg, and the Tilted Kilt) While I don’t mind throwing back a green beer, like most everyone else the closest I get to being Irish is watching Irish Mike make huge swords on the Discovery Channel. Let’s dive in to see how you can green it up this year in the Alpharetta area.

The Olde Blind Dog – Crabapple

The area’s resident Irish pub is the place to do St. Patrick’s Day right. With live music, drink specials and Irish eats, you can’t go wrong. The Olde Blind Dog will be partying on both Saturday the 14th as well as the 17th. Check the web site to see the countdown clock as well as the band lineup. Did I mention that the Olde Blind Dog was recently named the 2015 Irish Pub of the Year by the Irish Pubs Global Federation at their convention in Dublin? Yeah, this dog is legit. Aim your shamrock here for a good time.

Tower Burger – Alpharetta

After a bit of research I found an event listed for March 14 at Tower Burger on Highway 9 called the “Spring Break/St. Patrick’s Day Mash-up”. It’s listed as going on “all day and night”. No other details are listed. So I guess don your green swim trunks and floaties and check it out if you dare.

Avalon – Alpharetta

Alpharetta’s newest and largest attraction is hosting what sounds like the largest and most confusing St. Patrick’s Day celebration. They’re calling it Luck of Avalon and it runs from 2-10 PM on St. Patrick’s Day. Many of Avalon’s retailers will be participating in crafts and activities from 3-7 PM. There will be a pub crawl of sorts all afternoon and evening. Check the website for all the specials and/or offerings from the eateries at Avalon.

There will be a pipe and drum band playing late in the afternoon. I was at first thrown because pipe and drum bands are in fact Scottish not Irish. I was told by a co-worker that St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into more of a Celtic holiday.

But then I read that the band that will turn the streets of Avalon into a dance party is Az-Izz. According to the website, Az-Izz “will transform Avalon’s plaza into a dance floor for a special Motown performance.” Motown? I guess they are just going with a good party band no matter the holiday. Since most of us aren’t really Irish, I’m sure it will be a rockin’ good time.

Whatever and whenever you celebrate, drink responsibly and either have a designated driver, call a cab or have your Uber app installed. Do not drink and drive. The police will be out in force and a DUI is not the way you want to go. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Photo credit: Sami Keinänen (creative commons)

Chain restaurant substitutions in Alpharetta

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

We’re big believers in supporting local restaurants here on roots. It’s not just about supporting our home grown businesses either. We just prefer the food over the homogenized sameness the big corporate players serve up. That’s not to say we never eat at these places as occasionally a hankering for scattered, smothered and covered hits me.

But if you’re still eating at these chain restaurants all the time, here are some direct alternatives you should consider that are 100% local.

mugs on milton logoPour out your Starbucks latte and try Mugs on Milton. It’s a shame this area can’t support local coffee shops. But it’s a hard business and standing up to Seattle’s goliath is tough. Spend a few more minutes one morning and seek out this indy shop in downtown Alpharetta.

Replace Olive Garden for Casa Nuova Italian Restaurant in south Forsyth. Is there anything parent company Darden Restaurants does well? Certainly not Italian food. While we have some outstanding Italian restaurants, particularly in Johns Creek, Casa Nuova probably matches Olive Garden the best. It’s pretty good Italian grub that’s not so refined to keep it out of the price range. And you won’t be a stranger at this place very long.

Ditch the North Point Mall food court for Mama’s Pizza. It is a shame that mall operator General Growth Properties doesn’t try to attract better food options in the mall, although we’re hearing rumors that this might be about to change. Nevertheless, your best bet for local grub near the mall is Mama’s. They often get overlooked as Alpharetta’s pizza scene flourishes and that’s too bad. Their New York-style pie is a solid contender and a great value at lunch.

Say adios to Speedy with beans and try El Trompo Mexican Taqueria. I still can’t convince my frugal co-workers to ditch El Porton. They are seriously missing out. El Trompo’s street tacos cost almost no pesos and are packed with flavor. I won’t spill too much digital ink on these guys because we’re written about them a bunch. But please, for the love of God, don’t set foot in the Jones Bridge El Porton when El Trompo across the street.

