Atlanta Business section is where we discuss tips and tricks on how to improve or market your business better! We also dive into some of the small businesses in Atlanta that you should be on the look out for as they grow and prosper. The Atlanta Tribe shows Atlanta in a new light.

Filmmakers from all over have to make the choice at some point to move to one of three places: L.A., New York, or Atlanta. These three places are the main hubs of film and T.V. and although the most popular option is L.A. I’m going to make a case for why living as a filmmaker in Atlanta is the best option for those who are starting off.

L.A. and New York have great potential for the later part of your career, but when you’re just starting off, you’re just another drop in the ocean. Therefore, here are my 3 top reasons why you should move to Atlanta in order to start your film career.

Living in Atlanta as a Filmmaker

Atlanta has a relatively low cost of living. Especially compared to the other two options for filmmakers.

This was the main appeal for me when I was deciding where to move because as a filmmaker who is just starting off, you’re going to have to work an hourly job and do free film work for a while. Once you build your network and have a name for yourself, the paid work will come regularly, but until then you will have to support yourself with another job. Now this isn’t to say that’s not possible in the other two locations, but it’s definitely going to be harder with the higher costs of living.

I promise it doesn’t happen overnight either. Don’t go into this move thinking you’ll be working part time and doing free film work for only six months, it takes a while to make connections.

Oversaturation

One of the reasons I love L.A. is that the city eats, breathes, and sleeps movies. The whole culture of the place revolves around everyone trying to make it big and it’s fun to be a part of. That being said, it makes the competition much harder.

When you’re in L.A. you’re just a drop in the ocean of everyone trying to do the same thing. In Atlanta, however, there are far less people competing for work. There are enough people and studios here for work to be consistent, but much less than the over saturated L.A. and New York. Additionally, if you’re trying to get your name out there, it’s much easier if you’re one in one hundred rather than one in a million.

Growth

Atlanta has been growing ever since the film incentives were introduced. For a while, Georgia had more film work than L.A. and it’s industry has been growing ever since.

This really goes hand in hand with my previous point. Atlanta is in a phase of growing, and if you get in early while it’s still getting its footing, you’ll be at the top while others are just starting to get in. L.A. on the other hand, doesn’t need to grow. It has been solidified as the main hub for creative minds for years now. So, like I said before, if you get in early, there’s less people you’ll need to compete with and much more work to get done.

Clearly, Atlanta is growing in terms of the film industry. As the area continues to get more recognition, the industry will change and mold itself into something nice. Either way, Atlanta is a great place to be, a great place to film, and a fun place to call home. I would say, there are still plenty of great opportunities in this city for making it big. As long as you do not mind traffic, welcome to Atlanta.

Filming in Atlanta

To wrap this up, Atlanta is the perfect place to make a name for yourself. You’re not just a drop in the ocean or a fish in the sea, not to the degree of the other options anyway.

In Atlanta, the potential to grow is huge, there’s plenty of work to be done and not many people to do it. So take those opportunities and start working on your career. Once you have a name and an impressive resume you can go wherever you’d like, but in the meantime, get your start in ATL.

There is something magical and divine about Italian cuisine served like it is at the La Grotta Ristorante in Atlanta. It makes one feel as if they experienced the food straight out of Italy.

La Grotta Ristorante

The La Grotta Ristorante is situated in a majestic courtyard garden, right in the heart of the beautiful district of Atlanta, Buckhead. Specifically, this restaurant is recognized and applauded for serving the most delectable Italian cuisine since 1978, with absolutely no changes in its absolutely top-notch quality, taste, and services.

La Grotta offers an unmatchable fine dining experience in a serene courtyard setting for its guests. Perhaps, my personal experience and words full of praise are not enough to convince you to visit this restaurant. Although, you will surely be convinced after discovering that the restaurant has been voted as the best Italian restaurant for eighteen consecutive years by the Atlanta Magazine.

Also, since the last 25 years, the restaurant has been the AAAA four-diamond ward’s recipient and a consistent winner of the DiRona Award for years. Need I say more?

Ambiance in La Grotta

When we imagine a dine-out session, we always envision doing it in style but comfortably and cozily. The clientele of the La Grotta is always given the experience of upscale dining in a cozy atmosphere, making it the perfect little evening getaway during a hectic routine.

Among the highlights of the atmosphere are the romantic birch archways and the plush banquettes. Specifically, the Peachtree patio here is known for transporting the diners to a private and secluded garden oasis. It comes complete with lush green scapes, fountains, and everything that symbolizes style, elegance, and romance.

La Grotta History

The La Grotta restaurant is a family-owned and operated business and one of a kind in the food industry. In particular, the restaurant proudly boasts of staff, including many waitstaff, who has been with the restaurant for more than thirty years now. Their chef, Antonio Abizanda, has reached the peak of his Northern Italian cuisine expertise, ever since he became a part of La Grotta in 1978.

Antonio joined hands with his partner Christian Favalli, who used to hang coats in the coatroom till 1978. Today, the pair of them are the owners of a large food business right in the heart of the thriving Atlanta.  Although, you can find Christian even today buzzing around the dining room, in his most charming usual manner, making memories with old and new guests alike. When I say La Grotta gives you the dining experience of a lifetime, I am not exaggerating in the least.

Italian Menu

The menu at La Grotta, as well as its wine list, is nothing short of extensive. In particular, it boasts and showcases the true essence of Northern Italian cuisine and wines from all across the world. Furthermore, if you have a favorite in mind but cannot find it on La Grotta’s menu, they promise to happily create it for you if they have all the required ingredients in the house. Can it get any better than that?

Now coming to the most important part, the highlights of their menu:

Cold Appetizers- Antipasti Freddi

  • Bresaola Valtellinese- these are air-dried Piemontese beef tenderloin served with an arugula salad, shavings of parmesan cheese, and in addition black olive vinaigrette.
  • Capaccio All’Italiana- includes aged manchego, beef tenderloin carpaccio, grilled artichokes, arugula, and served with a black truffle dressing.
  • Mozzarella di Buffula- mozzarella made out of fresh buffalo’s milk, Ashland farm’s basil, Georgia tomatoes vine-ripened, aged balsamic and EVOO.

