Great Greek, Mediterranean and Indian food at Metropolis Grill

Warner Robins, Ga.- When it comes to Indian and Mediterranean cuisine that’s fulfilling and flavorful Metropolis Grill looms high on the list. The address is 866 Georgia Hwy 96 Suite 104 in Warner Robins.

The first time I experienced Greek cuisine I was hooked. The combination of spices, sauces, and tantalizing taste of lamb sautéed in olive oil just seemed so right. But I must admit the first place I dined was mediocre compared to the experience I received at Metropolis Grill. They take the cuisine to another level. I have never eaten in Greece, India, or anywhere near the Mediterranean but I am sure Metropolis would hold their own against the best that part of the world has to offer. The tzatziki sauce they make is amazing, it’s perfect with their pita bread, and it compliments the lamb quite nicely.

The owner Rajesh K. Gandhi, commonly known to patrons as “Bobby” is originally from Punjab, India and has been a restauranteur for about 27-years. Bobby entered the restaurant business because he likes cooking, so much so that he creates all his recipes. The restaurant started out on Watson Blvd. but is now located on Hwy 96. It’s no secret that Metropolis has a unique flare, so when asked how does his establishment differ from the rest, Bobby said, “It’s all authentic food, and everything is made fresh to order.”

The menu at Metropolis is very diverse. You will certainly find something that will suit your palate, from the Metropolis Sampler appetizer, a salad from the Mediterranean Garden section, and even a section designated as Dinner for Two. I’m a huge fan of the Combination Greek Platter, mainly because it is served with lamb and spanakopita which is a spinach pie consisting of feta cheese, scallions, egg, and seasoning.

Metropolis also offers Indian dishes that consists of the most delectable cumin and curry sauces as well as masalas. I recommend the Chef Special if it’s an aromatic traditional Indian dish you desire. Metropolis Grill is a taste like non-other, with flavors that your taste buds will love.

Middle Georgia State University Award Student Leaders

Warner Robins, Ga. – Middle Georgia State University hosted a ceremony honoring thirty-eight students for their noteworthy commitment, dedication, and overall achievements contributed to their student body organizations during the 2016-2017 school year. The ceremony was held April 12,2017, in the Student Success Center on the Warner Robins campus. The décor of the ceremony was artfully designed; it resonated a theme of global significance; a passport to success. A constructed portal which led to a 6-foot tall replica of the Eiffel Tower added a stunning touch to the ceremony, as well as the other visual aids.

Photo by Donja M. Harper.

Michael Stewart, Ph.D. in Education and Assistant Vice-President of Student Affair’s, said the Student Leadership Awards recognize outstanding leadership and service exhibited by students involved in student engagement programs. “Student Engagement focuses on learning outside the classroom through involvement in student organizations, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, intramural, club sports and campus/ community service projects,” Dr. Stewart explained.

The ceremony began with a welcoming speech from Corey Guyton, Ph.D. in Philosophy. Guyton’s momentous prelude included thunderous applause for all those that helped make the ceremony a success. He talked about the significance of honoring students who exemplify the inspiring attributes of leaders.

Photo by Donja M. Harper.

Dr. Guyton’s speech was followed up by MGSU’s President, Dr. Christopher Blake. Blake proceeded with acknowledging the importance of celebrating success and finding greatness. He discussed that students should view the ceremony as a way of passing the torch for fellow peers to aspire to.

The highlight of the ceremony was the “Presentation of Awards” to the student leaders. The awards were presented by Dr. Jennifer Brannon. It consisted of distinctive leadership awards for recognition within the various student organizations and concluded with three overall awards for outstanding recognition.

Photo by Donja M. Harper.

The 38 students honored included:
Christopher Price, Brothers of Leadership & Distinction
Ciyanni Hunter, Campus Activity Board – Cochran
Brandi M. Harrison, Canterbury Club
Grace Terry, Georgia Academy
Kieston Standfield, Men’s Varsity Basketball
Julie J. Davis, Mock Mediation Team
Thomas Smith, Peer Career Advisor Club
Jasmine Miller, Queens of Knights
Samantha Morgan, Sigma Kappa Delta
Jamia Orange, Sisters Attaining Self Success
Alan Kalinda, Southeast Model African Union
Kristina R. Troili, Student Art League
TyAsia Grayer, Women’s Varsity Basketball
Hannah Gullickson, Women’s Varsity Soccer
Tiana Bell, Multi-Cultural Association
Victoria Monetta, Campus Activity Board – Eastman
Emily Lambert, Women in Aviation
Clayton Vedder, Accounting Association
Quaid Stone, Association of Healthcare Executives
Shaniqua Smith, Black Student Unification
MiTyrra Montgomery, Campus Activity Board – Macon
Erin R. Lucas, Central GA Information Systems Security Association
Jennifer Martin, Chamber Singers
Sarah L. Kirk, Cyber Knights
Patrick Layson, English Studies Organization
DeMarcus Beckham, Gay-Straight Alliance
John R. Legg, History Student Organization
Rachel Hastings, Honors Student Association
Alexandra Cooper, Internal Audit Association
Hunter Holland, Kappa Sigma Fraternity
Chris Ely, Middle Georgia Respiratory Education Action Team
Shekennia Grover, Model African Union
Amanda Johnson, President’s Torch Society
TeAndre Dennis, Student Government Association
Stephanie Breitenbach, Student Media
Jonathan Almendras, Student Veteran Association
Tina Scott, Campus Activity Board – Warner Robins
Carmeshia Primus, Student Employee of the Year

Following the ceremony, there was fellowship, with guests joining faculty, staff, and honorees for a reception which included a full buffet of refreshments.

