Welcome! The Metro Spirit’s reader’s poll-Metro’s Best 2019-wrapped up the end of August, and following are the winners in the bars/restaurant category.
Next week, the results of the second half of the survey will be revealed.
Congratulations to the winners of Metro’s Best 2019!
Abel Brown Southern Kitchen and Oyster Bar
- Best Overall Restaurant
- Best Oysters
This casual mid century modern themed southern oyster bar is owned and operated by a french chef, Todd Schafer. The staff’s attention to detail seems to have gotten our readers attention, voting Abel Brown Metro’s Best Restaurant Overall for the first time. Perhaps it was the three month long renovation at the beginning of the year that caught our reader’s attention, or just the great dishes the newly expanded kitchen is creating.
Customers rave about the cold water oysters Chef Schafer flies in weekly. Most come from the New England area, and the rotating menu is sure to please.
Open Tuesday through Saturday for Happy Hour and dinner, Abel Brown accepts reservations, but they are not required
Craft & Vine
- Best Bar
- Best Wine List
This Prohibition-era themed bar has made a real art out of crafting the perfect cocktail. The bartenders are highly knowledgeable and understand exactly how to turn classic cocktails into modern drinks with quality spirits and mixers that are freshly squeezed and homemade.
The argon gas wine dispensers allow Craft & Vine to offer amazing wines by the glass. In addition to the great drinks, Craft & Vine has a fantastic menu and attentive staff.
- Rooftop Bar
The rooftop bar game got a lot more competitive this year withe the addition of the Hyatt House on Broad Street. This unique modern hotel is built on top of a parking garage, which makes your journey to Metro’s Best Rooftop Bar all the more convenient.
From the top of the hotel, guests can see for miles in all directions, with the bar itself just inside a set of glass doors.
The Flying Biscuit
- Best Breakfast
Since 1993, Atlanta has been obsessed with the southern comfort food and all-day breakfast menu at the Flying Biscuit Cafe. Augustan’s in search of entertainment and shopping learned of the quaint neighborhood eatery on road trips to the big city, and after years of hopes and wishes, the CSRA finally got their very own franchise.
Breakfast is served all day every day, and everything that leaves the tight kitchen is made from scratch. There’s a large flattop grill and large stacked ovens, but no fryers.
The ovens are put to good use. Nothing is cooked above 300 degrees, as reason the biscuits are so airy. They take almost 30 minutes to bake, getting a butter wash and light dusting of sugar before finding your table.
Creating a memorable breakfast is as simple as a mastery of the basics. Its amazing what a few ingredients, in the right hands, can elevate even the most basics of food. A popular example is the Clifton Omelette, three eggs stuffed with goat cheese and mushrooms, topped with warm tomato coulis and basil, served with creamy dreamy grits.
The Flying Biscuit offers catering, so if you would like to really be a #hero give us a call. Anything on the menu can be delivered right to your office.
Frog & the Hen
- Best Brunch
The Frog & the Hen opened in Columbia County earlier this year, and has introduced the burbs to a contemporary take on the traditional southern ‘meat and three’ diner. F&H offers a full menu of homemade dishes from the mind of Sean Wight, owner of Frog Hollow, Farmhaus and Craft & Vine.
It’s no surprise readers have discovered brunch at the well appointed eatery, being that Wight hasn’t had the opportunity to play with the not breakfast, not lunch menu. Dishes like Green, Eggs, Ham-avocado toast, sliced prosciutto ham, sunny side up farm egg, radish and arugula and of course chicken and waffles.
Try a true southern staple, grits, are course ground Anson Mills Grits and are served with prosciutto ham, kale, gouda, a poached egg and chives.
Frog & Hen offers lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, as well as Metro’s Best Brunch every Saturday. Drive thru window for call ahead orders and a market stocked with take home meals as well as a curated selection of wines and craft beers.
- Best Dessert
“A big slice is a good thing” read the staff t-shirts at Metro’s Best home for desserts. The Boll Weevil has been open since before there was a Marriott, an Augusta Common, even before the amphitheater. And they have been winning for Best Dessert ever since.
The Boll Weevil is open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week, and in addition to decadent desserts, the cafe offers a delicious full menu and features a well stocked bar. Once an old cotton warehouse from the 1870’s, the Boll Weevil has been open almost forty years. Founder George Harrison opened the quaint cafe, one of the true pioneers of downtown Augusta’s restaurant scene of today. No matter what, you could count on the Boll Weevil to exceed your expectations every time.
Today the Boll Weevil is in the sure hands of his son-William, happily carrying on the family tradition.
Wild Wing Cafe Augusta/Grovetown
- Best Beer Selection
- Best Wings
Wing Wing Cafe on Washington Road served over a million chickens last year. Just in chicken wings! If you’re a chicken, that is a devastating number. Chances are you are not, so it is an astounding number of delicious wings cooked to order in a very particular way.
