As football season arrives, Summit’s in Snellville is one of the better football options because of the beer, the food, the screens. Summits will put every NFL game up on Sundays. Their menus are seasonal, a base menu plus extras for the occasion, and as we’re smack in the middle of October, Oktoberfest options are available currently.

This is not the only eatery with Oktoberfest options in the region. Red Robin, in the Shoppes (formerly the Avenue) has an Oktoberfest burger, if you like that kind of thing. But Summit’s tends to provide both unique beers this time of year (for example, a plentiful supply of German wheat, or wit, beers), food options you don’t get any other time (a lot of sausage, or brat, options), on top of the seasonal football.


One thing I didn’t know they provided were beer flights. This is a pre-selected set of 5 or 6 beers, starting around 10 dollars, that present a range of options to the drinker. The serving size is usually smaller, about half a normal serving per beer. Summit’s has three beer flights at this time, a light to dark flight ($10), an IPA flight ($15), and a high gravity beer (high alcohol content) flight ($25). In the photo above is the light to dark flight, which I had while watching football one Saturday. I recommend this flight. It’s not expensive, in bar terms, for the beers you get. The taste and flavor contrasts are worth the trouble.

Summits Wayside Tavern
3334 Stone Mountain Highway
Snellville, GA 30078
(770) 736-1333

Summits Wayside Tavern on Urbanspoon

While many of my peers were at the Atlanta Food and Wine festival, I snuck out to this spot on the first day it opened.





Local farms attended.

Local farms attended.




Either there were fewer tents than in year’s past, or the tents were placed more compactly. I don’t recall open spaces in the first couple of these, though there was some open space towards the 78 side of the field this time. Again, the timing was not good, and folks who had become common sights in year’s past (e.g. King of Pops) were probably more focused on other competing events.

The best thing about Baby Jane’s might be their stuffed salmon patties: thick as the tip of my thumb, as round as a quarter, browned and a little toasty. They were breaded salmon goodness, evoking memories of sucking the last little bit of flavor out of a stuffed crab.



Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, chicken fried steak, salmon patties.

Or it might be Baby Jane’s cheesecake, rich and delicious.



Almost everything we tried was good; one exception was the brussels sprouts (overcooked, really impossible to avoid in a buffet). If you stuck to vegetables that can handle steaming over a period of time (greens, cabbage, corn), then the veggies were entirely satisfactory. The meats? There was plenty of fried chicken, but they also had good pork chops, a good fried fish, and the aforementioned salmon patties.

My wife, something of a picky eater, went back three times for plates of food. Drinks here are huge and often refilled. Staff were a pleasure.

Baby Jane’s Home Cooking
2054 Main Street East
Snellville, GA 30078
(678) 502-7055

Baby Jane's Home Cooking on Urbanspoon

My wife had been talking about this place a while, a Walmart that was going to be mostly a grocery. Time passes, and it opens up, at the corner of McGee and 78, perhaps five minutes drive from my house. The first available weekend, my family went.

The new grocery in town.

Inside, it’s nice and roomy, with some of the widest aisles I’ve seen in a market. Meat here is often “choice” grade (Patton’s is the place to go for prime), and steaks run about two dollars a pound cheaper than do the alternatives at Kroger and Publix. I looked at some other items: sodas seemed more expensive than Kroger/Publix, the frozen section was enormous, and the selection of certain sweets and snacks – ice cream, cookies, chips – almost disturbingly large. The beer selection, by contrast, was small and unimpressive compared to either Kroger or Publix.

Greens and veggies were housed in a small neat section. The store brand of greens was pretty good looking and had a decent share of “organic” alternatives. Store brand “organic” eggs were also available. Understand, this place was more interested in selling gallon buckets of cheap ice cream and family sized pizzas than being a Whole Foods clone, but good real food is here, if you’ll look for it.

Best buys to me seem to be the meats, and the frozen items. The store brand of canned goods had some shockingly inexpensive meat and seafood options.

While I was there, I was tweeting what I saw. The curious and ironic replies I understood, but not really the nasty, venal, Heather-esque responses (ironically, the cheap shots were coming from folks who describe their lives as “fabulous”). So a warning: my diet isn’t a joke and I have about zero tolerance for any amount of disinformation about food. Check your facts, please.

