David Fountain, a local food enthusiast and our community’s Best of Forsyth Financial Planner and Investment Advisor, continues his monthly mission to uncover and support our local favorite restaurants.
As the summer sun only continues to heat north Georgia, we find ourselves heading over to Lake Lanier to cool down and have some fun. This month, David wanted to highlight our community’s best lakeside locations that you can reach by either boat or car. His goal is to provide you, our readers, with a new favorite spot while also helping these restaurants regain some of the business they may have lost during the pandemic.
The Twisted Oar Lanier Islands Pkwy/Buford
Located in the beautiful Holiday Marina, The Twisted Oar is a wonderful spot for lakeside views and tasty food. This restaurant sits off the water and offers outdoor seating that gives you a beautiful view of the marina. David visited with Caroline and Jennifer, and they chose to sit outside to enjoy the nice lake breeze.
Offering everything from fresh seafood to wings, the group was excited for what this location had to offer. They began with the loaded potato skins, and that was a wonderful choice to start with. Filled with cheese, bacon, and chives, this appetizer got them all excited for the rest of their meal. The server promptly let David know that they had just begun offering pizza again, and being a pizza fan, David knew he needed to try it. He ordered the Buffalo Shrimp Pizza, which was topped with blue cheese sauce, grilled shrimp, mozzarella, and a drizzle of buffalo sauce. The pizza was well cooked, and the tang of the bleu cheese perfectly complemented the buffalo sauce.
Caroline decided to order the Fish Sandwich, which included grilled fish, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, and tartar sauce on a hoagie. With onion rings as her side, Caroline highly enjoyed this meal. She said the fish was cooked to perfection and tasted very fresh. Jen opted for the shrimp tacos. Topped with lettuce, cheddar jack cheese, and Pico de Gallo, Jen said they sure hit the spot.
The Twisted Oar is a pet friendly restaurant to ensure that your entire family, even the furry ones, can have a great time. Each week they offer a variety of specials, such as 10oz Ribeye and Blackened Red Snapper, so make sure to look it up before you visit. This eatery creates a fun and lively environment welcome to everyone by boat or car, and offers wonderful food, handcrafted drinks, and live music for your enjoyment.
Pelican Pete's Port Royale Drive ? Gainesville
Known for being the only floating tiki bar & restaurant on Lake Lanier, Pelican Pete’s creates a true ‘on the water’ experience. When pulling into the Port Royale Marina, you do not immediately see the restaurant. It is not until you clear the trees and begin walking onto the dock do you see the lively covered pavilion of Pelican Pete’s.
David and fellow foodie, Sandee, were excited to enjoy the nice lake breeze during their meal, and this location provides the perfect dining area to do so. After getting settled, David decided to order the Pete’s Hot Chicken Sandwich. Their Nashville-style hot chicken was topped with bread and butter pickles, shredded lettuce, and mayo, all on a brioche bun. He described the chicken as very tender and provided an enjoyable kick of heat. Sandee opted for the Blackened Salmon Spinach Salad, which was topped with toasted pecans, bleu cheese, Vidalia onion, and warm Georgia peach bacon vinaigrette. She said this is a wonderful choice if you are looking for a healthier option. The blackened salmon was perfectly cooked, and she was happily surprised by their unique, homemade vinaigrette.Described as a ‘one of a kind’ space, Pelican Pete’s creates a fun and lively space to enjoy their many different food varieties. Pelican Pete’s is also pet friendly location, which is perfect for days when you bring fido on the lake.
Fish Tales Mitchell Street/Flowery Branch
Whether you choose to drive a car, boat, or helicopter to this lakeside restaurant, you are sure to be impressed with the fun atmosphere and tasty food. Located at the Hideaway Bay Marina in Flowery Branch, you are sure to be impressed with the fun atmosphere and tasty food
David arrived with Caroline, Jennifer, and Sandee. David and his fellow foodie friends decided to sit outside, and boy was that a good choice. The weather was perfect, and the refreshing breeze felt wonderful as they overlooked the marina. When deciding what to order, their server was immensely helpful by recommending their most popular dishes, as well as his personal favorites. They decided to start with the Fish Tales, and Tuna Poke Nachos. Everyone enjoyed the fish tales (fried grouper fingers), and it tasted especially wonderful with the homemade dill tartar sauce. The Tuna Poke Nachos were very fresh and was a great appetizer for David and Jennifer. For the main meal, David ordered the Floribbean Grouper, and said that the Caribbean jerked fish was very fresh and well-seasoned.
Caroline and Sandee Opted for the Fish Tacos with shrimp, and Mango Mahi Tacos. Both tacos were wonderful, but Sandee recommends the Mango Mahi Tacos if you are looking for something new and exciting. Jen ordered the Spring Summer Salad with shrimp, and said the skewered grilled shrimp tasted wonderful with the fresh mix of lettuce, mangos, pecans, bleu cheese crumbles, grape tomatoes, and Caribbean mango dressing. The group was very satisfied with their meal, and all agreed their seafood was fresh and tasty.Open since 2010, owners Dale and Jessica Ozaki have done a wonderful job of creating a fun lakeside experience. The atmosphere of the restaurant is fun and lively, and allows you to enjoy their tasty food, full bar, and live music. If you have children, Fish Tales has a massive sandbox out front for their enjoyment as well. This family friendly restaurant is certainly one to check out.
Pig Tales Lights Ferry Road/Flowery Branch
Owned by the same people as Fish Tales (Dale & Jessica Ozaki), Pig Tales creates its own wonderful experience of BBQ goodness.