Put the plate down and leave Golden Corral for Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen. If putting on the feed bag is your only motivation here, then I guess GC gives you the best ratio of carb or protein for the buck. But it’s disgusting. Instead try Pappadeaux on Mansell Road. You’d be hard challenged to find a better all-you-can-eat buffet in Alpharetta.

And finally, scatter from Waffle House and try breakfast at Scratch Fresh. It was tough to think of a decent replacement for this Atlanta institution. The burgeoning high-end breakfast scene, with players like Egg Harbor, Another Broken Egg and First Watch, doesn’t really fit into the Waffle House genre. So we went with Scratch here for their affordable cost and super friendly staff.

Chicken and Waffles

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

Chicken and waffles is, let’s say, a unique menu item. It’s not for everyone. The appeal is the combination of the hot savory fried chicken and the sweeter waffle. Combined with syrup and honey mustard, it’s an odd pairing. Let’s compare and contrast a few of Alpharetta’s offerings.

Bantam Biddy Chicken WaffleBantam and Biddy’s chicken and waffles consists of a few freshly prepared chicken strips on top of a cheddar waffle. Served alongside is pure cane syrup and vanilla bean apple sauce. As waffles go, the cheddar waffle wasn’t all that sweet. The syrup made up for it by being sticky sweet. The chicken was tender and breaded just right. Dousing the whole thing with the syrup is the way to go. The waffle wasn’t too dense and actually complimented the chicken. It’s pricey though at $14.

Here’s where all the hate comes in. IHOP? On a foodie blog? How dare I. Hey, they’ve got chicken and waffles and I would be remiss if I skipped them. Know what? For frozen chicken strips and a waffle made from most likely a mix, it was pretty darn tasty. The waffle was sweet and the chicken tenders were a good balance with the very light waffle. The meal comes with honey mustard and of course your choice of maple syrup. If someone gave these chicken and waffles, I would not turn them down.

On the other hand, Top Golf’s chicken and waffles were a complete disaster. It’s very surprising considering how good their food is normally. It’s presented as chicken and waffle sliders instead of the normal chicken on top of the waffle configuration. Two cost $9 with no sides. They do come with maple syrup and some kind of jalapeno gravy stuff. The waffles are made in-house and were extremely dense and heavy. Take two of those as the bun combined with a rather thin piece of chicken and it’s just too much waffle. You’re chewing through tons of bread to get to a tiny morsel of chicken. Adding the syrup just makes your hands sticky. I ended up ditching the waffles altogether and dipping the chicken into the gravy which was very good. Overall it’s disappointing.

Out of the three chicken and waffles that I tried I would give the trophy to Bantam and Biddy. IHOP is a close second, and Top Golf sliced it into the woods. Take a chance, try something different and order the chicken and waffles. Tell me what you think.

Fish sandwiches in Alpharetta

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

This week marks the beginning of the season of Lent. While I personally don’t observe this Christian tradition, many do and I respect that. Often those who participate abstain from eating meat on Fridays and of course Friday is the day we write about food here on Roots. So what happens if an observant, and hungry, Catholic stumbles upon our little blog on a Friday and reads about a juicy steak or delicious smoked barbecue? I don’t want to be responsible for breaking their Lenten penance!

rosa mia seared sole panini

Seared sole panani at Rosa Mia

Strangely enough fish doesn’t count as a meat for this Friday meal. So three years ago at this time we reviewed fish tacos. This week we’ll do fish sandwiches, one of my favorite lunches. There’s only one ground rule today – no farm-raised fish. Sorry tilapia, you’re a fish out of water in this article. Here are three choices that won’t leave that observant Catholic floundering.

