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Food & Drink

Top 10 Brunch Places in Gwinnett County

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Black Wallnut
Black Walnut's Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

This month in Peachtree Corners, Explore Gwinnett‘s Top 10 Brunch Places in Gwinnett County with co-hosts Victoria Hawkins and Rico Figliolini.

Black Walnut’s Angry Shrimp Omelet
  1. Parkside District, Lawrenceville, GA – https://www.parksidedistrict.com/
  2. Maple Street Biscuit Co., Duluth, GA – https://maplestreetbiscuits.com/
  3. Black Walnut Café, Peachtree Corners, GA – https://www.blackwalnutcafe.com/locations/atlanta-locations/peachtree-corners/
  4. Brunch Apothecary, Dacula, GA – http://thebrunchapothecary.com/
  5. Graft, Grayson, Ga – http://www.graftrestaurant.net/
  6. Three Blind Mice,  Lilburn, GA – http://www.tbmrestaurant.com/
  7. 45 South Café, Norcross, GA – http://www.45southcafe.com/
  8. Sugar Hill Bakery and Café, Sugar Hill, GA- https://www.sugarhilltowne.com/
  9. Famous Toastery, Suwanee, GA- https://famoustoastery.com/menus/
  10. Local Republic, Lawrenceville, GA – https://www.localrepublic.com/

For more information about things to do in Gwinnett County visit https://www.exploregwinnett.org/  

For more about Peachtree Corners or the Explore Gwinnett’s Top Ten List visit https://livinginpeachtreecorners.com

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Food & Drink

Bringing the Urban to the Suburbs

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Evan Hanson
Evan Hanson (photos by Isadora Pennington)

Evans Urban Market a Welcome Addition to Peachtree Corners

Clean, bright, friendly, enticing. All of these are words that describe the vibe at Evans Urban Market. Located in a storefront which once housed Ten Bistro in the Wellington Center Shopping Strip at 5005 Peachtree Parkway, Evans Urban Market is a refreshing homage to the types of markets and eateries you’re more likely to find on the streets of New York City than in a Georgia suburb.

The space has been significantly transformed since it was purchased and renovated by owner Evan Hanson. This fun and casual eatery officially opened its doors for business in March of 2022. Prior to that time, when it was in operation as Ten Bistro and owned by Hanson’s former husband, it was your typical dark and intimate bar setting.

Today, there is a central L-shaped counter with a register and display cases, all bright and clean and white. The walls and displays are similarly clean and pretty. The ceiling features strands of twinkle lights hanging in a zigzag pattern the length of the restaurant. “I feel like it’s a starry night in here,” she said.

Behind a glass partition are the day’s freshly prepared dishes. Offerings typically include salads, sandwiches and soups, plus specialty meals, such as meatloaf, biscuits, biscuit sandwiches, beef stroganoff, Asian beef with rice and even Moroccan and Belizean cuisine.

Nearby is also a dessert case full of decadent treats like donuts, cakes and cookies. Artists’ works are set up on free-standing shelves, while a selection of dry goods and prepared meals to take home and heat up can be found around the outskirts of the shop. A few small tables are located by the front window and a patio outside offers additional seating.

Evan Hanson, center, flanked by Karin Susskind on the left and Tina Knoedler.

The road to the market

Hanson, the visionary behind this concept, has always loved cooking and baking. She recalled experimenting with brownies, emblazoned with her initials, as far back as eight or nine years old. At the time, Hanson wanted to become a baker. Her mother worried that this would not be a profitable and stable career, so for many years baking was relegated to a passionate hobby in her life.

Several careers and many paths later, today Hanson owns her own restaurant where she is able to use her creativity to craft a vibrant menu of dishes plus custom desserts. “This is a career that has stuck with me,” explained Hanson, who says that owning and operating Evans Urban Market is truly her living out her dream.

Her career includes a variety of positions including sales, teaching, working at Ten Bistro and when she opened Pub Ten,  she made desserts for both restaurants. It was during her time with Pub Ten that she developed many of her staple desserts, including the renowned dish called ‘Sweet Heaven from Evan,’ often shortened to Sweet Heaven. This dish, the market’s most popular, features delectable bites of cake topped with mascarpone cream, a chocolate ganache and her mother’s recipe for chocolate pecan brittle.

