Marlow’s Tavern, Sandy Springs GA

Marlow’s Tavern is one of the many places in Atlanta that we began to overlook when we started the blog. It was a perfectly good place to eat – I’ll entertain a suggestion that it may have been somebody with whom I may have been stepping out before Marie and I got together who enjoyed it a good deal – but perhaps a bit more of a corporate chain than we typically visit.

Marlow’s is owned by Sterling Hospitality, and the executive chef and co-founder is John C. Metz. His partners include several industry types, people with lots of experience running big chains like Red Lobster or the sadly missed Steak & Ale. It’s a team whose players go way back and who think big. Since we’re more likely to visit family-owned places with a much smaller focus, Marlow’s has mostly been off our radar, despite the high quality of the food, which is two or three steps above typical bar fare. While it is a chain, it is still a locally-based one, with eleven of its thirteen stores in the Atlanta area. The other two are around Orlando FL.

Two additional Atlanta stores are in the works, for the Mall of Georgia in Buford, and in the forthcoming Avalon development in Alpharetta. That one will take Marlow’s back to its origins. The first store opened there in 2004. They’re celebrating their tenth anniversary this year and we were invited by their PR company to visit their Sandy Springs store, at The Prado, to meet general manager Keith Grant, who is just fantastically friendly, and sample their summer menu.

For the fifth year in a row, Marlow’s Tavern is highlighting all things “Red, White and Brew” with their special menu, which runs through July 28. Some of the menu items this month include:

Beer and Cheese Soup–a light beer soup with garlic, fresh thyme, provolone, Swiss and Parmesan sourdough crisp ($6)
Firecracker Deviled Eggs –pimento cheese, apple-wood smoked bacon, fresh herbs and firecracker sauce ($3/$5)
Watermelon & Buffalo Mozzarella Salad -Euro cucumber, radish, fresh mint, olive oil and balsamic glaze ($9)
Beach House Bruschetta – fresh shrimp, lump crab, avocado, Granny Smith apple, fresh jalapeño, red onion, corn, red pepper, olive oil, fresh Florida citrus and hand-picked cilantro ($9.50)
Wild West Bison Burger – lean, ground bison, perfectly seasoned, decorated with bacon, cheddar, BBQ ranch and crispy onions on a toasted sesame brioche bun served with American fries ($14)
Backyard Blackened Mahi Sandwich – dusted, grilled, pressed and stacked with baby arugula, citrus aioli, toasted sourdough and a red, white and blue potato salad ($15)
Grilled Kansas City Strip Steak – “hot off the grill” tender bone-in KC strip, blazed with Montreal spice and chili-slather, twice-baked, salt-crusted Burbank potato and grilled jumbo asparagus ($25)
Red, White and Blue Potato Salad – Red Bliss and Peruvian “blue” potatoes, apple-wood smoked bacon, chopped egg and fresh herbs ($3)
“Campfire” S’mores– house-made milk chocolate and peanut butter, graham cracker, burnt marshmallow layered in a jar and good enough to drink ($6)

In addition, the Fifth Annual Marlow’s Tavern Grilling Recipe Contest invites grillmasters to submit their best recipe for a chance to win a Big Green Egg. Marlow’s has teamed up with the Atlanta-based grilling company because the two local companies share an enthusiasm for supporting the ultimate grill-masters and the great grilling season of summertime. The second place prize is a $200 Marlow’s Tavern gift card, and third place wins a $100 gift card.

Entries are accepted at now through Aug. 1. No purchase is necessary for guests to enter this contest, and entries are limited to one per person or email address. Executive Chef Metz will review and judge all recipes, then announce the winners on Sept. 6 with a party at the Dunwoody location to feature the finalists’ dishes as well as winning dishes from the past four years.

The Prado store is unfortunately not very street-visible, but it was packed by 7 pm on a Wednesday all the same. The World Cup might have helped – Croatia was demolishing Cameroon across several flat-screen TVs around the dining room – or the very fun guitarist on the patio may have helped. They have live music on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. The food was quite good – the firecracker shrimp from their regular menu was my favorite and the watermelon and mozzarella salad from the current special menu was Marie’s – and the service was exemplary. It’s a fine place for an evening out.

(As noted, this was a media event and a portion of our meal was complimentary. It’s our policy to always note when we’ve received our meal without charge. If you would like to invite us to your restaurant’s media events, please drop Grant a line at .)

Other blog posts about Marlow’s Tavern:

Food Near Snellville (Duluth, June 18 2010)
Citrus Catering (Midtown, July 15 2011)
Roots in Alpharetta (Cumming, Aug. 5 2011)
Fervent Foodie (Midtown, Oct. 4 2011)
Friday Date Night (Marietta, June 23 2012)
D. Taylor’s Food & Travel (Vinings, July 11 2013)

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