Wade over to Rosa Mia in Johns Creek for their seared sole panini. Their menu touts it as a number one seller and I can see why. It’s a generous helping of pan-seared fish on pressed focaccia bread. Roasted red peppers also make an appearance as does a little, almost unnoticeable smear of pesto mayo. But the flavor of this flaky fish really shines through. The downside is its construction. Hard bread doesn’t work against a delicate fish filet. About half way through the sandwich it starts to disintegrate. It can also be a tad bit greasy. But don’t let this stop you from ordering Rosa Mia’s seared sole panini as it easily makes the medal podium today.

The fish sandwich isn’t on the regular menu at Wildflour on Windward Parkway, but they have it almost every day as a lunch special. And it’s hard to cast a net over this fish as the species changes everyday. One thing is for sure, chef Michael Fields uses only the best wild-caught fish in season. Recently it has been flounder, mahi-mahi, cobia and trout. Sometimes crustaceans scurry into their sammiches including scallops, shrimp and their popular crab cakes.

Whatever swimming critter they cook, fish sandwiches at Wildflour are always a winner. Occasionally they grill the fish which imparts a wonderful smokey flavor. Topped off with jalapeno lime sauce, this sandwich is terrific. And unlike most of Wildflour’s dainty lunchtime clientele, this sandwich is large and manly.

While certainly not large and substantial, South Main Kitchen‘s fish sandwich is far more refined. Downtown Alpharetta’s newest restaurant recently hooked this mahi-mahi sandwich onto their lunch menu and it’s decent.

I liked South Main’s chili lime sauce at the base of the bun. It’s a lot like Wildflour’s but with a little less heat. I only wish there was a tad bit more of it.

What I wanted less of was the pickled cabbage slaw on top. I liked its tartness and crunch for texture, but there was so much of it that it overpowered the delicate little fish underneath. And little should be emphasized. The piece of fish offered was pretty small, especially for the $14 price tag. It would have felt more at home on a slider bun.

Strangely enough the only thing generous here was their french fries. The plate was buried with their golden brown goodness. I was seriously impressed with these spuds, but that’s for another article. We’re fishing here.

There may be plenty of other fish in the sea, but these three shouldn’t disappoint. If you know of other sandwiches that are fishing for a complement, I’d love to hear about them. Leave me a comment.

Alpharetta Restaurant News – February 2015

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

Figo Pasta closed signArrivederci Figo Pasta. The fast-casual Italian eatery on North Point closed their doors for good about two weeks ago, leaving this goodbye in the window. On social media the company blamed the poor location for their demise but word is that the chain is suffering. Or perhaps it’s the general concept. Mirko Pasta, a very similar competitor, recently closed in Johns Creek. We knew this one was coming as the business had been listed for sale with a restaurant broker. We suspected Figo might go as well, but we didn’t expect them both to go at almost the same time.

Replacing Mirko in Johns Creek is an Indian restaurant called Mirchi Virchi. They opened on Monday. Also in Johns Creek look for Brooklyn Cantina to open on Jones Bridge Road in the former 12 Slices location.

Someone has leased the former pretzel store space on Highway 9 in Milton near Target. We’re told the name will be Chad Thai Urban Asian Kitchen but at this point don’t know much more about the concept. There are several other Thai restaurants in the west Windward area so we’ll see how they fare. And we’re also hearing a fast food restaurant may build across the street in front of Aldi, but the scoop belongs to Eli Zandman so I’ll let him report on it.

And speaking of scoops, the folks over at Scoop OTP got one on me. They reported this week that Roswell’s Ceviche Taqueria & Margarita Bar will open a new location in downtown Alpharetta. Look for them at 42 Milton Avenue near the 2B Whole bakery. Of course Salt Factory paved the way with expansion from Roswell a few years ago. Roswell’s Nine Street Kitchen considered coming to downtown Alpharetta but pulled the plug on their plans. What other Roswell eateries could be next?

Several previously-reported restaurants have opened since last month. Tom+Chee opened two weeks ago on North Point near Chicken Salad Chick.  Vito’s Pizza-Rant has opened on Old Milton Parkway. They are the third pizza concept to open here since Mama’s left about a year and a half ago. Laguna Mexican Grill has opened in south Forsyth where BW Tavern once lived. And Smallcakes, a franchise cupcake joint, has now opened at 4055 Old Milton Parkway.

