Fountain of Juice is a casual but classy choice for chow

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, so it only fits not to judge a restaurant by its name. If you have ever swung by the Prado in North Macon, near the Museum of Arts and Sciences, you might have seen a sign for a place called FOJ, which is short for Fountain of Juice.

Not being a juice or smoothie drinker, I never thought to go into the establishment, but on a whim , I decided to pop in and check the place out. To my surprise, it was a full-blown restaurant, serving sandwiches, quiches, soups, cheeses, burgers, and salads.

FOJ Cheese Board
The cheese platter can serve as an appetizer or entrée and is priced at $11. It comes with Brie, Muenster and cheddar cheese and is served with honey and tomato jam. Photo by Doug Deal.

The culinary offerings reminded me of the recently-closed Harpins restaurant, but maybe a step up in ambiance and refinement, combined with a significantly more substantial menu. The meat at Fountain of Juice is raised locally, with their ground beef coming from Rocking Chair Ranch and their fillets coming from White Oak Pastures.

Although the dining room appears small at first glance, it is actually pretty roomy. There are a large number of tables to seat a lot of guests, but they are spread far enough apart so that it does not feel crowded, even when the restaurant is full.

For this meal, my companion and I shared a cheese platter. The chunks of Brie, muenster, and cheddar were served on a plank of wood with a bit of honey and tomato jam as well as a smattering of cranberries and crackers. The sweetness of the condiments paired well with the savory cheeses, and at $11, the vast spread was a decent value. One could order this for lunch, fill up and still have cheese left over.

For my main entrée, I ordered an appetizer, the shrimp nachos. These were not like any nachos I have had before. On the first bite, the seafood punch comes through strongly, in a good way. The lobster cream sauce with Monterey jack cheese paired well with the pico and a garnish of avocado. It is something you’ll recommend to a friend. At $10, it was not too expensive, especially for a seafood dish.

Although I did not get to try it, my companion ordered a fried green tomato BBGLT (Bacon, Brie, Goat cheese, Lettuce, and Tomato) sandwich. It is likely the next thing I’ll have when I return to FOJ, as it looked terrific. For $12, it is a little more pricey, but it also comes with a side which is a choice from fries, pasta salad, fruit, side salad, soup or chips.

Some highlights on the menu to try later include the steak BLT, which is served with a petite fillet, candied bacon, fried green tomatoes, and jalapeño Bearnaise sauce. Another interesting item is the “Grown up Mac” which kicks everyone’s childhood favorite up a notch with the addition of spinach and a Béchamel sauce. The dish incorporates a wider noodle penne pasta instead of macaroni.

For those looking for a brunch option, Fountain of Juice serves a Saturday brunch menu with items such as shrimp and grits, a breakfast burger, and of course, bottomless mimosas.

If you are looking for a nice place for lunch or brunch that is a welcomed change of pace from fast food, give Fountain of Juice a try. The menu is unique, the ingredients are fresh, and the flavors are sensational.

FOJ is located at 4123 Forsyth Road in the Prado shopping center in North Macon.

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