Hidden Hometown Gems: Roswell

Vixen Vodka
When we set out to uncover local treasures for Hidden Hometown Vixen
Gems, Vixen Vodka was a natural fit. A local company created by local women contributing to communities of Atlanta’s Northside? We couldn’t have asked for a better sponsor for this special series.

The idea for this Roswell-based business took root as three friends discussed their desire to make a difference in their lives during a girls’ getaway to St. Simons Island in 2010. Over cocktails, Jenny Policky, LeeAnn Maxwell and Carrie King (pictured from left to right) conceptualized a brand of vodka that would bring some “girl power” to the male-dominated spirits industry.

Since it’s official launch last November, the gluten-free, figure-friendly vodka has shaken and stirred the industry, winning a medal at the World Spirits Competition and making its way to shelves in approximately 250 locations across the state. Yet through it’s widespread success, Vixen Vodka is still a hometown brand at heart. The company supports local organizations such as Roswell Woman’s Club, Star House Foundation and The Lionheart School by participating in fundraisers; a hot auction item is Vixen’s Night Out, in-home parties during which the Vixen girls teach guests how to mix fun cocktails. The company also hosts Open Your Heart parties, which incorporate cardiologists (and heart-healthy cocktails, of course) to support the American Heart Association’s “Go Red” Campaign, an initiative that hits particularly close to home for Maxwell, who suffered from a heart attack without the tell-tale symptoms last year. Visit Vixen online for details about parties and events and a list of retailers. drinkvixenvodka.com, facebook.com/drink.vXn.vodka

Adele’s Authentic Cajun Experience
When Chef Marc Wegman and his wife, Ruth, put “Authentic” into the name of Adele's
their restaurant, they meant it. The casual dining space, which opened in 2011 and expanded earlier this year, is a true tribute to Wegman’s New Orleans roots. In fact, most of the star ingredients coming out of Adele’s kitchen are shipped straight from Louisiana — fresh seafood delivered weekly, famed Patton’s sausage and even the dough for French bread. Baked locally at Artisan Bakery, the crusty loaves are featured in a long list of po-boys including classic seafood options like shrimp and oyster alongside landlubber versions like hot sausage and roast beef. Signature dishes are available in “big” and “bigger” portions; choose from favorites like crawfish étouffée and shrimp & grits. For an extra kick, add a few dashes of Adele’s signature hot sauce, which is also available by the bottle. During crawfish season, which lasts through June, the N’Awlins delicacy is available Thursday through Saturday (or until they run out!). End your meal with a piping hot order of fresh beignets and a cup of chicory coffee or a scoop of High Road Craft Aztec chocolate ice cream. A hand-painted mural of a Crescent City streetscape, the masterpiece of Wegman’s SCAD graduate son Stuart, further sets the tone for an authentic Cajun experience. Plans are in the works for a fresh seafood market to open by the end of the year. 690 Holcomb Bridge Road, 770-594-0655, adelescajun.com

Oli + Ve
If you’re skeptical about a store devoted entirely to premium olive  Oli&Ve
oils and vinegars, one step inside this charming shop will change your mind. Boasting 29 different varieties of olive oil and 26 aged balsamic vinegars, this fabulous foodie find encourages you to taste everything before you buy. Sample extra virgin olive oils from mild intensity to robust in a process that’s not unlike wine tasting, then move on to fused and infused flavor combinations (think basil oil with apricot vinegar). There’s also a gourmet food room where you can sample local products and freshly baked goods featuring unique olive oils. (Blood orange brownies, anyone?) The experience culminates with mini cups of vanilla ice cream on which to drizzle various vinegars (espresso, dark chocolate, fig) and an inevitable purchase of at least one pairing you just can’t live without. For ideas
on using the oils and vinegars, visit Oli & Ve’s website for recipes. 1003 Canton St., 770-587-4244, oliandve.com

Provisions for Home
When customers started asking to purchase the furniture and props at Roswell Provisions
Provisions, the owners of the European-style market saw an opportunity for expansion and the result, Provisions for Home, opened last December. Peddling a selection of European home goods alongside repurposed items from their own “American Pickers”-style escapades, the store is a treasure trove of whimsical items with Old World charm – Parisian books, handmade sconces, antique silverware and a vintage two-seater bike, just to name a few. It even smells like Europe, thanks to a collection of French Provencal soaps and candles. While you’re there, be sure to pop into the market around the corner for a picnic-style lunch. 942 Alpharetta St., 678-938-7225, roswellprovisions.com

 

 

