The website, “Only in Your State,” recently released a list of the top 10 restaurants in Georgia. And you don’t have to leave Covington to dine at one of them. The third name that pops up on the list is The Mystic Grill, found on Covington’s historical square. The list is based on such review sites as Yelp, Open Table, Trip Advisor, and the like.
This latest recognition is by no means the only recognition that the Grill has received in its little over two years of history. The Atlanta Food Critic named it one of the most romantic restaurants in Atlanta for Valentine’s Day. Travel and Leisure labeled it as a destination for good food and dining. Georgia Tourism, in rating the “100 plates that locals love” in our state, listed the Sweet Potato Shrimp Fritters from the Grill. They are wonderful! If you have not, you need to try them.
You will find many other special delights on the menu.
The amazing part may be, you don’t have to travel far to eat at this award winning restaurant. It is located on Clark Street right across the “alley” from the Historical Courthouse. You will find many of your neighbors at the Grill enjoying themselves.
The owners of the Grill, Ronnie and Kelley Johnston and John and Angie Beszborn had a dream of bringing fine, but causal dinning to Covington. The building first appeared in the TV show, Vampire Dairies, as the exterior façade for a bar called “The Mystic Grill” set in the mythical town of Mystic Falls, Virginia. The TV set was used as inspiration to build the interior of the new restaurant.
The actual building has been a grocery store, a salon, a bank, and, eventually, the home of a local CPA and law firm. Over its history, there have been several fires that brought change to the building. The last was in 2012. The exterior was saved and in rebuilding, some of the older architectural features were reclaimed both within and without. For a party of 12 or so there is the “Tin Room.” On the second floor for larger parties is the “Door Room.” This room is lined with old re-claimed wooden doors. It is quite unique.
During this latest reconstruction, a deck was added to the very top of the Grill. Overlooking the square, it is a great place to join friends for a meal or drinks. From spring through fall, live music is featured several nights a week.
Rich Harrison, the General Manager of the Grill, described the restaurant, “as a one of a kind, with ‘Hollywood’ ties to a successful TV show.” He went on to say, “The very unique place is set in a beautiful setting that cannot be found anywhere else.”
The Grill is unique to Covington and not a part of a chain. As your travel, you will not find another like it. Rich described the menu as “upscale Southern.”
At the heart of any restaurant is the chef. For the past two years at the Grill, that has been Justin Hall. When asked the key to the Mystic’s success he said, “It is the level of care and thought that goes into the food preparation. Our goal is not just to feed people but to give them something they can enjoy.”
When asked what he liked about the Covington market, Hall said he found the people open to new items on the menu. He added that, of course, the Grill also wants to make sure that those coming into dine will always find both the familiar and the new to choose from.
A new addition to the offerings at the Grill is called “Wine 101: Adventures in Wine.” Harrison is a certified sommelier. He was trained in Europe as well as here in our nation, and he will be leading these sessions on Saturday,s April 16, 30 and May 14, at 3 p.m. The classes are for all who have a thirst for learning about and tasting fine wine. The goal is help you discover you wine palate and how to communicate that in a few simple words. Call the Grill at 770-728-1670 for a place in a class. The cost is $25 per session and includes wine tastings and pairings.
The menu uses local vendors for key ingredients. These sources include Doux South Pickles, Burge Organic Farm, Mitchum Farm, Newton County Academy, C.J. Orchards, Mercier Orchards – North Georgia, and the Bread and Butter Bakery. This is another key to the uniqueness of the Grill.
It is always great to have a “winner” in our town. This recognition, being on of Georgia’s top ten restaurants, adds to the reasons that make Covington a very special place to live.