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Jun 6, 2007 10:55 AM

Roswell - Ice cream, bakeries, other recommendations?

I will be leaving Rhode Island, a wonderfully chowish land filled with ice cream stands, clam shacks, pizza parlors and bakeries, to visit my in laws. If that were not horror enough, they live in Roswell which based on my prior visits seems to be a wasteland devoid of any and all chowish spots, except for bbq. Please tell me I am wrong.

In addition to my in-laws, I will be visting my neice and nephews. So that I can be the beloved uncle, are there any great places to take them for ice cream, or delicous baked goods? What about a kid friendly lunch place? BTW, they are all under 5, so I don't fancy driving an hour and half in metro-Atlanta traffic to get there.

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  1. Dude. You're killing me. Roswell is a terrific place to find good places to eat.
    I will list a couple below, but will start with a great kid friendly place that I think you may enjoy as well and shows off Roswell as a fine place for food. Plus, old Roswell, though small, is a very beautiful and interesting with lots of cool shops.

    Take the kids to The Fickle Pickle in old Roswell. It is in an old house and has a great patio. My kids like to run around on the upper part and they can mostly always do so without bothering anyone. You order at a counter but they bring the food to your table. It is owned by a very nice couple who both have impressive chef resumes. In fact, they owned the place that was there before (which was an outstanding fine dining place) but closed that to spend more time with their kids. The staff has been there a long time and is very friendly.

    Order fried pickles for the kids. If they haven't had them before they may get a kick out of it. There are great sandwiches and fun takes on comfort food. (My favorite is the chicken pot pie with homemade biscuits. Ask for an extra one and you will be very happy you did.)

    Old Roswell has a terrific Thai place called Rice. Not exactly kid friendly but worth the trip for adults, especially if you can sit outside on the porch.

    There are two other places nearby that have been covered quite a bit on the boards, including a couple posts of my own. They are Greenwoods on Green Street and Swallow at the Hollow. Both are kid friendly. Greenwoods is very traditional southern food and has amazing fried chicken. No credit cards by the way, but Bill Greenwood makes it his policy to take personal checks. The place is very funky and shows Bill's good nature. He even looks a bit like Santa Claus. He also keeps bees and makes his own honey so consider buying a jar there. Having said all that, Greenwood's has the best pie in all of Atlanta. They are also the biggest and one slice will serve a couple of the kids. Consider the blackberry or the coconut cream.

    Swallow at the Hollow is great BBQ in my opinion. There is nearly always great music inside and often outside as well. They have some relationship with some big deal music places in Nashville, so the quality of the music is amazing. My kids like to run around and listen to the music while we are waiting for a seat. It is right across the quiet street from Greenwoods, so if you wind up going to Swallow, walk 10 feet across the street for pie.

    Depending on where you are in Roswell, it may be worthwhile to go to Alpharetta to a very hip Mexican place called Pure. It isn't very far from much of Roswell. The food is great, especially the fish tacos. I think it is kid friendly but, having said that, it can be a bit of a scene and you might have to wait. There isn't much to keep kids occupied while you do, although there are nearly always very cool motorcycles parked out front. Haven't figured out why yet.

    Hope that Roswell is more enjoyable to you on this trip. Would like to hear how it goes this time.

    7 Replies
    1. re: bananna slug

      What is that fish place off of Roswell near 400 called? I've been there a few times and thought it was excellent.

      1. re: laurendlewis

        There is a place called Aqua Blue on Holcomb Bridge, near 400, in Roswell. Is that what you had in mind?

      2. re: bananna slug

        Mr. Slug:

        Thanks for the reply. No chance the kids are getting the fried pickles, those are all me. Though with the $5.00 pbj maybe I'll just leave them at home. Greenwoods' sounds right up my alley. I love blackberry pie.

