Find great eats downtown during Cherry Blossom Festival

March 21, 2014 

CherryFest

The Rookery on Cherry Street has been a fixture of downtown Macon for decades.

JASON VORHEES/THE TELEGRAPH — jvorhees@macon.com

Welcome to Macon, the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World! As you wander the streets of our downtown, I’ll be your street-by-street guide to the fantastic independent restaurants you can find along your way. Since Cherry Street has a pink line running down the middle of it, we’ll start there.

At Cherry and Second streets, you’ll find Greek Corner Deli, with all your favorite Greek specialties such as gyros, spanakopita, hummus and baklava. Just a few doors down toward Third Street, you’ll see lots of folks outside enjoying the Rookery. On a sunny day, there’s nothing better than a Rookery burger, battered fries and a refreshing drink. Upstairs, there’s the well-heeled Dovetail, specializing in locally gathered cuisine like the sweet tea-brined Tomahawk chop.

If you’re in the mood for Mexican, check out Acapulco at the corner of Cherry and Third streets. Just across Cherry Street is Market City Cafe, home of the most wicked banana pudding you’ve ever tried, plus beautifully plated salads and enormous slices of locally made cakes.

Cross over Third Street Park to find some of the best thin-crust pizza in the South at Doughboys. Down the block on Cherry Street, you’ll find fresh sushi and Thai specialties at Lemongrass, a sports bar atmosphere at Barefoot Tavern, and superb Southern specialties at Molly’s Cafe.

From there, take a right onto Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to find the Tic Toc Room, formerly a club where Little Richard performed, now a dressy but comfortable fine dining establishment. Turn right again onto Poplar street if you’re looking for a coffee break: Taste and See Coffee Shop has the look of a Colorado ski lodge and a full case of homemade baked goods.

Up at the corner of Poplar and Second streets, there’s a unique do-it-yourself place, Ginger Stir Fry. You pick out your veggies, protein and sauce, and the grill masters will cook it up for you. Take a right onto Second Street to find an unusual Middle Eastern spot, Roasted Cafe and Lounge. Their spicy feta with cucumbers and pita points is the perfect afternoon snack.

Now find your way over to Cotton Avenue to try the reddest hot dogs you’ve ever seen at Nu-Way Weiners, frequently featured on the Food Network. Come on down Cotton Avenue to find Amanda’s Cakery (cupcakes) and Michael’s on Mulberry, which serves great sandwiches at lunchtime and lovely dinners at night. Go farther east on Mulberry Street and you’ll get to the locals’ favorite for Southern specialties, Jeanine’s Cafe. It’s a cafeteria line, but you’ll get the real feel of old Macon along with some genuine mac ’n’ cheese and butter beans.

Finally, you’ll need your smart phone to find Mulberry Lane, but it’s worth it to find Downtown Grill, Ninja Japanese Steakhouse and Tokyo Alley. If you’re looking to go further afield, just ask. We’ve got great food for great prices all over town.

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