By Frank Mack
I’ve been your local food writer for eight years. With my eyes open and head up I have been driving from place to place. Often more than one place a night. You can’t be me and hold still on a stool anywhere for long. That equals thousands of miles and who knows how many hours that I have spent looking right at the restaurant business in Roswell, East Cobb, Alpharetta and all our surrounding communities. Every article takes me to the place and allows me to look all around. Couple that with the fact that I grew up in the business… that’s the research.
So I can say without a doubt that I am now some self-proclaimed know-it-all on both restaurants and the areas they are in. I have come to two conclusions.
Number one is a good Italian red meat sauce is darn near impossible to find outside of the highest of the high end joints. I love Osteria Mattone and the others but that white linen thing can be off-putting when you just want a casual meal that doesn’t require a credit check.
We could argue for days about the hint of what herb makes a sauce hit your sweet spot. But what makes the top quality is unalterable. I’ll start with no water in my dish, that’s sloppy, distasteful, unforgivable and harder to achieve than you think. When I part the sauce at the bottom of my dish it should shimmer and sparkle. There should be nothing but the natural oils of the ingredients themselves and proof of the hours in reduction. And the pasta? Al dente my eye. Just cook it right and drain it really well.
Number two is that no restaurant, retail, or business can survive without proper access to it, which includes both streets up to it and free parking at or near it. All of this is leading to ZuZZu as a perfect example of both a great sauce but a lousy parking situation. The food pictures speak for themselves. Those are photos of my actual dinner. It was amazing and honest, you must go. They feature authentic Sicilian fare highlighted by pizza from a wood-burning oven and a variety of handmade pastas and sauces that are superb and delightfully simple. ZuZZu is located at 42 Oak Street in Roswell. For more visit them online at zuzzuroswell.com.
I know these little places inside and out. I know how they work. I’m fourth generation restaurant. And at the ripe old age of 60, I know a few things about development, infrastructure and what grows and what dies. In Roswell, ZuZZu is the example, while Canton Street is the larger problem. And I think Roswell’s last chance is here and now.
Nearly a decade ago, several hard working innovative restaurateurs like Ryan Pernice of Table & Main and Hicham Azhari of Salt Factory changed the culture of Roswell. But the city has done little over the past few years to support them and now it’s time to invest in Roswell. Build parking, manage parking, and accept that it’s the proper function of your city to step in and take this over. Or watch it drain off and away. With whatever replaces it being less, for everyone.
That’s my opinion anyway. How I see it. I love Roswell’s little hometown feel to death. It’s history, trees, creeks, and for the most part… all y’all. But this infrastructure talk has been analyzed to death and the restaurants in the area cannot sustain a long-term business model without a common solution to poor parking. This has been debated in Roswell politics for several years and over many elections with zero done about the problem. In the time Roswell has spent JUST contemplating the parking problem in the historic district, the city of Alpharetta held community meetings, voted on and built a parking deck.
For those of you in search of a great little spot please check out ZuZZu. It’s a gem for us locals. I want to see it do well. And for those of you who live in Roswell please take a look at the parking problem. I know its kind of like politics… shiver. But it’s even more important than that. This is about dinner. And darn it all. That’s where I draw the line.
42 Oak St Suite B,
Roswell GA 30075