Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.
I stopped following the Avalon restaurant lineup a few years ago. It became tough to keep up as the lineup changed. Their PR machine would often blur the lines between a new restaurant announcement with rumor and hype. And I’ll admit, at times the back story of how Avalon itself came to fruition turned me off.
Nevertheless the lineup is complete for phase one and praise is most certainly due to this fine collection of eateries. And with an opening date of October 30th, these restaurants will open sooner than some on my restaurant news coming soon list.
Before I get into my first choices, let’s say a little about the October 30th opening date. I’ve seen how hard it is for a single restaurant to hit a promised opening date. There’s a lot to get right, from the construction to permits, inspections, etc. Then there’s the liquor licenses, something I’ve yet to see for many Avalon restaurants. It’s crazy ambitious to schedule a single opening date for this many restaurants and shops, a logistical challenge many don’t comprehend. Serious props are due to Avalon if they can pull it off!
Here are the joints I’d like to try first. We’ll also comment on their location within the project, something very important to the success of a restaurant in a mixed-use development.
Bocado Burger – We spend a lot of time talking burgers here. Bocado’s restaurant in the Westside area of Atlanta isn’t a burger joint, yet their burger is often mentioned as one of the best in all of Atlanta. So they want to open a burger-only joint in Alpharetta? Count me in. I’ll probably make a beeline here on opening day. And their outparcel location makes it easier for car lovers like me to get to as well.
I’m surprised no one has tried a ramen noodle concept in the burbs. Bantu at Avalon will be the first and I can’t wait to try. This is a fast-casual Asian concept that’ll be a bit tucked away in the site plan. But you should seek it out.
If the kids are with me I’m likely to try Bantam+Biddy. Their menu features a meat and two veggie style as well as having rotisserie chicken. And I see duck fat fries on the menu. Oh my.
Restaurants located near the movie theater will always be successful. That formula has proven to be true at The Collection Forsyth as even mediocre joints thrive when movie goers can walk there. I love Antico’s location and the idea that I can get a fast, delicious pizza and not miss the opening trailers. Kona Grill, the chain’s first location in Georgia, will also benefit from this proximity. Marlow’s Tavern is also in a great location as well but we in Alpharetta are certainly used to this joint. And we expect Goldberg’s to benefit from overflow restaurant crowds by the theater.
Frozen yogurt seller Pinkberry will be in a street median. I’m not a fan of fro-yo but their offerings are usually considered a notch above the competition. It’s worth a try. Also in the median will be Cru Wine Bar.
My first date night visit might include dinner at The El Felix, a Tex-Mex concept from Ford Fry. It’s around the corner from just about everything else. I might consider Oak Steakhouse even though their location seems almost like an afterthought. They’ll be practically in the townhomes on the west side of Avalon.
And finally, how will a mass opening of several very good restaurants effect Alpharetta’s current restaurant scene? I won’t say who but several restauranteurs have quietly expressed to me their concern for the increased competition Avalon will create. There’s no doubt that in the short term, say three months, business will suffer for these guys. Yet in the long run, rising tides will lift all boats. Between Avalon and a budding new downtown restaurant scene, Alpharetta is finally becoming a restaurant destination. Everyone will benefit.