March has arrived and so have all the beginning signs of spring, at least here in North Georgia! One of my favorite things to do in the spring/summer/fall month is hit up our local Saturday market to shop from area farmers and support local vendors. It’s so much healthier than big box stores and great for the local economy! One particular vendor has become my favorite stop on market Saturdays: Sugas Pimento Cheese.
Created by Chef Stacey West (a graduate of Atlanta’s Le Cordon Bleu College) these delicious flavors of pimento cheese have become high demand items at the Cartersville Market as well as other metro-Atlanta markets and retail stores. If you want to grab your favorite flavor of pimento cheese on Saturdays, you have to go early because they will sell out! They’re that good!
Already a huge fan of Chef Stacey, I was excited to learn that she has opened a restaurant in Powder Springs, Georgia that features many of her pimento cheese flavors in classic, mostly Southern dishes. Recently Audley and I ventured out to find this new eatery and indulge in a unique and delicious luncheon!
Suga’s Cheese Shoppe and Cafe was a concept born from having customers asking for creative ways to pair Chef Stacey’s pimento cheeses or use in recipes. This sweet little restaurant seats on a first come, first serve basis, and on the Saturday we visited it was quite obvious that word is already spreading about how scrumptious the dishes are. We were chatting with some ladies while waiting on our table, one of which drove across Atlanta for lunch with a friend because they had heard how wonderful everything was!
Before I continue you should know, Audley is very picky about cheese. In fact, he doesn’t eat any cold cheeses unless they are paired with flavorful fruits or spreads on a charcuterie board or melted on a sandwich. Pimento cheese does not fit into either of these categories. I felt like I was dragging a puppy into the vet as we walked in.
Once the menu hit our hands, I saw a spark in Audley’s eyes.
I heard a “hmmmm” escape his mouth and wondered what was going on in his head.
He gave me a snarl when I ordered Smoked Gouda Mac Balls as he dislikes most all pasta even more than cheese. They arrived piping hot to the table and I hear “well those smell good!”
I told him I wasn’t sharing, but Audley grabbed a fork, cut into one of the mac balls and swiped it through the thick marinara sauce on the plate.
He ate two of the three served with our appetizer.
The gouda mac balls are made with gouda and pimento mac n’ cheese, with a deep-fried panko crust and served with the previously mentioned marinara sauce. The outside was crispy while the inside was creamy and rich. They really were absolutely delicious!
We each chose something different off of the menu for our main entree; I ordered Shrimp Scampi after hearing it was Chef Stacey’s favorite dish, and Audley ordered a crispy chicken sandwich.
We both made really great choices!
The shrimp scampi is made with pesto and feta pimento cheese (which is spectacular) with a creamy white wine garlic sauce on a bed of thin angel hair pasta. Audley needed a second, third and fourth taste to decide it really was quite delectable.
Audley’s chicken sandwich had the largest chicken breast I have ever seen on a sandwich with lettuce, pickled red onions, house sauce and of course pimento cheese. Served with fries, there was no way someone would leave without being full.
And Audley LOVED it, pimento cheese and all.
In fact, he didn’t want to share.
After all of that, what is a couple stuffed full to do?
We ordered dessert of course…. something we could share.
Chef Stacey did not disappoint.
Somehow, we found a little more room to take in a slice of pimento cheese cheesecake.
More specifically Pimento Cheese Cheesecake topped with whipped cream and strawberries.
We ate it and Audley proclaimed it better than a certain commercial cheesecake restaurant.
All of a sudden, my skeptical husband was sold on pimento cheese in recipes.
Amazing how these things happen.
Even more amazing is that Audley has picked several other things off of the menu he wants to try, and soon. This especially includes the Black Truffle Pimento Cheesesteak and Oreo pimento cheesecake.
Take time to add Suga’s Cheese Shoppe and Cafe to your weekend ramblings this spring and summer. Not only will you enjoy a whole new culinary experience, but you’ll be also supporting a small local restaurant and that is a huge reward in itself!
And Audley said he will gladly accompany you.
Suga’s Cheese Shoppe and Cafe
4456 Marietta Street, Suite 110
Powder Springs, Georgia 30127
Closed on Monday & Tuesday