A healthy lifestyle can only happen with access to healthy food. And that was the impetus for Natural Foods Warehouse founder Alan Purcell to build his store: to give his community easy access to natural foods and wholesome vitamins. The shelves of the store’s four expansive locations are packed with specialty products, ranging from sugar-free drinks to vitamins and supplements from popular brands such as Garden of Life and New Chapter and Amazing Grass brand superfoods. Towering refrigerators house organic dairy and eggs, while a wine section is stocked with quaffable varietals. A knowledgeable staff guides patrons by the hand or by pig Latin–encoded messages over the stores' loudspeakers, broadcasting where to find diet-specific items, such as Crunchmaster gluten-free crackers.
An earthy, open space with burnt-orange walls and wooden seating sets the scene At Cafe Efendi, which is celebrating it's 10th year in business. Their brick fireplace's flames echo the flames in the kitchen that cook thin slices of housemade Doner (gyro meat). The chefs flavor this and other Turkish dishes with aromatic Mediterranean seasonings, putting together moussaka and lamb kebabs to be enjoyed under the glow of streetlight-like wall sconces. Live music floods the space on Friday and Saturday nights, and belly dancers also enliven the atmosphere three nights a week, as hookah-smoking patrons blow smoke rings worthy of asking a jeweler to appraise them. Patrons have a full bar at their disposal, as well as patio seating that coaxes them outside to dine in temperate breezes.
Azul Agave is owned by DCT Hospitality Group, founded by entrepreneur Chittranjan “Chuck” Thakkar and has won OpenTable’s Diner’s Choice awards for Good for Groups and Fit for Foodies. The upscale eatery serves southwest and Mexican cuisine influenced by Latin and southwestern flavors that can be paired with selections from the restaurant’s extensive list of tequilas, draft beers, and margaritas. Diners cozy up at booth tables in the dimly lit dining room, which features two fireplaces and an exhibition-style kitchen. Five flat-screen TVs add a soft glow to the contemporary lounge where patrons sip on signature cocktails before heading out to one of two outdoor patios where they can engage in an evening of conversation or debates over how Bugs Bunny got his name.
After owning and running several successful bars in Chicago, George Patras headed south for the warmer weather?and ended up reconnecting with his Greek roots. Noticing the lack of Greek food in their adopted Georgia hometown, George and his wife Kathye opened Papouli's, where they whipped up family recipes brought over from Greece. Soon they were adding other Mediterranean offerings to the menu that included hoummus, gyros, and fava bean salad. They eventually established a market brimming with goods like olive oil, coffee, and cheese and expanded to two locations, treating local residents to mouthwatering Mediterranean cuisine that doesn't require a long drive over the Atlantic ocean.
With roots that trace back decades to its first location on the Syracuse University campus, it's not surprising that Johnny's Pizza chooses to continue perfecting their New York-style pies here in Georgia. The chefs' hand-tossed dough can be topped with the fresh ingredients of your choosing or made into one of 16 specialty pizzas, including the steak and cheese with onions, mushrooms, and green peppers. Pizza dough also doubles as the shell for calzones and stromboli, while 10.5-inch personal pizzas come in a gluten-free version. Oven-baked subs are layered with meatballs or Italian sausage and pasta dinners feature home-cooked classics such as lasagna and chicken parmigiana, but without the smoke-filled kitchen that comes with so many home-cooked meals.
Pie slingers at Romeo’s New York Pizza twirl their ‘za from scratch, piling dough made in-house with red sauce and toppings such as garlic, ground beef, meatballs, and sundried tomatoes. The cozy neighborhood joint has purveyed New York–style pizza since 1945, when delivery boys first started using hovercrafts. Its unfussy menu includes hearty appetizers such as cheese bread or fried ravioli, alongside healthy salads in vegetarian or meaty iterations. Those who opt not to build their own pies can go in for one of three chef-crafted incarnations—margherita, spinach and mushroom, or vegetarian, sold by the slice or in 12-inch or 16-inch rounds.