Our coming soon list has been updated. A number of these projects are stalling or otherwise progressing slowly.

Restaurants Coming Soon

The Farmhouse – Still waiting on this coffee and crepe shop in Johns Creek.
Jay’s Mexican Grill and Taqueria – McFarland Parkway in south Forsyth. Perhaps their buildout has stalled.
Cook-Out – Their buildout has started on Haynes Bridge.
Cafe at Pharr – Their opening appears to be far out. Slow progress on Windward.
Ricco’s Italian & Tapas -  A promising new concept to open on Highway 9 in Milton from a former Zola alum.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House – Haynes Bridge

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

It’s great to finally see two of the largest empty spaces in Alpharetta become occupied. The most recent is the former Rainwater location on Haynes Bridge Road. My wife and I got married here in November of 2007. It closed soon after. The fact that it was a huge space, high priced food and an awkward location combined for Rainwater’s demise. It’s a shame.

Ruths Chris logo smallAlpharetta needed a high-end fine dining establishment, a place where new business owners can take clients, eat expensive meat and toast with high dollar wines and spirits. A real Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity kind of place, unabashed 1% all the way. It’s kind of funny to say that since Rainwater was the cheapest place in the whole area to host a wedding, by far.

Anyway, years passed and I longed for something, anything to open in that space if for no other reason than to get back inside where I got married. Chill Restaurant and Lounge opened and we had hope. Then it closed in a month.

Recently word came that national steakhouse chain Ruth’s Chris was moving its Sandy Spring location to that space. My wife and I took out a loan and went last weekend to finally revisit the place we exchanged vows.

Ruth’s Chris undertook an extensive remodel to bring the place back from the Chill decor that was dominated by turquoise. It looks nice now, a lot like Rainwater used to be. The beautiful wrought iron doors are gone, as are the ultra-cool teardrop lights over the bar. The layout hasn’t changed either. The space consists of a large central room that houses the hostess stand, staircase, wine lockers and five separate dining rooms. Several rooms have fireplaces and all have high-end decor and seating. Each room seems like its own restaurant. Ruth’s Chris doesn’t seem that big when you’re housed in a dining room.

One the rooms is very unique and would be perfect for rehearsal dinners. It has one long table and the walls are lined with brick with very pricy wines on display. It also holds the entrance to the wine cellar housing hundreds of bottles of wine.

Upstairs hasn’t changed a lot at this point either. We were told that events have and will be held upstairs.  We were also told that the Governor Deal and Mayor Belle Isle were there recently to give speeches. I am very glad to see that future couples will be able to be married there.

The food or course was outstanding and insanely expensive. The menus are presented in both normal fashion and on an iPad. I wish it was either/or not both. The table got crowded.

The service was impeccable. The waiter had one of those little crumb scrapers to clean the table cloth. I love that. The steaks came out sizzling of course, but most importantly, perfectly cooked. The 1800 degree broiler does a good job. But for an average price of $40 a steak, I could get several from Woody’s Meat and Sausage Company, cook them at home and be just as happy. Sides are extra of course. Two people with drinks (local beers from Jekyll and Monday Night are available), steaks and sides can run upwards to $200. Ouch.

Ruth’s Chris has and always will cater to the 1% and those with expense accounts. The place is nice and will definitely impress clients and friends. We went at 6:00 PM on a Saturday and it was packed. Time will tell if the name recognition of Ruth’s Chris will keep this steakhouse in the game.

A downtown wish list

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

After grabbing lunch and a beer at Hop Alley recently, I took a stroll across the street to the new Alpharetta City Center. It was my first time to get an up close and personal look at what downtown will look like. It was great. I loved the large grassy area, the tree lined streets, the grand city hall, the abundance of sidewalks, and the massive in ground fountain.

downtown overlayI visited a similar development in Virginia last year. They also had a large fountain where kids could get in and get wet. It was a huge it! I don’t expect anything less down here when the temps hit 90.

