Lisa’s List: Off the Beaten Path


Gwinnett’s local restaurants have been feeling the love lately – the Georgia Department of Tourism recently released their statewide “100 Plates Locals Love” and three of our local favorite stops were on the list – 1910 Public House’s burger + fries, the Spicy Miso Ramen at Umaido and the Pimento Cheese from Local Republic. Zagat named Frankie’s Steakhouse, 9292 Korea BBQ and Iron Guys as three of Atlanta’s best new restaurants, and eagle-eyed TV fans could have spied Ba Bellies and the new K-Factory Korean BBQ restaurant on Atlanta Eats!

My never-ending love for the pimento cheese at Local Republic is a habit that I will likely never break, however, in the past few weeks I have enjoyed a few tremendous meals at spots new, unexpected or surprising. Here are a few of my favorites.

At Al Madina Halal Supermarket (5345 Jimmy Carter Blvd, Norcross) you can find literally anything. And by that, I mean……clothing, dried nuts, basil seed drinks, freshly butchered meat, or imported candles and herbs. No matter what you stop in the market for, don’t leave without going by their unassuming restaurant. With a simple menu of Middle Eastern choices, you simply can’t go wrong. My lunch of roasted bone-in chicken, spicy potatoes and nutty grilled cauliflower was all kinds of amazing, and was topped off with ‘maghmour,’ a Lebanese take on moussaka made with chickpea and eggplants. Suffice to say I had to break up a family brawl over my leftovers. And don’t miss their baklava. Thin, crispy, delicate and delish.

Those who know me well know my love of seafood. One of my favorite stops in Georgia is a family run Jekyll Island shrimp shack on the docks of the Atlantic. On a business trip a few months back, I ate a pound of steamed shrimp fresh off the boat for lunch and dinner for three days straight. So, my recent visit to the new Rockin Crawfish (1630 Pleasant Hill Rd, Duluth) was a delightful surprise for my shrimp-loving soul. The creative interior features cool vintage music décor, friendly service and a seafood boil menu – you can choose from ½-3 lbs of shrimp, crab or crawfish. Next, pick seasoning, spiciness and sides – corn, potatoes or sausage. So, so good. And even though I shouldn’t, I do it – don’t miss: a fried Oreo. Kind of like a doughnut with an Oreo in the middle. Sigh.
As a foodie, I always check out Yelp! – it’s a great way to find hidden gems or failing food scores. I noticed two of our hotel restaurants, 475 Restaurant (475 Technology Parkway, Peachtree Corners) in the newly renovated Marriott Peachtree Corners and ArtBar (1775 Pleasant Hill Rd, Duluth) in the Sonesta Atlanta/Gwinnett Place were both super highly rated.

And post haste, anyone ready for delicious and locally sourced
cuisine should head over. At 475, Chef Robert Mitchell, whose menu features American cuisine with a Southern flair, works extensively with both local farmers and fisheries, and it shows. My lunch of BBQ Shrimp and Grits, with a house salad of spiced pecans, pear and goat cheese, was fresh and memorable. Consider a visit on Saturday and Sunday, where $5 local craft beers and a selected mix of $5 appetizers are available. My favs at ArtBar included truffled deviled eggs and a burger served between hash browns. Yup, you heard that right. ArtBars gastro pub ambiance is enhanced by the local art adorning the walls, and Wine Down Wednesdays, where there’s live music from 6-9pm, with wine + light app pairings.

And the ultimate don’t miss is coming up quickly as well – the 13th Annual Gwinnett Restaurant Week ( Our longest running foodie event features 22 local restaurants, with three course menus at value price points ($25 and $35). Participants this year include: Noble Fin and Uncle Jack’s Meat House ($35) and $25 three course options from 9292 Korean BBQ, Breaker’s, 1910 Public House, FUMI, Local Republic, Adam’s, ArtBar, 475 Restaurant, Bare Bones, The Crossing, The Melting Pot, Sugo, Suwanee Park Tavern, Ten Bistro, Pub Ten, Carrabba’s, Marlow’s (Buford/Mall of GA) Honey Pig and Luciano’s!