Restaurant Holmes

It's rare but, yes, I will go outside 285 for a great meal. And if you haven't been to the historic downtown Alpharetta lately, boy are you in for a surprise! Nearly 40 chef-driven restaurants are cooking; 25 cute little shops are selling. The mix of quaintness and vibrant energy makes for quite the neat little hamlet.

And right off the little village green and next to the new Alpharetta City Center sits Restaurant Holmes, housed in a craftsman-style house originally built in 1914 for the price of $515. Beautifully restored, replete with a massive howling wolf mural inside, it is now the home of a super hip, super independent and wonderfully warm restaurant that I feel is worth a drive from anywhere in the metro.

Chef/Owner Taylor Neary, a local Roswell boy who looks a lot like Forest Gump during his running phase, helms a very impressive kitchen churning out some of the most honest, approachable and unique comfort food I have chowed on in a long time. Beet salad with citrus, arugula and sherry Dijon. Crispy octopus with hot honey and Mexican pickles.The tacos: pork belly smoked in pineapple and served on flour tortillas with pickles and peppers.His grilled cheese: two thick slices of toasted brioche loaded with a rich, buttery mac n' cheese. Also, a must-have burger and some great big plates like ribeye with BBQ onions and jalapeno and a roasted grouper. For dessert: strawberry cobbler with baked cookie crumble. Everything made from scratch.Everything locally sourced.

And do not skip on the cocktails. I cannot think of a better cocktail program OTP, I was able to try a few, and they were all balanced, complex and extraordinarily creative-the sort of cocktails you might expect to see in downtown Decatur or somewhere where the mixologists have man-buns and handlebar mustaches…but you get all that in the wholesome awesomeness of downtown Alpharetta.

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