Eating local is eating right during Cherry Blossom Festival

March 15, 2013 

Welcome, Cherry Blossom Festival visitors! You’ve come to the right city if you’re looking for a variety of great food at incredibly good prices. If you have trouble finding any of these, just stop a friendly Maconite on the street and they’re sure to help you out.

For famous eats, we’ve got H&H Restaurant, Nu-Way Weiners, Harpin’s and Fincher’s Barbecue.

H&H was the original haunt of the Allman Brothers Band, and Mama Louise will serve you the same kind of soul food she brought out for Greg and the boys. Nu-Way has been featured on the Food Network numerous times for its famously red hot dogs, available with chili, onions, slaw or nekkid. Harpin’s is owned by Mick Jagger’s former personal chef; and Fincher’s boasts the only barbecue that’s ever been into space.

If you’re sticking close to downtown, try out the Rookery, Roasted Cafe and Lounge, Jeneane’s Cafe, Molly’s Cafe, Lemongrass Thai Bistro, Ginger Stir-fry & Grill, Dolce Vita and Tokyo Alley.

Actor Harrison Ford loved the Rookery burgers so much that he left his signature on one of the quaint wooden booths (it has great outdoor seating, too, if the weather’s good). Roasted has a Mediterranean flair, with a fantastic spicy feta dip served with pita, cucumbers and tomatoes. Jeneane’s is always full of local business people eating biscuits for breakfast and meatloaf for lunch.

Molly’s is our best kept secret; absolutely everything is fantastic. The Monte Gristo, named for our local Mark Twain, is a melt-in-your-mouth concoction. Lemongrass, Ginger and Tokyo Alley are each masters of Asian cooking and you should really try them all. Finally, Dolce Vita is a great coffee shop and dessert hangout that has recently added a larger menu to serve all their hungry clientele.

For finer dining, we have the luxurious Natalia’s, Marco Ristorante, Tic Toc Room and Dovetail. Natalia’s is where we take our famous visitors for flawless food served by the charming Ilir; and Marco has the handsome Nazario. Downtown, Tic Toc is where all the young beautiful people dine; and Dovetail is where all the rich, beautiful people dine (maitre d’ Tim will make you feel beautiful even if you don’t come by it naturally).

To get a good feel for our cozy neighborhoods, try Ingleside Village Pizza on Ingleside Avenue. In addition to the hand-tossed pizza and great beverage selection, you can search for the geocache in their backyard. On the other end of the street is the Backburner, where every dish is one of the best you’ve ever had.

Another great neighborhood is Mercer Village in the College Hill Corridor (adjacent to Mercer University), where you can hang with college kids and have Mexican at Margarita’s Mexican Bar & Grill, fancy sandwiches at Fountain of Juice, or drink chai at Jittery Joe’s Coffee.

Out a little further is the under-appreciated Mirko Pasta, with homemade bread, combine-your-own pasta and excellent prices.

There’s just not enough room to mention all that Macon has to offer: there’s still Good to Go, Pho Saigon, Georgia Bob’s Barbecue Co., Papouli’s Mediterranean Cafe, Greek Corner Deli, Downtown Grill, Michael’s on Mulberry and Satterfield’s.

Because I know you can’t possible eat it all during the Cherry Blossom Festival, I’ll see you in July for Bragg Jam and in August for the Macon Beer Festival!

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