A little geography lesson on our hometown: Atlanta is delineated by major highways. I-85 runs north-south toward South Carolina; I-75 also runs north-south, but veers west, toward Tennessee; I-20 runs directly east-west toward Alabama; and I-285 loops a circle around the city, creating what’s known as “The Perimeter” (if you’re inside I-285, you’re “Inside the Perimeter” or “ITP,” which many equate with truly being in Atlanta). Atlanta also has a major state highway called GA-400, which runs from the heart of Atlanta to the northern suburbs near Lake Lanier.
We spend most of our time eating at places off I-85 and I-285, but we’ve been dying to explore the good eats further north, up GA-400. So, one sunny summer morning, we packed our bags and headed out to do a mini tour of one of Atlanta’s larger northern suburbs, Alpharetta. Read more to get a peek into the new places we visited and yummy things we ate, and check out our Instagram (@toddlerfoodiesatl) and Facebook (Toddler Foodies – Atlanta) for additional photos!
770 McFarland Parkway, Alpharetta, GA 30004
🙂 = Kids menu, high chairs and boosters, large private parking lot. Really yummy breakfast food, friendly staff, and attentive service.
🙁 = When they get busy, there may not be enough high chairs available. You might want to come prepared with your own baby seat, just in case that happens.
Our morning started with breakfast at a great little spot, the very Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives worthy (Guy Fieri, please take note!), BB’s Bagels. This was a special meal for us because we got to meet our new friend, Devon Hirsch, a 12-year-old dude who’s spending his free time raising money for the non-profit organization No Kid Hungry. Devon learned about less fortunate kids in his school who weren’t getting nutritious meals during the summer, when they no longer had access to free or reduced lunch. Saddened by this harsh reality, he started his own organization called Giving Grub. (Side note: if you click on the Giving Grub ad in our website header, you’ll be directed straight to his fundraising page.)
BB’s Bagels is an awesome spot for two reasons: one, they let Devon sit in front of their restaurant periodically to promote his fundraising effort and two, their food is out-of-this-world! BB’s Bagels serves huge, authentic, New York-style bagels and diner fare. We were told they basically took the diner they started in the Bronx years ago and transplanted it in Alpharetta 8 years ago, building, interior design, recipes, and all. The only change they made was the addition of grits to the menu (because this is the South and breakfast aint’ breakfast without grits). When our waitress found out we were first-timers at BB’s, she immediately brought us a paper bag filled with a dozen assorted bagels. We thought that was the best part of the morning – until we got our food. We ordered the fresh nova salmon platter (a large bagel of your choice topped with lox, BB’s house-made artisan cream cheese, fresh tomatoes, onions, and a side of capers) and the corned beef hash and eggs with grits. We really enjoyed everything we ate and will be back the next time we’re on this side of GA-400!
21 Milton Avenue, Alpharetta, GA 30009
Notes: The Alpharetta Farmers Market runs on Saturdays from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM. You might want to bring a stroller because the market is pretty big.
After eating that hearty breakfast, we needed to work up a sweat, so we stopped at the Alpharetta Farmers Market. The market takes place on Saturdays along one of Downtown Alpharetta’s main streets and features some of the best growers, makers, and restaurant owners in the area. We had a blast checking out the different handmade goods available for sale, and, of course, all the good EATS! First we tried some delicious Sweet Hawaiian Glaze made by Ms. Lillian, who got her secret recipe from her native Hawaiian in-laws.
Then we checked out some fresh fruits and veggies, pastries, homemade Napoletana sauce, anti-oxidant drinking water, and other goodies. We loved taking in all the sights, oohing and aahing over cute doggies, saying hi to dozens of adorable babies and fellow toddlers who strolled by with their parents, and inhaling the tantalizing smells of freshly cooked food like handmade sausages, German snacks, and BBQ. We even ran into our good friends from Crave Pie Studio and got to take a pic with their awesome piemobile. You can see more pictures of our Alpharetta Farmers Market adventure on our Facebook page!
42 Milton Avenue, Alpharetta, GA 30009
Notes: 2B Whole makes delightful desserts. We’re giving it a 3-Gummy Bear rating solely because it’s not quite a place where you would tarry with your littles. There’s outdoor seating, but it’s right on the main street, so you may not feel comfortable sitting there if your little ones tend to run off. If you want to try 2B Whole’s delicious gluten-free treats, we recommend planning to enjoy them at home or as you stroll the Alpharetta Farmers Market or Downtown Alpharetta.