The Bilt-House
Warning, shopaholics: with such an assorted array of goods, you’ll be Bilthouse
hard-pressed to walk out of this place empty-handed. The Bilt-House’s inventory includes everything from women’s clothing and accessories to home décor and children’s items. There’s a great collection of Old Gringo boots, fun knick knacks like homemade Himalayan candles, an enviable display of Casa Mia ceramic dinnerware, original items by Roswell artist Rebecca Puig of Sugarboo Designs (think hand-stamped burlap pillows), and oh, so much more. And if you decide you just can’t live without that recycled rug on the floor or a piece of folk art furnishing one wall, you’re in luck, because everything is for sale. 1035 Canton St., 770-552-8581, thebilt-house.com

Fresh Bike Service
As a designated “Bicycle Friendly Community,” Roswell boasts plenty Fresh Bike
of paths and trails for serious cyclists… but what if you want to sample the sport without committing to the costs of equipment? Enter Fresh Bike Service. The boutique bike shop’s proximity to Big Creek Park makes it the perfect place to pick up a rental bike to enjoy on the Greenway or the park’s mountain bike trails. Fresh also specializes in high-end bike sales and serves as the starting point for group rides. Morning road rides depart Wednesdays at 6 a.m. and night mountain bike rides depart Thursdays at 7 p.m. 1575 Old Alabama Road, 770-587-4982, freshbikeservice.com

 

Muse & Co. Fine Art
Roswell’s status as a hotspot for the arts is no secret, and the local Muse & Co
businesses that promote them are tucked in every nook and cranny. Located in the Shops at SoCa Village, Muse & Co.’s contemporary fine art gallery features high quality, original artwork with an emphasis on paintings and sculptures. Most of the artists are local, with quite a few based right here in Roswell. And we adore how the store is staged; fine art is displayed in vignettes with furnishings from La Bella Vie, allowing shoppers to visualize how the pieces might look in their own homes. The gallery’s somewhat industrial yet stylish space is also available for private event rentals. 39 Oak St., 770-594-9511, musecofineart.com

 

Oak Street Café
A few doors down from Muse & Co., the dark décor of Oak Street Oak Street Cafe
Café makes this gem feel like a secret meeting spot, though the lunch crowd proves there are already plenty of locals in the know. In fact, the restaurant’s proximity to a variety of businesses makes it easily accessible to a broad clientele, and that’s exactly what owner Joseph McCaffrey intended. The community-oriented cafe offers counter service for lunch, and its central bar is the perfect spot for favorites like the Oak Burger with a side of hand-cut fries and a trio of signature dipping sauces. The restaurant is a drop-site for Rise ‘N Shine Farm’s CSA program, so expect to see local veggies in upcoming menu specials. Located in the heart of the Groveway Historic District, this special spot is also brimming with potential as plans for revitalization take shape. 45 Oak Street, 770-594-1300, oakstreetcafe.com

The Mill Kitchen & Bar
Some consumers can be hesitant to visit a business in a location The Mill
where another has failed. But in the case of The Mill Kitchen & Bar, those consumers would be missing out. Recently opened in the building that once housed Relish and later Pico Autentico, The Mill no doubt has what it takes to bring success to this space. The joint venture of accomplished restaurateurs Scott and Randy McCray (McCray’s Tavern, Smyrna and Lawrenceville; Carolyn’s Gourmet Café, Midtown) and Chef Marc Taft (Chicken and the Egg, Marietta), The Mill is quintessentially Southern, comfortable and contemporary all at the same time. Black chalkboards boast a commitment to Southern ingredients from “Friends & Farmers” like Mills Farm of Athens and Riverview Farms in northwest Georgia, which contribute red mule grits and tasso, respectively, for an incredible take on shrimp & grits. Tafts’ grandmother’s tomato jam recipe adds some zing to a classic pimento cheese appetizer, and local High Road Craft ice creams elevate desserts like Jack Daniels chocolate pecan pie. Wash it all down with a culinary inspired cocktail like The Tipsy Pig (Belle Meade bourbon, sweet vermouth, black walnut bitters, bacon and brown sugar syrup). It’s Southern innovation in a glass. 590 Mimosa Blvd., 770-817-9345, themillkitchenandbar.com

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee House
When the need for inspiration strikes, we often seek creative Land of a Thousand Hills
stimulation in the sanctuary of a local coffee shop. And this particular gem offers more than a comfortable environment to spark our imaginations, though its seating is quite comfy and its patio particularly inviting on a warm spring day. But there’s more to it that that. With its “Drink Coffee, Do Good” mantra, Land of a Thousand Hills also stirs our souls. The java joint does its part to make a difference in the world by paying higher than Fair Trade prices to Rwandan coffee growers and investing profits in Rwandan village projects like sustenance farms for orphans. And if you’re in the market for artistic inspiration, a little latte art in your mug ought to do the trick. Plus, enjoy live music with coffee and dessert on Friday and Saturday nights. 352 S. Atlanta St., 770-645-1149, drinkcoffeedogoodroswell.com