For our last meal in the United States, we took another suggestion and drove to Graft, a farm to table initiative in one of the suburbs of Atlanta, GA. The location is a former house, off a busy Grayson Highway and quite unassuming from the road. With both indoor and outdoor space, the venue can be maximized year round. Done in dark wood and lots of reclaimed materials, the interior is exactly what one would expect (except, maybe darker — it was a bit cavernous for the middle of day). The no frills, country chic of the venue is a good match for the down to earth menu.
According to the website:
“Graft is a culmination of a dream and a reality. Ashley has known since she was a little girl that she wanted to have restaurants. Her childhood summers of growing up in her grandfathers’ restaurants in Houston, Texas, allowed her to experience the joys and trials of being in the restaurant industry. So, when she and Seth got married, he knew what he was getting into! After a couple of years of scoping out several locations in Athens and Decatur, the opportunity presented itself to come back to Gwinnett….to Grayson.”
As mentioned, the lunch menu is relatively simple, but had enough to keep everyone happy. With my parents, our table we ordered the following: the App Board, including (3) Deviled Farm Eggs, House Pimento Cheese, Chef’s Selection of House Pickles, Jalapeno Jam, Toasted Baguette (I ordered it as my only dish), Chorizo Tacos, 2 Flour Tacos filled with House-made Chorizo, Tangy Slaw, Fresh Jalapeños, Cilantro, Cilantro Crema, Burger, Verner Farms Grass-Fed Ground Beef, Pickled Jalapeños, House Pimento Cheese, Whole Wheat Bun, and the Egg Salad Made to order Farm Egg Salad, House Slaw, House Pickled Cucumbers, Local Lettuces, House Honey Wheat Bread. The sandwiches all came with twice cooked fries (very yummy).
Although I enjoyed the soundtrack of the Beatles (through the years), as we were the only seated table inside, I was struck by how long the food took to be prepared. While of course I wouldn’t want to rush any plate because of food safety, it did seem we waited quite a long time to receive our lunch. (This is a direct comparison to nearby Local Republic, who had us in and out in 45 minutes — even including some extended conversations with the wait staff and a bustling restaurant).
When the food was finally served, my sample platter was rustically presented, but unfortunately, all one note: spicy. With the exception of the bread loaf and maybe the deviled eggs, everything was far too hot to really enjoy (I spent the majority of my meal sucking down Diet Coke). As a main dish, it was filling, but I’m sure would work well for the intended sharing structure. However, at USD12, I’m not entirely sure the value is there.
The chorizo tacos, which were more or less buried in cabbage (main image), made them nearly impossible to eat with anything other than a fork. Also, call me a traditionalist, but I’m not sure fries are the best side dish with a taco (and I’m not really sure they needed any side at all). However, Hubs enjoyed his choice, as my Mom and Dad enjoyed their selections, and we all liked the twice baked fries.
Unfortunately, given my expectations, there was nothing truly dynamic in the lunch menu. The location is charming, the service was nice, but with a long wait and more or less average food, with other nearby options available, I wouldn’t make a special trip to this location. Even with the focus on farm to table (an effort I am happy to support), the slow service and overwhelmingly spicy dish were not enough to make me plan a second visit. Should you be interested, there are wine tastings and other weekly events at the location, which, if the venue was around the corner, I might want to check out. Overall, the visit was a bit of a let down for our last meal.