Grow, formerly Good to Go on Riverside Drive, is a bold project in farm-to-table dining that certainly seems to be working. Owner Saralyn Harvey also caters using the former name, and if you have had her catering, you know how high the quality of her food is.
Grow has turned a former fast food joint into a lovely sit-down diner, with local art on the walls and almost all local food on the menu -- from the farm-fresh veggies to the organic greens to the grain-fed beef.
Grow now has table service and real menus. The plentiful and head-turning food comes artfully plated on real plates and it’s not uncommon to see patrons photographing their lunch before digging in.
We came a little late for lunch, so Wayne -- who also cooks much of the food -- kindly served us. Wayne was once our favorite bartender at Dovetail, so it was a pleasure to catch up with him as he described what he brought to us.
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We started with a small basket of bread made by local artisan Ellen Banas, who also sells her goods at the Mulberry Market on Wednesday afternoons at Tattnall Square Park. We also had the hand-squeezed lemonade with unlimited refills.
Next, we had the tiny angel biscuits and slathered them with butter. Sometimes they also offer mini pimento cheese scones, so watch their Facebook page for that. I wanted to try all three of the cold salads, so Wayne made a little tray of the egg salad, chicken salad and pimento cheese.
The egg salad was my favorite, with big chunks of farm fresh eggs and not too much mayo. The chicken salad, made with Greenway Farms (also a frequent Mulberry Marketer) chicken, was shredded like only homemade can be. I like a little more kick in my pimento cheese, but it was solidly good.
Next came our huge entrees. Between the two of us, we had beef tips on mashed potatoes, meatball soup, squash casserole, roasted chicken, fried veggies and cornbread. Maybe because it was late in the day, the beef tips and mash came out under temp, but the flavor was much like a beef stew and would be lovely on a very cold day.
The meatball soup was almost like vegetable soup with meatballs in it; squash, onion, carrot, tomato, zucchini, green bean and mushroom filled the little side bowl to the brim. The fried veggies were in a tempura-like batter, very light and easy to get the full flavor of the local farm. The squash casserole is in a bechemel like a macaroni and cheese and included zucchini in with the usual yellow squash.
The rosemary roasted chicken had crispy skin but was a little dry, again probably because it was late in the day for lunch. The cornbread is very sweet and cakelike. Even though we were stuffed, we had to try the banana pudding, which was just like the best homemade banana pudding you’ve ever had.
Grow is definitely a welcome addition to the downtown revitalization with its forward thinking and capitalization of an asset that we have plenty of in Middle Georgia: farms. More money stays inside our local economy and we get healthier, fresher and more delicious food as well.
I hope more local restaurants will take Grow’s lead to step up to the plate and deliver higher quality food on a local level.
Address: 1019 Riverside Drive, Macon
Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday
Payment: Cash, credit
Kids Menu: No
Noise Level: Low
Health Rating: 100
Price range: $7.95-$9.95
Rating: 3.5 stars