Hot Appetizers

  • Calamari con Pesto- white wine, seared calamari with garlic, chili flakes, and basil pesto.
  • Cozze al Vino Bianco e Crema al Curry- Mussels sautéed in white with shallots, garlic, and curry cream.
  • Zuppa del Giorno- Soup of the day served at the market price
  • Chiocciole Aglio Olio con Spinaci- these are snails sautéed in butter, fresh herbs, garlic, white wine, and in addition served with creamed spinach.

Specialties

  • Grilled veal chop cooked in red vine veal jus and in addition served with vegetables.
  • Veal cop parmesan- these are pounded and lightly breaded veal chop with melted mozzarella and marinara and in addition served with Linguini Marinara.
  • Wild mushrooms served with veal loin scaloppini served with a creamy marsala wine sauce.
  • Chicken breasts, pan-roasted and stuffed with prosciutto, fontina cheese, sage, are served with a lemon butter caper sauce.
  • Grilled beef tenderloin, served with a topping of gorgonzola cheese in a Barolo, with a Pommery mustard sauce and served with seasonal vegetables and roasted garlic mashed potatoes.

Side Plates

The side plates consist of a choice of:

  • Pasta- Linguini, angel hair, fettucine, spaghetti and penne
  • Sauce- Agli Olio, alfredo cream sauce, carbonara and Amatriciana, Tomato Basil, Puttanesca, Primavera, Marinara and Fradivola.
  • Vegetables- Creamy polenta, asparagus, roasted fingerling potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, sautéed spinach and in addition vegetable of the day.

Desserts

  • Tiramisu – The house specialty served with layers of mascarpone cheese, ladyfingers, espresso, marsala, and amaretto cookies.
  • Crème Brulee – Vanilla custard homemade and glazed to order.
  • Panna Cotta – Gram Marnier panna cotta served with pistachio
  • Fruta Fresca di Stagione – Fresh seasonal berries including blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and in addition served with a scoop of vanilla gelato.
  • Gelati e sorbetti Misti – Assorted Italian sorbets and in addition ice cream served with chocolate, pistachio, vanilla, mango, and raspberry.
  • Private Events

La Grotta also offers its services to host your special events. You can use their main dining hall or the complete patio for private dinner events. Among other options for hosting your dinner parties include private tables in their main dining area, which is just the ideal option for casual and professional gatherings.

The restaurant also offers a selection of private events beverages and menus personally curated by their time to please you and your guests. Furthermore, if you do not have time to organize all the million details that go into hosting a dinner party, you can get in touch with the private events team at La Grotta and allow you to provide you with one-on-one assistance in executing your event to perfection.

La Grotta Ristorante in Atlanta Contact Information

Address: 2637 Peachtree Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30305

Phone number: (404) 231-1368

Hours:

Days of weekOpen hours
Saturday5:30 PM – 10:30 PM
SundayClosed
Monday5:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Tuesday5:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Wednesday5:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Thursday5:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Friday5:30 PM – 10:30 PM

Welcome to Part 2 of my, How to start a Gwinnett Blog, series. If you have not read part 1, and you are new to blogging, I highly recommend reading that post to learn some important basics. There are some great tips in that post, and just to summarize it, in that post we discussed:

  • Why you should start a blog in Gwinnett
  • Buying Domains – My favorite place to purchase domains and things to consider
  • Hosting Providers – This is extremely important. I gave you two great places to get hosting from
  • WordPress review – We talked about WordPress and why it is great for bloggers.
  • Website Theme – I gave you some great themes to look into and even a marketplace where you and find new ones

If you need information on any of those topics, then definitely go check out the first post. Afterward, make sure to come back to read this one and continue to grow your knowledge as a blogger!

Blogging Strategies – Part 2

For the second phase of this tutorial process, I want to go into some of the fundamentals of blogging. You see, once you have your website up, there is still plenty of work to do. In particular, you need to then start working on your website ranking right away.

Website ranking, otherwise known as domain authority, is extremely important. This is what determines how you are ranked against other websites, how much exposure you receive organically, how often google scrapes your website (checks it for new posts), and how you appear in searches.

Quickly check your websites domain authority here at Ahref’s free backlink checker.

Google Search Engine Ranking

Your domain authority is determined by the amount of traffic your website gets over time, to show growth performance. It is also determined by the amount of backlinks your website has and gets over time, and the amount of content on your site that you rank for.

The reason there is an “over time” at the end of those sentences is because of all the black hat SEO people that boost websites. Historically, you could just backlink thousands of sites to your site and immediately get a huge domain ranking. Although, Google has gotten smarter and changed their algorithm to weight links and traffic over time higher than spikes in links and traffic over shorter periods.

Therefore, it is best to grow your links and traffic over time organically to not get penalized for huge spikes in these areas that make your site look inconsistent.

What Are Website Backlinks

Let’s take a step back though. What are website backlinks?

Backlinks are basically links that take people back to your site from other places across the internet.

For instance, if you post a link on your own website to my website, you are providing me a backlink. (Thanks boss!) The weight or relevancy of backlinks are determined by the site that is actually backlinking to you, the correlation to that site’s content has to yours, and that sites own domain ranking.

Let’s break this down.

Let’s say you own a website about puppies. Oh, everyone loves puppies.

Well, if someone like the humane society backlinks to one of your articles or your website for your great work with puppies, then you will probably get a small boost in your domain authority from this.

Now, say the casino down the street (assuming you live in Las Vegas…. just go with it) backlinks to your puppy site just because they thought something you posted was funny or meme worthy.

This backlink (from the casino) would not help you as much because the casino’s content is not relevant to the keywords YOU rank for (which in this instance would be puppies not something like poker chips for the casino’s site).

The back link still helps you getting a high domain authority over all, but not as much as the humane society. This is because the humane society ranks high for keywords like puppies similar to your own site.

What are Website Keywords

If you read closely, I was using the term keywords.

Keywords are anything that someone can search in the google search bar.

For instance, I can search for “Tasty Donuts Nearby” or I could search for “Wooden Tables for Sale“.

