Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen has potential

I am not one to write negative reviews of restaurants and will simply not write a review if there is nothing positive to say. I must admit that Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen came close to that for me, but I think there are some things people might like even if it is not a place I see myself returning. This happened to be my birthday dinner, so the disappointment was compounded due to the missed opportunity.

Piedmont Brewery and Kitchen is located on Third Street near Kudzu Seafood. Photo by Doug Deal.

The concept has potential and people who enjoy a rotating selection of craft beers might fall in love with the restaurant on that alone. Putting a retro game room in the basement is something that will generate some buzz, but I think it came off as trying to hard to be hip. Overall, it is a positive, but I am not sure it makes up for the negatives.

If you enjoy talking to your companions at meal time, this is not the place for you. One of my biggest pet peeves in an eatery is one that plays overly loud music at a volume where all you really hear is a distorted cacophony. Although I am not a bar person, I have been to enough in my life to know that this is a common thing and some people prefer it. On the other hand, if you like to talk, you will find yourself shouting and that just makes the place louder. An obvious improvement would be to place partitions as acoustical dampeners to cut down on excess noise.

Piedmont Brewery and Kitchen has an impressive bar and it is clear why brewery comes before kitchen in the name. Photo by Doug Deal.

Be careful if you are someone that has a harder time getting around due to crutches, a wheelchair, or just an unsteady gate. Not only does the floor have a significant slope upward from the entry, there is a treacherous uneven spot near the stairway to the game room. On three occasions I nearly twisted and ankle or tripped on the edge of the floor discontinuity. I am not sure how hard it would be to replace that section, but including it in the final layout was a big mistake and I think will lead to injuries and accidents.

For starters, we ordered a beer cheese pretzel. My German heritage had me eagerly anticipating this taste treat, but what was delivered didn’t live up to the billing. The pretzel was average but passable, and the beer cheese sauce was mediocre at best. I love beer cheese and pretzels and would normally gobble up this dish with great haste. With this incarnation, the sauce was weak and water thin and was best described as boring. A more potent and thicker sauce would really step things up. $6 for something not much better than I could get at Sam’s club for $1.50 doesn’t really impress me. Again, this is correctable, and lots of people will enjoy it as many people do not like strongly flavored food.

The sauce is great on the pulled pork, but the pulled pork has a greasiness on its own that is unpleasant. Photo by Doug Deal.

Our meal took what seemed like an eternity plus a week or so to arrive. Considering our selections, it is unclear why our order took so long. I had the pulled pork and my kids had grilled cheese. The pulled pork had way too much oil in it and it left a very oily mouth feel. It had a wonderful flavor that was enhanced pleasantly by the smoky sweet sauce I had selected, but they only provide a little over a tablespoon. Left on its own without sauce, the oiliness of the pork was overwhelming. My guess is that it was at the bottom of the batch and perhaps with better luck it might improve the next go. Even with the oiliness, I did like it immensely with the smoky sweet sauce, what little there was. I also liked that it was served without bread. Anyone looking to cut down on the carbs of baked goods will appreciate that.

The sides I had were not horrible, but could be improved. I am not sure what caused it, but the mac and cheese had an unpleasant aftertaste. I suppose it was some component of the beer cheese, but being a fan of beer cheese I have never had that issue before. Potato salad was the other side and it has a bit of spiciness I do like, but if you closed your eyes, I could almost pass as tuna or chicken salad. It wasn’t bad, but it was slightly sweet instead of savory and that was unexpected.

Downstairs sharing the floor with the arcade is the brew room with equipment to appeal to the brew master in all of us. Photo by Doug Deal.

My drink was the “handcrafted root beer” which I did like. Refills aren’t free, they are $1, but I am fine with that because it is definitelt a premium beverage. Root beer just isn’t enough to bring me back to a restaurant. But, if they work through some kinks, it would be something I would look forward to.

The kids had grilled cheese and they liked them, but my son thought it was “too spicy”. Since I didn’t try them, I have no idea what that could be, but he is sensitive to certain flavors. My daughter at hers without any complaints. The side dish for my son was mac and cheese which he didn’t like at all, but kids usually like something that resembles Kraft instead, so that did not surprise me. Isobel, my daughter, had the mixed fruit and she ate and enjoyed every morsel.

In between bites, you can wonder down to the game room and practice your putting. Photo by Doug Deal.

At the end, the final damage was $50 after tip for one adult and two children. This is with no alcohol, just three fountain drinks, one being a root beer with one charged refill. For that price, I could have had a passible steak and the kids could have had burgers. I am not sure oily barbeque and two grilled cheese and a pretzel is a good value.

If you are a fan of beer and like a more bar, less restaurant type of atmosphere, I think you will find Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen more appealing. For a bar, it has good food. As a restaurant I would not recommend a friend unless they make some changes. I wish them luck and would love to give them another chance in the future after they had some time to shake things out.

Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen is located at 450 Third St in Macon.

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