Walking up to this location, you are met with a calming lake breeze that wafts the savory scent of barbecue, which immediately left David and Jennifer excited to see what this eatery had to offer.After being seated, the server suggested that they start off with the Pig Tales Nachos. These nachos came completely loaded with pulled pork, queso, crunchy super slaw, and boom boom sauce on top of house made chips. David said that the pork was very tender, and that the ample amount of queso was a bonus.
For the main meal, David opted for the Buff Chicken Sandwich- crispy chicken tossed in buffalo sauce with provolone, lettuce, and tomato on Texas Toast and drizzled with buttermilk ranch. He said the chicken was perfectly spicy and crispy, and surely satisfied his appetite. Jennifer decided on the Spinach Avocado Wrap, which was grilled chicken, spinach, fresh tomato, bleu cheese crumbles, and avocado ranch wrapped in a spinach herb tortilla. Being a huge fan of avocado, this dish was perfect for Jennifer. She said that the tomato, bleu cheese, and avocado ranch created a great flavor that left her wanting more.Located at the Aqualand Marina, this location provides beautiful views, tasty drinks, and a lively atmosphere to enjoy their many tasty BBQ varieties. This eatery is pet friendly, and their large outdoor seating creates the perfect environment to relax and have a good time with family and friends.
Skogie's Lakefront Restaurant Dawsonville Highway/Gainesville
Skogie’s Lakefront Restaurant is located in the Gainesville Marina and provides plenty of outdoor seating for your lakefront enjoyment.
Owned by Tony and wife, Heather, this location has done a wonderful job of creating an inviting atmosphere to enjoy quality food.After being seated and looking over the marina, David and his fellow foodie friend, Ty, started off with Boom Boom Shrimp and Grouper Fingers. David and Ty raved about the shrimp and said that it was one of the best parts of his meal. The freshness of the shrimp, the crunch of the breading, and the spice of the sauce made for an exciting appetizer.
The grouper fingers tasted great as well and got the two excited for their main meal. David ordered the Fried Green Tomato BLT and the Caribbean Plate. The BLT seemed to be made with high quality ingredients and made for a very tasty sandwich. David’s Caribbean Plate was the real showstopper of his meal. This jerk seasoned grouper, served with yellow rice, black beans, and plantains, made for a unique and exciting dish for David to enjoy. The fish was seasoned to perfection, and the plantains were perfectly cooked.
Ty ordered the Shrimp Po Boy and said that the hand battered, made-to-order shrimp tasted perfect.While dining, David and Ty had the opportunity to hear live music, and this only amplified their experience. Skogie’s Lakefront Restaurant is a fun, family-friendly location to have a good time and enjoy some quality food.
Landshark Bar and Grill Lanier Islands Pkwy/Buford
To get to landshark Bar & Grill, you have to either enter Lake Lanier Islands, or arrive by boat. This lakefront restaurant is located inside the waterpark and provides a wonderful view of the lake and the surrounding attractions.
David arrived with fellow foodie, Caroline, and were sat outside overlooking the beach access and marina.Their friendly server informed the two that the Buffalo Sriracha Shrimp and the Beach Fries were a big hit for appetizers, so that is what the two decided to order. The Buffalo Sriracha Shrimp had a nice kick and tasted wonderful with the bleu cheese dipping sauce. The Beach Fries were smothered in cheese sauce, mixed cheese, bacon, sour cream, and scallions.
This is the perfect appetizer for cheese lovers and was described by David as a deconstructed loaded baked potato. For the main meal, David decided on the Roasted Turkey Club. This triple decker sandwich was piled high with roasted turkey, smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, Swiss cheese, and signature mayonnaise on country white toast. As a turkey club lover, David highly enjoyed this sandwich, and recommends adding bacon to bring it up a notch.
This family friendly spot is perfect to enjoy while the kids play. If you ever find yourself looking for some family fun on Lake Lanier Islands, Landshark is a great place to check out.
Smokey Q Bald Ridge Marina Road/Cumming
Originally started as a catering company in 2005, owners Rudy Conner and Judson Holder have done a stellar job of perfecting their barbecue.
pon arrival, David and fellow foodie Caroline were greeted by Judson and given a rundown on Smokey Q’s craft. Their small batch, dry rubbed meat is hickory smoked using the ‘low and slow’ method, and they pride themselves on their ability to make tender and flavorful meat that does not need the barbecue sauce to taste great.The talk of their methods made David and Caroline excited to try their BBQ varieties, so they made sure to order a little bit of everything. David ordered the smoked chicken wings, pork spare ribs, and the pulled pork sandwich. The chicken wings were David’s favorite, as they were flavorful and juicy all the way through. While not required, their homemade BBQ sauce complimented the tasty chicken very well.
Their pork spare ribs were also a hit and feature more meat than a traditional baby back rib. These huge ribs were very satisfying, and the dry rub provided ample flavor. Judson informed us that people travel across the lake for their wings and ribs, and it is clear why. To further spice up his meal, David decided to make his own pulled pork sandwich creation by topping it with their homemade BBQ sauce, mac n’ cheese, and coleslaw. He was happily surprised by how well their sides and entrees meshed and provided an exciting tasting experience. Caroline ordered the chicken taco and was just as pleased with her meal. She decided to not add any BBQ sauce and was very pleased with how flavorful the chicken was on its own.
Smokey Q is located at Bald Ridge Marina and provides outdoor seating that overlooks the water. This is a smaller location than the others- but do not be fooled. Their barbecue is very well made and affordable, making Smokey Q is the perfect spot to go for a quick lunch off the water.