It’s the time of year where year-round health club goers cringe and membership counselors crave ― the New Year brings out people all of all shapes and sizes that are getting to work on their New Year’s resolutions focusing on fitness and getting healthier.
There’s a saying that abs aren’t made in the gym, they’re made in the kitchen. You can work out frequently on a regular basis but if you’re not eating right, you won’t get the results you’re looking for. Restaurant meals can be laden with calories, however if you know where to look, restaurateurs are angling to for the almighty dollar of those who are watching their figure.
A brewpub isn’t the first place where you’d think to find a healthy meal, but the people behind Wrecking Bar in Inman Park are out to show you that healthy eating and local beer can go hand-in-hand.
No stranger to local farm-fresh cuisine after a stint in opening the city’s original Farm Burger in Decatur and top restaurants around town, Chef Terry Koval has been receiving raves for his cuisine that goes well with or without a beer.
“The five years I spent at Canoe between 2000-2005 taught me the fundamentals, taught me technique and the talent I was surrounded by brought out the creative side of me that has become the backbone of my style as a chef,” Koval says.
“While working for Concentrics restaurant group I learned what it takes to truly run not only a kitchen, but an entire operation. Farm Burger brought it all together and allowed me to become a liaison, building the relationship between the farmer, the rancher, the butcher and the kitchen.”
A notable regular feature at Wrecking Bar is their vegetarian Tuesdays event that provides a breath of fresh air for diners who may be used to ordering from the fringes of a menu or risk being served a plate full of sides.
Koval, who sports a pig tattoo on his arm, might have been skeptical about a menu that includes meat substitutes, but he says the menu allowed him to expand his craft by forcing him to learn another side of cuisine in order to “highlight an aspect of our restaurant that we have become known for.”
It takes a bit more work to source vegetables locally as opposed to getting them shipped in from a food service truck. Koval says that neighborhood farmers visit the Wrecking Bar on a daily basis bringing them as fresh a product as possible with help from locals such as Love is Love/Gaia Gardens, Hudson Rouse at East Atlanta Veggies, Bobby Britt, Woodland Gardens and Riverview Farms ― and that’s just to name a few.
On the carnivore side of the menu, Koval is excited about a comforting dish made with poultry sourced in Georgia.
“As of now the dish we are most excited about for our winter menu is going to be our Darby Farms chicken and dumplings. The chickens, sourced from Daniel Dover, are pasture-raised, fed on only organic feed and have neither hormones or antibiotics introduced into their system,” he says.
Community favorites continue to offer healthy options
Another community favorite, Gilbert’s has revamped and is sporting a new menu and theme from their corner at 10th and Piedmont. The 14-year-old eatery is now known now simply as G’s.
“Although we made some changes over the years for Gilbert’s we decided to bring something fresh to Midtown. If we did not change the name it would mislead the guests,” said Sean Yereman, owner of the restaurant.
Healthy items on the menu include a garden vegetable melt with seasonal veggies and a basil aioli, the G’s salad, grilled turkey ribs and blackened mahi-mahi tacos. The restaurant also supports local farms and uses 80 percent local produce on its menu.
If you’re missing the Mediterranean cuisine on the Gilbert’s menu, one only needs to walk a few blocks to Cafe Agora’s Midtown location. After satisfying fans in Buckhead, the intimate location offers a bounty of food for those aiming for a slimmer waistline.
Dive into the mixed maza platter for a parade of hits that include the restaurant’s top notch hummus ― a mix of mashed chickpeas, garlic, olive oil and the perfect amount of citrus. You’ll also get your fill of baba ghanoush, eggplant salad, white beans and daily specials.
On the carnivore side of the coin, a variety of grilled meats are available in the form of shish kebabs, and lamb and beef gyros. If you’d rather not decide, as with the vegetarian options listed above, go for the Agora Mixed Grill option with chicken and lamb kabobs, kofta kabob and gyros.
Regardless of where you eat, don’t be afraid to ask questions about how a meal is prepared. Look out for grilled meats, keep an eye on hidden calories in salad by asking for dressing on the side, choose items with fresh fruits and vegetables and limit alcohol intake.
Wrecking Bar Brewpub
292 Moreland Ave. NE Atlanta, GA 30307
G’s (formerly Gilbert’s)
219 10th St.
Atlanta, GA 30309
Cafe Agora Midtown
92 Peachtree Pl NE
Atlanta, GA 30309