By Doug Deal
Macon Community News
Until about a half of a year ago, I had not visited Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen since around the time they opened. Our first visit was on my birthday very shortly after they opened, and it was the one, and only, time that we had posted a review online that could be labeled “negative.” Although the service was far from terrible, the new restaurant jitters were apparent, and we were disappointed. Although I did not have the best experience, I did recognize their potential and promised to revisit the restaurant in the future.
After hearing about the quality of their delicious wings from several people, we included Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen in our wing comparison article. In that piece, they scored the best tasting wings as well as second place overall when including price and wing size. The quality and service we experienced while researching for that article triggered multiple visits for their lunch and dinner specials of the day, which consistently impressed us in the artistry, presentation, uniqueness and, of course, flavor.
Finally, this past week, I returned to Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen with my team of taste-testers in tow to review the dining experience of the restaurant individually for our print edition.
To start my meal, I ordered their chili, which had a silky fine-grained texture. It reminds me of the meat in Cincinnati-style chili, which is usually cooked in water to keep the meat from clumping and browning. The heat level was mild, but the flavor was still boldly seasoned with a fair amount of spice. Although chili purists may complain, the chili also had a smattering of light red kidney beans which only added positive notes to the dish, including a hint of sweetness. The final touch was a dollop of shredded cheddar which begged to be mixed into the bowl to bring it all together. The result was a unique (for Macon) rendition of chili that I truly enjoyed.
For my main entree, I split a sizeable twenty-piece order of smoked wings with my wife. Our flavors of choice were the Sweet and Smokey BBQ and Hot Buffalo, ten each.
The hot wings were excellent, but they lost by a nose to the absolutely perfect Sweet and Smokey BBQ. Since the wings are smoked, the meat has a baseline smokiness that clashes slightly with the “hot” flavor in the Hot Buffalo. The combination of flavors is not off-putting, but the characters in the Sweet and Smokey sauce harmonize perfectly with that underlying smokiness so that there is no contest: the Sweet and Smokey is the best wing selection.
Another benefit of smoked wings is that the flesh falls off the bone with a slight effort, but still stays firmly attached until then. Unlike the smoked wings from other restaurants, they also finish their wings in a fryer. This gives crispiness to their wings that beats the somewhat soft texture of smoked wings at restaurants that skip the frying step. This attention to detail elevates the wings at Piedmont on a higher plane.
The kids split an order of chicken tenders with Mac & Cheese. The chicken pieces were tender and moist throughout and were breaded in a flaky crust reminiscent of panko breading. It was served with a bit of their Sweet and Smokey BBQ sauce that we also had with the wings. Our kids cleaned their plate and could not get enough of them. Piedmont’s Mac & Cheese was also delightfully full of flavor and creamy. The pasta was cooked with a slight firmness and with no trace of mushy clumps.
Being big fans of root beer, we of course ordered and split a float made with Piedmont’s in-house rootbeer. If you like root beer, treat yourself and splurge on either root beer in a glass or with icecream as a root beer float, and you will regret not ordering it.
Since my first visit, Piedmont has continuously improved, and the effort has paid off. The service has been better than average, and the atmosphere is enjoyable. I highly recommend following them on Facebook to view their daily specials, which are always engaging with an artistic flair.
Since we are generally not drinkers, we have not sampled the various beers on tap, but the selection is wide-ranging with a brew for anyone’s palate. Their website promises to brew about 20 unique offerings a year with everything from blondes to stouts. If you are a beer drinker, be sure to ask their recommendation about what pairs well with their fabulous food.
Piedmont Brewery and Kitchen is located 450 Third Street in downtown Macon. They open at 11 AM every day, closing at 9 PM on Sunday and Monday, 10 PM Tuesday through Thursday and 10:30 PM on Friday and Saturday.