After nearly 20 years in the restaurant business, Oswald Morgan gambled his career, finances, and reputation on Kozmo Gastro Pub. After years developing and working in swanky restaurants such as The Globe, Oswald had the notion that a restaurant with the right combination of creative cuisine and vivacious atmosphere could lure adventurous diners through its doors—even if it resided in the suburbs. The hopeful restaurateur worked to make Kozmo in the image of metropolitan eateries, outfitting the dining room with a slick and airy wall of windows and bar-height tables coupled with brushed-aluminum chairs. Perched at their seats, diners can sip from the extensive list of beer and cocktails or share small plates of immaculately presented duck confit or risotto balls as they people-watch and toast their reflections for their impeccable style.
Bar favorites, burgers, and finger-friendly grub pepper the chilly Coldbrew's menu. Start with an order of chips and salsa ($2.95), mozzarella sticks ($5.95), or shrimp-scampi skewers ($6.95). Smaller selections such as the rib basket ($8.95) and the bite-size corn dogs served with mustard dipping sauce ($6.95) appease quieter appetites. Aside from fried fare, Coldbrew's also offers a variety of homemade soups and fresh salads. Try the grilled-chicken salad bedded atop mixed greens and tossed with tomatoes, cheese, and croutons ($7.95) or the glazed salmon ($9.95) with citrus-honey glaze, mixed greens, tomatoes, and sweet carrots. The exhaustive burger, sandwich, and wrap selection covers all bun bases, with everything from a low-calorie black-bean burger ($6.95) to a spicy buffalo wrap with blue-cheese dressing for dipping ($7.95).
T J's owner and former Atlanta Flames hockey player Tim Ecclestone founded his restaurant on the fact that, for decades, sports fans have gathered to enjoy big games over burgers, hot wings, and beer. He spent one of those decades helming Timothy John's, a Sandy Springs party spot, and has dedicated two more to running his current show—T J's Sports Bar & Grill. There, a kitchen works overtime on game nights to sling a menu of char-grilled burgers, piled-high sandwiches, and pizzas to throw at the mob of 60-odd televisions when the ref makes a bad call. Behind the bar, bartenders kick open the kegs and pour tall glasses of Miller Lite, Budweiser, Coors, and Michelob Ultra, all represented by bright neon signs mounted on the eatery's walls.
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.
The blender jockeys behind the Smoothie King counter whip vitamin-packed fruit, protein powders, and herbal nutrients into a menu of frozen concoctions that can help boost energy and burn fat, among other functions. Stocked with bananas, papayas, and strawberries, an electrolyte-packed Super Punch smoothie can replenish nutrients lost while bench-pressing Carmen Miranda’s 200-pound fruit hat, and a low-carb chocolate smoothie aids diet efforts by sating cocoa cravings without excess sugar. Alternately, electrify sweet teeth by sipping a Peanut Power smoothie, a creamy blend of freshly ground peanut butter and bananas that can be plugged into a wall socket to recharge its flavors. Though not included in today’s Groupon, customers can also choose to add enhancers to boost the vitamin, protein, or fiber content of any smoothie for an additional fee.
Armchair wine aficionados sip from more than 60 vine nectars while enriching palates with savory eats from d’Vine’s small-plate menu. Begin an evening of lively discussion with a crisp glass of Helena Ranch chardonnay, a 2008 Californian vintage ($6.95). A 2007 Gémina Monastrell Jumilla ($9.95) twists tongues in pronunciation before pleasing them with a dark, Spanish-grown mélange of flavors that warms bellies like Bacchus's childhood blanket. Sommeliers serve varietals in glasses, half bottles, or flights, which match trios of fermented refreshments in three half-glass pours.