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Food & Drink

Old Classic Has New Twist

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Photos by George Hunter.

Beard Papa’s cream puffs gives the traditional pastry new life with international flavors. Photos by George Hunter.

If you polled most Americans, they’d probably admit that they’ve never had a cream puff the way it was intended to be eaten — freshly made with quality ingredients. The dessert shop Beard Papas is ready to save the day.

Originally founded in Osaka, Japan in 1999, Beard Papa’s started as a small bakery and quickly grew to more than 400 locations in 15 countries and territories, according to a press release. It soon gained global recognition for its light and airy cream puffs.

The Peachtree Corners franchise, located at the Town Center, provides the perfect bite when you crave a little something sweet that won’t set your teeth on edge.

Co-owner Esteban Tan let his love of the desserts and his desire to spread his entrepreneurial wings send him looking for a way to become a part of the Beard Papa’s international family.

International background for global brand

The road to owning his own dessert spot winds a little for Tan. He’s originally from Taiwan, but his parents moved to Argentina when he was small. He met his now-wife at a sort of Chinese language school. Even after both families left for the U.S., the two stayed in touch.

“Her family moved from Argentina to Los Angeles and my family came here to Atlanta. So, because of that we were dating long distance. I would travel to LA …to see her while we were in high school and college,” he said.

Besides courting his future bride, Tan took in the cool franchises that didn’t exist back east — bubble tea places and one of his favorites, Beard Papa’s.

“There were all these different stores that we’d never seen around here. And they all tasted awesome,” said Tan.

It was a friend’s desire to get the Beard Papa’s treats back home in metro Atlanta that prompted Tan to look into starting his own small business. He was on a trip to LA with his new wife and some friends when one woman reminisced about the amazing cream puffs she’d had in China as a child. She said Beard Papa’s were just as good as the pastries of her childhood.

“I’m an accountant. I’ve been doing accounting ever since I started working,” said Tan. “But I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I always wanted to be able to be my own boss and run a business.”

When he discovered that the commitments of money, time and experience weren’t more than he could handle, his dream became a reality.

“I’m like, ‘why can’t we have a Beard Papa’s store here?’ It’s something different. …It’s not another donut shop or another cupcake store,” said Tan.

If you make cream puffs, will they come?

He contacted Beard Papa’s home office with the help and backing of two good friends from church. Since Atlanta is a hot market and Peachtree Corners has an attractive demographic, the franchise came on board in 2019.

Despite the fact that Beard Papa’s sells a low price-point item that not everyone has heard of, business is going great. So great, in fact, that Tan and his partners are opening another location in Duluth at the end of this year, or early next year.

“It’s near the Costco on Steve Reynolds and Satellite Boulevard,” said Tan. “With so much foot traffic at Costco, we’ve got to be able to lure in customers for our cream puffs.”

The international nature of the corridor has made both store locations perfect, Tan said. The cream puff, or choux pastry, is a French invention, but it has gained a lot of popularity in the last few decades among Asian markets.

Beard Papa’s adds non-traditional flavors, such as matcha, that one probably wouldn’t find in a typical French patisserie.

What has helped his business is the support he has received from the City of Peachtree Corners, Town Center Mall and other local entities that make this area a business-friendly place. “The new playground, the activities and other factors make this the perfect place to run a business,” said Tan.

Even though he’s opening another spot soon, Tan said he will let those grow before he looks into other endeavors.

Arlinda Smith Broady is part of the Boomerang Generation of Blacks that moved back to the South after their ancestors moved North. With approximately three decades of journalism experience (she doesn't look it), she's worked in tiny, minority-based newsrooms to major metropolitans. At every endeavor she brings professionalism, passion, pluck, and the desire to spread the news to the people.

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Food & Drink

New dining experience opens at Hilton Hotel

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Dahlia’s Restaurant & Porch // Photo by Bruce Johnson

Dahlia’s Restaurant & Porch offers southern-style fare and easy entertainment

Just in time for the summer season, Hilton Atlanta Northeast has launched a new dining option, Dahlia’s Restaurant & Porch.

