From the Earth is Close to Home

By Joe Duffy

I dwell in East Roswell. We East Roswellians fancy to grumble how west of GA 400 gets all the cool restaurants and shopping playthings. We get exasperated at the political establishment for approving developments we don’t desire. Pro tip: we in East Roswell don’t put our money where our mouth is. It’s not the elected hacks. It’s all on us.

The impressive Super Target was continually uninhabited, and the three most excellent restaurants on this side of town are also the most under-supported restaurants within miles: Foundation Social Eatery, Circle Noodle, and From the Earth.

From the Earth, also a brewery, is the top hangout in the purlieu. Preferably with food, FTE is also a spectacular place to meet friends for an adult beverage… or ten. FTE was one of the restaurant openings I most awaited. I was impressed with the previous work of the original, young, talented, but irascible chef, and wooed by the fact one of the investors was headliner chef Kevin Rathbun.

Flights (beer sampler) are my favorite option at FTE.

I liked From the Earth at the start, but truthfully, it’s only recently under new chef Jason Stern that FTE has elevated their game. Rathbun remains a financier and principal counselor on the menu. Oh, the beer game has skyrocketed too, but more about that later.

Stern emigrated from Colletta, one of the original restaurants at trailblazing Avalon. Even more notable, he toiled and created with Jamie Adams at il Giallo Osteria & Bar, perhaps metro Atlanta’s hottest Italian restaurant.

Stern’s braised lamb tagliatelle is the best plate I’ve devoured here, under any chef. My anecdotal evidence suggests most foodies are like me and favor sauce potency levels relative to the quality of meat or seafood. For prime steak, only minor spicing is required. Reserve a vivacious sauce for chicken breast or salmon. At the opposite extreme of prime steak, the only way for tilapia to approximate edibility is to suffocate it in chili sauce or something.

Braised lamb tagliatelle may just be the go-to item.

Versatile lamb is pretty much in the middle. I do love vigorous lamb vindaloo at Indian restaurants and adore cumin mutton at “authentic” Chinese joints. Notwithstanding, lamb is quite delicious in and of itself. Stern’s tasty, but exquisite, sauce is both understated enough but flavorsome to complement the meat impeccably. Respect the flesh—and the chef does.

Proprietor Tim Stevens briefed me that, along with the braised short ribs, the lamb is ranked highly on the inventory of most beloved items.

My wife is a card-carrying member of the beer pretzel craze. Superstar chef Todd Hogan, articled previously here, generates our fave version. But the soft pretzel balls at FTE are a very noble second. Accordingly, it’s paired with their own IPA mustard and beer cheese.

Beer pretzels with beer cheese strangely enough goes very well with… beer. 

Insofar as appetizers, I enjoyed the beef and pork blend meatballs on top of some of the best polenta I’ve had.

Beef and pork meatballs are a perfect way to start the meal.

East Roswell resident Lloyd Merriam cherishes the fried chicken on mashed potatoes. In the early days, the yardbird was boned and with white and dark meat. Stern’s version is with Springer Mountain Farms chicken breast. Lloyd remarks the fish and chips are “excellent,” but instructs to require it extra crispy.

Springer Mountain Farms fried chicken.

In addition to Springer Mountain Farms, From the Earth sources other top-grade vendors. They source Benton’s out of Tennessee for their bacon. Believe you me, as much as I preach supporting local; I have to admit I adore Benton’s even more than Georgia’s own Patak’s. I fell head over heels in love with Benton’s at Knoxville’s (Duffy family favorite) Stock & Barrel.

Scott Long and his wife Emilie, a recent “Teacher of the Year” at Esther Jackson Elementary School, are big supporters of local music, not only in Roswell, but also Little Five Points and all over—inside and outside the perimeter. Mr. Long is very impressed with what Tim Stevens has brought to FTE, expressing, “When people catch on to the level of original musical artists that Tim has been able to bring into From the Earth, they are dumbfounded.” Long urges those unfamiliar with regular artist Rev. Jeff Mosier to “Google him.” The Longs especially enjoy the variety of music, Scott continues, “Bluegrass open jam night in the spring and summer is a dreamy way to spend a Wednesday evening.”

The eats? Long loves the bone-in pork chop, saying he often has leftovers from the generous portion. A fan from day one, Scott concludes, “The pimento cheese fritters are a guilty pleasure. Oh yeah and the lobster mac and cheese—enough said.”

Like many breweries, From the Earth has found their groove after experimentation. Often it’s a signature beer that takes a suds producer to new heights. Tropicália did this for Creature Comforts out of Athens and Alpha Abstraction for LaGrange’s Wild Leap. You heard it here first, a new brew, Can’t Find My Way Home will accomplish this for FTE. I’m safely assuming the 10.2% ABV inspired the name of the triple IPA. Well balanced, this is among the best hops and barley in Georgia.

Egad, East Roswell. Stop flocking to order-by-number Speedy Gonzales joints with bargain-basement margaritas. Industry players are watching. They will not invest and entrust in a locality with a dubious record of patronizing the same quality establishments that prosper just a few miles west. Support them, and they will come. You aren’t living up to your end of the deal. Meet me at the bar of From the Earth, and let’s get this future-of-East Roswell party started.

From the Earth Brewing Company

1570 Holcomb Bridge Road

Roswell, GA 30076

ftebrewing.com

Sound Bites:

Speaking of breweries, established Alpharetta beer maker, Jekyll Brewing has unwrapped a restaurant at Alpharetta City Center. Bison-wagyu (spelled without the “y” on the menu) is a beautiful take on the ubiquitous double-patty craze. The chef came from Buckhead Diner. As one would presume, the “milk” chowder with clams and oysters was less velvety than most chowders. The common theme on both items I had was a faintly unique take on the usual. This new hot spot is undoubtedly good enough to go back, and the rooftop patio may outshine Avalon’s Barleygarden as Alpharetta’s most beautiful…

Chain chicken wars. I made it to Popeyes and tried their chicken sandwich. Though I like the crunchiness of Popeyes, Chick-fil-A remains my preferred fast-food chicken sandwich…

Rock ‘N’ Taco refocused from Buckhead to uOTPia, Canton Street in the Roz. A decent band was playing, perfect TV setup, and good beer selection. Food was respectable Americanized Mex. The best stuff is chips, queso, and three salsas. With a nice TV setup, it’s among the few sports bars I don’t need to eat beforehand. The meal alone wouldn’t rate it among Roswell’s elite, but a friendly vibe and overall occurrence. In fact, for that one game you know will be on—their big TV is the best this side of Sports & Social at The Battery.

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.