Scott’s Downtown: A Gainesville Gem
Written by Carl Danbury
Finding a good restaurant in the communities that surround Lake Lanier used to be as challenging as crossing the big water in a canoe. Finding one that could easily compete among the finest in metro Atlanta? Simply unheard of!
Today, Flowery Branch has the marvelous Antebellum, Lake Lanier Islands Resort now has three excellent chefs at Windows, and Buford boasts long-time favorite Sperata. On the northern reaches of the lake, Gainesville residents seem satisfied with chain restaurants. Therefore, Scott’s Downtown might be considered an oddity — yet refreshingly so.
After spending five-plus years at a different location, amiable restaurateurs Scott and Kay Dixon took a chance on a larger venue. Their new digs feature polished hardwoods, private nooks for intimate dining, tables for larger parties, The Loft for up to 500 banquet guests and The Lounge at Scott’s, which offers live music on select Saturdays.
Our party of four dined on a Saturday evening with impressive vocalist Monica Spears serenading us with standards. We were determined to sample numerous dishes prepared by Chef Jeremy Wilkson and succeeded, with oysters Bordelaise and warm crab dip served with lavosh providing a glance of the quality of the meal to come. Low Country shrimp and grits — “as good as anywhere,” according to one of our guests, delicate Chilean sea bass, swordfish and roasted chicken with a pomegranate-cranberry jus all were met with satisfying sighs and appreciative smiles.
Scott’s also offers fine USDA prime beef tenderloin filets and ribeyes, herb-crusted rack of lamb, pork saltimbocca and amazing Parmesan risotto. For dessert, crème brulee, decadent bread pudding and piping hot coffee all received four thumbs up.
Scott’s features a solid wine list, both by the glass and by the bottle, and the reserve list features many affordable vintages and some that are rarely seen north of Alpharetta. This blend of Charleston-, New Orleans- and Buckhead-style dining is well worth the drive even if you aren’t weekending at the lake.
131 Bradford St. NW, Gainesville, 770-536-1111, scottsonthesquare.com
Photos courtesy of Sarina Roth of Never the Rock Photography, Braselton