The casual dining experience brings understated luxury to an easy, breezy setting with comfortable patio furniture on a spacious outdoor deck, a full bar with top-shelf spirits and an impressive wine collection. The cuisine is Southern style and utilizes regionally sourced, farm-fresh ingredients.

“You really can’t ask for an easier setting or a more comfortable way to unwind,” said Andrew Stegen, executive vice president of operations for FullG Capital, the hotel operator. “In the old days, hotels had restaurants for the travelers, and the locals came occasionally. Now, it’s the other way around. You have to appeal to the people who live here.”

At a press preview on May 15, Dahlia’s Restaurant & Porch was unveiled for the first time.

Dahlia’s plans to offer weekend buffets, sports viewing on the patio and family-friendly cookouts.

Photo by Bruce Johnson

“Dahlia’s is a great addition for our hotel guests but also for the local community! We are most excited about our new porch, which is the perfect place for happy hour spritz, outdoor dining and future programming,” said Mike Roling, general manager of Hilton Atlanta Northeast. 

The food is led by executive chef Robert Chafflin, who said he likes to bring an approachable yet flavorful take on southern culinary staples. For the preview, guests were wowed with shrimp and grits, braised beef short ribs, mushroom risotto, shrimp po’boys, cheesecake with caramelized peaches and a whole lot more. 

The beverages were just as tantalizing – from the signature Black Dahlia to the unexpected Southern Dandie to an array of seasonal spritzes. 

“We are excited to bring a newly renovated restaurant space, brand new porch, and refreshed menu to our property,” said Roling. “We welcome the public, both locals and hotel guests alike, to come join us for a dining experience elevated by our southern hospitality.”

Dahlia’s Restaurant & Porch also has a private dining area and a lounge area—perfect for relaxing after a busy day, grabbing a sumptuous meal with the family or meeting friends for lunch or dinner and drinks. Dahlia’s also provides catering for hotel events. For more information, visit dahliasrestaurant.com.

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U&ME Coffee Bakery & Wine Celebrates Grand Opening In Peachtree Corners

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Mayor Mike Mason and members of the Peachtree Corners Business Association (PCBA), business professionals, and community well-wishers recently celebrated the opening of U&ME Coffee Bakery Wine, a new establishment in Peachtree Corners.

The event was marked with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by friends, family members of the owners, Paula Gil and Pablo Vicens, who are married, and their dedicated staff.

Left to right:  Paula Gil & Pablo Gil, Owners

U&ME Coffee Bakery Wine, a local family-owned business, focuses on creating a welcoming space where families can gather, students can study, and friends can hang out.

This establishment offers free high-speed Wi-Fi, weekly specials and a cozy environment for all.

Paula Gil emphasized the importance of offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner options that cater to various tastes and needs.

Family and Friends, Staff, Pablo Gil, Paula Gil, Mayor Mike Mason, Lisa Proctor PCBA Board, Suzanna Martinez PCBA Board, Donna Linden PCBA Board, and Audrey Boyce PCBA Outreach.

The goal is to deliver the highest quality specialty items at fair prices.

“We are excited to bring our blend of coffee shop, wine bar, bakery, and diner spot to Peachtree Corners,” stated Paula.

U&ME Coffee prides itself on using 100% Colombian Medellin Coffee and ensuring all baking is done on-premises to guarantee freshness and quality.

Further distinguishing themselves, Paula and Pablo have incorporated homemade empanadas, pizzas, and pastries into their menu, all made from scratch to offer a unique taste experience.

In addition to their dine-in services, U&ME Coffee caters to those on the go with their to-go orders and provides catering services for special events.

Mayor Mason, alongside PCBA Board Members Lisa Proctor, Donna Linden, Allison Reinert, Suzanna Martinez, and numerous local business supporters, expressed their delight in welcoming U&ME Coffee Bakery Wine to the city.

“The city council and I are delighted you chose Peachtree Corners for your business location. We are pleased to have this new specialty restaurant available as part of our business-friendly city,” Mayor Mason remarked.