Both of these examples are considered keywords. You create your site’s keywords by using header tags throughout your text with H1, H2, H3, H4, and onward tags. These header tags will essentially be your keywords that you rank for. To see one of MY keywords or header tags, scroll up and read the large text like “Blogging Strategies – Part 2” or “Google Search Engine Ranking”. These are keywords that this post specifically will be ranking for.

There are tons of strategies on how to rank better, but the simplest method is to create long-tail keywords.

What are Long-Tail Website Keywords

Long-tail keywords are just like normal keywords, except you add the word tail at the end. Just kidding, that is not what they are.

Long-tail keywords are simply just keywords with….more words. For instance, let’s use the examples above.

To make the keywords above into a long-tail keyword format we can add more specific words that we want to rank for.

If you are searching for “Tasty donuts nearby” in Maine, then simply make your header,

“Tasty Donuts nearby in Maine”.

Likewise, if you are searching for “Wooden Tables For Sale” in Georgia, then change your header to say,

“Wooden tables For Sale in Georgia”

What this does is decrease the competition your website will have when ranking for these keywords. You may not get as much traffic, but this is how you slowly start to build up your organic traffic of your website. You will in fact get more traffic through long-tail keywords starting off then short-tail keywords because you can not possibly out rank all the other sites competing for those words.

Long-Tail Keyword Research

A difficult thing to do is find the best long-tail keywords to rank for.

Although, there are plenty of useful tools to help you in that endeavor. My two favorite are:

Both of these sites can help you find out what the best keywords are to use. Ideally, you want to find high volume keywords that have low competition and high volume. These are the best headers to include in your blogs relative to the content you write. Although, make sure to post every blog you write on your social media platforms to gain even more exposure than organic reach.

Social Media Influence For Bloggers

Now that your site is up, you are starting to rank organically, and you are doing the necessary research, its time to develop a social media following.

Over time, your posts will organically start to become ranked and found naturally through google search, but the fastest way to gain traffic and increase exposure is to gain social media presence. This is also the easiest way to get your posts to go viral, get helpful tips, and meet some amazing people.

Blogging on Facebook

The first platform I would utilize is obviously, Facebook. You probably already have hundreds of friends on this platform, and usually people like to click on things and share them.

For Facebook, I would start a page for your blog. Invite people to like it, post your new blogs there, and share them through your personal profile. Add as much life and character to the page as you can! Over time, the likes will accumulate and more people will end up finding your website through Facebook!

Twitter For Bloggers

Twitter is the second platform I would use. Although, it is important to know each platform is different from the other.

Twitter is more about engaging. Specifically, engaging on other people’s posts. Therefore, you can post your blogs, but make sure to retweet other blogger’s posts, and similar topics that you blog about. This will make the Twitter community of that topic start to notice you over time. Remember, comments are the most powerful tool on Twitter. leave meaningful and engaging comments on as many posts relative to your topic everyday that you can.

Slowly, you will start to gain influence and Twitter will give your Tweets more exposure and ultimately your blog. Twitter is probably the best chance a blogger has of going viral organically out of all the social media platforms. Speaking from experience here.

Pintrest Blogs

Pintrest is one of those, either you get it or your don’t platforms. I suggest trying it out regardless.

People who are successful on this platform can generate tons of traffic from it, but it really takes care, dedication, and understanding of the platform. Sadly, I am not an expert in anyway on this platform, but I have seen its potential from friends blogging.

Linkedin Pages for Bloggers

Linkedin is another great option that most people probably do not consider.

On Linkedin, you can create a page for your business or blog. You can then market your posts from the page and again share them from your personal profile. A great thing about Linkedin is you can add almost anyone and send plenty of friend requests.

Find the people in your industry or relevant to your topic you blog about, then add them and share your posts. I easily get extra views on this platform since I have over 4000 connections. Remember, social media is all about opportunity. As a new blogger, you need to take every opportunity you can to get recognized.

Instagram Influencer Blog

The last platform I will recommend using is Instagram.

Almost everyone around the globe is familiar with this platform, and Instagram has changed the lives of thousands of people by giving them exposure they could not get on other platforms. Like Facebook and Instagram, you can create a page specifically for your blog. Since you will probably use a cover photo for each blog post, this is a perfect place to duplicate the photo and post it.

Make sure to put your blogs link in the information section at the top, and like Twitter, start engaging with other people in the same industry as you.

Blogging Strategies in Gwinnett

I hope this post about blogging strategies in Gwinnett has helped you in some way. If it has, make sure to share so that other people can learn, grow and develop their skills.

In addition, there will be a part 3 to this series, so be on the look out for that! Now, go start that Gwinnett Blog and start growing your sales, following, and impact.

I can not tell you how many people ask me, how can I start a Gwinnett Blog? I like to write, should I start a blog? Well, because of all of those questions, I am going to make a post on it! This post is mainly targeted towards small businesses, young entrepreneurs, or anyone looking to be creative! Therefore, I want to discuss the common question I get all the time, How do I start a Gwinnet Blog?

For this post specifically, we will be going over some of the basics of blogging. In later posts, we will discuss strategies to developing your blog, how to gain more traffic, and how to monetize your blog. Although, the basics are important to start with. Therefore, let’s dive into the basics on how to start a Gwinnett blog!

Gwinnett Blogs

Although, you might be thinking why Gwinnett?

While Gwinnett has almost a million people living in it alone, most people would not think of it as a marketing opportunity due to its proximity to Atlanta. Although, those people would be wrong because Gwinnett is a perfect place to start a business. In particular, it is the perfect place to start a Gwinnett Blog!

Over the years, I have learned that every single business would like the same exact thing. That is, more business! There is no better way to achieve this than to start utilizing one of the best tools of the 21st century, the internet. Likewise, everyone would like to make a little more money on the side, and entrepreneurs love additional exposure for their projects.

Now that we are all set, lets discuss the basics of blogging. Specifically, I am going to explain domains, hosting, wordpress, and even discuss some of the top themes on the market.