Both locations offer 33 made from scratch sauces to bling those wings, as well as over 30 local and craft beers to wash them down with. With football season gearing up, you now have two locations to choose from. Whichever Wing you visit, the Scholer family and staff will take great care of you!
- Best Coffee
Imagine if Chip and Joanna Gains opened an alternative to corporate coffee by way of a Whole Foods, and you have Rooted Coffeehouse. Mother and daughter owners, Ali and Heather, have created a farmhouse chic coffee cafe that is as pretty as the food is delicious. here
Rooted’s menu offers a broad selection of hot sandwiches on ciabatta or pretzel bun. None are ordinary. Ham and cheese (muenster) comes with slices of tart green apple, garlic spread, and fig & sweet-onion rosemary jam. Turkey and brie is augmented by peach chili pepper spread. Even PB&J becomes AB&J, made with almond butter and strawberry preserves. paragraph here
- Best Mediterranean Restaurant
Located in the Publix shopping center off Washington Road in Evans, Laziza is the little restaurant that has amassed a cult following. So much so, they expanded last year and will be opening a second location downtown on Broad Street.
Laziza prides itself on fresh, healthy and homemade. They offer choices like the chicken kabobs, grilled veggies and tabbouleh salad or indulgences like feta fries (fries topped with a creamy garlic chili sauce and feta cheese) or rich, velvety gelato.
The fan favorite Chicken Shawarma Platter comes with rice, homemade hummus or baba ganoush, homemade pita bread, and Greek salad. And if you’re feeling sassy order it spicy. Don’t forget the baklava!
- Best Barbecue
Stop by either location of Soutbbound Smokehouse for tender pulled pork topped with Southbound’s homemade sauces that are actually named after the songs of the bands the owners love. The Red Hot Mama (Widespread Panic) sauce and No Diablo (Umphrey’s McGee) red sauce with their pulled pork will rock your world.
Now that there is a Southbound 2, located on the Savannah River at SRP Park in North Augusta, SB BBQ is taking over the Augusta BBQ like they smoke their beef and pork, low and slow.
Whiskey Bar Kitchen
- Best Hamburger
Founded by Brothers Kenny and Bobby Morrison in 2012, Whiskey Bar Kitchen is deeply rooted in their rich family tradition of food and spirit. Craft burgers, along with authentic Japanese cuisine, anchor the menu.
The exposed brick, down lighting and cozy feel make it a great place to sample some of their over 200 whiskeys, or a craft beer of your choosing.
- Most Iconic Restaurant
Luigi’s, Augusta’s oldest family owned restaurants, certainly merits capturing Metro’s Most Iconic being that they are celebrating their 70th year of business in their downtown Broad Street location. The Greek/Italian restaurant is a time capsule.
Where else can you sit in a romantically lit, cozy booth, select a nice Frank Sinatra tune from the table top Seeburg Wall-O-Matic, eat your toasted ravioli while generations of Ballas family hang out at the “family table.” Luigi’s is pure nostalgia and the food is consistently delicious.
- Best Pizza
Pizza lovers have been worshiping at Mellow Mushroom for years because its specialty pies are literally mind-blowing. Pizzas like the Funky Q. Chicken featuring barbecue chicken, mozzarella, cheddar, caramelized onions and applewood smoked bacon and finished with a barbecue sauce swirl or the Holy Shiitake Pie with mushrooms, caramelized onions, a ton of cheese, garlic aioli and black truffle oil keep patrons coming back for more each and every year.
Needless to say, with each and every visit, Mellow Mushroom always provides a welcoming atmosphere with exciting and delicious pizzas. Stop by and try the new Thai-inspired menu. Whether you’re in the mood to try the Thai Dye Pizza, Bangkok Salad or Oven Roasted Thai Chili Wings, these flavors are sure to satisfy.
- Best place for a first date
As the owner of four popular restaurants — Frog Hollow Tavern, Farmhaus Burger,Craft & Vine and the new Frog and Hen — Chef Sean Wight has changed the way many Augustans view downtown dining. At Frog Hollow, the restaurant’s menu and service completely set the tone to impress your date. Frog Hollow offers fresh, regionally grown ingredients, meticulous service and exceptionally prepared dishes.
The menu at chef Sean Wight’s Broad Street restaurant changes seasonally but expect dishes like housemade sausages and bacon, local heirloom grains and peas, and regionally sourced steaks and chops.
- Metro’s Best Trivia
Baking on the brick since 1996, the Pizza Joint is a fun place to gather, eat a slice of freshly made pizza, wash it down with a cold beer, and get nerdy with your friends. Grab a team for Trivia Night in Aiken at 7PM or at the Evans Pizza Joint at 8PM on Wednesdays. Trivia at the Downtown restaurant meets Thursdays at 7PM.
