February 21, 2018

1000 Faces and J.R. Crickets Do What They Do Well

Grub Notes

Photo Credit: Jessica Silverman

1000 Faces

GOOD AT SOMETHING: You might think it’s weird to pair write-ups of the following two places serving food and drink in a single column, but they do have something in common: They’re both very good at what they do, despite the fact that what they do is very different.

The problem with getting a pour-over cup of coffee from 1000 Faces Coffee (510 N. Thomas St., 706-534-8860) in its shiny new location is that it makes me realize how bad the coffee I usually drink is. It’s not a quick process. The barista slowly assembles the appropriate amount of beans—roasted in the room next door, which you can see through the big window—grinds them, heats the water, places the grounds in a paper filter, slowly pours water over them and lets the resulting nectar drip into your cup. It’s not great if you’re in a hurry, although you can also get some ready-to-go brew, made with the same good and incredibly fresh ingredients.

What it is good for is taste. I tend to treat coffee from a functional perspective, because if I don’t drink it in the morning, I will get blinding headaches and be unable to do much of anything. The cup I had at 1000 Faces reminded me that behaving that way is the equivalent of buying wine in jugs from the bottom shelf. That’s not to say the latter doesn’t have its place as a valid method, depending on your goals, and it can get expensive to give each thing you put in your body the time and respect it deserves, but golly (and by golly I mean something unprintable but enthusiastic and positive), it sure is nice to have a perfect cup of coffee. The two best cups of coffee I have had in my life have been courtesy of 1000 Faces—one years ago at a cupping class in the old location and one last week—and I ought to remember that more often.

The space can be peaceful, as it is early in the morning on weekdays, or jam-packed, as it is later in the day, when The Classic Center, nearby hotels and student apartment complexes around the shop send floods of people needing caffeine.

There are some other things besides coffee, including a wide variety of baked goods supplied daily by The Comerian. If there are danishes, they are very good and worth the calories. You can get sweet stuff or savory stuff, including croissants stuffed with ham and cheese or scones made with Gruyère.

1000 Faces is open from 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.–3 p.m. on Sunday.

GOOD AT SOMETHING ELSEJ.R. Crickets (810 Hawthorne Ave., 706-850-9800), which opened in the former Big Daddy’s/Dickey’s/Allen’s in November, might technically be a chain out of Atlanta, but it doesn’t really feel like it. The original owes some of its fame to having been featured on the TV show “Atlanta” and some of it to having been open since 1982. The one here can feel a little scattered at times—an electronic beer sign that is supposed to display the date before which you must have been born to drink has the day, month and year wrong—but the food is good, and it is friendly. On your way out the door, a minimum of three people will tell you to have a nice day and thank you for coming.

It’s not a great place for vegetarians, as you might expect from a restaurant that specializes in wings and ribs. That said, if you are not a vegetarian, and you order said wings and ribs (available in a combo with fries), you will be happy. The ribs are surprisingly good, if a little saucy. The wings can come dry or wet, and both pass muster. “Lemony pepper” (h/t “Atlanta”) is probably the signature flavor, and for good reason. A whole basket of wings in that flavor, wet, will scorch the heck out of your taste buds, in a delightful way. The combination of fried shrimp (big and good) and a fresh waffle (crisp, not soggy, not too sweet) in a basket as a lunch special sounds weird but absolutely works. Sandwiches can be a little on the small side, but they, too, are well executed and not short on flavor. There is plenty more to explore on the menu, should you desire, but the standards alone are worth your time and dollar.

J.R. Crickets is open from 11 a.m.–midnight Sunday through Thursday and 11–2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, with a full bar. It also caters.