Blogging Basics

Before we get too ahead of ourselves, we need to understand that blogging can increase traffic, but it will take time. I am talking 6 to 9 months of time. That is why, you need to start today and not wait any longer! Also, there are a ton of things to learn involving websites, domains, hosting providers, SEO, Social media, and marketing besides just the basics.

While there may be a handful of you reading who have prior experience with some of this stuff, most people do not. Therefore, we are going to go over each aspect individually and discuss what the purpose is, how to get the best option, and what to look out for.

Buying a Domain

While this might seem obvious, purchasing domains can be quite tricky. A majority of people, including myself, prefer to buy domains off of GoDaddy. I personally have over 50 domains on this platform, and continue to purchase more as I find a need.

GoDaddy, is by far the simplest and most convenient option right now on the market for purchasing domains. All you need to do is set up an account, search for your desired domain, and purchase it.

Although, this is where I must warn you of a few things. For one, domains do not last forever. You must set your newly purchased domain to auto-renew yearly in order to not accidentally lose it.

In addition, most domains are inaccurately priced on the website due to the algorithm set up to price each domain. For this reason, I highly recommend contacting GoDaddy support and building a relationship with one of the representatives if you plan on buying domains frequently. Another good thing about developing a relationship with a GoDaddy rep is domain availability. A lot of domains may not be readily available for purchase but they will be “parked”. Make sure to reach out and inquire on these domains because more often than not, you can purchase them.

If you are looking to just purchase one domain for your shop or blog, do not get over your head. Most people think they need to have the “.com” option of their domain, but sometimes those can be in the thousands of dollars. Do not spend thousands of dollars on a domain. It is honestly a waste of money, and there is no real difference between “.com”, “.net”, or most of the available options. There are a few exceptions like the “.app” option, but that’s not important right now.

Blog Hosting

Once you have your domain, you will need to get a hosting provider. This is where costs can also add up. To start, I used HostGator which was friendly, easy to use, and cheap. HostGator is by far one of the cheapest options on the market. Although, if you are a serious blogger or serious about growth, you can quickly out grow HostGator. I out grew my plan within the first 9 months of blogging, and they disabled one of my websites due to the high traffic and CPU usage.

I had to spend weeks migrating all of my files to a new hosting provider, which is now NameHero. NameHero is not only faster than HostGator, but it also scales much easier for all of my growth needs. I went ahead and got their largest plan, and so far I am very happy.

Hosting is extremely important for several reasons. First, your hosting provider really dictates your page speed, available traffic size, and the up-time of your website.

You definitely do not want a hosting provider with multiple outages a month, and you do not want one that will take your sites down. Therefore, I highly recommend going with either NameHero or Siteground. Both are great options and easy to use.

WordPress

For those of you who are brand new to blogging, you will want to use WordPress for the backend of your website.

WordPress is essentially a backend platform for your website or blog that you can use to post, make adjustments to your site, create ads, manage subscription lists, place photos, and many more things. WordPress is a great platform, and I actually still use it for most of my blogs since it is so simple.

A few reasons why I love WordPress:

  • Endless plugins (updates and products that you can install or customize at any time to suit your needs)
  • Easy to navigate platform for new bloggers
  • Did I mention that WordPress is free?
  • Endless themes that pretty much build your website for you
  • Easy integration for things like Mailchimp to store and collect emails
  • Great SEO functions like Yoast SEO to make sure your content is ranked well online
  • Basically it does everything you could need a backend to do while keeping it simple and user friendly

Really though, WordPress is a blessing for all beginners. Spend only a few hours on it, and you will easily be making posts, adding photos, and enjoying yourself.

WebsiteTheme

The last thing we are going to discuss for blogging basics is themes.

Themes are pre-made websites or basically templates for your website. I highly highly recommend purchasing a theme you find appealing and using that to start off. There are multiple things to consider when doing this though!

First, you want to make sure to purchase a LIGHT WEIGHT theme. I made the mistake of purchasing AVADA when I started blogging. While the theme is amazing and has a ton of cool features, my website was horribly slow. It would take 10-20 seconds to load. Google and other search engines will penalize you for a slow website, so make sure to use a light weight theme.

My advice is to keep it simple. Find a nice clean website theme that has a decent rating and following. My theme was made by Kresi and it is called Enfold. Personally, I do not like it. It has a good amount of bugs, and it can be difficult to navigate. I have personally wasted hours and hours trying to adjust things like the logo or site colors. You really do not want to waste your time on things like logo size. The good thing is that it comes with native widgets to promote your social media sites on the side of your posts and ways to share posts on almost any platform for people reading your content.

I suggest taking some time to shop around on ThemeForest which is sort of a marketplace for website themes. There are plenty of awesome options for website themes on there.

Most importantly, you need to love your website. Pick a theme that represents your content, purpose, and artistic style. My style is clean and simple, but yours might not be! If you are really creative and want to customize every part of your website, then I recommend checking out DIVI website builder. Divi is currently the best fully customization theme on the market.

Gwinnett Blog Post

Well, I hope some of this helps you start your own Gwinnett Blog! This post was mostly to cover the basics, give you some good places to start, and encourage you. Now get out there and start your own Gwinnett Blog, but make sure to check out part 2 of the post to learn more!

Established in 2012 per the Georgia Corporation division, but opened in 2013, Lovies BBQ started off as a small brick and mortar location in Buckhead, Georgia. Quickly, this small operation become one of the most frequented Barbecue spots in all of Buckhead. Lovies is quickly bringing back the comfort food of BBQ back to the busy streets with its slow smoked meats, community focus, and unique menu.

Lovies BBQ In Buckhead

Since 2013, Lovies has continued to grow in terms of popularity and services. There newest fastest growing service is their catering with the ability to serve from 20 to over 1000 people anywhere in the Greater Atlanta Area.

Even at this large number of people, they still maintain their food quality and premium service. A great feature is during the holidays where they offer full smoked turkeys to be picked up for Thanksgiving and Christmas given you placed a reservation ahead of time.

The secret is their huge smokers they have built and utilize to run these massive orders. These smokers give them the ability to prep for huge orders consistently without messing up their normal services and daily customer base that come to the store to dine or order to-go.

