& February 2005
Neighborhood Italian niche heads to Suwanee
Restaurant... No. 3 opens in Suwanee/Johns Creek
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Attributing his success to his "good staff," owner Brian Miller's business units have grown rapidly. The first Alessio's Restaurant opened in Alpharetta in 2000, a Roswell location in 2002 and the most recent has opened in Suwanee/Johns Creek.
Alessio's fills the neighborhood Italian restaurant niche, with a fast casual dining environment. "Our customers eat here two times a week, or take out. We get to know our customers by name and have a very relaxed atmosphere," says Miller.
The interior's stained wood decor, pizza showcase and open kitchen add to the traditional Italian atmosphere. With 2,400 square feet of space to seat up to 100 people there is plenty of room to have large parties. There's also the option to catch a little TV or just enjoy the pies while listening to '80s music.
Menu items are consistent from location to location, as the 'pizza guys' rotate to different stores, creating consistent dough. Using the finest cheeses and a special marinara recipe, New York-style pizza and deep-dish pizza ranges from $8.95 to $13.95. There is also a big selection of specialty pizzas such as Manhattan Meat, which is topped with meatball, sausage, pepperoni, ham and bacon ($13.95 - $18.95). Pasta dishes, using the same cheeses and special marinara recipe, are also a good value from lasagna ($7.95) to eggplant Parmigiana ($7.95).
With his appreciation for Italian food, Miller remembers fondly his native New York upbringing. It gave him inspiration to open his first restaurant, Positino's, in Orlando, FL. Miller operated Positino's for 14 years with his Italian partners who were originally from the Mediterranean village of Positino, Italy. Miller now has his sights set on expanding the Alessio's concept further and franchising the business.
Alessio's newest Restaurant is located at 7754 McGinnis Ferry Road in the Publix at Shakerag Shopping Center, 770.622.4884. Hours are Monday - Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday & Saturday 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. For more information on all the Alessio's locations visit www.alessiosrestaurant.com
Bob's Kabobs in Kennesaw market
"Kabobs are fun to eat and perfect for those on a low carb, high protein diet," says owner Christian Gainnes. He recently opened Bob's Kabobs in late November, a fast casual restaurant, where the main event is Kabobs.
The restaurant seats 40 patrons, who select their Kabob at the counter from a variety of choices. Beef, chicken, turkey, tuna and swordfish are the most popular, served with Bob's homemade dipping sauce. Also served as sides are pita bread, lentils and Greek potatoes. The average ticket is $7 - $8.50. Salads and heroes are also on the menu.
Gainnes has been in the restaurant business for 25 years. "I was curious as to how people would except the concept and have discovered that it has a broad appeal," Gainnes is planning a second location in Vinings next year.
Bob's Kabobs is located at 1200 Ernest Barrett Parkway, NW in Kennesaw, 770.422.4362. Hours are Monday - Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Higher Grounds takes you away from the daily 'grind'
Placed prominently in the heart of the Northern Suburbs of Atlanta, owner Dan Knutson's Higher Grounds Coffee House & Eatery provides an escape from the daily "grind."
Offering a new approach to the traditional Coffee House, the interior radiates with the rustic feel of a mountain lodge. Featuring live family-oriented entertainment Wednesdays through Saturday &emdash; A venue for local and up-and-coming artists to perform &emdash; And free high-speed wireless internet access allowing the business professional, student or anyone interested in surfing the web a cozy environment with hot java, cool sounds and food.
"The Cabin" at Higher Grounds is a space accommodating groups from 6 to 40 for community, business or private parties. "The Cabin" is equipped with designer garage doors that raise and lower to allow for privacy as needed and the space is available at no charge but you must call ahead to reserve.