Following the separation from her second husband, she became determined to find a way to channel her love for baking into a career. So, when she saw the space that was formerly Ten Bistro for sale, she decided to make her move.

“I wanted to do something with cooking and baking. I loved cooking so much but didn’t know if I could sustain doing just baking. I love cooking and wanted to support local artists. So that’s why I ended up doing the gifts too,” explained Hanson.

A family feel and home cooking

She hopes that this shop will function as a sort of one-stop-shop for locals. Whether you just need a quick bite, a prepared meal to reheat at home, desserts, corporate catering or even a gift for someone special, she hopes it fills a void for those who call the neighborhood home. “I used to say that it’s comfort food elevated, but then someone else said it was ‘home cooking that I don’t have to cook.’ I was like ‘oh, I like that.’”

It’s not just the food that is comforting, it is the very atmosphere of this cozy urban market. Clocking in at only 2,000 square feet, Hanson has to be thoughtful when deciding how many local artists she can invite to sell in her shop and who she employs to work behind the counter and in the kitchen.

Her careful selection of crew and employees is certainly a part of why the vibe at Evans Urban Market is so delightful. It’s not uncommon to see a team of only women behind the counter. In fact, the majority of her crew are women, and like Hanson, most are also mothers.

This is part of what Hanson has curated here, a group that feels like a family. They look out for one another and step in when someone needs to attend to a child outside of work. As a result, her 15 staff members are all part time. This allows them to balance their family lives with work and encourages a healthy and, according to Hanson, drama-free work environment. “This is a neighborhood space. We treat the neighbors like we are friends. That’s how people want to be treated. Here you’re not a number.”

Hanson gushed about her staff. “We all get it. We all chip in to help each other. That’s one of the things with this group; they work so hard. This is my dream team. Everybody has a special skill that helps us to succeed. I tell them: this isn’t just my place, this is for all of us.” ■

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Food & Drink

GOHAN Market Brings Authentic Japanese Goods to Peachtree Corners

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GOHAN Market

There’s a new specialty market in town. Trading exclusively in Japanese goods and prepared foods, GOHAN Market is the first of its kind in Peachtree Corners. Whether you’re an accomplished home chef looking for authentic ingredients, someone who calls Japan home and misses the cuisine, or simply curious about Japanese dishes and culture, GOHAN Market has an incredible selection of grocery items.

The shop officially opened on December 22 of 2021, and the reception has been overwhelmingly positive. While there are other similar Asian markets and shops, GOHAN is the only market specializing in Japanese items in Peachtree Corners. “Many people visit the store and inform us how they’ve been waiting for a market like this,” explained owner Takahiko Sugita.

Photos by Isadora Pennington

What really sets GOHAN apart is their commitment to selling Japanese foods and goods. As opposed to many Asian markets that might feature some Japanese items alongside Korean, Chinese and Thai options, GOHAN has chosen to stock only authentic Japanese goods for sale. “We wanted the customers to enjoy a Japanese market in Peachtree Corners,” said Sugita. “There are many Asian grocery stores in Georgia, but I noticed that there’s only a few stores that are dedicated to selling only Japanese items.”

This 3,200 square foot storefront occupied by GOHAN Market in Spalding Woods Village has been transformed into a market akin to those you might find in Japan. Featuring row upon row stacked floor to ceiling with dry goods, snack foods and quality ingredients, the space is flanked by coolers and fridges that are similarly full of delectable, prepared foods, desserts and drinks.

At the back of the store is Ozaku Cafe, a counter-service eatery where customers can enjoy rich and creamy authentic Japanese Tonkotsu ramen. “Our most popular products are the Onigiri rice balls that we make in our kitchen. Many customers compliment on how it reminds them of the convenience stores in Japan and how hard it is to find something like this here in Georgia.”

A welcoming store in a welcoming city

With 9.3% of the Peachtree Corners population falling under the category of Asian per the 2020 census, and Forsyth County, which sits just north of Peachtree Corners, labeled the “fastest growing Asian population in the U.S.” by WABE in 2019, the area is ripe for development of businesses that serve those communities. Additionally, the opening of the state-chartered Japanese-English dual-language International Charter Academy of Georgia in the area in June 2018 has cemented Peachtree Corners as a diverse community that is welcoming to people of all walks of life.