So let me say this: You can, if you shop this Walmart carefully, get good, cheap, healthy food, and foods that would fit almost any diet. It may pander a bit to the sweet tooth in all of us, but push come to shove, it’s a grocery store, one that’s immaculately clean, with large aisles, an interesting product mix, and I suspect, as time goes on, plenty of customers.

Niko’s was one of the first shops I reviewed when I started this blog. I remember thinking that I hoped he’d make it. I haven’t been back in a while, and not only has Niko survived, but he’s also expanded into the square in Lawrenceville. Recently I went into Niko’s, to window shop and pick up a bottle or two, and ended up with a case of assorted beers. For me, that day, yes, his selection of beers was that good.

Niko’s has singles, four packs and six packs of beer. There are cold beers in the fridge, and the brown carousel to your right has plenty of quality Belgian ales.

I find his tastes complementary to the supermarkets, and also a complement to Summit’s Tavern. There isn’t a whole lot of overlap between the three. So I would suggest it’s worth your while, especially if you’re into Trappist ales and Belgians, or simply a change of pace, to take a gander over to Niko’s, and cruise the beer section of his store.

Niko’s Wine Corner
2050 Scenic Highway, Suite G and H
Snellville GA, 30078
(770) 979-3111

Niko’s Wine Corner
178 Crogan Street, Suite 210
Lawrenceville GA, 40046
(770) 962-0348

I didn’t get to opening day of the 2012 Snellville Farmer’s Market but I did manage to make it to the second day. My wife was preparing that day to meet a friend she hadn’t seen in over 15 years, so it was my daughter and I that prowled the grassy lanes of the market. Parking is harder than it was the first two years, and I recommend showing up as early as you can to get a decent parking space.

Support by Snellville’s finest is gratefully appreciated.

Hours, dates, and sponsors listed here.

The vendors that show grow more interesting and diverse each year, and the arrangements they have for live music more professional. If you want the freshest produce, and the most reliable source of grass fed meats in the Snellville area, the Farmer’s Market is the place to be.

I like the new stage for performers.

The King of Pops, back again.

In all, enjoyable, and wonderful to see how this market is maturing.

Little Mexico is showing some interesting lunch specials on their blackboard.

We were able to take advantage of those recently. Shown below is their hot and spicy burrito. Ground beef, beans and rice, along with a spicy salsa mark this lunchtime choice.

The chile relleno lunch special is also a whole pepper, as opposed to a ring of pepper with a little beef poured inside.

A new Del Taco now occupies prime Snellville real estate, the old location of Fazoli’s, roughly at the corner of Ronald Reagan and 124. It is, if Tone to Atlanta can be believed, the largest extant Del Taco anywhere. I heard somewhere that it’s the first Del Taco in the state of Georgia since their bankruptcy, and it has enough buzz that Grant Goggans came out, ate, and gave a very lyrical, impressionistic review of the restaurant.

Back of the Del Taco

It’s crowded, this Del Taco, lines circling the building, men outside with electronic pads because the drive through electronics aren’t working. The press of people for a chain whose best selling point is as a counterweight to Taco Bell, a Burger King to Taco Bell’s McDonalds, is fascinating, in a human train wreck kind of way.

I wasn’t able to go in the beginning, though by the time I made it with my daughter, my wife and daughter had already been three times. Inside, the lines that snaked half way through the building, the smell of burgers and french fries, were clear reminders that this isn’t even close to authentic, it’s a classic American attempt to side-step any sign of ethnicity in ethnic food.

Food as wrapped and delivered

Shrimp taco. Decent shrimp, but too much mayo for my daughter's tastes.

Does that meat look grilled to you?

The food comes to you in little aluminum bundles, perfect as missles in a high school food fight. Yes, designed to be taken home, as opposed to appreciated on the table. That’s the only reason I can come up with to explain how unappealing their tacos actually are. Grey wet meat with almost no visible sear dominates their tacos. But if you taste the meat, then yes, something was grilled at some time.

I knew coming in, it would be good. I had a bite of one of my daughter’s tacos before showing, and it was quite tasty. The taco above was quite good as well. And I’m left a little mystified, as how they could grill anything and come up with a taco that looks like it spent most of its time in a pot of boiling water.

