Wine Bar


I managed to make it back to TBM recently. I never had indulged much in their appetizers, but this is one I do  like:

On the board are mushrooms, stuffed with sausage and parmesian cheese. Three Blind Mice may be the best restaurant within a few minutes of Snellville, and this creamy, delicious appetizer is one reason why.

Three Blind Mice
1066 Killian Hill Road, Suite 101
Lilburn, GA 30347
(770)-696-4139

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It’s a store and eatery with a modest front on a strip mall, a bit to the east of the intersection of Five Forks and Killian Hill Road and very easy to miss. The outside shows a bit of outdoor seating and pretty red stone. The inside is much larger than the outside appears, as this is a deep restaurant, with a long bar, some seats, a sofa or two, plenty of wine and a refreshingly casual air.  It reminds me,  in some small ways, of San Francisco’s City Lights bookstore.

It was a little confusing when I arrived, perhaps because there was a wine tasting going on, and I arrived in the  middle of it. Staff were worried about the people trying wines, so it took a minute or two before staff found me.

“Inside or outside?”

“The outside looks pretty, great light, let me eat  there.”

In retrospect that was a mistake. The light was fantastic, and it let me get some great food shots, but it was cold outside. I wasn’t dressed for it, and even after moving back inside, I never really warmed up the whole day, until I fell asleep.

Inside, though, I had a much better feel for why you might want to come to TBM, and I’d say it’s really friendly, very social, and a great place to talk and eat. There is an engaging owner/chef, Matthew, who has opinions but doesn’t come off as opinioniated, and a crew of regulars who seem happy to chew the fat. The bar is long and deep, and if you’re here to say your hellos, please find your way to the bar, shake the hands of staff and say hello to the owner.

There are six good beers on tap, and not just a wine list, but a fine beer list as well. The salad  I had was tender and the chunks of bread nice and crunchy. I ate too many of those, but they were a bit too tempting. The salmon was tasty and tender,  the skin was indeed crisp. Prices ran a couple dollars more than the local chains, but of course, you’re dealing with a single outlet small eatery.

So, if you’re eating just to eat, and you want a lot of food at a great price, then one of the local buffets will serve you well. There are plenty of those in the Snellville/Lilburn/Lawrenceville area. Small local restaurant with an engaged owner chef? Those are as rare as four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. And while good social spots like Leon’s in Decatur and Holcomb and Finch are common inside the loop, a place with a smart owner, intelligent clients and a Cheers-like atmosphere are pretty rare in the ‘burbs, and this place appears to have all that.

Very highly recommended. Good food, stellar atmosphere, friendly and smart without any pretense.

Three Blind Mice
1066 Killian Hill Road, Suite 101
Lilburn, GA 30347
(770)-696-4139

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Winestyles is a wine store in the Avenue at Webb Ginn, near Claire’s. It’s on the southwest corner of Webb Ginn Road and Scenic Highway (124), across Webb Ginn from Ted’s Montana Grill, and on the same side of the road as Barnes and Noble and Texas Longhorn’s. Among the unique features they offer the customer is wine by the glass, patio seating, wine tastings, wine samples for a dollar, and on occasion, live music. On Friday evenings they offer food with their wines, from Dahlia’s Cafe.

I spoke a bit with Michael, who works there, and whom I found to be pleasant and informative. He told me that Winestyles is a chain, with about 115 locations, but independently owned. So this is a local business, worth taking a look at and trying.

WineStyles
1350 Scenic Hwy, Suite 424
Snellville, GA 30078
(770) 985-8356

They call them flats, but they look like pizzas to me. They’re oblong ovals, covered with a light sampling of toppings. Mine was an Italian sausage flat, and it was crisp, tasty, and certainly worth the $9.50 I spent to get it.

I wasn’t intending to go to Urban Flats. All I wanted to do was find it. It turns out to be in the same mall area as Red Robin and Ted’s Montana Grill. If you head to Red Robin, you’ll pass Urban Flats on your left.

It was a peculiar time of the day. No one was around, but once I stepped inside I had to see a little more. This is a place with some very promising reviews (here from the AJC and here from Chow Down Atlanta). And it is pretty. Urban Flats has high ceilings, a kind of industrial roof. Most of the clientele this time of the day were female, with cell phones glued to their ears.  Below the roof it has a kind of modern look. I asked to sit at the bar, as it made some sense. They have inside and outside seating, for those wanting some breeze with their food.

Urban Flats is part wine bar, part restaurant and by my count, they had 24 wines on tap, and about 10 different beers on tap. The wines.. I don’t know wine well, but I’m sure they have something you like if you’re into that kind of thing. Beers on tap included Yuengling, Guiness, Bass Ale. In bottles they have a wide range of beers, from Bud Light and Corona to exotic microbrews. I ordered a Guiness and their Italian sausage flat. Atop the glass doors and steel enclosing the wines being tapped is a selection of liquors and liqueurs (I recall a nice big bottle of Drambuie, which my father favors).

Service was very good,  considering the hour I arrived. I had no trouble getting attention when I wanted it, but staff were chatting among themselves, since it was so slow. I can’t give you any indication of how it would be at, say, 9pm at night.

Prices are better than you might expect. If you compare Urban Flat’s prices to Red Robin or Ted’s, they’re about the same. If you compare their flats to Mellow Mushroom‘s small, once you add toppings, they’re about the same. The flatbreads are not competitive with Mellow’s medium or large pizzas, but then again, that’s an entirely different market altogether.

Verdict: I haven’t been here enough to call this more than a first impression, but the restaurant is pretty, the food is good and competitive in price with surrounding restaurants. The beer collection is quite good. Highly recommended if you like wine or beer with your food. Especially recommended if you’re younger and want the possibility of a social scene with your food.

Urban Flats Flatbread Company
1250 Scenic Hwy SW
Lawrenceville, GA 30045
(678) 344-2022

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