Lovies Location

The location of Lovies is a great spot for any thriving restaurant. Right in downtown Buckhead has huge demand due to all of the business men and woman that require lunches daily. Occasionally myself and my colleagues will even visit the BBQ spot for lunch and sit outside on the patio. The food service is always quick, the prices are reasonable, and parking is typically available.

Luckily, this location is also close enough for most people in Buckhead to walk to. Simply cross over 400 if you are coming from Lenox and walk across the street in front of the Atlanta Tech Village. Lovies is on the first floor of Naanstop the Indian restaurant, right beside the Chipotle.

Address in Buckhead

If you still need the address to find the location, here it is: 3420 Piedmont Rd NE Atlanta, GA 30305

Hours of Operation

Lovies operates at standard hours of operation with some changes around the holidays. For simplicity, here are the normal hours, but remember to check up on their website for holiday hours:

  • Mon-Fri 7am-9pm
  • Sat-Sun 8am-9pm

On most of the days you can catch the owner helping run the shop. He even walks around speaking to the guests and getting to know them. I believe the business has done so well because of his passion for his customers and like-able character. The constant attention to detail really sets this place apart from many other franchise options in the area.

Favorite Menu Items

Let me just say, everything I have tried on this menu has been amazing. There are a few things in particular that really set the bar to new levels, so I am going to focus on those items.

Brussels Sprouts

I know what you are thinking. Why in the heck would I put brussel sprouts as a favorite menu item for this place? Hear me out. I love roasted veggies as much as any vegan, but these things are special. Not only do they slow roast the brussel sprout, but they marinate them in a brine of balsamic vinegar. Although this may not sound appealing, they are by far my favorite side on the menu, so make sure to give these a try. Just for reference, every person from my office orders these with their meal.

Brisket Tacos

If you’ve read any of my other food reviews or blogs, you will know I have a soft spot for brisket. While not all BBQ spots in Atlanta offer this meat dish, this place always does! Not only do they offer it, but they have weekly specials like the brisket tacos that are absolutely amazing. Get ready to get a little mess, because these tacos will make you want to never stop eating and probably get on you some.

Brisket Biscuit

While the tacos are a fan favorite and seasonally added to the Friday lunch menu, the Brisket Biscuit is also a hands down favorite. By the way, try to say Brisket Biscuit 5 times fast. The biscuits, I am fairly sure, are buttermilk biscuits hand made from scratch. These suckers are so fluffy and tasty that I could easily have a meal of just biscuits. The ONLY down side is they fall apart while you are eating your brisket biscuit. To be honest, it just makes you slow down and savor the meal even more, so I have no complaints.

Salads

Again, do not hate me for suggesting a favorite other than straight BBQ. I want to show some variety for this place. Therefore, the salad portions are amazing. The bowl is huge, and I have never seen my co-worker finish his entire salad when we go here. All I am saying is, you have no excuse for being vegan and not eating here. There is plenty of love and Lovies for every food critic and snob.

In case you still are not sold on Lovies, here are some of the other popular options on the menu:

SANDWICHES

All sandwiches come with one side.

  • Pulled Pork or Chicken – 8.75
  • Beef Brisket – 9.75
  • Lovies sliders (mini pulled pork, chicken, brisket, or chicken tender sliders) – prices vary

Biscuits

  • Brisket Biscuit – 4.50
  • The Lil’ Kay (Tender with honey and hot sauce) – 4.50
  • Chicken Tender Biscuit – 4.00
  • Country Ham Biscuit ( with Red Eye gravy) – 4.00

Plates

Each Plate comes with a choice of two sides.

  • Pulled pork or chicken plate – 11.75
  • Rib Plate (1/2 pound of ribs) – 12.75
  • Beef brisket plate – 13.75
  • Combo plate (pork, chicken, ribs) – 14.75
  • Smoked wings (6 slow smoked wings) – 10.75
  • Chicken tenders – 10.75
  • BBQ Quesadilla (pork, chicken, or brisket) – 12.75
  • Ribs (half slab) – 14
  • Ribs (full slab) – 22

Salads

Each salad comes with a choice of dressing which are Ranch, Italian, Blue Cheese, Honey Mustard, or Oil/Balsamic Vinegar.

  • Pulled pork or chicken – 11.75
  • Sliced beef brisket – 13.75
  • Chicken tender salad – 12.75

BBQ in Buckhead

While there are plenty of options to grab lunch and dinner in Buckhead, Lovies offers more than just a tasty food experience. There is history and culture in their restaurant, plenty of love from the owner, and a local feel right in the middle of the busy streets of Buckhead.

Do not forget to reserve your turkey ahead of time for the holidays with them and keep up with their social media pages!

More BBQ

If you like BBQ and want another place to try out, then check out my other blog post here about an up and coming spot in Grayson, Georgia, Big Daddy Que.

Established in 2012, Big Daddy Que started off as a food truck and catering company that had a small brick and mortar location in Loganville. Through word of mouth and tasty food, people found out this place meant serious Barbecue. Now, Big Daddy Que is smoking the competition in Gwinnett with its high quality meats, friendly attitude, and special sauces.

Big Daddy Que

Over the years, Big Daddy Que has amassed a strong following through Gwinnett county even winning best BBQ in the county in 2015. Through strong community relationships and determination to provide the best BBQ around, they opened a new Brick and Mortar location right in the town of Grayson which is apart of the new Rail Yard.

The new location at the Rail Yard is a great spot for this thriving BBQ restaurant. On the weekends you can catch the owner in the back smoking racks of ribs and brisket for the busy nights. Since everything is smoked and prepped on site, you can guarantee that the meats are fresh, tinder and practically fall off the bone making it the top of the line BBQ spot around.

In addition, Big Daddy Que has a special way of making you feel welcome and at home. The owners are constantly walking around checking on the guests and making sure your dining experience is perfect. Their menu reflects this home feeling by offering tons of fun name options for all types of BBQ dishes.

BBQ Menu Options

My personal favorite thing to order on the menu is the brisket sandwich with a side of fries and fried okra. I grew up a brisket lover and that has never changed. Luckily, I have a new favorite spot close to home that can satisfy that brisket kick.

