Roswell Restaurant Week – The Mill Kitchen & Bar

Last Saturday, we had the opportunity to try out one of the fabulous restaurants that was participating in Roswell Restaurant WeekThe Mill Kitchen & Bar!  We’ve heard about all of these different “restaurant weeks” in Roswell, Alpharetta, and Atlanta, but have never actually visited during the promotion period. This time, we made it a goal to plan one of our weekend date nights at a participating restaurant!

Before we ultimately decided on The Mill Kitchen & Bar, we scoured through over 30 participating restaurants’ prix-fixe menus to narrow down our options. For those of you who are unfamiliar with restaurant weeks, typically the restaurants will offer a set two or three course menu with a handful of their specialty options at a fixed price. For Roswell Restaurant week, most menus were either $25 or $35 per person for two or three courses. We usually don’t order dessert when we eat out, so restaurant week was an excuse for us to make date night extra special!

The Mill Kitchen & Bar holds a special place in our heart – we celebrated our engagement with our families at brunch the morning after Grant proposed. So it was already high on the list before looking at the food options! After looking at the menu, we came to the conclusion that it had some of the best options that appealed to both of us (and we had never been there for dinner). For the appetizer, we each had a choice between Pimento Cheese Fritters, Fried Pickles, or a Wedge Salad. Entrees included Fried Chicken, Shrimp & Grits, and Short Rib. And finally, dessert was either a Flourless Chocolate Torte or Bread Pudding. Additionally, they had some beer and wine flight options that included either 3 beer tastes for $7 or 3 wine tastes for $11. Take a look below to see what we decided to try!

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(Wedge Salad; Pimento Cheese Fritters; Domaine Bousquet Malbec, Slow Press Cabernet, Bortoluzzi Pinot Grigio; Eventide Highlander Strong Scotch Ale, Lexington Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, Scofflaw Porter; Shrimp & Grits, Flourless Chocolate Torte; Bread Pudding) 

So, was Restaurant Week worth it?

Despite it being Restaurant Week, we were able to score a great reservation on OpenTable only a few days in advance. In terms of cost, we saved $6 by ordering from the Restaurant Week menu as opposed to ordering the exact same thing during a normal day. Their appetizer and dessert portion sizes were HUGE! We easily could have split both on a normal night out. All of the flavors and food quality were amazing; you definitely felt like you got what you paid for. On a downside, the restaurant was super busy with it being Saturday night and Restaurant Week, so service was a little slow – we didn’t get water until our first course and our beer and wine didn’t get there until the entrees. They also were out of quite a few wine options from their tasting flight menu, so I probably would have preferred just ordering a glass of wine rather than scambling to pick tasting options from what they had left. Also, if you are someone that likes to substitute or ask for special requests, there are no substitutions from the Restaurant Week menu, so something as simple as switching out blue cheese for ranch dressing with the salad could not be accommodated.

All in all, we had a great date night and would definitely recommend coming back to The Mill Kitchen & Bar! Neither of us left hungry and it was fun to try something new! We’re glad we tried out the Restaurant Week menu, but think we’ll probably stick to the regular menu next time, as well as plan to go during a time when it’s not so crazy to try new places.

Did you visit Roswell Restaurant Week? Any recommendations on new places for us to try?

Be sure to follow along with us in between blog posts on our Instagram – instagram.com/thelocalbells

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Meet The Local Bells!

Who are the Local Bells? 

M: I’m Meagan, one half of the Local Bells! Born and raised in the suburbs of Atlanta, I grew up riding horses and developed a passion early on for travel. I was very blessed by a family that provided the opportunity for me to experience so many wonderful places and things, even from a young age. Growing up, we used to joke that Disney World was our “vacation home!” In college, I had the opportunity to spend almost three months studying abroad in Europe, which was an incredible experience immersing myself in different cultures, appreciating beautiful art and architecture, and eating some of the most delicious cuisine!

