Cherry Street Brewpub at Halcyon

By Joe Duffy

Count me as all-in on the craft beer frenzy. However, as breweries burst forth like kudzu in Georgia, I feared a saturation point was unavoidable. When one of Roswell’s four new breweries, Abbey of the Holy Goats, went belly-up quicker than most froyo-at-every-corner joints, I surmised the tipping point had been reached.

For the first time in more than a decennium, I was mistaken about something. I’ll drink to that. Yeah, Hop Alley, Alpharetta’s brewery/restaurant with very good food and beer, encumbered with clockwork bad service, made a transformation into Currahee Brewing Company with the same owner. But closures have been outnumbered by openings and expansions. There is no deceleration of this phenomenon.

Johns Creek finally got into the game with Six Bridges Brewing, and within the last two months, both Jekyll Brewing out of Alpharetta and Cherry Street Brewing in Cumming opened up restaurants with second brewery locations.

Cherry Street Brewpub at Halcyon has opened in the northernmost tip of Alpharetta. Bordering Cumming, they cook bar food quite well. It’s run by Nick Tanner, son of Rick Tanner, who opened this hotspot with his sister Alisa. Longtime Atlantans will remember the senior Tanner from Tanner’s Chicken Rotisserie, a popular multi-location restaurant from the mid-80s through the turn of the century.

The Duffy family—well, oldest son and I in particular—commenced with a sampling of appetizers.

The bar staple of wings are done well.

Pimento cheese is perhaps runner-up only to Bite as my favorite. Nicely shredded, quality, real cheese (nothing processed) gave it both a pleasant texture and flavor. The hummus was thicker and not as silky smooth as a lot of Middle Eastern restaurants construct it. The variation was a quality interpretation on a vegetarian spread that has blossomed into an American staple in recent years.

Pimento cheese was the highlight of a very good appetizer platter.

The warm queso was higher-grade than you will ingest at most of the cookie-cutter, order-by-number Tex-Mex restaurants around town.

Initial reaction was that I would have favored a little less batter on my fish and chips. But with each bite, I enjoyed the flavor and crunchiness, which makes the not-that-overly coated breading necessary. Made with the house whitefish, Pacific grouper, I’d declare it is probably my favorite fish and chips.

Fries are unique, almost a cross between homemade chips (but thicker) and fries. Though nobody adores international and regional foods and eating like the Romans do more than yours truly, there are scarce instances of my ceding to the typical American way. For example, as much as I love Asian food—the real thing especially—I detest chopsticks. When it comes to fish and chips, give me tartar sauce for the fish and catchup for the fries—err, chips.

Grouper fish and chips, crunchy and among the best you will have.

The one consistent complaint I have both experienced and heard about Cherry Street Brewpub is that the service is deficient, and it can be really lacking at times. I was surprised I wasn’t offered malt vinegar, as I thought I spotted some on a cart in the corner. But the heart of the matter is, though sometimes I do occasionally eat a small portion the Brit way, it’s not my preference. The outstanding tartar sauce is made in-house and rounds out the dish. It’s a credit to the Tanner siblings this integral component is not overlooked.

Yeah, I’ve mentioned before, if my wife is with me and there is a beer pretzel on the menu, no need to verify that she wants to try—it’s safely assumed. Chef Todd Hogan raised the standard with said item (and accompaniments), now at all three of his restaurants, but the Tanner’s rendition is impressive too.

Cherry Street Brewpub’s beer pretzel was a hit.

As noted in a previous issue, the quality of Reuben sandwiches in Hubville has soared just in the last 2-3 years. Enter Cherry Street’s beer boiled, corned beef version served with the most traditional garnishes of Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing, and sauerkraut. It was a sound adaptation in the increasingly competitive field.

Your humble correspondent has a very limited list of food items I’m not fond of. Peanut butter lovers and I just aren’t simpatico, so I will leave it to them to judge the PB&J Burger with two smash patties, American cheese, bacon slices, red pepper jelly, and peanut butter. But it’s a big seller. Sounds great to me, sans the latter topping.

Other popular items include chicken lips (rotisserie pulled chicken with three types of cheese, hand rolled and fried, in an egg roll) served with queso; prime (rib) and cheddar sandwich; and Moroccan mussels.

The original Cherry Street Brewing and its Halcyon by-product have no overlapping beers, with the occasional exception of what has become their signature brew Steppin’ Razor—their beloved American Imperial IPA. “Our Honey Amber, Halcyon Haze, and Lake Beer Lager have really been huge hits!” I had the latter, and it was as good as any lager I’ve had.

The family-friendly restaurant has an adjacent adults-only energetic lounge, with a nice mishmash of humanity, some who have been legally drinking for no more than a decade mixed with a great many of those of us of a certain age.

Halcyon itself is among the newest of the multi-use communities forevermore altering the panorama of Alpharetta. Whether or not North Alpharetta embraces the miniature Avalon remains to be seen. Cherry Street Brewpub attains high marks with the vibe and elevated bar food. If they achieve a matching service level, the shiny object LWP development has an anchor hangout.

Cherry Street Brewpub at Halcyon

6640 Town Square, Suite 510

Alpharetta, GA 30005

Sound Bites:

I will say it again. And presumably again. Alpharetta City Center continues to get finer. Jinya Ramen Bar is probably my favorite of the three proximate ramen options. Friendly server exclaimed that spicy chicken is their most popular. I went with the add-on of freshly grated cheese and tomatoes to top it off. I shall return…

Popular spicy chicken ramen with freshly grated cheese and tomatoes from Jinya Ramen Bar.

Back around the turn of the century, the most hackneyed and stale restaurant catchphrase was “upscale food in a casual atmosphere.” However, that flawlessly characterizes Persian Kabob Land on Mansell. Counter service, but they are not employing bargain-basement Sysco crap. I can guarantee you that.

House specialty lamb kabobs wrapped in chicken kabobs at Persian Kabob Land.

When I observe a menu item portrayed as “signature,” my verdict is pretty much made on what to order. Such prestige was bestowed to the very tender, juicy lamb wrapped inside a chicken kabob. It compares favorably with fancier sit-down Persian places. No Minute Rice here either. A lot of dishes are in the upper teens and a lower $20 range. However, they also have wraps for $7.99, plus $1.75 for Persian potatoes or $1.95 for fries. Didn’t get any, nor ask, but I’ll bet they are cut in-house. Peeking at other tables, fries portion looked pretty generous…

I pity the fool who has never done the “Parsons Pie Parlay” of O4W Pizza and Crave Pie Studio in Duluth. The bad news is Crave has been shut down because of a fire in an adjacent restaurant. The good news is their second location opened up at Alpharetta City Center. You should try it because they are great. But the poor young lady also deserves support as she seeks to rebuild her business from said disaster. They also do savory pies, such as possibly the best chicken pot pie you will ever eat.

When he’s not eating, which is rare, the author is CEO of Sports Handicapping website Offshore Insiders. His bride’s gift site, Duffy Gifts is the place to go for gifts for all occasions from My Thirty One Gifts.