Another great thing about this BBQ spot is they always have brisket on the menu. A crowd favorite, brisket is not always offered on a lot of the menus around Gwinnett, but this place does it right. You can even ask for a little bit of bark on the sandwich which is the burnt part of the meat to add some additional flavor. Did I forget to mention, the sides are enough for two people, so make sure to bring a friend because there is plenty to share in the basket full of fries you get.

Here are some of the other popular options on the Big Daddy menu:

Appetizers

  • Pork and Cheese Fries– Fries, pulled pork, melted cheddar, pepperoni bits, sour cream
  • Ultimate Meat and Cheese Fries– Fries, pulled pork, chopped brisket, chopped turkey, melted cheddar, pepperoni bits, sour cream
  • Fried Pickles– Dill chips fried, spicy ranch
  • Kait’s Pig-n-Cheese – Mac Daddy Cheese, smoked pulled at the peak pork, sweet sauce
  • Smoked Sausage and Cheese Platter– Smoked sausages, assortment of cheeses, pepperoni peppers, famous rub

Sandwich

  • Big Daddy Sammich– ½ pound of slow-smoked pulled at the peak pork, creamy coleslaw, sauce
  • The Roger Dodger– ⅓ pound of slow-smoked pulled at the peak pork, pickles, red onion.
  • The Andrew – ⅓ pound of slow-smoked pulled at the peak pork, pimento cheese
  • Brisket SandwichSlow-smoked seasoned beef brisket, sauce
  • Big Daddy Dawg– 100% beef half-pound, cheese, slaw
  • Southern Dog– 100% beef hotdog, cheese, coleslaw

Sides

  • Big Daddy Que beans
  • Mac Daddy Cheese
  • Brunswick Stew
  • Squash Casserole
  • Fried Okra
  • Collard Greens
  • French Fries
  • Green Beans

Barbecue Sauces

  • Sweet mustard – Strong mustard sauce that reminds me of a hot dog from the Baseball Park. It is rather good, but I liked using it on my sides like the fries.
  • Vinegar Sauce – Thin sauce with a tang. This sauce goes really well on a sandwich to give it a little twist of flavor. You could also mix this sauce with some of the other for added flavor.
  • Spicy Sauce – Thick sauce with a kick. Personally, I enjoyed this sauce although it was quite thick. Either way, it was nice to mix it up with the other sauces by using this one every other bite.
  • Sweet Sauce – Standard tasty BBQ sauce with a hint of sweet flavors. This sauce really is the bread and butter of most of the dishes here. It is your all time favorite and typical BBQ sauce. I might have had too much of this one.

BBQ in Grayson

While there are plenty of options to dine in the small town of Grayson, Big Daddy Que sure makes for a great family experience. There are always smiling faces coming out of their restaurant which means every person likes what they find here.

Make sure to swing by and see their new location soon or you might just miss out on a great new spot to dine!

More BBQ

If you like BBQ and want another place to try out closer to Atlanta, then check out my other blog post here about a spot in Buckhead, Georgia, Lovies BBQ.



If you live in Gwinnett or if you just need a place to escape and grab a cup of rejuvenating joe, then I have a spot for you. The Boulder Creek Coffee House is just the place to feel relaxed and grab a hot cup of liquid energy.

The local coffee shop has slowly been growing in the hearts of all those close to the Lawrenceville Square. Due to all the suggestions and recommendations, I had to try it out for myself and write a quick blog post about it.

Boulder Creek Coffee Shop

Boulder Creek Coffee Shop

Due to all the people talking about this place, I had to make a stop and try it out for myself. Being an avid coffee drink and a fan of all places comfy, it was a great idea. As a small town coffee shop, there are little expectations put on this place to be quality, but the shop does not disappoint.

Hosted in an old vintage house right in the middle of downtown Lawrenceville, the Boulder Creek Coffee House is in a perfect location to get plenty of exposure. The location offers people a get away, right in the middle of downtown as the busy cars drive right by the house.

Even parking is a breeze since the parking deck for the Lawrenceville square is right next door. Simply pull in on the left and park for free! Afterward, walk right outside of the parking garage and on your left will be the vintage white house.

If you are going in the front of the building (Pictures at the top), you will see beautiful lights strung out across the yard to give you a peaceful and bright feeling. In addition, people get to walk in the front door just like entering a real home.

Find A Place To Chill

After entering, walk through the house until you come to the second entry way on your right, and you will find the main counter. Here you can browse the menu and place any order. There is plenty to select from on the menu from coffee, pastries, to even some real food options for those looking for a bite to eat.

After ordering, you can go find a seat downstairs by the warm fireplace, on the couch, or tuck yourself away in a comfy corner. There are great options for seating down stairs, but if you do not see a good one, just walk up stairs and find a good spot by a window in one of the many rooms available.

Even if those spots are all filled up, there are several tables around the porch that anyone is welcome to sit at given the weather is decent. Heck, there is even a hammock in the front strung out across two trees for people to enjoy. Clearly, seating is rarely an issue at this coffee shop, and there is plenty of inspiration around the house for creatives to pull from.

Renting a Room

Boulder Creek Meeting Rooms

A cool thing about this coffee shop is that you can rent rooms for meetings, parties, or simply to get some work done with your business team! The rooms are all upstairs and offer a good amount of privacy given there is a door you can shut. Each room is quite big and can easily fit around 6 to 8 people comfortably.

Lawrenceville White House

While the coffee shop is a hit among the town and people that visit, the old house has some history behind it. You see, the house was owned by the Mayor, Jule Oakes. As the story goes, Oakes loved coffee with a strong passion. So much so, that the mayor kept a percolator full of brew going at all times that would fill the house with the vibrant smell of fresh coffee.

The mayor had a select preference for his coffee which is refereed to as “Cowboy Coffee”. This was coined as a term of the times and meant he loved his cup of joe strong as he could get it. Even his grandchildren and friends would comment on just how much the old mayor loved his coffee. The Boulder Creek team like to think, Oakes would be happy of the fact that his home is now a coffee shop for all to enjoy.

