In the previous chapter, I mentioned how some restaurant spaces seem cursed. You might think that one particular building on Broad Street is another contender for that name. For about the last nine months, it has been home to Preserve, a modern American place that boasts a really nice brunch and is owned by local musicians Ella Sternberg and Lenny Miller. The building, erected in the late 1950s, was the home of a drive-up dairy bar called Arctic Girl for many years, but it has also been the home of three barbecue joints: Walter’s, JB’s, and Hollis Ribs. Just to put things in perspective, I mentioned Hollis Ribs in January 2011 and intended then to get over there, but never did. Two different restaurants, a hot dog place and a coffee shop, have come and gone since that story.
The owners aimed for a relaxed vibe, and possibly too relaxed. The service sort of dropped from “unhurried” to “indifferent,” but at least it was not too hot outside. Everybody except me wanted to eat at our next stop, so I was the only one to order from the menu here. Our daughter did enjoy an exceptionally good latte, and she was thrilled that, for once, somebody actually made it as sweet as she likes it. We all munched on some very good hand-cut shoestring fries as well.
I was tempted by the shrimp club sandwich and by the chicken and waffles, but I decided on the heirloom tomato salad and really enjoyed it. Between a late breakfast of fried chicken and a supper of barbecue and mull, this seemed like a sensible choice. There are several meat options on the menu, but the restaurant, even with such a pleasantly small menu, is vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, too. On a warm day like this, a nice bowl of tomato salad made for a splendid lunch. I should probably order with that in mind more often.
The wonderfully cool artwork on the building comes from Crispy Printz, and a painter was working on the retaining wall on the opposite side of the property while we were there. Marie went to compliment him on his work and got a small pack of stickers and things for the kids. You can check out their site to see other murals and things that they’ve done around Athens and northeast Georgia, all of which are really beautiful.
After lunch, we went to visit our friend Eleanor, who had a baby just two weeks previously, and then went back by The Grill for the ladies to enjoy burgers and milkshakes. This might just be the first time in recent memory that I ate a healthier lunch than Marie. Not to diminish the wonderful burgers at The Grill, but I think that I made the right choice, and should probably do it more often.
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