Stop eating at chain restaurants, Lawrenceville

Lawrenceville's downtown area offers a number of locally owned restaurants worth a stop whether you're in town for breakfast after dropping the kids off at school or dining before you head to a show at the Aurora Theatre.

Start off your day with breakfast at Blue Rooster Bake Shop and Eatery (169 W. Pike St., Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046), The Peachtree Café (50 S. Clayton St., Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046) or Little Barn (60 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046). These restaurants offer meal options that aren't diet-friendly, but are filling. While the Blue Rooster offers a modern atmosphere similar to Blue Eyed Daisy at Serenbe, The Peachtree Café and Little Barn provide a dining experience reminiscent of a bygone breakfast era.

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If you're in the mood for Italian cuisine, head to Dominick's (197 W. Crogan St., Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046). Offering an express lunch menu that will get you in and out for about $10 as well as a large dinner menu, Dominick's serves up Italian classics similar to what nonna used to cook in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere.

Situated on the Lawrenceville Square, Local Republic (225 W. Crogan St., Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046) looks more like it belongs in Old Fourth Ward in Atlanta than in a suburban community in Gwinnett County. Add in the extensive beer list, great patio and flavor-filled dishes, and you've just found new spot to grab a bite.

When you're thinking about taking advantage of perfect patio weather, you'll want to consider McCray's Tavern (100 N. Perry St., Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046), which boasts a rooftop bar overlooking downtown Lawrenceville and more than 40 beers on tap. Ready for more? Make McCray's your in-town brunch spot Sundays, when it serves up classic American cuisine on a special menu from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.

 » RELATED: 12 best brunch spots in Gwinnett County

For a taste of Asian cuisine, visit Lavender Asian Bistro (1195 Scenic Highway, Lawrenceville, Ga. 30045). The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner with a menu full of classic dishes. If you need gluten-free meals, the bistro has a special menu just for you.

A unique hometown dining experience in Lawrenceville is at the Gwinnett County Airport. The Flying Machine (510 Briscoe Blvd., Lawrenceville, Ga. 30045) serves up American fare, which you can eat while you watch the planes and helicopters take off at the bustling airfield as you sit on the patio next to the runway.

If you're in the mood for Mexican food, check out Taqueria Los Hermanos (4955 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville, Ga. 30045). The name may sound familiar. The Lawrenceville restaurant is one of four locally owned locations that has opened in the metro area since 2000. Generous portions and a menu that won't break your budget are hallmarks of the hometown eateries.

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