Off The Chain
From pubs with creative cuisine to white-tablecloth dining rooms in historic buildings, Gwinnett has plenty to offer in the way of interesting, independently-owned restaurants.
No disrespect to national chain restaurants, but if you assume that’s all you’ll find in Gwinnett, you’re overdue for a visit to this part of the ’burbs. Some of the county’s indie eateries are new; others are iconic. Some are nestled in quaint historic downtowns, while others are tucked in nondescript strip malls. Here is just a small sample of only-in-Gwinnett dining offerings.
Carnivores will find happiness at recently opened Bottles and Bones in downtown Suwanee. The chophouse eschews tradition with its light and airy design featuring an open kitchen and modern decor. Bring a date and share the dry-aged porterhouse for two, available on Friday and Saturday. If you relish classic confines, head to Frankie’s The Steakhouse in Duluth, where the atmosphere harkens back to Hollywood restaurants of the 1950s and 1960s. Steaks share top billing on the menu with Italian specialties like bone-in veal parmigiana.
What's Old is New Again
Care for a side of historic charm? At Local Republic in Lawrenceville, diners can enjoy the gastropub’s famous burgers inside an industrial-chic, two-story space with bones that date back to the nineteenth century. Nestled among turn-of-the-century buildings in downtown Buford, Aqua Terra puts a bohemian spin on fine dining, with local art enlivening rustic walls and global influences accenting traditional dishes (try the seared scallops with orecchiette and mushroom-truffle sauce). At Brunch Apothecary in Dacula, build your own biscuit or order elevated versions of classics (like the Pork Belly Benedict) inside the 1905 former home of a physician—hence the restaurant’s name.
With its gleaming decor and farm-to-table menu, Parkside District Seafood and Meats in Lawrenceville feels decidedly of-the-moment. Specialties include the fra diavolo mafaldine (seafood pasta in a spicy white wine sauce) and a grilled pork chop in an apple cider brine. Inspired cocktails and hand-picked craft beers and wines will make any meal feel like a celebration. Falling Rabbit (Duluth) presents an ever-changing curation of seasonally-driven fare. A new dish rotated weekly, coupled with a cozy and whimsical interior makes each visit to Falling Rabbit a unique fine-dining experience.
For 35 years, Kurt’s Euro Bistro in Duluth has dished out top-notch European cuisine with a German accent. Crave-worthy treats include the Swiss cheese fondue (bring a friend or two for this one), the classic wienerschnitzel (breaded veal cutlet), and smoked pork chops. No meal is complete without an order of the bananas foster, flambéed tableside. The covered patio is the perfect place to expand your knowledge of German and Belgian beer.
Two concepts from opposite coasts found a home in Gwinnett. Uncle Jack’s Meat House started in Astoria, New York, the brainchild of Willie Degel, host of Food Network’s Restaurant Stakeout. The contemporary steak house has an outpost in Duluth and another on the way in Peachtree Corners. Don’t miss the smoked bacon with peanut butter dipping sauce. California-based Lazy Dog brings a Rocky Mountain vibe to Peachtree Corners. The restaurant serves up comfort food in a lodge-in-spired space that tempts you to sit and stay awhile.
This article, written by Lia Picard, originally appeared in Volume V of Explore Gwinnett Magazine and has been edited for exploregwinnett.org.