By Frank Mack
The Local Wood Fired Grill is my latest discovery. It’s small, efficient, and the staff is a pleasure to watch. And most importantly, the food is simply superb. Parked at 5315 Windward Pkwy. in Alpharetta, you would never see it—it’s tucked away in a small strip center. In a word, it’s nondescript. Out front they have a little sign and I had not a clue as to what’s behind it, and no reason at all to find it. But I did.
The Local Wood Fired Grill has been around for over a year and is owned by local folks Diane and Danny Kim, a perfectly matched pair. These two have the harmony game down pat. And boy does it show. This place is calm, no matter what, because they have got it handled, a system that works. You walk in and line up and order off the menu that is beautifully handwritten on the wall. They feature very simple choices of grilled proteins and a host of vegetable options that change often, and in my opinion are the real stars of the show.
Now stop please and note that this is not you average “grill.” This is real, honest, grilled, and smoked meat on a wood-fired grill. Their day starts at 5 a.m., and that makes all the difference in the world. With cooks that have real skills and work with real food, which is cooked over real wood, means you get real flavor. They feature chicken, pulled pork, and grilled or smoked wings. These guys serve a completely grease-free meal that explodes with flavor. Who knew?
The sides, oh my god, the sides. Now here you’re going to call me a liar. Because I am going to call them the best ever! Everything, absolutely everything, is fresh. That’s the first thing… if it was fresh at the market, fresh when they cook it, and fresh when they serve you… well you get the point.
Beyond the freshness it’s the seasoning as well. A quick flip where they add just the right touch, the pow, the wow, and the mmmm oh boy! Is that the secret? I think it’s not a secret exactly. It’s more that they are willing to bring in and train up a staff properly. To do it their way, which is honest cooking featuring real ingredients.
I am utterly amazed when chefs get a shot at real food. What happens to corn on the cob when it’s been wood-grilled and perfectly seasoned? It’s like the world ended and it’s just me and that ear of goodness. I go after it with gnashing teeth, like a starving glutton. Their carrots, perfectly done carrots, at a fast food place? And that’s another thing, is this really fast food? I’m confused, it’s fast alright, real fast. But it’s just to darn good to be called fast food.
What will the choices be daily? Who knows, whatever is fresh so they change frequently but they feature at least a dozen choices. This place is a vegans best friend. And that corn on the cob, oh my, I hope it never runs out. Did I mention the corn on the cob?
At The Local Wood Fired Grill they also serve wraps and salads to go along with their meals that feature meats and proteins. This is the one place that could drop the proteins and go straight up veggies. It’s that good. But I hope they don’t because I do love the wings.
Another great feature is the unique beverage offerings. Take note of the soda machine because it’s an experiment and as far as I know, there are very few like it anywhere. They are bringing back the old time soda flavors. They have also added in some organic sweet tea and you get it. It’s a throwback, brought forward, and they are leapfrogging the grease merchants with freshness. Congrats to the Kims. They have really brought a new style of cooking. They translate their desires, their standards, into action every day, every meal, and every customer. You’ll feel it and taste it. There is something different in what they do, and how they do it. They push every day for excellence. And I am here to tell you, they achieve it. ❍