Lapeer Seafood Market opened at Alpharetta City Center in early April, putting an exclamation point on the dining destination element of the burgeoning downtown Alpharetta development’s mix of retail and office spaces, apartments and single-family homes.
Open for lunch on weekdays and dinner nightly, with weekend brunch coming soon, Lapeer is the newest venture from co-owner Louis Soon and culinary director Andy Long of Maven Restaurant Group — the team behind two nearby Alpharetta spots, South Main Kitchen and Butcher & Brew.
Billed as “serving fresh coastal cuisine,” Long’s “hyper-seasonal” menu features a raw bar with oysters, crudo and seafood towers, wild-caught fish and shrimp, and plenty of produce from local and Georgia farms.
Recent entrees include Caribbean Fish Stew for two with shrimp, squid, fish, potatoes, pineapple, serranos, and coconut broth, and Spaghetti a la Chitarra with littleneck clams, sweet peas, lardons, beurre fondue, and breadcrumbs.
The beverage menu from Cody Brown, the beverage director at South Main Kitchen, highlights mezcal, with more than 100 varieties available in 1- or 2-ounce pours. And many of the seasonal cocktails, such as the Sunburn Sour with Luxardo Maraschino, Aperol and aloe vera juice, are mezcal-based, too.
The concept is said to draw inspiration from “relaxed beach towns along the East Coast,” and with that in mind, Lapeer was designed by Curious Yellow Design in New York City, the firm behind the retro-chic Hero Beach Club in Montauk.
The 3,000-square-foot space combines vernacular and modern elements in the build-out, with white as the primary color inside and out, and 15-foot ceilings, custom tile, and slat walls throughout the main bar and restaurant space.
But with its glass ceiling and window-lined walls facing the City Center courtyard, the greenhouse-inspired patio seemed like the best place to be on a recent sunny afternoon. And that’s where Soon and Long sat down to talk about the food, drink and team at Lapeer.
“We put a lot of heart into this one,” Soon said. “Obviously, when you choose a concept, you want to look into the location and the area and ask, ‘What does it need? What is it missing?’ I felt like a fresh, clean seafood restaurant was it. It’s time for lighter, healthier food across the board. So this is what I wanted to do for this area.
“We’re eventually going to do brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, with Champagne, mimosas, oyster plates, and people hanging out and enjoying themselves. The building looks like an old church, and the space just fits perfectly with a seafood concept.”
“I’d say the vibe is chill, but elegant at the same time,” Long said. “It’s Montauk with a little bit of a surfer scene. You could call it Bohemian Chic. So what we did with the menu is fun, playful things but taken to a different level.
“Like with peel and eat shrimp, we’re doing sous-vide shrimp tossed with really good olive oil and an Old Bay and espelette seasoning blend, and cocktail sauce and tartar royale on the side.
“But the menu is a collection of influences, including the Caribbean Fish Stew. But then there’s a modern, clean take on some other dishes here, with fish out of the Gulf, and fish from New England, flown in super fresh daily. And there are some dishes with Italian and Mediterranean influences.”
One of the most inventive dishes on the menu is a dessert from pastry chef Elise Vitale. Dubbed Fish Stix, it’s house-made coconut ice cream with a white chocolate magic shell and toasted coconut.
“It’s supposed to look like frozen Gorton’s Fish Sticks and it’s served with crème anglaise and pistachio sauce that looks like tartar sauce,” Long said. “It’s really fun. And when you bite into it, it’s going to blow your mind a little.”
Summing up Lapeer, Long, like Soon, said he thinks it’s a really good fit with the city and the City Center project.
“We’re excited to be here,” he said. “We feel like we’re at the center of Alpharetta. And we just wanted to bring the community something new and fresh that wasn’t really here before. I think we’re capturing that and putting a lot of love into everything we do here.”
12 N. Broad St., Alpharetta. 678-691-9400, lapeerseafoodmarket.com.
Scroll down for more images from a First Look at Lapeer Seafood Market in Alpharetta
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