Right now, Historic Downtown Alpharetta wears the crown of my favorite hamlet in all of the city. A charming little grid of historic buildings and a small green space (well, it's astroturf but it's still green!) provides a setting for family fun and entertainment. Little boutiques, businesses and shops mixed in with an amazing offering of restaurants make this a destination that you should check out whether you live near there or not. Restaurants like Jinya Ramen Bar, Chiringa, Carson Kitchen, Restaurant Holmes, Salt Factory Pub and more than a dozen others give you lots of choices to dine or to grab a cocktail and crawl around. It feels wholesome and safe but also brims with positive energy.
Around the back of the Main Street drag sits Minnie Olivia Pizzeria, a wonderful little Neapolitan-style pizza gem inhabiting the bottom floor of the former Dodd Hotel which was built circa 1870. James Madison Dodd owned the hotel and his daughter, Minnie Olivia, worked there until she passed in 1936 so there clearly is a cool historic vibe. Out of the little space, the smell of world-class pizzas and other Italian masterpieces come wafting up: wood-fired olives, tomato braised pork meatballs, meatball subs, fried calamari, and of course pizzas to fall in love with. Seating inside is limited but if you are covid careful or just want to not be confined indoors Minnie Olivia offers little heated igloo 4-tops on the sidewalk out front.
And if you notice construction happening around the restaurant it's for their forthcoming sister concept, Fogon And Lions, which will serve up food influenced by Spain, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. if the operation is anywhere was excellent as Minnie Oliva, this should be a huge hit. Both concepts will share a kitchen and some common spaces on a patio and should just add to the uniqueness of the experience. The Dodd's would be proud.