After strolling the farmers market for a bit, we stopped by 2B Whole to try some of their acclaimed gluten-free baked goods. We’re not gluten intolerant, but we have little friends who are and wanted to take a peek at what Alpharetta has for them. The first thing we noticed was the display of delicious cakes in the storefront window. Wowsers, what a gorgeous sight! We just had to get inside to try some of the goods, and we’re glad we did. Mommy let us taste a gluten-free brownie. It was so yummy, we couldn’t tell it was made with rice and tapioca flour instead of regular flour. The best part about 2B Whole is that the kitchen is in plain view behind the glass pastry displays, so you can watch the owner hard at work baking her tasty treats. We would definitely recommend this place to all our friends with gluten sensitivity or celiac!
2200 Avalon Boulevard, Atlanta, GA 30009
Notes: Avalon is a huge shopping, dining, and residential complex filled with all kinds of things for families to enjoy. We’ve covered a couple spots here, but highly recommend you check out their website or follow them on Instagram (@avaloninsider) to learn more.
Strolling around the farmers market gave us hunger pangs, so we decided it was time to grab lunch. We decided to check out Alpharetta’s newest hot spot, Avalon. This huge multi-use complex has all kinds of fun distractions for families, including top-rated restaurants, dessert places, a candy store, a movie theater, green space, shopping for all ages, and fun events. There’s no way to cover all of Avalon in one day, but we did the best we could, starting with burgers at Bocado Burger Bar (3 Gummy Bear Rating).
Bocado is a good Avalon eating option for families because it’s casual, the noise level is high, the parking situation is easy-breezy (large private lot) and it has a kids menu and high chairs. But it does not have changing tables in the bathrooms, and you have to stand in line to order your food, which would be difficult for a parent dining alone with little ones. When we visited, the restaurant also had a slight problem with flies, which made the experience a little bit unpleasant for us because we kept having to swat them off of our food. The food was good, though. Daddy and Mommy ordered the famous Bocado Burger Stack (the double-patty burger for which Bocado is known) and the Dixie Stack (a burger with pimento cheese and a fried green tomato) for us to share, along with herbed fries and sweet potato fries. Because we adore Brussels spouts, we also got a side of the Bocado’s incredible Brussels, seasoned with a touch of soy sauce and sesame oil. So delicious.
Bocado offers dessert, but we opted to try something special in Avalon: Ferrara gelato at Caffé Gio (4 Gummy Bear rating). Caffé Gio is owned by the same restaurateur who owns Atlanta’ famous Antico Pizza, which now has a location in Avalon adjoining Caffé Gio. He brought Ferrara gelato all the way from New York City down to Alpharetta, which is special because Alpharetta is now the only other place in the world where you can find it. After a little back-and-forth with Mommy, we decided to try the blackberry sorbet and strawberry gelato. Both were really tasty, but we liked the blackberry sorbet best. We also loved Mommy’s pistachio gelato – it was creamy and you could tell it was made of the freshest, highest quality ingredients. We would definitely recommend bringing your little ones here for a taste of Italy right in the Northern Atlanta ‘burbs.
After that, we had to walk around and work off some calories. We checked out the huge fountain in the middle of Avalon that lights up and sprays water what seems like 50 feet into the air. Then we took off our shoes and ran around the “greenspace” in the middle of the main plaza (just a note – no balls are allowed on the greenspace). And then Mommy dragged us to a few stores so she could window-shop.
Overall, Avalon is a great place to bring your kids (and dogs!) if you’re in the Alpharetta area or just looking to explore other parts of Metro Atlanta. There’s also a Whole Foods here so you can grab some groceries on your way out. Avalon is pretty much a one-stop-shop for family-friendly fun, which is why we give it 5 Gummy Bears!
Well, that’s all for now, folks! Unless something special comes up, we’re going to go back to our regular restaurant reviews for the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, if you or someone you know is interested in helping us explore the Sandy Springs, Roswell, Alpharetta, Marietta, Kennesaw, and/or Cumming areas as a guest blogger, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!