Two months ago, Marie and I took our son to Amicalola Falls, and I had a cunning plan to swing by the new Culver’s that had opened in that long, deeply depressing strip of one-off buildings and drive-thru restaurants on GA-400 along the outlet mall. This is the stretch of road where the Varsity Jr. relocated its iconic store on Lindbergh and added a playground. A playground. You’re shaking your head right now just thinking about it, I can tell.
Culver’s is a massively successful chain based in the midwest with hundreds of locations, and one of those places, like Jack in the Box, Whataburger, and In-N-Out, that people who love both road trips and chain fast food have been wishing to see in the Atlanta area. All of this development in Dawsonville is meaning massive business for chains and has caught the eye of restaurants looking to establish a Georgia footprint. In fact, the very next day after our trip, Tomorrow’s News Today had a story about how even more Culver’s are in the works. This prompted several commenters, including yours truly, to note that even after five weeks of business, this restaurant is an absolute madhouse. It is insanely popular. At four on a Sunday, the drive-thru line was wrapped around the building and the lobby was completely choked with people waiting for their custard milkshakes and concretes.
Culver’s tries to set itself apart by serving butterburgers. These are fast food burgers with a lot of butter in them. They also sell cheddar curds, which I forgot to order, and breaded pork tenderloins, which are about on the same just-above-mediocre level as the fast food tenderloins that I’ve found in my hesitant creeping across the river from Kentucky into Indiana’s border town. They’re okay. Everything’s okay. Well, the root beer is surprisingly good.
Interestingly, Culver’s doesn’t offer Mug root beer like most Pepsi places, but instead they have their own in-house brand. This might intrigue perhaps, ooooh, two of you good readers, but I like it when restaurants have their own branded sodas and colas. Other than that, nothing here set the place apart, and honestly, anybody visiting Dawsonville would do better to visit Big D’s BBQ across the street.
Tomorrow’s News Today reports that more Culver’s locations are in the works for some other outer metro Atlanta communities: Lawrenceville, Canton, Buford, and Newnan. There’s also one coming to the outskirts of Augusta. If you’re curious about restaurants, it’s probably worth visiting one of them once just to see what midwesterners are wild about.
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