Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen
Possibly the most openly family-friendly brewery and kitchen in Macon, this downtown restaurant has plenty of seating, a kids' menu and an arcade downstairs to help disperse the inattentiveness of children (and some adults too!). Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen is the embodiment of every parent's fantasy outing: You get to enjoy an adult beverage and dinner with your friends or family in public while children occupy themselves with their very own floor of arcade games-of course, the adults are welcomed too!
A cohesive theme continues throughout the dining room and brewery with meticulous attention to details. While some new restaurants open in a mild state of disarray, it’s clear that Piedmont Kitchen & Brewery aim to impress right out of the gates. With Downtown Grill’s proprietor Richie Jones at the helm of the kitchen and Brian Whitley overseeing the beer, you are guaranteed dining experience that defies the ordinary.
Upon our arrival, we were quickly attended to and we asked our server a couple questions about the beers. There were four beers that were pouring and had names such as Heart of Gold, Porch Song and White Wabbit. Being a Widespread panic fan first and beer fan second, I chose a pint of Porch Song for me as well as my guests. A Pale ale, Porch Song is rich in flavor and amber in color and seemed to be the favored beer among the other patrons and we could see why - Cold, crisp and unique in taste.
Great beer calls for great food and the behind-the-scenes glimpses of the Brewing machines are as fascinating as the evolution of the restaurant itself. Brian Whitley’s beer offerings are part of a small menu that’s continuously available, with added opportunities for special and seasonal brews throughout the year. If you would like to see where the magic happens, just take the short walk downstairs to Brian Whitley’s personal office of shiny silver beer tanks. If you can, take a minute and meet the man behind the malt and you will see that the smile on his face is as genuine as the beer he brews.
Photo - Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen
After we ordered our beers and took a look over the menu it was time to order, but not before our youngest guest was given $5 in quarters and sent off to the scope out the skeeball machines in the downstairs arcade. After our beers arrived, we too headed downstairs and were greeted by children and adults alike playing arcade games and having fun.
Appetizers: They call them “Small Plates” and they range from Andouille Corn Dogs to Grit Fritters, with each item having an inventive twist. Hearing from those seated around us that the pork rinds were quite popular; we chose those as a starter. Piedmont’s Pork Rinds ($6) are deliciously filling fried pork rinds that are lightly drizzled with hot honey, served with a side of blue cheese mousse. The rinds were seasoned with the perfect blend of spices, light and airy and had a remarkable balance of flavor. The hot honey drizzle compliments the blue cheese mousse making this small plate a hit among everyone at our table and the surrounding tables.
Entrée: For the main course, I chose Piedmont’s Brisket Philly ($8). As someone who loves brisket and a good Philly sandwich, I knew I couldn’t go wrong with this combination. The brisket was oh so tender and flavorful and was topped with beer cheese, onions, peppers, mushrooms and served on a baguette. There is something about this sandwich though, and while I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, it had its own distinct appeal. I opted for the salad as my side, but who needs sides when you have a brisket sandwich which a juice level that is close to euphoria.
Our dinner guest was not too terribly hungry and opted for one of Piedmont’s Specialty items, the Grit Fritter ($9) from the “small plates” portion of the menu. Never having had a grit fritter before, she immediately became a fan. BBQ pulled pork atop a grit fritter is an amazingly tasteful twist that takes inspiration from the favorite southern classic.
Our young guest was very excited to see that the kids menu offered his favorite staple-fried chicken fingers ($5). While chicken fingers are one of those classic children’s foods, Piedmont’s chicken fingers (according to an 8 year old) were “the best, crispiest and most delicious chicken fingers.” The side of mac and cheese that accompanied the chicken fingers was not your generic run-of-the-mill mac and cheese. Piedmont’s mac and cheese comes as a generous portion of spiral bucatini pasta coated in Piedmont’s creamy house-made beer cheese.
Dessert: For those who are left with some room for dessert, Piedmont offered a plentiful selection of sweets. Friends who were seated beside us began to rave over the desserts as we began our main course, so we got to catch a sneak peek of what was to come. With rich choices like Nutter Butter Pie, Peach or Pecan Hand Pie, there is no such thing as a bad dessert decision, so I allowed our young guest to make the dessert selection. In typical fashion, as any 8 year old would, he chose the dessert pretzel ($6) and his decision did not disappoint. Piedmont’s dessert pretzel is an addictive construction of the perfect compromise between salty and sweet. The pretzel was quite large but really soft and was drizzled with Piedmont’s own IPA caramel sauce, chocolate sauce and sprinkled with toasted coconut. You can add a scoop of vanilla ice cream ($2) to your pretzel if you like, but because it was a school night and close to bedtime, I made an executive decision and vetoed that scoop of ice cream. Our dining neighbors to the left ordered the Peach Hand Pie with ice cream and was nice enough to let me try the little bite that remained-and let me tell you that it was simply divine and reminded me of my grandmother’s homemade peach pie.
Service: For a soft opening, it was very busy in the restaurant, but nonetheless we had our waitress' undivided attention. She was friendly and helpful in explaining beers and dishes and was amazingly gracious in responding to our needs.
Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen will finally make its grand entrance publicly on Monday, March 27th after months of renovations. But as they say, good things come to those who wait and we promise you the wait was worth it.