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.
Inspired by owner Bruce Cohn's longing for the treasured deli fare of New York?where he had previously lived?Grouchy's beckons its visitors to "come taste the city" across a spacious menu of breakfast and lunch favorites. Groups can channel New York flavor through a catering menu of deli bagels, soups, and specialty sandwiches, such as the Grand Slam Breakfast Platter, designed for 10 or more early amassers, featuring various combinations of scrambled eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, and cheese on bagels or croissants.
Sinbad's Feast specializes in fresh, authentic Mediterranean cuisine, served as a bountiful buffet ($8.95 for lunch; $12.95–$14.95 for dinner) or off of an à la carte menu. Appease appetites with a starter of kashke badamjoon, a creamy dip made with eggplant, fried onion, mint, garlic, and whey ($6), or most-o esfenaj, a tangy yogurt spread with sautéed spinach ($4). Dinner entrees come with basmati rice and grilled tomatoes, and most morsels are prepared over an open flame to enhance flavor and set the mood for the kitchen staff's ghost stories. Platefuls include savory meygoo, an oxymoronic ode to jumbo shrimp, marinated with fresh garlic, herbs, and smoked paprika ($20), and barreh, a rack of lamb flavored with fresh mint, garlic, and lemon ($24). Vegetarians can make merry with meat-free meals, such as the veggie entree with grilled and marinated zucchini, eggplant, onion, and bell pepper ($13).
Juicy Green's owners spent about a year in Korea mastering the production of frozen yogurt, an icy delicacy they serve up alongside gelato and fresh-fruit smoothies. Guests can pair the tart and tangy taste of plain, green tea, and pomegranate fro-yo with a toppings menu that shifts routinely, but may include tongue ticklers such as Coco Puffs, blackberry, kiwi, and Oreo. At 70 calories and zero grams of fat per 4-oz. serving (without toppings), the chilly treat ($2.95, plus $0.95 for up to three toppings) is also capable of imparting the guilt-free thrill that can only be attained via fat-free sweets and in-home jaywalking. Made with homemade yogurt, the frozen yogurt is free of both additives and preservatives. When blended with fresh fruit and consumed through a straw as a smoothie ($4.95), it leaves hands free for interpretive steel-drum solos.
Though Bassanos Pizzeria doesn't open until noon, its chefs bustle about the kitchen in the early morning, preparing fresh batches of dough from scratch. As the day wears on, the team hand-tosses the dough into thin, New York–style canvases ready to hold layers of gourmet meats, fine cheeses, and, according to Ann Marie Quill of Johns Creek Patch, veggies plucked from the Atlanta Farmers Market and sauces made from Italian tomatoes. Pots bubble with specialty pastas, and ovens glow with plump calzones and stromboli.
At the bar, servers dole out glasses of draft beer and wine beneath glimmering television sets. Cushy booths and tabletops speckle the dining room, where framed photographs of New York ballplayers look to steal home from the bright-red walls. Outside, umbrellas shade a fenced-in patio rife with tables and chairs. The pizzeria’s warm staff prides itself on southern-style service, creating a fun, communal atmosphere by hosting biweekly live music, overseeing trivia games, and politely allowing customers to beat them at thumb wrestling.
It’s hardly a surprise that chef Tony Vitulli’s food embodies his Italian heritage, from housemade pasta sauces to rich and decadent slices of tiramisu. Yet, it’s the tapas that add complexity to his traditional Italian recipes. While living in Spain, Tony married a Spanish woman and fell in love with the country’s signature small plates. The couple then moved to Atlanta, where they opened up their trendy bi-cultural eatery. The kitchen, which Robert Nebel of the Examiner.com applauded for “[concentrating] on quality, rather than quantity,” represents Spain with a range of tapas, such as lamb kebabs and chorizo omelets, and churns out seven types of long and short pastas drenched in 13 sauces—each one made from scratch. Golden-yellow walls and exposed brick encircle a handful of tables set for two inside the cozy space. Diners can also head to the outdoor patio and enjoy a pitcher of homemade sangria alfresco, which is Italian for “while posing for a mural.”