Chef Chris Hall, one of the three locals behind the eatery’s moniker, sources fresh, seasonal ingredients from area farmers and weaves them into creative and playful comfort dishes. For example, the chefs show off some of the region's best meats—and some of their own butchery skills—in the Notorious P.I.G. charcuterie plate, and they modernize the classic meatloaf by subbing in a sophisticated pâte and pairing it with pickled seasonal vegetables.
More than 100 varieties of wine quite literally surround guests at Local Three, where the bottles are tucked into the walls in a private dining room. Space behind the curved oak bar is reserved exclusively for spirits, including more than 40 bourbons available by the glass or flight. The bar’s taps flow with local and international craft brews, and bartenders shake up a seasonal cocktail list that, more often than not, features a drink inspired by The Big Lebowski.
Most locavores dwell more on where their food comes from than where it’s prepared, but the owners of Local Three poured a lot of thought into their kitchen—which, at more than 4,000 square feet, is actually larger than all the restaurant's dining rooms combined. This sprawling workspace houses enough gadgetry to make just about everything from scratch, including a duck-fat fryer, two smokers, and a computer-controlled oven complete with USB port. There's even a designated pasta room that operates on a separate heating system to control humidity.
Signed guitars and celebrity photos line the walls at Star Café Inc., but it's the food that gets top billing. And it's no wonder, with a menu chock full of hearty Southern-style food. Biscuits drenched in sausage gravy stick to ribs, while ribs and brisket elicit looks of longing from the faces of The Beatles and Bob Marley, looking down from photo frames. Down-home meals can be rounded out with traditional side dishes, such as sliced red georgia tomatoes, sweet potato souffle, and purple hull peas.
On the surface, Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee House is just selling coffee?albeit high-quality coffee brewed using a French press, pour over, or Chemex. But look deeper and the cafe's true mission has more to do with creating community, both locally and globally.
A spacious outdoor patio and free WiFi give regulars a reason to stick around and enjoy classic coffee drinks, signature carminallas, and lattes that, with their intricate foam art, are perfect for hanging on the wall. Thursdays feature wide-ranging trivia contests, and live musicians enliven the space on Fridays and Saturdays.
And beyond the coffeehouse premises, Land of a Thousand Hills works to strengthen communities abroad. Its Rwandan coffee beans are sourced from growers at higher-than-fair-trade prices. The cafe also invests profits in community projects in Rwanda, such as a sustainable farm for orphans and a soccer field.
Fifth Group Restaurants began in 1993 with a hunger-driven dream and the opening of South City Kitchen in Midtown; in the intervening 17 years, the restaurant management company has grown to include a caravan of five grumble-silencing victual villas in a variety of cuisine styles. The restaurant group is also actively involved in a number of charitable and green programs, including a no-trash initiative where at least 95% of waste is either composted or recycled (Ecco is dumpster free and recycles or composts everything).
At Doc Green's Salads and Grill, many salads are named after doctors: the Dr. Greek has crisp romaine and zesty feta, and the Dr. Detroit has baby spinach and bleu cheese dressing, for example. It exemplifies how they aim to unite good health with good tastes. You don't have to put all your faith in the doctors, either?feel free to construct your own salad with any conglomeration of vegetables and toppings, including candied walnuts, portobello mushrooms, greens, and poached salmon. It doesn't stop with salad, either?they also serve freshly carved turkey, barbecue chicken, soups, and savory steaks.
There's no room for additives in Juice Zone's smoothies, not even extra sugar. Instead, staff members make them with non-fat frozen yogurt, sorbet, and fresh fruit?including everything from pineapple, strawberries, and coconut to peaches and bananas. Their commitment to simple, delicious and, most importantly, healthful recipes is evident throughout the rest of the cafe menu as well, which features crisp salads and a selection of wraps and sandwiches that can be grilled atop the kitchen's miniature volcano.