Despite what you may think, life hasn’t always been sunshine and rainbows. You miss the moments in between the happy photos of what goes on behind the scenes in life. Through the ups and downs, I’ve always held true to the idea that you make your own happiness. I have many more mottos and mantras that I live by, which I’m sure will surface in future posts!

I met my now husband 10 years ago on a school European studies trip to Greece and Italy. It wasn’t until many years later that we finally started dating, and we officially tied the knot last November! I currently work as a Senior Market Research Analyst, focusing on understanding consumer habits and motivations. While I enjoy what I do, my dream career would be more travel-focused – there just aren’t enough holidays and vacation days to see and experience all that is outside of these corporate walls!

A few fun facts about me:

  • In high school, I worked as an assistant photographer court-side at several tennis events that included the Bryan brothers, James Blake, the Jensen brothers, and Andy Roddick.
  • I have had some good luck with contests, and once won a radio contest to go to the 50th ACM Awards in Dallas, Texas.
  • I’m a ramblin’ wreck from Georgia Tech {not a helluva engineer}, and graduated with a 4.0.

G: I’m Grant, the other half of the Local Bells! Like Meagan, I grew up in Atlanta. Sports, music, and movies have always been some of my favorite things. Growing up, I played hockey and then later football. I also taught myself how to play bass and guitar and was in our school’s chapel band.

I’ve also had the opportunity to do some traveling over the years, some for mission work and some for fun. I’ve been to Namibia, Africa twice for mission work and Europe twice for school European studies trips.

Fun facts about me:

  • I can solve a Rubik’s cube in under 2 minutes.
  • I was in a classic rock/grunge cover band in high school.
  • I have rushed the field at two different college football stadiums (Auburn ’13, and Georgia Tech ’14)

Why are we writing a blog?

M: For me, I’ve always had a creative side, whether it’s writing or art, but it’s been a part of me that got pushed to the side once I went to college and started focusing on other things. Up until about age 16, I kept journals that I wrote in religiously every day. I have a whole stack of them (currently collecting dust), but loved being able to document my day and express my feelings. Similarly to writing, I also have always been an avid reader. Ask my mom and the number one reason I got in trouble back in the day was for staying up too late reading! Art was another passion of mine growing up, especially photography. I love being able to capture the memory of a moment in time.

My hope with this blog is to combine all of those creative elements to share our story, whatever that may be. Between Grant and I, I’m also more of the planner who likes routine. I want to push myself outside of my comfort zone to be more spontaneous and try new things – even if all that entails is ordering something different at our favorite restaurant!

I’ve been so inspired by the people that dive head-first into pursuing their passions. I’m not a big fan of change, so I admire the people that fearlessly go after their dreams. The Bucket List Family in particular truly inspired me in how they took their life a completely different direction with full-time travel as a family. While that isn’t the current case for Grant and I (I wish!), I’m embracing change and excited to see what’s ahead when I bring my hopes and dreams back to the forefront of my priorities and goals.

G: Unlike Meagan, I am not creative. I have never been a writer, I was never a reader until recently, and the last time I painted something was in 2nd grade art class. So when Meagan asked me if I wanted to be a part of this blog thing, I was pretty hesitant. I knew she would thrive with it, but what do I have to offer? So the reason why I am doing this is to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. The things that I am passionate about, I have found that I can write about and tell you about, and I am excited about sharing those things with you in the future.

Why should you care? 

M: To me, the original intention of keeping a blog was to create an activity that Grant and I can do together. Especially in our first year of marriage, I want keep track of these memories and encourage us to try something different, be more spontaneous, and enjoy all that life has to offer. We both bring a unique perspective and different life experiences to the table that we hope others can learn from. Whether it’s sharing tips on how we save money at the grocery store or restaurants, reviewing our favorite new recipe or local hole in the wall, explaining how we stay motivated with our financial goals of paying down loans and saving for a house, or filling you in on how we plan our trips to get the best deals, we hope that our story and adventures can motivate, inspire, or at least give you a new fact that you hadn’t known before! It’s a learning process for us too, so I want to learn from YOU to create relevant and exciting content that will help you.

