Chef Kevin Gillespie is a bit of a trend-bucking risk-taker having opened dim sum-inspired Gunshow in 2013 to a few side eyes only to garner major accolades, including a couple of James Beard nominations. He continued bucking trends in 2015 when so many restaurants were shuttering with the opening of Revival in Decatur, his ode to Sunday supper . Now nearly a year into that venture, Gillespie is at it again, expanding Revival’s operation to the great outdoors with the opening of Communion Beer Garden in the restaurant’s backyard .
Gillespie’s concepts are inspired by his family and humble Georgia upbringing. Communal seating, family-style meals and seasonal comfort foods are all part of the Gillespie's vision to bring a community of happy diners together. Communion Beer Garden will continue this memory-creating trend four days a week under the shade trees of the little house-turned-restaurant with people seated around picnic tables or in rounds of Adirondacks happily sipping on a rotation of European-style session beers.
Upon entering, you’ll purchase $5 tokens from the booth to pay for food and drinks, which means no fooling with split checks, bar tabs and figuring out the tip. With tokens in your pocket and beer in your hand, Communion likens itself to day drinking in your backyard with friends except with better beer and a food truck that does all the grilling.
What if you’re not a beer drinker? No problem. A handful of by-the-glass red and white wines are available, but we're partial to the sizable soda fountain glass full of a sessionable punch that won’t knock you on your keister. And it'll cost you just one token. Here's what's currently being offered:
Electric Basil Lemonade: Communion gets a little fancy with this college favorite using fresh lemon juice, basil simple syrup, small-batch St. George vodka and the sweet floral notes of elderflower liqueur. Unlike the super sugary and way-too-boozy electric lemonades of your youth, this punch-like concoction is a refreshing balance of acidity and sugar, and much kinder to your liver. In other words, you can sip this spiked lemonade without the wicked hangover the next morning from too much sun, sugar and booze.
Sangria: You’d do well to order Communion’s Austrian-infused version of Spain’s patio punch. The base of the drink is a clever combination of a delicate rosé, a mellow ruby port rather than a bawdier brandy and the Austrian wine zweigelt, which lends bright boldness to the cocktail. This spirited trifecta gives the sangria a lighter texture – a welcome change from the typically syrupy sangrias weighed down by heavier wines and too much sugar. Orange juice bumps up the acidity, and simple syrup and a Sprite float give the drink sweet sparkle. What you have in your hand is a worthy session-sipper to enjoy alongside your beer nerd friends on a Saturday afternoon.
Revival’s indoor cocktail list, including its toasted Old Fashioned, will need to stay just that, indoors. However, a little bearded birdie told us there is talk of moving the restaurant’s more popular cocktails outdoors to the beer garden. Stay tuned.
Kids and well-behaved dogs are welcome at Communion; although after 7 p.m. the kiddies will need to vacate the premises when it becomes 21 years and older. The dogs can stay, though.
Communion is open (weather permitting) 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays and 12 p.m.-9 p.m. Sundays.
Communion Beer Garden at Revival, 129 Church St., Decatur. 470-225-6770, revivaldecatur.com.
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