At Explore Gwinnett, “Local Love” is one of our favorite things to write, blog, post or chat about. Unearthing a hidden culinary gem, marketing a female or Black-owned hospitality venture and feeling assured our shopping and dining dollars are returning to our community is our favorite form of economic development. In honor of the entrepreneurs, tourism pioneers and LGBTQ-owned businesses, let us chat about a few of our favorite small business spaces and places.
With Gwinnett being a widely diverse community, we are fortunate to have numerous ethnic/international markets with food, spices and snacks from all over the globe. One of our favorite Local Love is Plaza Las Americas. Located in Lilburn, their market is an adaptive reuse of a vacant Lowe’s storefront turned indoor/outdoor market. The mall consists of street-facing retail suites, open-air “Mercado” stalls, a grocery store, a food court, a gaming center and soccer fields, all created to provide a culturally oriented place. It is a bright, festive and inviting community hub.
Our Local Love is strong for the newly opened The Local Peach. Housed in a charming building in downtown Historic Norcross, the Local Peach is a business with a profound calling.
Women-owned, their chef-driven kitchen and market offers a variety of authentic products but also strives to stir soul-stirring conversations, host virtual cooking classes and unique events and create partnerships to combat food insecurity. There’s greenspace for outdoor events, including dinners and concerts, round table discussions, open mic nights and more.
And there is more Local Love than ever when it comes to Gwinnett’s craft breweries and distilleries. As of 2022, more than a dozen of them call Gwinnett home, dotting the county from Suwanee to Sugar Hill, Lilburn to Lawrenceville and Duluth to Peachtree Corners. The local beer love is not lacking, with several of the breweries – Slow Pour, Blackbird, Good Word, 6S, Kettle Rock, and Monkey Wrench, for starters – being labors of love for both new and long-time Gwinnett residents.
One of Gwinnett’s local breweries, Indio Brewing, in downtown Sugar Hill is small, mighty, family-owned and the first Latin-owned brewery in Georgia. To celebrate their culture, the brewery features a diverse selection of Cerveza Artesanal and hosts Latin Music events, Salsa Nights, and other cultural events.
And in case you have not heard, food and beer tours have made it to Gwinnett. Local beer aficionado Justin Hall, owner of Southern Culinary Tours, started the “Sipping in the Suburbs” tours in the last 18 months to showcase Gwinnett’s growing list of breweries. Hall has run tours in Atlanta for the previous nine years, but with new breweries popping up, the time was ripe for Gwinnett.
Monthly, two tours are offered, one driving and one featuring a walking tour in the downtown Lawrenceville Depot District. The driving tour features three rotating breweries (based on ticket sales), offered on the second Saturday monthly. Visit southernculinarytours.com for tours + booking!
One of our favorite Date Night small businesses is tucked into a nondescript shopping center off Jimmy Carter Blvd – where you may be surprised to find Atlanta’s top comedy club, Atlanta Comedy Theatre. The gracious interior features a lush, red-carpeted entry area, chandeliers, big screen televisions on every wall, an interactive “social wall,” private VIP booths, elegant fabrics draped throughout and a fine art collection all through the space.
But what has driven the success of this entertainment venue is not the décor; it is the high-quality comedians. Top comedians range from Dave Chappelle and Mike Epps to Tony Rock and other up-and-coming comedians, plus Comedy Central or BET regulars.
For more, visit explorewgwinnett.org to follow our Local Love blog; check out our list of tourism/dining Black Owned businesses or choose from one of our favorite local spots for a beverage or snack (hint: Slutty Vegan is at the top).