G: We are normal, everyday people. Most of the lifestyle blogs you may read are all about these people that travel the world and visit crazy places, or live in huge city working for a big well known company. Meagan and I are a couple that are going through everything normal people do during their first year of marriage. We live in the suburbs working “9-5” jobs, saving money for experiences, and enjoying what is around us. So I think you should follow us and read this blog because we are just like you. We want to share experiences, places, recipes, and everything else in between because these are thing that you can do also and experience.

What’s next for the Local Bells?

M: We have finally started to settle into our routine as a married couple after the past few months of craziness with the holidays. We’re excited to explore the awesome area we live in and try some new restaurants. Though not particularly exciting, we have some goals to pay down loans, prepare for eventual home-ownership, and plans for our “fun-fund” for whatever travel and activities we decide on for 2018.

For me, I’m most excited about the travel (hopefully!) we’ll be doing in this first year of marriage. We have a trip to Park City planned in early March, plan to look into a few weekend trips within driving distance from Atlanta (Asheville, Nashville, Hilton Head, any suggestions??), and an anniversary trip in November. My two happy places are Disney World and the beach, so I hope those make the cut this year! Be sure to follow along to see what’s next!

G: Meagan has already covered the trips we are taking, and I am very excited for Park City and other adventures. What I always look forward to are the concerts that are coming up (Then Dirty Guv’nahs to name one). I am just excited to see what marriage has in store for us and excited about sharing with everyone not just the big trips we take but the random experiences throughout.

Be sure to follow along on Instagram too – instagram.com/thelocalbells

Big Apple Circus – Special Opening Night Discount!

After a week of freezing temperatures and some unexpected snow, we were so excited for a sunny (and warm!) Sunday at Avalon to get a sneak peek of the upcoming Big Apple Circus show next week at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Alpharetta. Opening night isn’t until January 26th, but we got a chance to have a special meet and greet with some of their amazing performers, including juggling clowns, an extremely talented face-painter Twinklz, skating pros Dandino and Luciana, and Frankie the miniature pony!

Big Apple Circus is celebrating their 40th anniversary this year! Founded in New York City in 1977, Paul Binder and Michael Christensen brought a new style of circus to the table, by focusing on the intimacy and personalized experienced of a European one-ring circus. The group adds new acts each year, and this one looks to be the most exciting yet with both Nik Wallenda, the “Greatest Daredevil of Our Generation” and the Fabulous Wallendas joining the circus to perform their daring acts.

One thing that we love about Big Apple Circus is that the only animals in the show are rescued dogs and horses. It is so heartwarming to hear about these rescued animals and the joy that they bring to the audience in their new job! We loved getting to meet Frankie the miniature pony and can’t wait to see the rest of his friends on Friday!

Big Apple Circus has teamed up with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, our local children’s hospital, to fund-raise for the incredible patients and families there. This is a charity that is truly near and dear to our hearts, so we are so excited for this partnership! 100% of the proceeds from opening night will go directly to the hospital! Help us to sell out their first night in Atlanta! And to help you out, we have a special discount code for anyone attending!

To buy your tickets for opening night, use code “CHOA” here to get an extra $5 off at checkout. To learn more about how the event benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and to see what other events they have coming here, check out their website here.

Follow along with our adventures on Instagram at instagram.com/thelocalbells

Gate City Brewing Company

Hey everyone – Grant again! Today I’m excited to tell you about one of my favorites things ever: BEER! This is my review of Gate City Brewing Company. This is a small brewery located in historic downtown Roswell, GA. This is actually Roswell’s first brewery in 2015 when they first opened their doors. Everyone knows that craft beers are very popular right now, from IPAs to Amber Ales, all the way to Stouts and Porters. Gate City Brewing has a style of beer for every type of beer drinker. Now, there are many aspects that people look for when going to a brewery. They are: beer, atmosphere, crew and community.

