Stop eating at chain restaurants, East Cobb

For many years I was an Atlantan of the mindset that "Friends don't let friends move OTP." That was before I had a child or learned about the growing local food scene in the burbs. Now, I've matured (a bit) and have smart friends who have moved to East Cobb. While they enjoy expansive yards, amazing schools and now locally-owned, world-class restaurants, I've realized it's time for me to change my motto.

I discovered one such on-demand spot, Common Quarter, when my college best friends promised me, "It's nothing like a typical chain restaurant!" My response: "In East Cobb?" Girlfriends: "Yes! You'll LOVE it!"

They were right. Nothing too common about Common Quarter, led by Chef Jeffrey Gardner, Chris Talley,Chris Hall, Todd Mussman and Ryan Turner. Their American comfort food menu focuses on locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients, creating their dishes "as close to home as possible." We loved the low country shrimp and grits with roasted tomato, sweet corn, pickled chiles and parsley. The "secret sauce" on the Look-west burger knocked me over! Was I in Midtown? The Brussels, parmesan fries and roasted broccoli were all perfect for sharing and savoring. Its rustic atmosphere features an open layout, with a decidedly neighborhood feel...I was shocked! Wait, no plastic-covered corporate menus? No, sticky table tops? No buttons of manufactured-flair? Where am I? Seriously though, how refreshing to find unscripted southern hospitality in the suburbs. Even the hostess was more than willing to snap our pic before we left. Well worth the drive.

I was swayed; East Cobb got it right with Common Quarter, but was that it? When I asked where to go next, the overwhelming response was MOXIE Burger. The perfect spot for those who want fresh burgers, sandwiches, salads and "dawgs" with a kid-friendly atmosphere. We threw the little ones in car seats and made our way to Paper Mill Village in Marietta. Of course I had to try "the Moxie" with certified Angus beef, bacon, pimento cheese and a crispy, fried green tomato. Excellent indulgence! I appreciated the fresh broccoli slaw for a healthy side option. My daughter gobbled up their sweet potato fries with her kiddo 'lil burger, too. We had a patio table with 2 adults and 4 kids total and they didn't even bat an eye at the mess! Friendly, young staffers were happy to help with extra drinks and condiments. All three owners - Chas, Jordan, and Brandon - are born-and-raised East Cobb guys who have succeeded in creating a tasty, low-key neighborhood gathering place.

Ok, East Cobb, I am IN! Next stop? SEED Kitchen and Bar, which I learned about through a feature on Atlanta Eats TV (I'm a mega-fan, turned contributor.) I can't wait to try long-time East Cobb resident Chef Doug Turbush's sweet potato ravioli, tossed in a sage, brown butter sauce with mushrooms. Or should I take my appetite to his second East Cobb success, Stem Wine Bar?

So many choices! And this is just a sampling of the thriving local food scene in East Cobb, so I suppose "East Cobb snobs" can now be a term used to describe their foodies, too. Does "OTP" now mean "On The Pulse?' Count me in.

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Written by Jenn Hobby of Atlanta Eats