I must confess – I am not one of those people who knows much about beer. I occasionally enjoy a cold one with a burger or a salad, but I can’t say I miss it all that much if I don’t have one for a long stretch of time. For the most part, I generally consider myself more of a wine kind of gal. Which is why when my friend Lisa invited me to join her at Roux on Canton, a restaurant known for its local craft beer and shrimp and grits, I was definitely much more excited about sampling the shrimp and grits than the beer.
Twenty-four miles away from downtown Atlanta, Canton Street is located in the heart of historic Roswell, Georgia. Throughout the 10 years I lived in Atlanta, I can’t say I hung out in this area all that much. I remember going there a couple of times, but it was not a place that I would frequent.
As Lisa drove us down Roswell Street heading over to Canton Street, she explained to me about how the area’s popularity has really increased in the last couple of years with the opening of new restaurants, coffee shops, art galleries, and an array of Southern gift shops. As we were walking around, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many cute little shops and restaurants had popped up all together on one strip.
After our quick walk to take in the scene, we headed over to Roux on Canton, a Southern-style restaurant and bar with Cajun influences. Since it was still quite early in the evening, the weather was nice enough for people to enjoy the outdoor seating area in the front of the restaurant. So much so, that there was no seating available and we had no choice but to sit inside.
Though the inside of the restaurant was definitely not a consolation prize. With its brick walls and dark furniture, it felt like a continuation of the charming historic character of the area – rustic, warm, and welcoming.
As our server Carmen approached us, she welcomed Lisa back and asked us what would we would like to drink. I told her that Lisa has been raving about their local beers, but admitted that I am not that much a beer drinker, so she kindly offered to bring a couple different beers for me to taste and decide.
And boy, was that ever a good idea! She came back with a couple of choices – mostly locally made – for me to taste. I discovered that each beer I sampled was nothing ordinary, but bursting with rich, bold flavors.
I ended up choosing the one with the notes of pecans, called Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan, an English Brown Ale from Mississippi. With its malty caramel and nutty flavors, I found myself enjoying a glass of beer like I’ve never quite done before.
We selected the pimento cheese fritters as an appetizer and the vegetarian burger as our shared entrée from their expansive menu, which was full of inventive modern versions of traditional Southern dishes. Both dishes were well-presented and tasty. Most importantly, they accompanied my beer so well that I had to order another one.
If you are a fan of hot sauce, their homemade blend (served in shampoo bottles) gives the food just the right amount of that spicy kick you may enjoy.
As we were dining, I realized that the restaurant was filling up rather quickly with diners from every age bracket. So much so, that in less than 2 hours, all of the tables were occupied.
On our way out, though I thoroughly enjoyed the veggie burger, all I could think of was how I had to come back to try their famous shrimp and grits. I asked Carmen if it would be okay for me to take some pictures on my next visit, and she referred me to their Marketing Manager, Christina Devictor.
Christina, a local of Roswell, GA, is a delight. When I went to meet her to talk more about Roux on Canton, I had no idea that I was also going to meet a very talented photographer and even make a new friend.
We spent the next couple of hours talking about the restaurant, the food, photography, and blogging.
At some point, the owner, Zachary Bramblett, another local of Roswell, GA and the creative mind behind Roux on Canton, came by to say hello.
When Christina confirmed that their number one seller on the menu was the shrimp and grits, I knew I had to have it. It wasn’t long after I took my first bite that I could tell exactly why it’s the most popular dish.
The sautéed shrimp are served on jalapeño grits and are topped off with chunks of crispy bacon. This dish, accompanied my new favorite pecan beer, was a celebration of Southern flavors in every bite.
I have had so many shrimp and grits dishes in my life, but none of them have ever tasted this good. While I was fishing for the secret, Christina told me that it is the special Cajun seasoning that they put on the shrimp that makes it so tasty. And then, she shocked me by generously offering to give me the secret formula to the seasoning mix, so that I may re-create this amazing dish and share it on my blog.
Come to find out, it is a combination of garlic salt, paprika, cajun pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, onion powder, and oregano.
I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed meeting with the creators behind Roux on Canton, tasting amazing local craft beer, and great Southern Food in such a welcoming environment. In addition to my favorite, the shrimp and grits, their menu is full of great options from fresh seafood, to raw oysters, to unforgettable burgers.
If you ever visit Atlanta, it is definitely worth your time to make a quick visit to Canton Street and have a quick bite at the Roux on Canton. They are open for lunch and dinner everyday.
And if you are visiting on the weekend, you may even get lucky enough to enjoy your food while listening to talented local musicians as they perform live in the restaurant.
Either way, I know for a fact that you will come to understand why I became such a big fan after just one bite.
Disclaimer: All the comments, opinions, and pictures on this blog post belong to me (Aysegul Sanford). I am not compensated in any shape or form to write this post by the owner of Roux on Canton.