The beer. The single most important part of a brewery is and will always be the beer. Now, Gate City started with their Cooperhead Amber and 1864 IPA. These are the staples of Gate City along with OTP IPA and Terminus Porter, which are all available for purchase at your local grocery store (hopefully,). A bill was passed recently in Georgia that allows small craft breweries to not only produce the beer, but also sell their own beer. In the past, you would attend a brewery and only be allowed to purchase a “tour,” which usually included a glass, 6 beer samples, and a tour of the brewery. Thankfully, Georgia legislation passed a new law so that these craft breweries could also sell pints of beer to customers along with a already canned beer. You can request a 32oz fresh canned beer or whatever your favorite is on tap. I am personally an IPA fan. I love the hoppy taste they have with that bitter finish. My usual go-to at Gate City is the OTP. This is a great IPA with a great hoppy flavor but also not over bearing to where you are dying for a palette cleanser. Terminus would have to be my second favorite. This is an awesome Porter with a greater coffee finish on it. Both of these beers are canned and available for purchase at your local grocery store (well, that is if you’re in Georgia). The newest brew they have at the Tap Room is Black Magic. This is like if the OTP and Terminus had a baby. This is a dark IPA which is very new to me. I definitely had to get a little taste before committing to a full pint. This might be my new favorite beer. It had a very nice IPA flavor to it, but still had the body of a dark beer without being so heavy, I highly recommend coming it the tap room and giving it a try!

Now to talk about the crew and the atmosphere. Gate City Brewing is above the rest when it comes to this. They have a great feel with their new larger tap room (opened up in 2017). There are plenty of large tvs, a large bar, lots of picnic tables along with a more luxurious couch area. Tons of games are spread out across the seating area like large Jenga and UNO. We came to Gate City to watch the AFC Divisional Playoff game and it was perfect. They usually have a food truck come in during the week and all day on Friday and Saturday. If you don’t like what they are serving up, there are tons of restaurants in Downtown Historic Roswell that you can order from and bring into the brewery or use the UberEats app to make it even easier. The staff at Gate City is also awesome. If you don’t know exactly what you want, just let them know your usual type of brew and they can recommend something for you! A few friends and I sat at the bar for a whole NFL game, and not only were the bar enders very conversational but they also paid attention to the other customers and made great recommendations.

Now we talked about the beer, the crew and the atmosphere, but the most underrated thing is the community. All of the Gate City staple beerspay homage with their logo. Their 1864 is named after the Battle of Atlanta during the Civil War in September of 1864. Terminus is named after the railroad that was built through Georgia that linked Savannah to the Chattanooga River and the Mid-West in 1836. If you’re from Atlanta, you know what OTP stand for (Outside The Perimeter). All in all, Gate City embraces the history of Atlanta and embeds it into its culture through and through.

To sum up everything, Gate City Brewing is an awesome to place to hangout, watch a football game, spend a lazy Sunday afternoon, meet up with friends on a Saturday, or just enjoy some great craft beer. We highly recommend visiting Gate City Brewing and hope to see you there!

The Lion King on Broadway

Last night, we had the incredible opportunity to see The Lion King on Broadway at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre. Growing up, we both loved The Lion King and have grown to appreciate musical performances and plays more as adults. When we heard the show was making its way to Atlanta, we knew we had to go!

The Lion King has won six Tony awards and is now in its 21st season on Broadway, making it the world’s #1 musical. To create the life-like effects of the animal characters, the show uses over 230 handmade puppets to bring them to life. The costumes are beautifully handcrafted with vibrant colors and homage to the African culture that you feel transported in both time and place (or to the Animal Kingdom Lodge at Walt Disney World Resort!).

There is no bad seat in the house at the fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta. The picture above is a view from our seats in the left orchestra – definitely one of our favorite spots! Every time we get to enjoy a show here, we are reminded of the timeless beauty of the theatre.

