The dining scene in Alpharetta may be reaching a boiling point — seemingly every week, there’s a new eatery joining the culinary landscape. The action is focused around the burgeoning historic downtown Alpharetta district, including the newly opened Alpharetta City Center mixed-use development. With so many new options in such a densely packed area, downtown Alpharetta is poised to become the go-to hotspot for dining outside the Perimeter. Next time you’re nearby, check out one of these newcomers to see what all the buzz is about. …
With an emphasis on small plates for sharing, Holmes is a walk-in-only, eclectic restaurant and bar, located within the historic Jones House (dating back to 1915) at Alpharetta City Center. Leather banquettes, dark geometric tile and shades of gray, brown and navy create a laid-back atmosphere, with fun design touches like graffiti and skateboards on the walls, and murals by local artist Greg Mike in the dining room and restrooms. Roswell native Taylor Neary (formerly of Marcel and St. Cecilia) helms the kitchen as executive chef, and features simply prepared dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. The lunch menu includes seasonal salads, small plates and à la carte entrees, while the dinner menu offers mezze-style dining and a handful of large plates. Sam Schliff leads the bar program, which serves cocktails prepared in-house with creative ingredients (try the Figgin Delicious, consisting of rye whiskey, cranberry, fig and fall spice), draft beers on tap, and a wine list that includes 15 red wines, 12 white wines and a handful of reserve wines. Popular menu items you might want to try: pumpkin tortellini made with apple macadamia, brown butter, parmesan frico (cheese crisps) and lemon; or the grilled plum and ricotta with bacon vinaigrette.
50 S. Main St., Alpharetta. 678-691-8320, restaurantholmes.com.
Coalition Food and Beverage
Located in downtown Alpharetta’s Teasley Place, Coalition is the third chef-driven concept from the team behind historic Roswell’s Table & Main and Osteria Mattone. Boasting an urban aesthetic and energetic atmosphere, the space has the feel of a community hub, and features exposed ceilings, industrial lighting, leather booths and touches of brick and wooden tones, in addition to street-style art and a throwback playlist that keep the scene casually cool. Views into the open kitchen and live-fire grill add to the lively feel, making it a fun spot to grab lunch, dinner or even just a drink (brunch now served on Sundays). A menu of familiar, but elevated, American cuisine is on offer from executive chef Woolery Back — think burgers, fish and chips, Reubens, pork loin, salmon, a classic club and grilled chicken wings, among other items (check out other menu highlights and the full review here).
50 Canton St., Alpharetta. 470-839-6725, coalitionfoodandbeverage.com.
Featuring “elevated beach food” in a petite building located on the Town Green of Alpharetta City Center, Chiringa offers counter service, vibrant coastal vibes and a menu of fresh seafood and casual fare. The concept is a spinoff from the original location in 30A (dubbed Chiringo), from owner Andy McKoski (who also previously owned Tin Lizzy’s Cantina). Nosh on “handhelds” like a fish sandwich, Baja tacos, a hot dog or cheeseburger, or order a Mediterranean salad with a side of fried sweet plantains. We already can picture sitting on the patio come spring, sipping on a Cucumber Refresher cocktail or some frosé while digging into the guacamole at happy hour.
34 S. Main St., Alpharetta. 770-802-8940, chiringa.com.
Fans of historic Roswell’s popular bistro and wine bar Vin25 will be happy to know that owner Phillip Cooper has opened his second location in the form of Citizen Soul in Alpharetta. Inspired by Cooper’s extensive travels throughout northern California and the Pacific Northwest, the upscale, yet casual, spot serves modern American pub fare, while specializing in artisanal cocktails, fine wine (primarily from domestic producers) and craft beer. The vibe is lively and welcoming, with a warm glow setting the mood, and standing wine coolers in the center of the dining room that showcase charcuterie meats in addition to plenty of bottles. Currently on the menu, the duck confit and braised short rib are crowd favorites for entrées, and the herbed duck fries are a popular side dish. (We also never can say no to a pimento cheese fritter.) Offering dinner service since October, Citizen Soul just launched a lunch menu in December, with plans for brunch in 2019. Future plans include a co-branded retail wine concept, Vin2go, which will offer retail wine sales via club membership, wine allocations and concierge services.
60 S. Main St., Alpharetta. 678-317-3232, citizensoul.com.
The Southern Porch
Fill up on traditional Southern fare at this appropriately named restaurant, situated in an old house with wood floors and farm-inspired décor. A meal here is like having supper at Nana’s house. The quaint restaurant serves breakfast, brunch and lunch Tuesdays through Sundays (hours vary) and supper (aka dinner) 5-8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Every Saturday and Sunday, you can enjoy a bloody mary bar, and giant mason jar mimosas during brunch. Order the fried green tomato BLT with pimento cheese, or the pecan fried chicken sandwich for a dose of Southern goodness.
62 N. Main St., Alpharetta. 470-448-1006, porch62.com.
Built around socializing, Mercantile Social’s focus is on good friends, good food and good drinks. The restaurant is located in a two-story space (the former Manning Mercantile building from 1910) — set to look like something out of Prohibition, complete with pretty tin ceilings and chandeliers. Visit with a group of friends for dinner early in the evening. Better yet, stop by at the end of your night for some entertainment, and order nibbles off the late-night menu while enjoying handcrafted cocktails and live music, 9 p.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday nights, or jazz on Thursday nights.
20 N. Main St., Alpharetta. 470-242-5317, mercantilesocial.com.