This locally owned restaurant, which first began on Broad Street back in 1996, is known as a fun, relaxed place to enjoy a hot slice of pizza and a cold beer.
- Best Shake
Boozy Shakes. What’s not to love? From the “Peach Betty,” South Carolina peaches from Titan Farms, High Road Craft Ice Cream out of Marietta, Ga., and shortbread cookies with Fruitland Augusta Peach Vodka to the “Blackberry Crumble Shake” made with blackberries from Gurosik’s Berry Plantation in North Augusta, brown sugar honey crumble and High Road’s vanilla ice cream. The boozy version adds Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka.
“We get people coming in all the time to Farmhaus just to get one of those shakes for dessert after eating somewhere else,” Farmhaus owner Sean Wight said. “In fact, I’ve seen people leaving Frog Hollow and say, ‘We are going down to Farmhaus to get one of your boozy shakes!’ And I’m like, ‘Cool.’ We try to make everybody happy. I like happy people.”
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- Metro’s Best Full Service Caterer
One of Augusta’s most veteran caterers, Robert Williams has owned and operated Roux’s Catering downtown at the Marbury Center for over 20 years. Weddings are the specialty of the long time staff and crew of Roux’s, and they host a lot of them right there at the Marbury Center. Additionally, Williams owns the Foundry on Boy Scout Road, a chic modern-industrial special events venue for a more traditional space.
Not confined to only weddings, Roux’s recently hosted a film crew at the Marbury Center, where scenes from an upcoming movie were filmed over a number of days. Movies, office gatherings, special events and of course weddings, Roux’s has you covered!
- Best Vegetarian
It’s pretty much a given, if you are going to win best vegetarian, you’re going to have to beat Beesknees. Metro’s Best Vegetarian again this year, Beesknees has been in the winner column since they opened in downtown.
“This is one of the first and the longest-lasting veg-friendly restaurants in downtown Augusta. Cool staff. Some of my favorite vegan options include the sweet potato hummus and the sesame leaf rolls. Great beer and wine list too, even better beer list at its sister bar “Hive” next door.” The Happy Cow on-line review says it all.
- Best Dive Bar
Nacho Mamas opened on Broad Street in 1996 with a line wrapped around the building. They’ve had a line ever since.
Nacho Mama’s has been serving up its enormous burritos, delicious quesadillas and tasty tacos for two decades, and the bar has been slinging delicious margaritas ever since they could afford a liquor license.
- Best place to meet friends
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Metro Coffeehouse serves as both a trendy downtown spot for coffee, but also a great place to hang out, listen to some live music and have a few drinks at its full bar. A charming coffeehouse that isn’t simply a place to stop by for a great cup of coffee.
The owners of Metro also own Whiskey Bar Kitchen next door, so if you and your friends get hungry-Metro’s Best Hamburger is right next door!
El Ray Mexican Restaurant
- Best Mexican Restaurant
El Rey is the Mexican soul-food stop with their flagship restaurant located in the West Town Shopping Center. They also have two fast casual venues located off Lewiston Road in Grovetown and the newest off of Belair Road in Martinez. The menu includes recipes Abuela used to make in Mexico as well as the more common gringo favorites.
Select any exotic meats like Cachete (cow cheek) or their specialty is slow cooked, melt in your mouth pork like the pastor, and pair it with freshly homemade corn tortillas. Choose from 11 different salsas and picos from their salsa bar. The El Rey difference the food is authentic and fresh, the atmosphere is casual and welcoming, and the portion size to price point is great on the pocket book.
- Metro’s Best New Restaurant
Since opening in mid July, Noble Jones has made its mark on the culinary scene in Augusta. The restaurant, which took over the former Cotton Patch location, has a lot going for it. The food, the location, the parking, the courtyard, the river…the list goes on.
- Best Karaoke
The Loft opened twelve years ago on Broad Street, with an immediate whiff of authenticity and rowdiness. Over the years, it’s only gotten better.
If you’re someone who loves karaoke but prefers to do it in front of people you know instead of complete strangers, then head to the Loft Wednesday nights.
- Best Happy Hour
When people think about bars in Columbia County opening, Stillwater should be it’s shining example. It began as a bluegrass bar in 2003 and has morphed into a bar with a bluegrass problem.
It is where the movers and shakers meet and network during the week. Happy Hour is daily 4-6pm and offers $1 off drafts, $3 well drinks, and daily specials.
Enterprise Mill Events and Catering
- Metro’s Best Casual Caterer
Enterprise Mill Events Center not only offers some of the best catering in town, but it also provides a beautifully historic location to make any wedding day, anniversary party or special gathering an event that your friends and family will never forget.
When throwing a party, or maybe a quick get together at the office, call Enterprise Mill Catering and Events for stellar customer service and fantastic food!