Food & DrinkGrub Notes

Goodie Two Shoes and Kumquat Mae Reviews

SISTERS: To say Goodie Two Shoes (909 E. Broad St., Ste. 100, 706-850-2026) is a sister restaurant to Mama’s Boy is to convey rather a lot. To put it briefly, the place is a nice mix of serious and casual, serving a Southern-accented menu that isn’t too complicated but in an environment that has unexpectedly refined elements. In the case of the new place, it has some wonderful chairs (chinoiserie executed in translucent orange plastic) and a view out the window onto the greenway.

The main purpose of the space is not so much to serve lunch as to serve as a base for Mama’s Boy’s catering operations, and there is plenty of storage in plain sight: big stainless-steel fridges, stacks of plates in Saran wrap, etc. The lunch is, however, a nice bonus.

You can either hoof it down the hill from downtown proper (the walk down isn’t so bad, but the one back up is more of a trial), take the bus to the multimodal transit center or park for free in the 909 Broad building’s deck. The restaurant is on the easternmost corner of that building, and isn’t all that easy to find, let alone to happen upon.

Lunch is all it does, and it serves that meal Monday through Friday, at the moment. The menu is mostly sandwiches, with a few salads and a couple of soups, plus desserts by Kiki’s Bakeshop in Watkinsville.

The kitchen tends to hit some ingredients a little hard. Right now, it feels like there’s pear and goat cheese and bacon in everything. On the other hand, those things are tasty, and can often perk up a less-than-exciting sandwich. The grilled cheese could use a little more salt to balance out the pear, but the goat cheese definitely improves the smoked salmon on baguette (also with spinach and herbs). It lends some umami to the burger, too.

The roast beef with Swiss, shaved onion, arugula, tomato chutney and horseradish mayo is likewise a bit on the sweet side, but is more than saved by the mayo, which is zippy and good; the same stuff comes with a special of loaded potato skins that are just the thing to make you sear your taste buds on a cold day (i.e., they’re so tasty you will ignore how hot they are and keep on cramming them into your maw).

A vegetable soup is simply composed but comforting. The arugula salad (with lardons, thinly sliced onion, pecorino romano and a lemon vinaigrette) is light and hints at spring. Most things come with housemade potato chips on the side, but you can upgrade to potato salad or a side salad. Drinks are all booze-free, but do include the strawberry lemonade from Mama’s Boy.

The restaurant is open from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. weekdays and takes credit cards.

WELCOME BACK: Kumquat Mae Bakery and Cafe (1155 Mitchell Bridge Rd. 706-850-1442) has been open and closed and here and there and generally around in some format in northeast Georgia (Athens, Madison, Watkinsville) since 1995. A few months ago, it moved into the big blue Arbor building on Mitchell Bridge Road that has been a veritable revolving door for restaurants, but the space is busier than I’ve ever seen it.

Owner Trae Stewart has concentrated business downstairs, in the cozier part of the space, and on a Sunday morning, nearly every table was full, with a dude playing soft tunes on a guitar and a nice hum of conversation throughout the room.

The restaurant serves breakfast/brunch Tuesday through Sunday (meaning you can get either a plate of eggs or a sandwich up until 3 p.m. most days) and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, with a big menu that features plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices. First and foremost, its Reuben is one of the best in Athens, with real, thick-cut corned beef brisket, sauerkraut, Swiss, Thousand Island and spicy mustard on a substantial roll that can stand up to the hefty ingredients.

The ham and Gouda sandwich on sourdough (with apple and spicy mustard) is not as good—it’s fairly flimsy and rather dry—and some of the baked goods are disappointing. The croque-monsieur (ham, cheese and dijon on sourdough, topped with generous amounts of béchamel) can be transformed into a croque-madame with the addition of eggs, and although it is not a beautiful sandwich, it is tasty.

The spinach dip is better hot than cold, the chicken salad is fine but perhaps too sweet, and the pimento cheese, although sort of odd, tastes faintly but intriguingly of wine. If you are smart enough to opt for a Mayan cookie (spices, chocolate, a slight bit of heat), your child may not like it, and you will get to eat the whole thing yourself.

The restaurant is closed Monday, takes credit cards, does catering, retails its bakery products out of a case, schedules live music, offers a kids’ menu that goes beyond chicken nuggets and, believe it or not, has a full bar.