The performance was absolutely amazing, especially the music! “The Circle of Life” kicked off the show with a procession of the animals down the aisle to the stage, and Young Simba stole the show in “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King.” Our favorite song was “Hakuna Matata” – a great motto to live by! It means no worries, for the rest of your days!

Whether you are a local Atlantan or just visiting, a trip to the Fox or to The Lion King on Broadway wherever you may be is highly recommended! The show is currently in Atlanta January 10-28, so be sure to check it out!

Follow along with our adventures on Instagram at instagram.com/thelocalbells

Bad Daddy’s Burgers and Bar

What are the most important things when looking for a great sports bar? Great drinks, great food, and lots of TVs!

If you haven’t been able to tell so far, all of the posts thus far have been written by my lovely wife, Meagan, but now it’s my turn! This is Grant Bell (the other half of The Local Bells), and I am here to tell you about a new place in Brookhaven/Chamblee called Bad Daddy’s Burgers and Bar. Now if you are from the North Carolina region (where this chain originated) you have probably heard of Bad Daddy’s but this is the first location here in Georgia and you should be excited about it.

Meagan and I were fortunate enough to be able to attend the soft opening for Bad Daddy’s this past Saturday. Before I go into what Bad Daddy’s is all about, I do want to mention the coolest thing about this soft opening. Instead of charging for food and drinks, they said everything was on the house but they would accept donations that night for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Seeing a new restaurant in the area already be this involved with a local charity is awesome to see and they haven’t even opened yet!

We started off with an appetizer of the Backyard Chicken Nachos. These things were killer. The nachos came with BBQ chicken, corn, black beans, pineapple, and topped it off with queso and BBQ sauce. The best about these nachos is that the toppings were spread evenly across the chips. Now if you have ever gotten nachos at a restaurant, the biggest complaint for me is always that they give pile on all these great topping on top of a top off only 10 chips and then you have another 15-20 chips that have nothing. These Backyard Chicken Nachos had almost the perfect ratio of toppings to chips. I know what your thinking, this is probably the most in-depth analysis of nachos that you have ever read. But these are legitimately the thoughts that went through my head eating these awesome nachos.

Now to get down to the what his restaurant is all about: burgers. There are a lot of great burger places in Atlanta, but they all have some big competition now. They have a large menu (but not huge like a diner) that included lots of different types of burgers from a monster bacon cheese burger with two different types of cheese and two different types of bacon, a classic mushroom and Swiss and your basic good old American cheese burger. Now if beef doesn’t tickle your fancy, you had other choices of turkey and chicken burgers. Bad Daddy’s also has a wide variety of salads, but I wasn’t about to get a salad at a brand new burger joint.

Now with this soft opening being a charity event I’ll admit, I did not take too much into account how much I was theoretically spending. That being said, you could order from the menu of the preset burgers OR you could create your own. In an almost sushi type ordering system, you could fill out a check list choosing exactly how you want your burger. Starting with the type of meat, the bun, the cheeses, the toppings, sauces, and premium toppings (like bacon and a fried egg). Pictured below are the two burgers Meagan and I had!

This is Meagan’s: a turkey burger in a lettuce bun with white cheddar cheese, bacon, avocado, mushrooms, and truffle aioli with a side of truffle fries.

This is mine, I called the “I didn’t have lunch” burger: two beef patties on a brioche bun, with pimento cheese, pepper jack, grilled onions, jalapeño bacon, a fried egg, onion straws, raw jalapeños with the buffalo tots!

These burgers are INCREDIBLE! The burger was seasoned and cooked perfectly and the fries and tots were the perfect partner for both burgers. You could tell the bun was fresh and toasted (which is key to a perfect burger), the bacon was hot and perfectly cooked, and the egg was just how I ordered it!