As I stood in the middle of it all, my attention was drawn to the real estate on either side of the main lawn/gathering place. While we are still a ways off from spending our money here, I can’t help but envision what I would like to see there.

Retail? Meh, don’t care. Some boutique or art store or whatever. I’m talking about what downtown would NEED. Like a good sandwich shop/deli. Like a New York-style corned beef on rye handmade meatballs thousand types of sandwiches kind of place.

If the beer laws change (if) I’d love to see Jekyll Brewing have a presence downtown. I know they’ve talked about it.

I would love to see a cool little ice cream shop with old fashioned deserts and sodas. Like Scoops but better.

Most of the places could have patio dining with live music and gas lamps. Can you imagine how great it could be? I can.

The city has a chance to do something really great downtown, a chance to set Alpharetta apart from every other town in the northern arc. I hope that they think about the citizens and not about who will give them the most money or who is partnered with who. I know some of the city council members read this blog. Comment and tell them what you want to see downtown and how you envision Alpharetta’s future.

Cheap eats in Alpharetta

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

Meet James, a co-worker of mine who eats out for lunch everyday. Sounds familiar. We ought to have a lot in common yet seldom do our restaurant paths cross. But James, along with his cadre of old timers who eat together everyday, are rather set in their ways. They’re also very frugal.

One day I challenged James to break out of his routine of Subway and Speedy with beans. He returned my challenge with one of his own. Find restaurants that are close to our Windward office, offer something delicious and will cost $8 or less including drink and tip.

So James, without further adieu, here’s your list.

Pizza by the slice – Alpharetta is completely covered up in New York-style pizza. Your cheapest way to enjoy is ordering by the slice at lunch. Most joints will do two slices with toppings and a drink for around seven bucks. Top picks in this category include Verra-Zanno Pizzeria in Johns Creek along with their sister restaurant Joe’s New York Pizzeria on Mansell Road. Mama’s Pizza on North Point and Brooklyn Joe’s off Windward are also fine choices and a little closer to most cubicle dwellers.

El Trompo signAuthentic Mexican – Give Speedy Gonzalez the adios. He’s certainly cheap but you can do far better for the same pesos. Mr. Taco and our beloved El Trompo Mexican Taqueria are where you need to be. Mix and match some a la carte tacos and wash it down with a Mexican coke.  It easily fits within our $8 budget.

Mediterranean – Two words: gyro wraps. They are delicious, very filling and well within our budget in most instances. I like Grecian Gyro in Johns Creek Walk, Cafe Efendi on Main Street and Seven Seas Cafe Devore Road. And if you’re willing to approach the $10 mark, nothing beats the chicken shawarma wrap at Jerusalem Bakery on Old Milton.

Chinese – It’s certainly cheap at lunch, but it takes a lot to impress me in this category. Head down to Johns Creek for the good stuff. Liu Fu will serve the Chinese food your accustomed to for $8 at lunch. Or better yet, establish yourself as a Chinese food epicure and order the Szechwan-style hot boiled fish. It breaks our budget at $10 but is well worth it. You’ll need extra napkins to dab the sweat off your brow.

For quality Thai food at very reasonable prices hit Satay House on Alpharetta’s South Main Street. Some lunch options are priced as low as $6.25. How do they do it?

X-tudoAnd finally, for my off-the-wall budget lunch pick, head over to Old Milton’s  Coisas de Brasil and order the X-tudo. For a measly six bucks your sammich comes with hamburger, a fried egg, mozzarella cheese, ham, lettuce, tomato, corn and peas. It’s the most bizarre lunch item in Alpharetta, but it’s cheap!

Not every good restaurant in Alpharetta has to be fine dining. Guys like my friend James are never going to shell out $18 for a plate of tacos at The El Felix. You don’t have to either. Hopefully this list gives the budget-conscious gastronome a decent place to begin. If you’ve got ideas for delicious cheap eats, I’d love to hear them!

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