Quality eats found in a laid back atmosphere at Roasted Café & Lounge in downtown Macon

Special to the TelegraphFebruary 10, 2012 

OK, all you single ladies, I found a place with great food, a nice atmosphere and a 10-to-1 ratio of men to women. Roasted Café & Lounge downtown on Second Street has a relaxed vibe with Bob Marley singing you into the store and the cozy smell of coffee wafting you to the counter to place your order.

The décor is sort of a shabby chic “Friends” set, with a chess set, books and some couches setting the casual tone. I really liked the lighting, which gave the small space a warm glow and larger feel. Art by local artists decorates the walls and barstools line the bar and front window.

Let’s start with the clientele, who were chronically cool and hopelessly hip -- though you could tell they weren’t trying to be, which makes them cooler, of course. We visited the sandwich shop during the dinner hour, so everyone was on their best behavior, having interesting conversations (not that I was listening) and working on their laptops.

But judging from the pictures on their website, www.roastedmacon.com, the night time brings out the fire pit, PBR and hookahs, as well as some pretty wild behavior. But, back to the food.

The focus here is on quality coffee, well-designed sandwiches and -- oddly enough -- shakes. I had one of the best lattes I’ve had on this side of the pond, with a dash of hazelnut in a smooth but full-of-personality shot of espresso. We tried the shakes in chocolate, vanilla and their most famous date. This is only place I know in the area that has date shakes, which is basically a vanilla shake with chunks of dried dates mixed in. Sounds weird, I know, but it was tasty.

The sandwiches we tried were the Usual, the Greek Heat, the Cali Club and the Goin’ Ham. We tried to get the Grown Up PBJ, which uses a triple stack of waffles instead of bread (hilarious!) but, alas, they were out of jelly. On the other sandwiches, you can choose from a croissant, whole grain, pita or thick rosemary ciabatta.

Our Usual came with roasted turkey breast, locally grown baby greens, vine-ripened tomatoes, provolone cheese, red onions, mayonnaise and mustard on a croissant. The Greek Heat was a spicy little number with marinated chicken breast, house made feta spread and those baby greens stuffed in a pita.

The Cali Club was a fantastic combo of smoked ham (think thinly sliced prosciutto), roasted turkey, bacon, greens, provolone and freshly made pesto aioli. The ciabatta is the perfect match for this one. The Goin’ Ham is piled high with shaved ham, baby swiss and vine- ripened tomatoes. Your other choices are a classic BLT and the secret recipe chicken salad.

So get on your groovy gear (just kidding, don’t really), and head down to Second Street for a great cup of coffee and a well-made sandwich. It’s a little bit of Athens right here in Macon.

Roasted Café & Lounge

Address: 442 Second St.

Phone: 746-2671

Hours: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 8 a.m.-until Fridays, noon-until Saturdays, noon-6 p.m. Sundays

Payment: Cash, credit

Smoking: Hookah

Alcohol: Yes

Kids Menu: No

Noise Level: Low

Wheelchair accessible: Yes

Health Rating: 100

Price range: $5.25 and up

Rating: 3 stars

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