Mercer Theatre hosted performance of August: Osage County

Mercer Theatre hosted the critically acclaimed stage play August: Osage County. The play Originally premiering in June 2007 at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and opened on Broadway in December 4, 2007. It is making a well-deserved run almost 10-years later.

The play, written by Tracy Letts, is directed by Scot J. Mann. Mann is an award winning and internationally recognized Fight Master through the Society of American Fight Directors, the British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat and Director of Theatre at Mercer University.

Backstage with some actors from Mercer Theatre. Photo by Donja M. Harper.

The cast which consists of aspiring actors such as Julie Allen who appeared in such works as Legacy of Light, Tartuffe, and Love Kills, joins Stuart Appleton, Jay Black and others in a stellar performance. August: Osage County is a play about a vanished father, a pill-popping mother, and 3 sisters harboring shady secrets. The show was performed at the Tattnall Square Center for the Arts. Prior to being a theater, the building was a historic church and has stood for more than 100-years at the corner of Macon’s College and Oglethorpe Streets.

Stage set for “August: Osage County.” Photo by Donja M. Harper.

Mann said that after attending Mercer University he became an actor for approximately 18 years. His professional accomplishments include working with the likes of actors such as Danny Trejo and Adrian Paul (popularly known for his lead in the TV series Highlander), and author/actor Stephen King. He credits working with directors at the Alliance and The Alabama Shakespeare Festival for inspiring him to pursue a career as a Director of Theatre. Mann said, “The growth of the actors, from the time of rehearsal up until the opening of the show, seeing how they develop and discover the character and work they’re putting into it, because they always do things I never envisioned…” is the most exciting part of being a theatre director.

Tattnal Square Center for the Arts. Photo by Donja M. Harper.

The play is “Recognized internationally as one of the most important works of modern theatre, August: Osage County is a masterfully structured play, a compelling dark comedy and perhaps least recognized, heavily autobiographical.”

For more information about future events at Tattnall Square Center of the Arts call The Grand Opera House box office at (478) 301-5470 or visit www.tickets.mercer.edu.

Ampersand Guild is a supportive environment that caters to the artist

When it comes to being creative, the Ampersand Guild shines like a dark and starry night. It’s an eclectic composition, a canvas that connects the stars into eye-catching constellations; much so like the Guild’s resident artists. Everything about this place exudes art. The Guild’s location is in Macon’s downtown district an area most Maconites today would consider to be off the beaten path.

Downtown Macon is full off history, from the railroad to the old mills it’s a place that leaves you in awe. The Guild calls home to an abandoned warehouse near Macon’s Terminal Station. The building is a historic landmark and aside from the dated facade, once you step inside you get a feeling of tranquility. It’s fascinating; the ambience has a sort of je ne sais quoi. Yet another aspect that’s quite crafty is the name itself, Ampersand which if stylized is the “&” character and “Guild” which is defined as an organized group of people who have joined together because they share the same interest.

Ampersand Guild member Nik Nerburn introducing his documentary "In the Shadow of Paul Bunyan" Photo by Donja M. Harper.
Ampersand Guild member Nik Nerburn introducing his documentary “In the Shadow of Paul Bunyan” Photo by Donja M. Harper.

The Ampersand Guild Hall is created by artists for artists, and I had the pleasure of speaking with a few. Daniel Montoule who is an artist and curator of the guild gave me insight on the Guild’s mission and how the artwork is organized. He said, “It is home to over 100 members, ranging from painters, musicians, actors, and photographers.” I also had the pleasure of speaking with Nik Nerburn, who is a budding videographer from Bemidji, Minnesota. He has been living in Georgia for about 3-years now and is in the process of filming a documentary focusing on East Macon’s Mill Hill area. I found the idea quite interesting being that when I first came to Macon. I resided in one of the homes on Schell Ave.

Nerburn premiered a short documentary titled, “In the Shadow of Paul Bunyan” which happen to expound upon the tall tale that encapsulates his hometown of Bemidji, Minn. Nerburn hopes to have one of his films featured during Macon’s annual Film Festival. It’s no secret that Macon is deeply rooted in artistry with its musical background and various authors. Nerburn said, “If you come to Macon with a preconception of what it is, you will find something to confirm that.” I found the statement very suitable from an artist standpoint.

Ampersand Guild features artwork from resident artists. Photo by Donja M. Harper.
Ampersand Guild features artwork from resident artists. Photo by Donja M. Harper.

The Ampersand Guild Hall is an artsy environment that caters to the creative enthusiast and those who seek refuge from the hustle and bustle or everyday life. Be sure to take time out and visit if you are in downtown Macon, Ga. It is open from 9am-9pm Tuesday-Saturday and 1pm-9pm Sunday and closed Monday.

www.ampersandguild.com / facebook.com/ampersandguild

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.