California Dreaming, Kennesaw GA

A couple of weeks ago, we were in Macon, having dinner with our friends Rex and Rachel, and I mentioned a restaurant that I’d like to visit one of these days. Rex said that it’s become one of those restaurants where only much older people eat. I knew what he meant; we’ve been to a few ourselves, like The Epicurean in East Ridge TN or Jim Stalvey’s in Covington GA. Heck, for all that youth-skewing magazines like Garden & Gun have celebrated barbecue in the last few years, I am not sure that any students at Wake Forest are joining the crowd at Hill’s Lexington in Winston-Salem. I went there for breakfast last year and the servers there looked at me like they had never before seen anybody in their forties out of bed that early. Continue reading “California Dreaming, Kennesaw GA”

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Cook Out, Kennesaw GA

Cook Out has continued their slow and inexorable and honestly quite confusing expansion into Georgia. There’s no sense to be made in looking over their list of Georgia locations. I think that the presence of colleges must play a role, so that inebriated undergraduates can get a whole lot of greasy fast food at two in the morning and, what the heck, a milkshake while we’re here. That’s why we see restaurants in Athens (albeit nowhere sensible between the bars and the student housing, confounding that theory), Statesboro, Rome, and Milledgeville. But then there’s one in Pooler, and two stores in Augusta, and one in Atlanta off Moreland that serves the godawfulest barbecue ever. Two more Atlanta stores also opened last month, alongside this one, on Northside and in the former Zesto on Ponce. Continue reading “Cook Out, Kennesaw GA”

Tin Lizzy’s Cantina, Kennesaw GA

We hadn’t been to a Tin Lizzy’s in such a long time. Marie and I had visited their location in Buckhead a couple of times before, when we were dating. As much as I remembered the oddball, tasty, decidedly non-traditional tacos, I also remember some sage advice from a beer company’s poster in the gents’. At the time, I was still smarting from a loan that was looking like it was never going to be repaid. (It wasn’t.) The poster read “If you lend a ‘friend’ a hundred dollars and never see them again, it was probably money well spent.” I felt so much better after I thought about that. Continue reading “Tin Lizzy’s Cantina, Kennesaw GA”

LongHorn Steakhouse, Kennesaw GA

We get a few more media invitations than we can realistically entertain, but I paused when LongHorn Steakhouse reached out to us, and, after I thought about it, I decided that I’d like to give them a try. A friend asked me whether I was feeling well. I took the ribbing because the simple fact is that, other than its less-than-stellar reputation among us food hobbyists (to put it mildly), I knew next to nothing about the chain. I thought that was unfair and decided that I wanted to see what LongHorn was actually about, rather than relying on perception. Continue reading “LongHorn Steakhouse, Kennesaw GA”

Chuy’s, Kennesaw GA

Chuy’s, a successful Tex-Mex chain based in Austin, has opened its latest (56th) store just down the road from us in Kennesaw, and invited me to stop by for a tour and some appetizers. This restaurant, the second in this market following the store in Dunwoody, is located along the stretch of Barrett Parkway populated by quite a few chains that get huge weekend business; in fact, it’s just two doors down from an On the Border, which struck me as curious, but Chuy’s marketing manager, Hilary Delling, assured me that the two restaurants are very different in taste, and diners will have very different experiences. Based on what I saw, I would agree. Continue reading “Chuy’s, Kennesaw GA”

Tom + Chee, Kennesaw GA

Here’s a very nifty surprise. Since the small chain Tom + Chee exploded in a big expansion over the last twelve months, they’ve become what is probably the only place in Georgia to serve goetta. Have you ever heard of this stuff? It’s kind of the Ohio River Valley equivalent to Mississippi slugburgers: breakfast sausage that has been “extended” with the addition of oats and onions, and seasoned with rosemary and bay leaves. Continue reading “Tom + Chee, Kennesaw GA”

Wingstop, Kennesaw GA

Not too many weeks ago, I was idly clicking around one of those Wikipedia boxes about, ahem, “chicken-based restaurant chains” – how glamorous does that sound? – and read about the Texas-based chain Wingstop for the first time. The first store in the chain of 600-plus stores opened in Garland twenty years ago. I was surprised to learn they had a presence in Georgia, and even more surprised that there was one just on the other side of I-75 across from Kennesaw State. Continue reading “Wingstop, Kennesaw GA”