Top 5 Restaurants Missing From The Alley
Tucked away from busy downtown Macon, nestled between Cherry Street and Mulberry Street, these restaurants drew patrons in for an evening on the town that offered some of Macon's best dining, live music and spirits. At one time you could find a horse-drawn carriage with a driver dressed in tails and top hat, parked in this narrow back street known as "Mulberry Street Lane" or "The Alley." From elegant restaurants to lively spots to gather with friends and family, The Alley has always offered dining that was hidden away, but definitely worth the search.
For an elegant dinner downtown, Leo’s was the place to dine. Owner Leo Asimacopoulos opened Leo’s in 1978, after taking over the former Le Bistro restaurant that was opened by Capricorn Records co-owner and co-founder Frank Fenter. Asimacopoulos retained chef Paul Harpin and carried on Fenter's fine dining tradition in the alley of white table linens, china and crystal stemware with walls lined with original artwork by Macon’s own talented artists under the new name, Leo's.
2. Cafe Nouvelle
Tucked away in the alley from downtown Macon, Café Nouvelle was once a lively spot for blues and jazz music that featured Cajun cuisine for lunch and dinner. Café Nouvelle offered music every Friday and Saturday night with performing musicians such as Percy Welch, Caroline Aiken and Bill Pound.
Parisi’s Café and Bar offered a pub-like atmosphere that specialized in Italian-American cuisine such as lasagna, fettuccine alfredo and spaghetti. On most nights customers could dine on Italian Rum cake while listening to romantic songs sung and played by owner Marie Hickman.
4. Le Bistro
Located in the quaint alley between Mulberry Street and Cherry Street and 2nd Street and 3rd Street, is an exquisite little building that for many years has been home to numerous restaurants. In 1974, as Macon became the nucleus of southern rock, Frank Fenter opened Macon’s first authentic French restaurant. Fenter brought over Chef Peter Marriott and Paul Harpin from London to work at Le Bistro. Marriott and Harpin previously cooked for the Rolling Stones, Aretha franklin and Paul McCartney. People came from all over the south to dine at Le Bistro and it became the widely popular hangout for the Allman Brothers Band. and it was at Le Bistro that Gregg Allman proposed to Cher. Other celebrities such as Ronald Regan, Jimmy Carter, Don Johnson and Nick Nolte were known to dine at Le Bistro while they were in Macon. Fenter closed Le Bistro in 1978, but it carried on under the new leadership of Leo Asimacopoulos. While Fenter’s effect in rock music is unquestionable, Fenter’s contribution to Macon itself is still being felt today. As a matter of fact, some of Macon's best restaurants grew from Fenter's Le Bistro.
5. The Saratoga
It was truly a special evening if you dined at the Saratoga; it was the first restaurant you could go in Macon and enjoy a cocktail with dinner. Marcus Gandy, Jr. and his father and brother opened the Saratoga restaurant in 1957 in the Alley behind Cherry Street. The Saratoga was known for its famous blue cheese dip that was served with 3/4” sliced kosher pickles. The restaurant even had had pickle barrels (with tongs) on the tables with walls of lined artwork depicting local Maconites and a piano located in the back of the restaurant. The Saratoga menu included oysters shipped directly from the Chesapeake Bay, prime rib, flaming kabobs and Danish lobster tails.