Menu Items

Since you will probably come here for more than the site of the old white house, here are some of the menu items I tried out, some of their most popular, and a few that sound pretty good!

Coffee Styles

  • Quick Brew
  • Pour Over
  • Siphon
  • Cold Brew
  • French Press
  • Espresso

Specialty Coffee

  • Nutella Cappuccino
  • Mocha
  • Cortado
  • Shaker
  • Iced Latte

Tea Options

  • Cheek Breeze Tea
  • Georgia Dream
  • Iced Matcha
  • Matcha Lemonade
  • London Fog
  • Chai

Pastries

  • Baked Fudge
  • Fussell Cakes
  • Affogato
  • Cheescake

Tasters

  • The Riviera
  • Boulder Burrito
  • Avocado Toast
  • Overnight Oats

Food

  • Chicken Salad – tasty and freshly made
  • The Guy Spicer – Chicken, pepper jack, jalapeno raspberry jam, crushed red pepper, whole wheat
  • The Montana – Roast beef, pepper jack, mozzarella, peppers, toasted ciabatta
  • Warbington – ham and cheese, la monte cristo, gouda, rosemary
  • The Patterson Melt – grilled quesadilla, chicken, bacon, pepper jack, chipotle aioli
  • Godfather – toasted ciabatta, chicken, parmesan, mozzarella, marinara, oregano

Final Thoughts

Overall, my experience was a positive one, and I would definitely go back to Boulder Creek Coffee House. The wifi worked well, the coffee was strong, and the seating was comfortable. Not to mention there was a great vibe, and the location was perfect for the group I met with.

Writing has always been my Achilles heel of filmmaking. I love directing, cinematography, lighting, and editing, but writing has always been difficult for me. I always strive to be original and creative, but when I sit down to write, I either end up writing a movie that already exists or something i’m not even interested in. Therefore, I want to point out a few tips that could help in writing a movie you love.

Recently I have been working on a short film script and I always get to a point where I’m disinterested in what I’ve written. However, I think I’ve finally created a checklist for writing something I love while also making something worth watching. It’s simple, but it’s worth checking over when you’re writing your next film.

Entertaining Theme

Movies have always been about entertainment. Making something you and your audience want to sit down and enjoy.

It seems obvious to say but when you sit down to create something it’s easy to get lost in the process of making it, how its going to look on camera, and who you’re going to cast. Although, when you take a step back and look at it from an audience members point of view, you have to ask “is this entertaining?”. If it is, then carry on and make your movie, if not, maybe take a second to see what you could change to make your audience happy.

Theme Design

Now that you’ve catered to your audience it’s time to cater to yourself. Look over your script and make sure it touches on themes you care about. What message are you trying to convey with your film? What do you want the audience to learn from watching your movie?

These questions will help you come up with a story that you are passionate about. This step is vital in my opinion. Because, there’s always a point in a project when I think to myself “why am I doing this?”. If I don’t have an answer, I throw the script out. If I have a message I want other people to hear that I genuinely care about, then that pulls me through the doubt I have about the project.

Film Budget

Budget, of course, controls everything. It can be difficult to write a story within your budget, so what I suggest doing is writing your story however you want. Afterward, start to scale it down to something that is doable with your budget. Don’t sacrifice your message, but keep in mind that a well done, low budget movie is better than a poorly done big budget film. It’s all about quality.

This part in particular is something I struggle with when writing. I would love to make sci-fi movies, but at the moment, I don’t have the resources to make them convincing.

As I mentioned, when you’re writing, let your mind flow free. Create whatever you desire, but when it’s time for draft two, start to scale down to something you can realistically make. There’s nothing wrong with shelving a project either. If you have a script you absolutely love but can’t make it at the moment, then hold onto it. Make something else before hand and work towards making your next film a reality when you have the time.

Short Film Making

It’s easy for me to get caught up in an idea only to realize that I either don’t like the script, or I’ve rewritten a movie I already like by accident. So, when you’re sitting down to create your next script, keep yourself in mind, remember your audience, and write within your budget.

Over the past few months I have been working on writing my own short film. These steps have helped me stay on track and create something I love. Hopefully, these steps can help you in writing a movie you love as well.

Grayson is a small town in county of Gwinnett that has been growing rapidly over the past 15 years. One of the largest contributing factors to this growth has been small businesses like the Grayson Coffee House!

Grayson Coffee House

The Grayson Coffee House has been a staple in the small town of Grayson since 2014. What once was an old white house beside the Grayson Elementary School that had little purpose, has now become one of the most frequented places in the city.

Today, everyone visits the coffee shop become not only a great place to get coffee, but also to gather. The coffee shop has a meeting room that can be used for all kinds of events. The more the merrier in this town, because there is always a group of people trying to meet up.

In addition, there is a growing trend of musicians in the city of Grayson that use the coffee shop as a venue! Typically, this is on Saturday nights around 6 pm where local musicians will serenade the guests throughout the night. You can catch plenty of your favorite local artists here, so make sure not to miss them by keeping up with the music schedule!

Coffee In Gwinnett

Surprisingly, the white house has made such an impact that the entire county knows about it. The coffee shop has won best coffee house in Gwinnett multiple times beating out a couple of other hot spots in towns much larger than ole’ Grayson.

This is mostly due to the home town feel the old house gives, great coffee offered by the establishment, and the constant care shown from the owners. Everyone that enters the shop is treated like you’re walking into someone’s house and the vibe is always upbeat and pleasant.

Coffee Review

Besides the public accolades, here is my personal review of the coffee shop.

Parking

On busy days, it is sometimes hard to find a parking spot because so many people love this place, but if this is the case then you can always park nearby and walk over! Even if they do not have room inside then hopefully the weather is nice to sit out on the deck. I have done that a time or two.

While the parking can rarely be a small issue, it does not deter myself in anyway from constantly going to the coffee shop even at the busiest hours.

Jittery Joes

The coffee here is supplied by Jittery Joes which is always bold and savory. I am a fan of strong coffee, so I always like a black cup of coffee in the morning to get the senses working.

