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BITS & BITES: Alpharetta next in line for a touch of F&H’s alchemy
by Joan Durbin
jdurbin@neighbornewspapers.com
June 26, 2013 10:23 AM | 3980 views | 0 0 comments | 59 59 recommendations | email to a friend | print
They love Salt Factory Pub in Roswell. Will Alpharettans also get on the band wagon?

Restaurateurs Hicham Azhari and Fikret Kovac are about to find out. A second Salt Factory is poised to open at 102 South Main, in the old KFC building where Main intersects with Marietta Street.

The menu is identical to that of the Roswell location on Canton Street, with items like PEI mussels, pulled pork tacos, flat iron steak and seven onion soup as well as several interesting burgers, house made pizzas and salads.

It remains to be seen, however, if they will keep the Roswell Burger on the menu or create something new with an Alpharetta brand.

F&H Food Trading Group and culinary director Bob McDonough are slowly but surely building a local empire.

In addition to the two pubs, F&H owns Canton Street’s Little Alley Steak and the just-birthed Opulent in the space that used to be INC Street Food, which they also owned.

Public relations peeps trumpet a mid-July opening for the Alpharetta Salt Factory. In a burst of PR hyperbole, the press release refers to Azhari and Kovac as “adored restaurateurs.”

Really? They’re nice guys, but let’s be real. If anyone truly adores this entrepreneurial pair, it’s probably Roswell economic development honchos.

Canton Street owes its current white-hot popularity in no small part to F&H, who had the vision to open Salt Factory there years before the street was a hip dining destination.

When diners began flocking there, other savvy restaurateurs quickly joined the party, turning a once sleepy historic district into The Place to Be and Be Seen for those with good taste and disposable income.

Don’t you just know Alpharetta officials are hoping that kind of lightning can strike twice?

Food isn’t playing second fiddle at new brew pub

Speaking of pubs and Alpharetta, the city has fielded another snazzy new entry just a bit farther north at 25 Main Street.

Hop Alley Brew Pub has been open only since June 15 but is already the topic of lots of positive buzz.

Sure, you can get some excellent suds here, including four offerings brewed by owner Brandon Hintz, as well as some fine examples of other craft brews in bottles and on draft.

But oh, that menu. I can’t wait to get up there. There’s a burger of half ground Angus beef and half ground applewood smoked bacon. What’s not to like?

And how about beer-braised sausage with a choice of brat, Italian, chorizo or andouille?

The very first thing I’ll be ordering, however, is half a pound of braised pork belly served with sautéed kale, bacon and crimini mushrooms.

I mean, come on. Pork belly? Yay! Don’t see it that often in the ‘burbs. I’ve heard food fashionistas say pork belly has jumped the shark. Thank goodness I’m not trendy. It’s a welcome option.

Owner Brandon Hintz tells me the menu is still in flux and is being refined. So far, it offers promise.

Closings and reopenings

A few years ago, Roswell was home to Moksha, one of the best Indian restaurants around. But the eatery, operating out of a building that used to be the old Lickskillet Farm, suffered a slow, painful death when ongoing roadwork in the area made it nigh impossible to get to.

Thanks to some reliable food bloggers, I just discovered that the owners reopened, but it’s in Duluth on Peachtree Industrial. Yeah, it’s not north Fulton, but it’s not that far away.

Those familiar with Moksha’s food, or anyone wanting to sample superlative ethnic cooking, is going to want to go immediately to the Moksha Kitchen Facebook page for the menu and address.

One of Roswell’s fave luncheon spots and French bakery, Douceur de France on Alpharetta Street, has closed temporarily for renovations. According to owner and chef Luc Beuadet, it will be closed through July 4.

Another very popular local eatery that shall remain nameless for a few more days also has closed. But its owner has told me negotiations are underway for a reopening. Stay tuned.
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