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New tastes in town

Dawsonville grows despite economy

POSTED: August 12, 2009 4:00 a.m.
Photo/Michele Hester/

Adam Fowler serves up a dish of fettuccini alfredo at Adam's Little Italy.

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While many counties and cities across north Georgia are struggling with businesses closing down, the city of Dawsonville is experiencing a surprising growth spurt.


“We’re really excited about all these new food venues and new styles of food coming. The citizens have asked for more varieties of food here,” said Dawsonville City Administrator Kim Cornelison. “Now that they’re here, I hope they will enjoy them and support them.”


Within the last two weeks, two new restaurants opened to the delight of many in the community.


Zack’s Wings and Sports Grill saw an overwhelming number of lunch diners on opening day Thursday.


Wiping the super hot, buffalo sauce off his fingers, Lamar Gaddis said he was glad to see new restaurants open in the downtown area, especially restaurants offering new selections.


Zack’s menu ranges from hot of the grill burgers, to hand battered chicken fingers and appetizers like deep-fried pickles and okra.


Gaddis stopped in for the wings. “They’re good,” he said, as buffalo sauce dripped from his fingers. “Real good.”


Just a stone’s throw from Zack’s is Adam’s Little Italy, a northern Italian semi-fine dining experience with roses and wine bottles adorning the dinner tables.


Owner Adam Fowler opened Adam’s Little Italy July 31 and has seen the steady crowd of diners almost double each day.


“We’ve had a real good welcome from the community,” said Fowler, who has been looking to open a restaurant in Dawsonville for several years.


A self-taught chef, Fowler, who at 21 may not look like the cooks found in typical Italian eateries, said he’s worked for many months trying to perfect his recipes in anticipation of opening the restaurant.


“I’m not advertising yet that I’m opening. I’m using that time to work with my kitchen staff to make sure they know the recipes the way I want them made,” he said.


Open for lunch and dinner, Fowler warns Adam’s Little Italy is not fast-food.


“There’s not a way to make Italian quickly,” he said.


“I’m telling people who are coming in for lunch to call the order in about 15 or 20 minutes before they get here, and we’ll have their food ready and a table waiting.”


Zack’s and Adam’s are two of five new eateries scheduled to open in downtown Dawsonville within the next few weeks.


BoJangles, also in the same shopping center, is currently under construction and is anticipated to open later this month.


Mr. Wok, featuring authentic Chinese short-order cuisine, and The Bear Tavern, a English pub on the Dawsonville square, are also planned to open soon.


“It’s certainly a positive sign that we all hope is the beginning of a trend in downtown Dawsonville,” said Linda Williams, president of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce. “It’s going to be so nice to see so many new, quality businesses that haven’t been here before.”


Williams said the new restaurants give the community another incentive to stay in Dawsonville.


“These new businesses are new additions to the downtown business community. We’re so pleased they’ve chosen downtown Dawsonville and encourage folks to come into town,” she said.


E-mail Michele Hester at



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