Contact:  U&ME Coffee Bakery & Wine
Telephone: 470-359-6972
Facebook:  Facebook U&ME Coffee Bakery Wine
Located at 3433 Medlock Bridge Road, Peachtree Corners

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Cheeseburger Bobby’s in Peachtree Corners is Under New Management

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After being closed for a few months, locals are happy to see that Cheeseburger Bobby’s in Peachtree Corners has reopened under new management.
From left, owner Sandra Lowe and her daughter Isabelle // Photos by George Hunter

New owners of Cheeseburger Bobby’s bring neighborliness along with fresh, well-prepared fare.

After being shuttered for several months, locals seem happy to see that Cheeseburger Bobby’s in Peachtree Corners has reopened under new management.

Keith and Sandra Lowe took over the franchise a few months ago and are working hard to win back customers. They are committed to quality food, consistency, cleanliness and good service.

“My background is in retail operations,” said Keith Lowe. “We had restaurants within the retail cafés that we ran.”

Although his wife is more involved in the day-to-day running of the restaurant, she admittedly doesn’t have experience running a fast-casual eatery.

“It’s something that we’ve always wanted to do. We’ve always wanted to open a business for ourselves. So, this opportunity came back in April. And then we bought it and went through the whole remodel,” Sandra Lowe said.

Bringing a Peachtree Corners staple back to life

The Cheeseburger Bobby’s franchise fits well for the Lowes because of the structure and support from the corporate office.

According to its introduction to franchisees, the business aims to work easily and efficiently for restaurant industry veterans or those just entering the profession.

One thing that stood out for the couple was the fresh, made-from-scratch food and a menu that’s not too complicated.

The fact that there are vegetarian and healthy options like salads, black bean burgers, and turkey burgers was also a plus. Additionally, customers have the option of several toppings for their sandwiches as well as seasoning for fries and an extensive fixings bar.

They knew little about the previous owners or what caused them to give up the franchise, but they vowed to become a fixture in the community and build loyalty with the basics.

An inviting place for the entire community
“Cleanliness is tops for us,” said Sandra Lowe. “That’s number one. … We have a great environment, great customer service and consistent food. We talked about how those three things will win back customers.”

On a recent weekday lunch rush, a mix of office workers, holiday shoppers and construction workers came through.

As Sandra Lowe passed out samples of the signature frozen custard, the chilly late fall weather had no effect on orders for milkshakes and other confections.

The custard recipe is reminiscent of the old-fashioned, hand-churned type many grandmas used to make. Some say it has a richer, creamier texture and a smoother consistency than typical ice cream.

A recipe for success

As a homemaker and the queen of her castle, Sandra Lowe didn’t hesitate at the chance to get back into the work world. Her 15-year-old twins are old enough to be more self-sufficient, so she and her husband decided it was time to try something new.

“It works out perfectly,” she said. “I come to work in the mornings, stay until 3 p.m., and then I’m back with my kids in the evening.”

“Because my background was operations in food, sanitation and all those things, this was an easy decision,” said Keith Lowe.

Additionally, they surrounded themselves with knowledgeable, professional staff.

“We hit a home run with Kenneth, our general manager,” he said. “He has over a decade of experience running restaurants. And Archie, our shift manager, has been at this restaurant for the entire 12 years that has been open.”

A mix of experience with new energy

“We think we have a very welcoming environment,” said Sandra Lowe. “Great customer service, consistent, fresh food served with a smile and a clean environment are our focus.”

Another significant factor is the focus on community.

Although the restaurant hasn’t been open for long, the Lowes have joined the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber and have reached out to Norcross High and Wesleyan schools for partnerships.

“Being engaged with the committee is important to us,” they said almost in unison.

Making Cheeseburger Bobby’s a true family business is also essential.

“The [kids] come to work here every weekend,” said Sandra Lowe.

“We’ve seen that the kids are more social. It gets them away from the phone. It gets him interacting,” said Keith Lowe.

“We’ve talked to them about the importance of eye contact and helping the customer have a great experience. We’ve even seen them really grow in such a short time.”

Cheeseburger Bobby’s
Located in the Peachtree Square Shopping Center
6050 Peachtree Pkwy #140
cheeseburgerbobbys.com
770-696-1337

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