Not only were the burgers great, but the drinks were great too! I highly recommend the Bad Ass on the rocks Margarita; apparently only two are allowed per customer since they are so strong. If your a beer fanatic, they have their own brew that is produced by Full Sail out of Colorado and is a great ale to pair with burger, fries and sports!

We highly recommend to give Bad Daddy’s Burgers and Bar a try, and see if you can make a bigger burger then the “I didn’t have lunch” burger!

Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails

Celebrating the end of the first week of the new year at Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails! Located in North Fulton County in downtown Crabapple, this 150+ year old farmhouse has some of the most incredible Southern cuisine and innovative drinks! We managed to snag a prime-time reservation on OpenTable. TLB Tip: Every time you book and dine through OpenTable, you earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards at for future meals at OpenTable restaurants. 

We couldn’t help snap a few photos of our delicious meal:

The Spiced Swine Old Fashioned and Broadwell Manhattan were the perfect start to a delicious meal! We highly recommend the sweet potato shrimp fritters for an appetizer (only two are pictured since we couldn’t resist digging in before snapping a picture!), and the applewood pork chop and blackened salmon for the main course were prepared perfectly! The cozy farmhouse atmosphere, live music, and roaring fireplaces in each of the dining rooms truly made it the perfect Friday date night.

Take a look at the seasonal menus on their website: http://www.miltonscuisine.com/

We also found out that Milton’s is under the management of Southern Proper Hospitality – the same group that manages The Big Ketch, Smoke Belly BBQ, Beni’s Cubano, Gypsy Kitchen, Southern Gentleman, and The Blind Pig. Looks like we have quite a few more restaurants to visit!

2018 Goals

2017 will be a hard year to top for us after so many exciting life events and adventures together! Moving into 2018, we are so excited for what lies ahead. As a couple, we put together a few goals that go back to what is most important to us: spending time with each other and working towards creating a happy and healthy life together.

  1. Exercise at least 30 minutes 3x per week. A happy couple is a healthy couple!
  2. Cook dinner at home at least 4 nights per week. Think of how much we will save by not eating out!
  3. Save enough money for a house down payment by October. Our current lease ends in November, so we are working hard to hopefully becoming homeowners by the end of the year.
  4. Max out our 401K accounts. You don’t miss the money if you don’t see it, so setting up automatic transfers will help us remain accountable.
  5. Pay off student loans and car loan to less than $10,000 by the end of the year. 4 years ago, total debt equaled nearly $70,000.
  6. Use every vacation day and completely disconnect from work. Take some time to relax and recharge and enjoy being in the moment!
  7. Plan a 1st anniversary trip together in November! Where will we go? Stay tuned!

Cheers to an incredible 2018 ahead! If you’re in the mood for some bubbly and want to support a great cause, check out our new favorite brut from ONEHOPE wines. A portion of every sale goes his different amazing charity (this one funds meals to end hunger).

Are any of these your goals too?

How do you stay motivated and energized to accomplish them as the year goes on?

Any suggestions for us – especially vacation locations?

Welcome 2018!

Happy New Year! 2017 flew by and now it’s on to 2018! If you’re like us, New Year’s resolutions can be a bit daunting, especially since 80% of people give up on their resolutions by February. That’s why we’ve decided to rename them our 2018 goals instead of resolutions. More to come on what those are!

The first step in creating our 2018 goals was to revisit the SMART goal method:

Specific: Be detailed in what you want to accomplish by identifying the “who, what, when, where, why, and how.”

Measurable: Determine how you want to track your progress.

Attainable: Set expectations for your goals that align with the action steps you are going to take.

Relevant:  Make sure it aligns with your broader goals, whether personally or professionally. Will this contribute to reaching those higher initiatives?

Timely: Set a specific time frame that you will work towards accomplishing actions. Break it up into manageable pieces to make the tasks less daunting.

So there it is – the steps to creating goals (or resolutions) for the new year that you can actually achieve!

What are your 2018 goals?