        I've been to the Swallow and many other barbecue places in the area (and did include the bbq caveat in my Roswell is devoid of chowish places slander... to which I will add a further qualifier. When disparaging Roswell I was not thinking of fine dining or "scene" type places. Roswell has enough money that such places should and do exist, though not nearly in the number I would expect given the city's affluence. I was thinking more hole in the wall, mom and pop, most expensive thing on the menu is $10.00, serves primarily fried products, actually is or at least includes the term "stand" or "shack" in the name type places.).

        So any ice cream stands around? I know they are not as plentiful as in New Engand, with its highest per capita ice cream consumption in the nation, but there has got to be one somewhere within 30 minutes of Roswell. In terms of location, I will be just down the road from "old" Roswell.

        Anyone been to Rhea’s, it is attached to a corner store/market on Canton St.?

        1. re: Frobisher

          Try Roswell Kitchen just south of downtown Roswell on Atlanta Street. The in-laws should know where it is - next door to Roswell Hardware. They have good breakfast I've heard, but unfortunately I've not been there yet, it's just hearsay. By the way, Swallow at the Hollow and Greenwoods are owned by the same guy. I will add YellowFin for a casual dinner, Pastis for a great brunch, and second the vote for The Fickle Pickle. There's an ice cream place virtually on the same grounds as Swallow at the Hollow... just across the street from Greenwood's.

          1. re: Frobisher

            No offense taken on your remarks about Roswell. My response was intended to be good natured and I hope it was received as such.

            Your observations about Roswell are mostly understood. Our hole in the wall, mom and pop type places are increasingly good Mexican places along Alpharetta Street/Atlanta Highway near Holcomb Bridge. They tend to be in small Mexican grocery stores. I particularly liked Azetca Groceria, to which I was prompted to go by a couple of my construction worker clients and a great write up by Steve Drucker on these boards. (He is an invaluable contributer.) It is very unasuming and seating is communal and slight. I would encourage you to stop by and try one of these places that looks good to you.

            I know you exempted BBQ from your Roswell accusations and that you have been to Swallow at the Hollow. Someone noted in this thread that Swallow at the Hollow now has an ice cream stand across from the restaurant. I forgot about that because I haven't tried it yet (too hard to give up the pie). All the ice cream is home made by Bill Greenwood (can't say enough great things about him). I recall the flavors ranging from the traditional to the funky, in keeping with Bill's spirit. I am sure that they will all be great. You might like the atmosphere, especially if there is music on the outdoor stage, because the ice cream is served from a funny little trailer.

            I have not been to Rhea's myself, but from what I know it may be exactly the thing for which you are looking. It has a pretty loyal following and is a hole in the wall. There are some write ups on it on some of the local oriented websites. For example, try this:

            Let us know how you ate.

            1. re: bananna slug

              Just stumbled on this when I was Googling info on Bill Greenwood’s ice cream place.

              Yes, you are dead wrong. Based on the date, I may be too late for this year, but it sounds like you may be headed back. Wife and I suffer through each other’s side of the family.

              First of all, most of the recommendations seem to focus on the historic Roswell section. Other than the fact I think Rice is too overpriced, all the recommendations are very good—Azteca Groceria, Swallow at the Hallow, Fickle Pickle, etc. Yes, Rhea’s is very good burgers.

              However the best place in that part of Roswell far and away is Oak Street Café—and the burgers are better than Rhea’s. It’s pretty kid friendly. For lunch, Edible Expressions and Roswell Tea Room both have great food, though the latter I don’t know how kid friendly it is. 946 South kept confusing dummies like me who couldn’t remember the digits, so they recently changed their name to Nine Restaurant. Certainly for lunch I think it would be fine to take kids.

              Ice cream: Nirvana, great homemade ice cream/gelato mix. Pizza at Mario’s is literally next door. Bakery—Alpine Bakery has both good baked goods and pizza. They have the best stromboli in all of Atlanta metro.

              Azteca Groceria is just one of many authentic Mexican places in that area—Taco Mas and San Miguel are two of the better choices.

              Crabapple Tavern is extremely kid friendly. In fact it’s almost like they have a family only policy. Basic American fare, but they do it extremely well.