Higher Grounds is also the first retailer in the southeast to offer "Teaosophy" (tm) (loose-leaf hot tea). Teaosophy offers leaf tea in a silken mesh pyramid tea pod. Leaf tea allows you to brew your tea exactly the way you like it - light, medium or dark. You can see the tea leaves, spices and ingredients of the loose-leaf triangular shaped pouch as it steeps in your cup
Higher Grounds roaster, Ian Goodman, makes sure the coffee meets all the criteria for the best coffee: the bean, the roast and the freshness. Specialty coffees from around the globe, teas, rich creamy espresso based drinks, blended ice coffees and blended tea blasts are abundant. In addition to pastries and breakfast sandwiches, the menu is completed with soups & salads, and a variety of deli and wrap sandwiches and desserts.
Higher Grounds is located at 10900 Medlock Bridge Road, Medlock Promenade Shopping Center, Duluth, 770.418.1884. For more information visit www.highergroundscoffee.com.
McCray's occupies former BackStreet
Scott McCray has been in the business long enough to know what ingredients make a successful business. His latest venture, McCray's 6th Street Tavern opened in midtown (in the former BackStreet location) not far from his other current ventures, Cosmopolitan and Lava Lounge. "We are the type of tavern that the neighborhood folks come to at least a couple times a week," says McCray.
Before Cosmo and Lava McCray was with Fratelli's di Napoli, Antonio's and LaRocco's Italian Restaurant in Destin, Florida.
With McCray's 6th Street Tavern, the concept of good food and service will be the focus. "This is the type of place that you would likely fine in New York or Chicago, with a good mixed crowd and great food," says McCray.
The neighborhood bar & grill features some Italian classics such as linguine & meatballs ($8), chicken parmigiana & linguine marinara ($9), and rigatoni vodka sauce ($9). Starters include calamari fritti ($8) and homemade potato chips and Gorgonzola Cheese ($6).
On tap are a selection of 45 beers and a broad variety of bottled beer and wine round out the choices.
The interior features lots of dark wood and brick. McCray is also in the process of enlarging the existing footprint inside and out. The additional seating will accommodate up to 300 inside and a patio expansion is in the works.
McCray's 6th Street Tavern is located at 98 6th Street in Midtown, 404.249.1506. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Monday - Sunday.
Chopaati opens in Decatur
The locals refer to Decatur as a great little "Mayberry" town. It is very pedestrian friendly and has really unique boutiques and a range of interesting restaurants. Chopaati is the latest restaurant addition to the area offering Indian Cuisine and is strictly vegetarian.
Dilip Patel is the owner of Chopaati. He opened in October taking over the space that was formally another Indian restaurant. "We opened under a different name, new menu and improved the décor," says Patel.
On the menu are over 80 different varieties of food from north and south India. The entrees are made fresh to order and the value is incredible, with the average entrée only $4.50. Entrees include various types of Masala, including Masala Vadai, made with chickpeas and spices, Samosa, Dosais, a thin crepe made of rice and lentil and various bread baskets of poori, pulka and naan.
Chopaati is located at 1707 Church Street, in the Scott Village Shopping Center, 404.296.2965. Hours are 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday - Sunday.
Hoping to add to the resurgence of downtown, Underground Atlanta has added 'entertainment district' to its resume with the announcement of openings of six new clubs and two newly renovated restaurants that coincided with the 16th Annual Peach Drop on New Year's Eve.
Underground's additions include more than 38,000 square feet of new clubs, bars and restaurants: the high-energy dance clubs The Future and the Latin Quarter occupying 10,000 square feet, the tropical Jimmy Buffet-style club and show bar of Island Oasis, a rock and roll-meets-jukebox atmosphere of The Alley Cat and an upbeat, adult karaoke and dance club serving food and drinks at Koco's. Re-opening in its new location will be the drag-queen talents of Charlie Brown's Cabaret and the newly renovated restaurants Irish Bred and Jamaica Jamaica.
Four other clubs were inticed earlier in the year to join Kenny's Alley but have since pulled out: Loca Luna, Tongue & Groove, Black Bear Ravern and Mako's.
Kenny's Alley offers live music entertainment, dancing and spirits as well as menu items. This is the only entertainment district in the city where the drinks are poured until 4 a.m. and you can walk from club to club throughout Kenny's Alley while carrying an open container. For more information visit www.underground-atlanta.com.