GEORGIA - The fifth annual "Explore Georgia Official State Culinary Guide" featured Mystic Grill’s Sweet Tea Chicken and City Pharmacy’s Everything Mac ‘N’ Cheese as part of the publication’s nomination-based “Georgia’s 100 Plates.”
The digest-sized guide gathered nominations from around Georgia through exploregeorgia.org as well as Georgia Tourism’s social media channels. The nominations were then “evaluated by a panel of judges who curate the list down to the final designees,” according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Tourism Division press release. “The list has been likened to recommendations that Georgians would share with family and friends, and it has received rave reviews from visitors as well as restaurant owners.”
The list featured “five noteworthy female chefs; a guide to the best places to sample peaches, barbecue, craft beer, international cuisine and Southern dishes; as well as an exceptional selection of the state’s best food and drink festivals,” according to the GDEcD press release.
EVERYTHING MAC ‘N’ CHEESE
City Pharmacy’s Everything Mac ‘N’ Cheese is made with anything and everything in the kitchen.
The restaurant, located at 1105 Church St., opened its doors December 2017 with a focus on "reimagined Southern fare,” as stated in the “Georgia’s 100 Plates." Everything Mac ‘N’ Cheese has been on the menu since opening day as the restaurant's signature dish.
Tedo Stone, owner, knew there needed to be a dish that the restaurant would be known for, which is how Everything Mac ‘N’ Cheese was created. The dish is a “hearty mac-and-cheese skillet that changes nightly according to the kitchen’s whim,” as stated in the “Georgia’s 100 Plates."
Everything Mac ‘N’ Cheese can “inspire creation and excitement,” according to Stone, who stated that the dish is created by the cooks, not the chefs. The dish gives the cooks a chance to express their creativity in the kitchen.
“Sometimes we do the crazy ones to see how far we can push it,” Brian Smith, cook, said.
Everything Mac ‘N’ Cheese has included barbecue, pimento cheese, jalapeño jelly, ham and beer cheese and fried chicken wontons.
“It’s always something crazy,” Stone said.
Stone felt honored to have City Pharmacy included in Explore Georgia, stating that the restaurant was still fairly new in the area.
“To be in there with all these great restaurant - and I mean, there’s obviously a lot - but just seeing the different names that are in there, it’s really cool to see us here in Covington along with Mystic Grill and Tin Plate in Conyers - you know, these smaller restaurants out here getting some recognition,” Stone said.
SWEET TEA FRIED CHICKEN
Mystic Grill, located at 1116 Clark St. SW., has given locals and tourists a one of a kind restaurant where the chefs “take something that’s a traditional Southern classic and put [their] spin on it,” said Angi Beszborn, owner. She wants locals and tourists to be able to enjoy a meal that could not be made at home.
“It wouldn’t be worth coming out to eat if you could just go over to your mama’s and get it,” Beszborn said.
Sweet Tea Fried Chicken is created with a boneless, skinless chicken breast that is brined in sweet tea and lemon. Then, the chicken is coated in buttermilk and seasoned flour before being deep fried. The chicken is paired with crunchy green beans, buttermilk mashed potatoes and topped with Andouille red-eye gravy.
The dish has been on the menu for about four years.
“Everybody loves fried chicken,” Beszborn said.
Beszborn felt honored to have Mystic Grill mentioned in Explore Georgia, knowing that the magazine is distributed all over Georgia.
“If it brings people to Covington so we can sort of show off what we have, that’s what makes me the most happy,” Beszborn said. “It’s not just about the chicken; it’s about the whole package deal.”
The 2019-2020 "Explore Georgia Official State Culinary Guide" can be purchased for free at exploregeorgia.org.