              Ironically Roswell has endless “mom and pop” hole in the wall places. I’ve limited my recommendations only to those in the part of town focused on and a few other ice cream and pizza places. If you are more specific about part of town and cuisine, they are endless other options.

              Whether or not it can top that well known foodie Mecca of Rhode Island—my guess it yes. However, Rhode Island likely gets the edge in seafood.

              1. re: FatAndOld

                I was happy to see Oat Street Cafe mentioned in this discussion. Not a hole in the wall, but I believe I am fairly certain it is family owned. I enjoy it a great deal and tend to go there with friends for a no kids night out. They did a fun sliders special last time I was there. One was a meatball and the other fried chicken. Can't recall the third. That area of Roswell has been close but out of sight with respect to the Old part of town. There has been a push by a gallery owner named Timothy Michael and some store owners to change that and I think they have had some success. Roswell is better for it. Plus, the Krispy Kreme is on the corner and on my way home.

        2. A great thread...

          (On a recent 8 day trip to Cape Cod, we ate ice cream AND fried clams twice daily...reported at this link:


          The Roswell analog would be eating at chain restaurants breakfast, lunch and dinner eight days straight. Not hard to do in Atlanta <frown>.

          That said, here are a rec or two:
          --Sam & Dave's BBQ #1. Days only. Its good, honest stuff. I think both you and the kids would be happy.
          --Ice cream scene locally is dominated by franchises, such as Cold Stone or regional juggernaut Brusters. The kids will love Brusters but I bet you will not, being that you come from the land of ice cream. You be the judge.
          --Sun Brunch: Old Azteca #8, Alpharetta. This location does a super genuine Mexican brunch, 85% of patrons are Mexican. Great Sopa Siete Maras (Seafood soup) and Costillas Salsa Verde or Riojo (ribs in red or green sauce), and handmade tortillas. A ton of other items. Kids would certainly enjoy this.
          --Any more recs lay well outside of Roswell. If you are open to traveling a bit, you could get eye opening Mexican (from many regions such as Oaxaca, Jalisco etc etc), Korean and Chinese/Sichuan/Taiwan/Hong Kong food.
          --How about Sunday Dim Sum, something the kids would enjoy as its a total spectacle.

          It sounds like your report will be a hoot--I'm looking forward to reading it. Me, I've gotten all worked up and just might have to go get an emergency Dim Sum fix.

          1. Banana Slug, you are correct, Oak Street is run by Joe McCaffery and his wife Kim. They are super nice people and I believe two of Joe’s aunts work there.

            I also missed the followup initially and I see the Rhode Icelander is staying very close to historic Roswell. Add Cerviche Taqueria and Margarita Bar. Now granted, with kids lunch would be a better idea. It’s brand new from the owners of 946 South and in the heart of Old Roswell.

            I’m not sure how Frobisher could be a block from old town Roswell and have the impression there are no “mom and pop places”. Slug and I have listed close to a dozen he should be able to walk to.

            1. Frobisher - Roswell is a little gem! You just have to dig a little and you'll find some great spots.

              I'm surprised no one has mentioned Theo's Brother's Bakery, which is in Crabapple, about 10 min from historic Roswell. It is a little storefront bakery that has spectacular breads and sweets. I have a 2 yr old and we often pick up a treat and drive down 1 mile or so back down Crabapple Rd to Sweet Apple Park and play. Theos is right across the street from Alpine Bakery (which stinks, IMO). If you go on fridays, they have brioche beignets - OMG.

              Freeland's Pizza on Alpharetta Hwy, just north of the historic district is excellent - caveat - you can only dine on the patio with kids, but an excellent pie, IMO

              La Palomilla, corner of Spalding and Holcombridge (10-15 min from Roswell), has great Cuban food and is very family friendly.

              Take the kids to Krispy Kreme - no, its not what you want, but they'll love it!

              Good luck,
              Michelle in Roswell