I think I’ll leave that one to the fast food philosophers, or the french fry poets.

Meats? Essentially two choices here, chicken and steak, with fried fish as one seafood option and fried shrimp as another (they do have that fried thing going). No tortas, but burgers are possible. I recall quesadillas, as well as a meatless option.

Hot sauces turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Both their sauces and their salsas are good, better I think, than the food they grace. DelScorcher, their medium sauce, has some bite and the hot salsa has some richness to it and balance.

It’s also going to be open 24 hours, so this Del Taco helps fill a void in the Snellville life style, as most of the restaurants around here tend to close by around 9-10pm.

In summary? Very typed, lots of buzz, lots of press and crowds currently. Food doesn’t look very appealing to me, but better tasting than it looks. They have hot sauces whose packets are worth hoarding.

Del Taco
1895 Scenic Highway
Snellville, GA 30078
(770) 978-0361

Del Taco on Urbanspoon

Note: The wifi here not only does not work, the signal from the nearby McDonalds is stronger in the store than is Del Taco’s own wifi signal. It would be best to bring a mifi or a tethered phone when you come.

On the same day that Chow Down Atlanta has a birthday, this blog does too. Chloe’s blog is a full two years older than mine, started before blogging food in the ATL became common. There were perhaps 20-30 food blogs of some consequence in my first several months. Now the count is closer to 150. Some of these blogs have already come and gone, the most notable of these in 2011, perhaps the Constant Gobbler.

The best news story for me over the past year has been Atlantic Buffet Sushi and Grill. Readership of the article has eclipsed all my other articles. Though people hardly vote this place up, interest in their food just doesn’t go away.

Oxtail soup in preparation at Tastee's, in Snellville. Jamaican is well represented by Tastees.

I recently picked up a hit or two from this article on Chowhound, and was, well, underwhelmed. People in Snellville can’t recall Gary’s Bistro or remember Three Blind Mice? People would rather eat Indian in Decatur rather than good Mexican in Lilburn here, or the small taquerias in Snellville proper (here and here)? How many restaurants inside the loop compare to the restaurants in Duluth, or John’s Creek, or Gourmandises in Suwanee? How many of you have had the sausages at Euro Gourmet Grill in Lawrenceville? Or for a more traditional (and heralded) restaurant, Matthew’s Cafeteria in Tucker?

Jamaican and the other Caribbean cuisines are underrepresented in the writings of food bloggers, but are a great source of rich flavors at low prices. Things like jerk chicken, pates, roti should be in every eater’s repertoire.  Tastees in Snellville has good Jamaican food, and Ionie’s in Grayson is also representative. And if you’re into Cuban, why not check out Havana South in Buford?

I’m not about to complain much about the quality and choice around Decatur. It has some fine restaurants. But interesting choices radiate in all directions from Snellville, not just “into the city”.

Though there is a certain chain restaurant that has most of the press (and traffic) these days, another much smaller chain has slipped into Snellville. Alvarado’s Mexican Food is on 78, a little south of the 78-Scenic Highway intersection, a little past the Just Brakes, and very easy to miss. It’s the second in a chain, the first being in Doraville. It’s surprisingly neat inside, with a menu above the counter, and on laminated, brightly colored takeout cards.

Menudo is served on Saturdays and Sundays. Alvarado's is also running a breakfast burrito special.

The fare is largely  authentic. Standard sized tacos run a little higher than most taquerias, around $2.19 (though the card says mini tacos are available for $0.99 each). You can get tortas, quesadillas, burritos, and breakfast items. There is a sauce bar, with good picked carrots and jalapenos, a mild red sauce (I could drink it without any issue) and a more zesty salsa verde.

I had three tacos when I went. The fish taco was mild and tasty. The carnitas taco was full of a “pulled pork” style meat, and also good. The lengua ran a little more chewy than most lengua, but it had taste, and lacked the “just boiled” flavors I’ve had in places before.

Alvarado’s Mexican Food
2597 West Main Street
Snellville, GA 30078

Alvarado's on Urbanspoon

Alvarado’s Mexican Food
5944 Buford Highway
Doraville, GA 30340
(770) 655-6987

Alvarado’s on Urbanspoon