Foodie Haven: The Restaurants of Downtown Decatur

From fresh homemade ingredients to high quality imports and more. The fusion of style and food is what makes restaurants in downtown Decatur a food haven that keeps customers coming back for more.

Cakes & Ale

Cakes and Ale is a local restaurant located in Decatur, their name is derived from Shakespeare’s play The Twelfth Night Photo by Jason Luong | The Signal

Cakes & Ale strives to provide fresh homemade ingredients made from scratch, from the fresh baked goodies to the refined menu.

“Everything is made from scratch,” Bartlett said.  “We really take pride in leaving the food in it’s natural state, [which] [means] we don’t do a lot of over seasoning.”

The independently owned restaurant is a family business ran by a husband and wife. The owner is a chef, with accounting experience.  

The First Cakes & Ale grew quickly, and it soon outgrew the original location. The name was inspired by a Shakespeare quote, “Dost thou think thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale.”

“It’s basically a tribute to enjoying the finer things in life, and it reflects in our food,” Bartlett said.

Executive assistant, Emily Bartlett, describes the unique characteristics of Cakes & Ale. One thing the makes the restaurant stand out is the seasonal menu, every item that is prepared and served compliments the season in which it grows. For instance, one of the most popular menu dishes is the Alaskan king crab. This meal is exclusive because king crabs are available once a year.

“It’s a seasonal restaurant, the menu changes daily, and it reflects the season that we’re in, you’ll find seasonal vegetables, fruits and even fish,” Bartlett said.

Cakes & Ale has a French laundry cuisine, which means the food comes in courses rather than entrees. The executive chef creates the menu every day, and his inspiration comes from various cook books.

“We want dinner to be an experience, so most of our guest stay for an hour in a half to three hours when they come,” Bartlett said. “We want people to sit, [and] not feel rushed.”

Most customers order different things from the menu and share their plate amongst the group. Fancy wine and local beers are also served at Cakes & Ale. What attracts customers is the service and refined dining experience.

“It’s not your traditional restaurant where you sit and order an entree,” Bartlett said. “The vibe is organic and natural, kind of rustic and unrefined, down to the reclaimed tables [which] adds the rustic feel.”

Attached to the restaurant is a cafe that serves fresh pastries and espressos made with counterculture organic coffee and dairy, all day. Cakes & Ale attributes the quality of the food towards purchasing fresh ingredients, which means a lot of the produce comes from local farms.

“[Most] of our produce is [from] local farms, and we work very closely with local farms and that’s reflected in the [food] as well,” Bartlett said.

The whole roasted North Carolina Trout, filleted, deboned at the table and covered with bacon mayonnaise is another popular menu item.This dish, contrary to other menu items, is a Cake & Ale staple and it’s offered more frequently on the menu.

Iberian Pig

Iberian Pig Iberian Pig is a popular tapas restaurant opened in 2009, located in Decatur Photo by Jason Luong | The Signal

Iberian Pig is an interpretation of spanish cuisine, with a modern flare.The food and drinks are a combination of western and traditional spanish meals. Tapas for instance is an assortment of traditional spanish appetizers. Some of the most popular menu items are pork cheek tacos, Bacon wrapped dates and pork blood sausage.

“When we first opened, the bar focused on the pre-prohibition style cocktails, making the bar its own special experience,” Carter said. “Tapas in spain are generally something you get at the bar, so we wanted to make sure our bar guest get that experience.”

Elizabeth Carter, is the office manager and event coordinator at Iberian pig. Carter’s worked multiple positions at the restaurant; from a hostess, to server and now mangement. She works on scheduling events for the restaurant.  

“We do lots of private bookings, and we start filling up in October for holiday events and parties,” Carter said. “Anytime there are events in the square, we try to do something special or open up early.”  

The name of the restaurant comes from a native pig in spain called pata negra, which is the meat used to make jamon iberico, one of the restaurant’s signature dishes. The pig that provides the meat eats acorns, and this diet creates a very distinguishable flavor for the cured meat.

“All of our cured meats and cheeses are going to be traditional, and it’s one of the most prized meats,” Carter said. “ We’re one of the only restaurants that has it all the time and we have a couple of different cuts.”  

Curing is the process of preserving meat by adding salts, sugar and nitrates, the combination is then rubbed on the meat and allowed to dry, according to The National Center of Home Food Preservation.

“When we get [the][meats] they’re already cured for two years, and it’s the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten,”Carter said. “It melts in your mouth and it’s so good.”

The inside of the restaurant has warm orange and red colors. The furniture, tables and seating has an antique refurbished looked. The entire vibe is warm and welcoming, which attract customers.

“For me [it’s] rustic modern, the colors have always been the same, [with] the warm neutrals,” Carter said. “[We] keep it eclectic because our food is eclectic.”  

Regular customers already know what they want once they entire the restaurant, and they can be found at the bar ordering their favorite drinks or menu items. The Iberian Pig, strives to provide quality service for it’s guest.

“We definitely have a few regular guest that never sit at table, they always want to sit at the bar, and that makes a great experience,” Carter said.

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Iberian Pig

Location: 121 Sycamore St. Decatur, Ga. 30030

Hours:

Monday through Thursday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday and Saturday 5 p.m to 11 p.m.

Sunday 5p.m. to 9 p.m.

– Reservations are accepted

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Cakes & Ale

Location: 151 Sycamore St. Decatur, Ga. 30030

Hours:

Tuesday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Sunday 9 a.m to 3 p.m

– On weekends reservations are suggested and the restaurant is vegetarian friendly.

– The owners of Cakes & Ale are opening a new restaurant called Bread and Butterfly

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