Wes Hennings never met a meal he walked away from and is an opinionated eater! Each Thursday he shares the results of a business lunch he’s had with a colleague as a way to advise our business community on the good, bad, and tasty across the CSRA. He doesn’t let ABD or the restaurant know where he is going and his opinions are his own. He grades the restaurants he visits on a 1-5 scale with “5” being outstanding. We call this our “Real Business Lunch Review”.
Food Quality: 5
Business Meeting: 5
Overall Rating: 4.75 out of 5
I’m on the fence over whether I like the name of today’s restaurant. “Local” is such an everyday and over-used word. Plus, I feel like it may make it harder to find this restaurant already perched away from the road at the corner of Furys Ferry and Evans to Lock.
What I am not on the fence about is the review of this eatery. It is easily one of the best lunches I’ve had in my travels about town for this column, and if you haven’t tried it yet, then you are missing one of the best “local” spots around.
I didn’t have high hopes for this one, honestly, mainly because of the storefront it inhabits. It’s in the corner unit by the Walmart market, next to the patio at El Alazan. This spot is a serial killer for restaurateurs. I used to work close by and have eaten at all of them – and each was more mediocre than the next.
Local is truly a delight to the tastes. My wife was my companion on this outing and has a very discerning palate (i.e. picky eater). As such, she has tried every chicken sandwich in the metro. So when she raved about the grilled chicken here, I knew we had a winner.
The chicken was grilled with skill, leaving it juicy, flavorful, and well-seasoned. But perhaps the star was the perfectly toasted brioche bun. The edges were crisp and the butter was just enough to give some flavor without being overwhelming. I would have eaten the bread as a side. Of course, she also ordered fries, and these are the shoestring variety, which is a nice change of pace. They were also crispy and delicious.
As the wife went the sandwich route, I decided on a plate. Meatloaf was on the menu, and I guess I was feeling nostalgic for home-cooking, so that was my dish of choice. When fried okra is a side, I can’t pass that up and they also offered mashed sweet potatoes, which was also an item I don’t regularly encounter.
Everything on the plate was amazing (perhaps you’re starting to notice a theme). If I had to pick a star item, it would be the okra. It was so crispy and somehow maintained just the right amount of cooking oil to give it the correct Southern punch. The meatloaf tasted like home, as opposed to many other loaves of meat which are dry and bland. It was a menu highlight at Local instead of an afterthought.
After this meal, there were so many items on the menu I was sad I didn’t get to try, meaning we will definitely be back. They also serve breakfast until they close at 2 p.m., and the frittatas sounded like a definite winner. I know I could find dishes the whole family would enjoy.
The service was also a winner, as the crowd was light and it seemed the manager/owner or another person of authority was serving the entire restaurant. He was courteous, quick, and knowledgeable, so I don’t know what else you could want.
The decor is large photo prints of Augusta landmarks because of course, it is with a name like Local. But the place is clean and spacious, so it would be a great place to bring a business discussion. The only downside was a lack of sound treatment, meaning if other people get loud, you know it.
If I had to choose a downside, it would be the lack of any menu item (sans a salad) for under $10. By the time you add a drink, each meal will likely be upwards of $15 which makes it just a bit too hard to give it peak value marks. But again, it’s a small additional price to pay to support an incredible upstart.
It would be a true shame if this isn’t the place that finally outlasts the rest in a tricky Columbia County spot. So my advice for today? Eat Local.