Along with the coffee, a huge plus of this coffee shop is the bakery items, sandwiches, and of course the frozen coffee choices. I have never had a drink here I did not like, and likewise there is nothing better than grabbing a fresh sandwich and soup while studying to make sure you can stay focused and not have to leave due to a hungry stomach.

Seating

A plus about the old house is all of the natural lighting that comes into the coffee shop. Most of the tables around the establishment are either by a window, or there is a large window right nearby to make it feel a little bit warmer inside.

In addition, most of the chairs are more comfy than your average coffee shop chairs which make work sessions more bearable. The wifi is also reliable which is a necessity for those trying to work online or blog.

My favorite places to sit are in the meeting room where you can grab a big table and spread your stuff out. Although, there are some nice tables in the back by a few windows that are partially secluded depending on how busy it is. As I mentioned above, the deck is always a solid choice as well on those summer and fall afternoons.

Menu Items

Here are some of my favorite menu items for the Grayson Coffee House:

Drink Menu

  • Coffee – Jittery Joes (Hot or iced)
  • Nitro Coffee
  • Cold Brew
  • Shot in the Dark – Coffee with an extra shot
  • Mocha
  • Latte (Hot or iced)
  • Frozen Maui Mocha (Comes in multiple flavors)
  • Frozen Fruit Smoothie (multiple flavors)
  • Chai Latte or Dirty Chai
  • Hot Apple Cider
  • Zoda Water

Food Menu

There are multiple bread options, cheese options, and bagel options for certain items listed below:

  • Assorted Bagels topped with your choice of cream cheese, cheese, butter, or chicken salad
  • Chicken Salad Sandwich
  • Turkey Cheese and Pesto
  • Pimento Cheese
  • Ham and Cheese
  • Yogurt and Granola

Baked Goods

  • Brownie
  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • Assorted Muffins
  • Assorted Scones
  • Cookies
  • Cupcakes
  • Fruit Bars

Drink, Eat, Relax

Overall, this small town coffee shop has grown up fast. Everyone in Gwinnett loves it, and that does not seem to be changing anytime soon. If you need a place to relax or just a place to grab a quick cup of Joe, make sure to swing by the Grayson Coffee House and get comfortable once you get in there.

The quality of food does not get any better in the little town of Grayson than the thriving and packed Mediterranean grill, Sam’s on Main. With quality and community at it’s heart, Sam’s has quickly become the hottest spot around all of Gwinnett.

Sam’s on Main Restaurant

From the very beginning this small mom and pop shop had a new flavor to it. Not only a flavor you could taste, but a flavor you could experience as well.

Unlike many places where you will walk in, dine and leave without so much of a meaningful interaction, Sam’s is immensely different. You will almost certainly see Sam himself come out of the kitchen, walk around the restaurant and greet every table throughout the night.

He has done this since the beginning of their restaurant opening in old town Grayson, and the impact is noticeable. Now, Sam and his wife, Nicole, seem to know every single person in the Grayson area.

In business, relationships are important, and in a small town, relationships are all that matter.

While Sam is a bubbly charismatic character with love for all, he is also a serious business man that knows what he is doing. Likewise, his partner Nicole leads the business in most of the financial and marketing aspects which help complete the team as a dynamic duo.

Restaurant Origin

Sam

While many people may think Sam just opened up this restaurant on a whim, he really did not. Sam has been a masterful chef all of his life and had been planning this for over a decade. Coming from Kurdistan, Sam made his way to the U.S with hopes of starting his own restaurant one day. That dream would take him many years to accomplish.

Along Sam’s journey he had the privilege to cook for large net worth clients, 5 star restaurants, and many tables around America. From these experiences, he has real sous-chef talent and creativity to bring to the table.

Eating at Sam’s

Let’s let the food talk for itself. The food at Sam’s on Main is by far an experience in itself. My personal favorites on the menu are the Knockout Shrimp and the Lamb
Sauté.

Knockout Shrimp

Knockout Shrimp

Similar to Bone Fish’s Bang Bang Shrimp, but way better, the Knockout Shrimp are out of this world. Lightly fried in a crispy batter with a peppery and sweet sauce drizzled over top, these shrimp will put any competition to shame.

You can order these bad boys as an appetizer or as an entree that comes on a sandwich. You’re guaranteed to love every bite. These shrimp have sort of become a staple of the establishment which got everyone quickly talking around town.

Lamb Sauté

One of my personal off the cuff favorites, the Lamb Sauté, is for those people not afraid to have all of their food on the plate touching. Sautéd with freshly cut onions, red peppers, garlic, roasted lamb and laid on top of a bed of Basmati yellow rice, this dish is a hungry man’s savory treat.

I am a huge fan of Sautéd food, so this might not be for everyone, but I recommend giving this a try!

Sam’s Menu

While my favorites are undeniably delicious, there is an array of awesome food to check out. Here are some of the most popular:

Starters

  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Fried Calamari
  • Knockout Shrimp
  • Hummus Hummus Hummus

Flat Breads

  • Prosciutto and Balsamic Green
  • California Chicken

Burgers

  • The Bulldog
  • Portabella Swiss and Steak Burger
  • Bourbon Bacon Jam
  • Lamb Burger

Mediterranean Dishes

  • Gyro
  • Shawarma
  • Falafel Sandwich
  • Kofta Kabob Sandwhich
  • Grilled Pita Chicken Sandwhich
  • Shish Kabob

Seafood

  • ShaShuka Salmon
  • Chilean Seabass
  • Fried Flounder
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Knockout Shrimp

Entrees

  • Filet Mignon
  • Compart Duroc Pork Rib Chop
  • Choice Lamb Hind-Shank
  • New Zealand Rack of Lamb

Final Thoughts

Grayson, one of the smallest places in Gwinnett County, seems to keep up in terms of growth, development and food with the other towns in this large county. This is all thanks to amazing restaurants and businesses like Sam’s on Main.

If you are ever driving through this small town or if you live in the area, then make sure to stop into Sam’s at the rail yard. Make sure to take a moment to try out this hidden gem. More than likely, you’ll even get to meet Sam himself.