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Save room for dessert—executive chef Taylor Neary’s tasty soft-serve ice cream is paired with a homemade waffle cone.
No Place Like Holmesby Kelsie Allen Barton | Jezebel magazine | August 27, 2018
The walls are decorated with graffiti and skateboards; the bar is bustling; and, on one side of the restaurant, the words “Keep the Vibes Alive” glow in neon. It’s hard to believe you’re in Alpharetta right now. And, yet, there’s a familial warmth that radiates from the moment you step onto the front porch of the new Restaurant Holmes. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that the restaurant is literally inside a home—the historic Jones House preserved by Alpharetta City Center, to be exact—but it may also have something to do with executive chef Taylor Neary and his wife, Jordan: a hip, young couple who have clearly poured their hearts and souls into creating an intimate spot for family, friends and neighbors to come together over a well-prepared meal. Even the restaurant’s moniker, Holmes, is a family name that’s been passed down for generations; Taylor and his 2-year-old son, Theo, both share it.
Fittingly, Taylor (formerly of Marcel and St. Cecilia) designed the menu to be shareable too, placing emphasis on rotating small plates to encourage folks to sample different things and partake in the dining experience together. The simply prepared dishes feature only the freshest ingredients—many of which are sourced from nearby Levity Farms in Milton—showing that the chef takes seasonality seriously. There are cold items (think an heirloom tomato salad, tuna crudo, and grains and burrata), veggies (roasted baby potatoes are already a popular pick, but also try the colorful and oh-so-juicy coal-roasted beets) and a cheese plate. But the hot section of the menu is where things really get good. The buttery, savory bone marrow toast topped with beech mushrooms is a must-order, while the charred octopus is a dish that the passionate Taylor has practically perfected to an art form (he even has an octopus tattoo on his arm. How’s that for dedication?).
On the cocktail side, beverage operator Sam Schilf has crafted a concise yet creative selection of West Coast-inspired sips like Jack the Ripper, a tropical concoction of Pusser’s rum, coconut, pineapple and orange; Danny Trejo, a spin on a margarita with housemade pineapple tepache (and served in a Scofflaw Brewing Co. can); and the fun-to-order Tiki AF. Even whiskey gets a fruity flourish in Young Theo, a drink made with rye whiskey, blood orange and apple bitters, and garnished with an ice cube stamped with the word “Holmes” for extra flair. For a sweet finish, Taylor’s whipping up seasonal soft-serve ice cream with a homemade waffle-cone sprinkle—a classic dessert that never disappoints.
With its youthful crowd and ’grammable decor (don’t leave without checking out the dining room and bathroom murals by local artist Greg Mike), and eclectic, ever-changing menu, Restaurant Holmes has arrived to champion Alpharetta’s new dining vibe—while simultaneously proving that Southern hospitality never goes out of style. @restaurantholmes
Interior and chef photos by Recon Photography