First Look: Jekyll Brewing debuts new restaurant at Alpharetta City Center

Recently opened in downtown Alpharetta's City Center, Jekyll Brewing's second location builds on the Alpharetta-based company's reputation for award-winning craft beer, with a Southern-styled brewery restaurant, and a rooftop bar and patio situated around a converted Airstream trailer.

Dubbed Jekyll Brewing at the Exchange Building, the soaring, sprawling two-story build-out is still a work in progress, with a five-barrel exhibition brewhouse now under construction amid the surrounding main floor dining room and bar area.

The menu from executive chef Jordan Daniels (Paper Mill Grill; Buckhead Diner) features takes on Lowcountry cuisine, often made with beer. And along with the coastal Georgia decor, the food is part of Jekyll’s historic homage to Georgia’s first brewery, founded on Jekyll Island in 1738.

Among the offerings, Crawfish Hushpuppies with comeback sauce, and the Friday Fish Plate (served every day) are both made with Jekyll’s Cooter Brown Ale. And the Shrimp and Geechee Boy Grits is served with house tasso and creole tomato gravy.

Also on the menu: a Bibb Lettuce Wedge Salad with roasted tomato, bacon, Clemson blue cheese, French-fried onions, and Green Goddess dressing; a Skirt Steak with Vidalia onion jam, fingerling potatoes, and chimichurri; and the signature double-patty Bison-Wagyu Beef Smash Burger with white American cheese, house pickles, shredded lettuce, and caramelized onions, served on a brioche bun.

Jekyll brewmaster and co-owner Josh Rachel brought on a new brewer, Geoff Gardner, to help oversee operations at the new location. And Rachel and Gardner expect to be brewing up a variety of one-off and experimental beers soon.

Recently, Jekyll founder and CEO Michael Lundmark sat down at the Exchange Building, where he talked about how the company grew from a small startup in 2013 into a production brewery with a 50-barrel brewing system. And later, Rachel and Daniels joined the conversation.

“We got our feet under us and started launching good products to market,” Lundmark said. “By 2014, Hop Dang Diggity became the bestselling IPA in the state of Georgia. Our second location at City Center puts us directly in front of City Hall and positions us to make a greater impact in the things that are important to our community.

“We put so much passion and effort into making great beer products, why wouldn’t we do the same with food? So I reached out to my restaurateur friends and found great talent in our executive chef Jordan Daniels. I really wanted him to showcase the coastal food of Georgia, since we’re trying to tell the story of the history of brewing here in the Deep South through the brand.”

Daniels explained that while he’s mainly worked in steakhouse and fine dining restaurants, he welcomed the challenge of opening a new restaurant with a coastal menu.

“I began my career cooking in Atlanta,” he said. “Then I moved to Charleston, South Carolina, in the heart of the Lowcountry to do my culinary training. That’s when I really fell in love with Southern cuisine. I learned a lot about the African influence on Southern food, and the French influence, and the melting pot that the South is with those different cultures and cuisines.

“Here, I drew the inspiration from what Jekyll Brewing is about, and I thought it tied in with them being the first brewery in Alpharetta. It was a great match for me, being able to cook where my passion started, and being able to provide them a menu that goes along with the concept of Jekyll and tells their story.”

“It’s been interesting watching people come in who think it’s all about beer and be surprised that we’re doing food,” Rachel said. “Our food is just as important as the beer side is, and I think the kitchen staff is doing a really great job.

“As far as the beer, now that we have this facility with the five-barrel system, we’ll be able to put out a lot more things. And it’s really cool to have another brewer here. It’s going to add another dimension to how we make beer, and we’ll be able to add some awesome new stuff.”

15 Academy St., Alpharetta. 470-273-5932,

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