In the midst of ever-multiplying chain eateries, Gabriel's Pizza embraces its status as a mom-and-pop pizza joint. Though the restaurant boasts patio seating and exposed-brick walls, owners Charley and Allen Eisenmenger generally avoid frills and instead focus on perfecting a menu that brings together New York’s thin-crust pizzas and Chicago’s deep-dish pies. Their fresh dough never sees the inside of a freezer or kitchen igloo, and it takes on a whole new layer of taste when chefs coat it with the restaurant's signature sauce. They top specialty pies with USDA-certified meats and produce largely sourced from a Charleston vendor, gracing dough with accessories ranging from classic pepperoni to rich artichoke hearts. The chefs also craft entrees such as baked spaghetti and ravioli.
Tim Mercier grew up beneath the shade of apple trees at Mercier Orchards, helping his father tend the fertile mountain soil while snacking on juicy winesaps plucked straight from the branch. To this day, Tim continues to run his family's 50-year-old farm, where he harvests apples by hand, wears John Appleseed’s cooking pot hat, and manages the market alongside his wife, children, and grandchildren. At the 200-acre farm, tree branches sprout dozens of kinds of apples, including sweet ambrosias, tart dandee reds, and crisp pink ladies. Beyond the apple groves lie stretches of cherry trees, peach trees, and blueberry bushes, as well as strawberry fields blossoming with chandler, camerosa, and sweet charlie varieties.
The Mercier family opens their farm to visitors year-round, inviting guests to stroll the verdant grounds and pick their own berries and apples. Afterwards, guests pop into Mercier Orchards’ rustic shop to survey jugs of fresh cider, colorful jams, and caramel-coated candy apples. In the bakery, they sample apple cider donuts, pecan breads, and the farm's famous fried pies, which can now be found on the shelves of local Whole Foods.
Scoops and Burgers celebrates classic American comfort food in its menu of burgers, hot dogs, and creamy frozen custard. You're free to put your own spin on these old favorites, too: hot dogs can be dressed with more than a dozen toppings, including celery salt, chili, and jardinière, and the kitchen has six different renditions of the hamburger. The cooks here also give gourmet flourishes to classic sandwiches: the grilled cheese oozes with feta and fontina and comes with sides such as fresh housemade potato chips. For dessert, try frozen custard in a shake, float, or sundae.
As highlighted in Cleveland Daily Banner, owner Frank Kolhouse hopes to establish Scoops and Burgers as a community hub: every Tuesday and Thursday, the restaurant hosts live gospel singers to promote local ministries. The dining room has an old-timey allure: the walls are lined with old vinyl records, and a floor-to-ceiling mural features vintage cars and other relics of the pre-Segway era.
On any given day, visitors to the tasting room at Blue Ridge Cellars can explore the world through their taste buds. Here, oenophiles pour glasses and curated flights of wines crafted locally on the North Georgia Wine Trail or internationally in Europe, South America, or South Africa. Meanwhile, a simple menu of artisanal small plates helps guests discover their own perfect pairings for the wine.
And yet the selection doesn't end there: an adjacent boutique houses shelves of local reds and whites, including organic and sulfite-free vintages, as well as a deli counter stocked with Boar's Head cheeses and Columbus cured meats. Because they know that tasting wine should be a true experience, Blue Ridge Cellars also hosts live music and organizes its own tours of the North Georgia Wine Trail. These tours may include visits to several wineries, stops for taking pictures and eating a picnic lunch, and the chance to spend the night in an old wine barrel.
Locally grown fruits and vegetables fill Aubrey's Restaurant's menu across seven locations in eastern Tennessee. In addition to Southern recipes for buttermilk fried chicken and pulled pork, the kitchen also stirs housemade pimento into a savory dip and marinates chicken in lemon and lime. Old-fashioned patty melts and other sandwiches join pastas such as the Rattlesnake linguine, with grilled chicken, spinach, green peppers, and Southwestern alfredo that are charmed into stillness with the twirl of a fork. Desserts, such as the chocolate turtle cake with Hershey's chocolate and Breyers ice cream, help top off each meal.
In the 1960's a man planted two apple trees in his backyard. And with a little time and passion, he cultivated his land until it grew to hold 8,000 apple trees. The husband-and-wife team that started Apple Valley Orchards back then sold their first apple from those trees in 1974, but their ideas didn't stop there. Now their children run the orchard—which now includes a cider mill and bakery—and sell 22 varieties of apples. The bakery cooks the bounty into cinnamon rolls, fritters, turnovers, and pies, letting visitors get a taste of the harvest's variety and helping them get in a doctor-avoiding dose of the fruit. The orchard also lets locals explore its tree-strewn paths on wagon rides and tours during the summer.