As I meandered through the market on the day I visited, I saw plenty of items that I did recognize, but there were far more I did not. With labels that are often exclusively written in Japanese, I found myself taking my time as I looked closely at pictures, reading the ingredients lists and trying to infer using context clues what exactly I was looking at.

If you, like me, have never been to Japan and don’t read or speak Japanese, never fear. The staff of GOHAN Market were incredibly friendly and helpful from the moment I walked through the door. Greeting me cheerily, they offered me help and actually fetched me a basket when they saw my arms overloaded with goodies as I shopped.

Shoppers here can select from dozens of ramens, curries, soy sauces, marinades, snacks, sweets and much, much more. In one aisle, I recognized a snack food called Popin’ Cookin’, a gummy treat that you mix yourself and mold into different shapes like burgers, donuts and Kawaii characters. Knowing my niece loves these types of treats, I got one for her as well as some Hello Kitty green tea marshmallows and Pocky chocolates.

For myself, I picked up a bag of Jagarico Sukiyaki. I had never tried this before, but I was immensely pleased with the flavor. I am not ashamed to admit that I ate every last bite before I even got home from the store. It was that good.

A taste of Japan in Peachtree Corners

When asked what Sugita hopes that customers feel when they step into GOHAN Market, he said he hopes it feels relaxing and familiar for lovers of Japanese culture and foods. “I think many people who’ve been to Japan will say that they feel like they’re back in Japan. Whether it’s just the atmosphere or how the store is set up, it would be great if they are able to think they are back in Japan,” he said.

Sugita has worked in a number of Japanese markets in various states in America, and when it was time to strike out and open a store of his own, Peachtree Corners was the perfect place to settle down and open up shop. “Even though Atlanta is a big city, I was surprised to hear that they don’t have a Japanese Market.”

Reminiscent of convenience stores that you might encounter on the streets of Japan, GOHAN Market is a unique store that fills a need in Peachtree Corners. Located in a popular shopping center on Holcomb Bridge Road, it is a welcome addition to the community.        

Whether you’re a ramen aficionado, a lover of all things anime, fond of authentic sushi, wanting to try a Bento box prepared meal or seeking hard-to-find staples like Kewpie Mayonnaise and fermented soybeans, you’ll find that and much more at this unique and popular local shop.

Address: 4015 Holcomb Bridge Rd #620, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092
Phone: (770) 674-1263

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Business

Kettlerock Brewing Announces First Anniversary Event

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Kettlerock Brewing is hosting its first-anniversary celebration from May 13 to 15, 2022, and is inviting the community to join them for this festive occasion.

Kettlerock Brewing is located in Peachtree Corners at 6025 Peachtree Parkway, Suite 1. On May 14, 2021, they opened their doors for business with a mission to provide excellent craft beer in a comfortable, attractive setting and to engage our community.  

For the one-year celebration, they have giveaways and live music on Friday. On Saturday, there will be a full day of events and activities, including an arts and crafts area, food vendors and live music in the evening. The goal, according to the Kettlerock team, is to provide a community-oriented event to celebrate Peachtree Corners and Kettlerock’s first year as a small, family-owned business in the Peachtree Corners community. 

On Saturday, May 14, they are releasing their anniversary beer. The release of Bear on the Roof celebrates the first year of accomplishments for Kettlerock Brewing. The delightful bourbon barrel-aged beer is based on their popular Bear Tracks wee heavy Scottish ale, to combine the soft and silky bourbon notes with the natural honey and caramel flavors of the malt-forward wee heavy.

Kettlerock Brewing focuses on creating a “balanced and interesting beer that is both delicious and approachable.” They have a strong core set of beers in a range of styles such as IPA, Belgian, Blonde Ale, Stout, Wee Heavy and a rotating selection of intriguing seasonal beverages. The brewery strives to be a focal point of the community, both informally and as a location for events.  

Find additional information at KettlerockBrewing.com or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

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