James.qxp May June 2019 web - Page 23



Agave is a destination for those
who love local politics.
Cross Creek is a great place to gather
to discuss local, state and national politics,
through the lens of grassroots people.
— Atlanta Citycouncilwoman Natalyn Archibong —
— GOP activist Sheila Appling —
A VIEW FROM THE TOP FLOOR OF HAL’S
Nowak is an old New Orleanian by birth and the
restaurant has both some of that flavor on the menu
and in the ambience. Former state Sen. Josh
McKoon calls going to Hal’s “an event” both for the
sheer length of meal and the environment. He adds
that it offers both a unique experience but also time
to discuss the issues that movers and shakers meeting for a meal talk about.
# 4 (TIE)
Agave
Agave Owner Jack Sobel, like Reardon at
Shillings, notes the convenience of location. Agave
is just a couple miles from the Capitol and when it
opened 19 years ago there were hardly any high
quality dining options in the area. Its location is
near the historic Cotton Mill, which was itself historic as was the general store serving the mill and
the Cabbagetown area.
“We pride ourselves and train our staff to treat
every customer like a food critic. We also take great
pride in having employees that have been there
since the beginning,” said Sobel. That alone says
there is something special about Agave. The restaurant industry is notorious for turnover and those
that retain staff like that are operating on some
other kind of level.
Sobel’s roots are in New Mexico and this comes
through the character and menu of Agave. The
iconic Hatch green chiles are always featured
prominently on the menu. When Sobel moved to
Atlanta in the 1990’s, he couldn’t find any New
Mexico-style food and decided to open his own
place. The area around Agave has transformed as
much as any place in Atlanta and Agave has certainly been a piece of that.
“Agave is a destination for those who love local
politics because of its welcoming and inviting
atmosphere, its central location— with ample parking, and its reputation for being an excellent venue
for political gatherings. I have had several important meetings and political events at Agave,” said
Atlanta Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong for
District 5, the home of Agave. “It’s never a disappointing experience. Great food. Satisfying beverages, and a venue where you will always meet a
neighbor, friend or a new friend who wants to discuss the latest news and events of the day.”
# 4 (TIE)
Blue Ridge Grill
THE BAR AT AGAVE
22
JAMES
M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 9
Nestled along I-75 and West Paces Ferry Road, the
Blue Ridge Grill reminds you of a cabin— perhaps a
Blue Ridge cabin— with a huge, stacked-stone fireplace, timbers rescued from an 1890’s cotton mill,
painted log walls and red leather booths. It is both
stylish and sophisticated but unpretentious. Indeed,
its hold music is “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from
Toy Story, sung by Randy Newman.
Besides the main dining room, it also offers an
enclosed porch area to enjoy a beverage before or
THE PORCH AT BLUE RIDGE GRILL
after dining. The porch comes with full bar service,
appetizers or desserts “in the comfort of cozy,
antique, black wicker furniture.” After a good meal
and a dessert, you may not want to get back up.
Patrick Butler is the general manager of the
Blue Ridge Grill and notes the relaxing, comfortable atmosphere. “It’s an homage to the Blue
Ridge Mountains, as if you’re in a cabin in the
mountains,” he says. “The ambience is lovely, the
professionalism of the staff is on point and it’s a
comfortable, unassuming environment people can
enjoy being in.”
Like several of the restaurants on this list, it also
offers private dining options. The downstairs at the
grill is reserved for private events and accommodates 8 to 45 patrons. Plenty of space for a high-dollar political fundraiser should one wish to have one.
And considering its location along West Paces Ferry
Road, not far from the governor’s mansion, it’s highly likely there are plenty of dollars and fundraisers
in the area looking for a venue.
“The Blue Ridge Grill is a fun and welcoming
place for friends to enjoy fellowship and networking
with terrific employees and service,” declares Craig
Schwall Sr., longtime legal eagle in Fulton County.
and patrons are going there with some intention,
either for a good meal, a nice view or for a meeting.
There are numerous meet-and-greets held there.
“It’s a destination place,” said Vharatis. “It’s not
like you’re going to drive right by and stop in for
something to eat.” That can make it difficult, but
there’s so much repeat business and it’s an ideal
setting for gatherings.
“A lot of places don’t offer traditional vegetables
anymore, we serve collards and corn and peas.
There’s a little bit of everything for people like
nachos and catfish,” said Vharatis. “The deck is a
big draw. You think you’re in the country but you’re
almost in downtown Atlanta.”
“Cross Creek is a great place to gather to discuss local, state and national politics, through the
lens of grassroots people who meet there to casually engage and share information with others,” says
longtime GOP activist and leader Sheila Appling.
Appling is a regular attendee of a conservativeminded breakfast on Sunday mornings at Cross
Creek— the “Brunch Bunch”— and enjoys everything about it. “The food is very good and to gaze
out on the beautiful golf course on a peaceful
Sunday is an added bonus. Sharon is a gracious
host and Cheryl who usually takes our order is wonderful as well! The location, the topic and the ambience is great at Cross Creek on a Sunday!”
#5
Cross Creek Café
Cross Creek Café isn’t a place you would stumble on driving down the road. Tucked away off of
Peachtree Battle Ave. and Bohler Road, the café is
a part of the Cross Creek condominium complex
but separately owned by Sharon Vharatis. It’s quiet
THE DINING ROOM AT CROSS CREEK
M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 9
23

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