Successful restaurants are not created to satisfy a trend or to garner five-star ratings; often, they’re inspired by a chef’s need to satisfy their own desire. For Sean Wight, who also owns Frog Hollow Tavern and Craft & Vine, that meant a go-to spot for a burger and a beer. “I wanted someplace where I could get a consistently good burger and where I knew where all of the ingredients were coming from,” Wight says. “I decided that if I wanted that then Augusta probably wanted that too.”
It turns out that Augusta did want that—and they can’t get enough. Farmhaus Burger’s original downtown location recently celebrated its three-year anniversary and a second location, complete with an outdoor patio, opened last summer on Flowing Wells Road. Both locations feature a build-a-burger menu, drool-worthy signature creations and hand-crafted milkshakes. Chef Wight’s penchant for local and regional ingredients is reflected throughout: beef burgers are made from a custom, dry-aged blend from Southeast Family Farms; buns are delivered from cult Atlanta purveyor H&F Bakery; and shakes are made with High Road organic vanilla ice cream.
Follow Chef Wight’s lead and order like a pro: opt for either the Farmstyle burger, starring heirloom smoked bacon, smoked Gouda cheese and a sunny side up egg, or build a burger with add-ons like thick-sliced roasted pork belly, pimento cheese and cornmeal-crusted fried jalapeno slices (an off-menu item available only at the downtown location). Wash it all down with a craft IPA or if you’re feeling decadent, Gorilla Milk, a boozy shake spiked with vodka, tequila and Kahlua. And no Farmhaus burger experience is complete without an order of the hand-cut, twice-fried French fries and a side of Split Creek Farm’s feta dipping sauce.
Beyond the burgers, the menu also features a line-up of tempting grilled cheese sandwich combinations (including one with house made bacon jam), hearty salads and hot dogs, including Frog Hollow Tavern’s house made andouille sausage topped with whole grain mustard and grilled onions. You can’t really go wrong—just be sure to save room for one of those boozy shakes.
“A little something extra”
Masters Week is a time for traditions old and new, so put down your Arnold Palmer and try shaking up these refreshing cocktails from Craft & Vine.
12 oz. Barr Hill Gin
¾ oz. Aperol
¾ oz. honey simple syrup*
½ oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
½ oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice
Fresh thyme, for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a shaker
Fill with ice
Shake and strain over fresh ice in a wine glass
Top with soda water and garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme
For the honey simple syrup:
Heat two parts raw honey to one part water in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the mixture simmers. Remove from heat and let cool.
1 ½ oz. El Jimador Reposado Tequila
¾ oz. pineapple juice
½ oz. Cointreau
½ oz. simple syrup
Fresh mint, for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a shaker
Fill with ice,
Shake and strain over a “big rock cube”
Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint
The Masters are notably a time for tradition, but it’s also an occasion ripe for dreaming up new ones. Downtown cocktail destination Craft & Vine is bringing back two of its popular Masters Week concoctions, along with a new tipple destined for classic status. The Pink Dogwood (a play on “white dogwood,” the 11th hole at Augusta National) is a fruity sipper that stars house-made Southern Comfort—bourbon infused with vanilla bean, cinnamon, cloves, and fresh peaches and oranges—shaken with lime juice, Cointreau and cranberry juice. In the Garden City, named for our fair town, tequila shaken with pineapple juice, Cointreau and simple syrup adds up to a balanced, sweet-tart drink that goes down a little too easily. New to this year’s lineup is Tee Thyme, which Chef/Owner Sean Wight describes as, “clean, crisp, and refreshing…pretty much everything you’re looking for after a long day at the Masters.” The backbone of the drink is Barr Hill Gin, a complex spirit that is distilled with juniper, as is tradition, as well as raw honey from Caledonia Spirits’ owner Todd Hardie’s own bee colonies. The gin is shaken with Aperol, homemade honey syrup, and freshly squeezed lemon and orange juices, then garnished with a sprig of fresh thyme for a subtle aroma with every sip.
At the beginning of every year, the staff at The Partridge Inn cracks open their “Masters Bible,” a collection of to-dos that kicks off preparation for the annual tournament and week-long festivities. For them, the Masters is all about tradition, whether they’re welcoming back guests who have stayed with them for decades or showing new guests what Southern hospitality is all about. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for tinkering, especially when it comes to festive libations. The newest addition to their cocktail menu is the tropical-inflected “On the Green,” where a duo of rums—spiced and coconut—mingles with Blue Curaçao, melon liqueur and pineapple juice. “This drink is inspired by the colorful atmosphere at the Masters, from the prim green grass to the bright yellow flags,” reveals Tijuana Jenkins, Sales Manager and a long-time hotel employee. “It’s sweet and refreshing, and perfect to sip on after a hot day in the sun watching the tournament.”
How do you turn down well-meaning advice from your father-in-law? If you’re Atlanta-based chef Nick Melvin, you politely refuse—at first. “Whenever my wife and I came to visit, Nick would treat us to a new pickled vegetable that he had created,” says Mark Hungarland, chef Melvin’s father-in-law. “These were so good, I tried to convince him that we should start a company and sell them.” Though Melvin had grown up making pickles in his native New Orleans and continued the tradition as a professional chef, he had his sights set on opening his own restaurant. But after he ran into some financing issues, he decided to consider his father-in-law’s proposal and together they founded Doux South.
In April of 2014, they made their first batches in a shared commercial kitchen and sold their first jars at an Atlanta farmers’ market. By the end of the year, they had their own production kitchen and had started selling to restaurants and retailers. To this day, every jar of pickles is hand-packed in Decatur, Georgia, from their Angry Cukes, a dill pickle chip that packs a sweet heat punch and a mighty crunch, to the bestselling Drunken Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes pickled in red wine, basil and garlic that are a perfect match for charcuterie, salads and Bloody Marys. The pickle line-up also includes Mean Green Tomatoes, a sweet-tart-earthy pickle that’s destined for your next burger; Chow Chow, a typical Southern relish that stars green cabbage, sweet onion and sweet red pepper; and Little Rock Caviar, a black-eyed pea and pepper relish laced with hot sauce.
In addition to serving as founder and CPO (that’s Chief Pickle Officer), Melvin is also the Chef/Owner of Venkman’s in Atlanta, where the pickles are featured throughout the menu. Angry Cukes lend a zesty bite to a bacon jam and apple grilled cheese, Drunken Tomatoes deliver a bright burst to a farro Greek salad, and the Chow Chow and Little Rock Caviar relishes adorn the cornmeal-fried Georgia trout. At home, one of Melvin’s favorite ways to use the leftover brine is for deglazing. “Our pickles just seem to have the proper balance of sugar and acidity to deglaze a pan, cut the fat and make the whole dish come alive,” he shares.
This article appears in the April 2017 issue of Augusta Magazine.