When army vet Steve Hamlet returned home from his third tour of duty, he vowed to get into a business that he not only felt passionate about, but that also allowed him to feel more involved with his family and community. To that end, he opened Peachtree Growler Co.?a place where he can educate people on craft beer?one of his passions?right in Peachtree Corners, his wife's hometown. With the help of their cicerone?"cicerone" is to craft-beer expert as "sommelier" is to wine expert?Steve and his wife hand select the beers and wines that flow through their 40 taps. The selection changes daily, but has included Cherry Street's coconut porter, Moletto Vineyards prosecco, and the espresso stout collaboration between Starr Hill and Terrapin Gava Joe.
That last brew speaks to the other part of PGC's business?Peachtree Coffee Co. The onsite cafe is run by a certified coffee master?who is also a sommelier-in-training?and features local beans from Jittery Joe's in Athens.
But those primarily interested in beer can pick up 32- or 64-ounce growlers, sampling up to 6 ounces before deciding which to take home. PGC also offers homebrew classes and equipment, as well as portable draft systems that can hold up to eight kegs of draft beer or tears shed because the beer has all been drunk.
Carrying the praises of OpenTable diners as the winner of Best Overall restaurant, Best Ambiance, and Best Food, Park Café's executive chef Michael Ganley is no stranger to success. He has honed his skills in the kitchen for more than 17 years, most recently as Executive Chef of The Ritz Carlton in Dearborn, Michigan. Arriving in Duluth in 2004, Ganley brought with him his years of experience perfecting European culinary techniques, crafting a menu of elegant twists on Southern favorites such as fried green tomatoes layered with slabs of warm, creamy brie.
Nestled inside the Knox House—originally erected in 1899 for the first Mayor of Duluth, John Knox—Park Café's refurbished interior remains true to the home's 19th-century character. Largely original hardwood floors and paneled walls lend a quaint charm to the romantic simplicity of the dining rooms, where tables draped in crisp linen glow beneath flickering candles and diners’ recently whitened teeth.