WITH CARE: I read that Barack Obama used to wear the same suits all the time because he was tired of making decisions all day long and wanted to save the limited number of choices of which he was capable for things that were actually important. Opening a restaurant is a bit like that. Decision fatigue sets in after a while, which leads to sloppier and less intentional choices in many smaller details. That’s part of what makes Buvez (585 Barber St., 706-850-0172) so impressive: No detail is too small to obsess over, and at the same time, the place removes a great many potentially stressful decisions from the patron by limiting choice. The menu is very small, but it’s hard (impossible?) to make a bad selection from it. The space is thoughtful and well arranged. The air temperature is right. The prices are, on the whole, well set. Everything feels done with care, and the result is that you feel cared for.
What, exactly, is the business? Well, it’s a café, in that it opens early and serves coffee and pastries (from The Comerian). It’s a lunch place, or possibly an early dinner restaurant, if you’re looking for sandwiches, which are made a little before noon in limited quantities. It’s also a bar, albeit one that serves only beer, wine and wine-based aperitifs, plus cocktails made with those ingredients. And, of course, it’s a place to take your kids for a snoball, where they can hang out and play in a big planter full of Jenga-esque blocks. You can meet someone there for a coffee to catch up, use the Wi-Fi and the big community table for a meeting, chill at the bar, swing on the indoor porch swing or enjoy some time separate from your family while still keeping an eye on them. It’s a lot to pack in, but it all exists side by side quite neatly.
The sandwiches, on Independent Baking Co. baguettes, are perfect, although if you’re hungry before about 11:45 a.m., you may find their preparation for the day a bit too methodical. If you need some protein, there are hard-boiled eggs, twisted in brown paper and served with a fun cracking device, fancy gomasio and a selection of three different salts. The soft pretzels (also Comerian) come with Gulden’s mustard and/or a bit of tangy cultured butter. Snacks (wasabi peas, sesame sticks, Swedish fish) are $1 a scoop. The snoballs, as covered previously, are fairly sophisticated but still pass muster with kids.
And the cocktails are a real delight. There are only four of them, all of which derive their names from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, and they are low enough in alcohol content that, depending on your tolerance, you could have two and not be much the worse for wear. The Asteroid B-612 mixes cappelletti (a wine-based bitter rhubarb aperitif) with cava and lemon and is bubbly and surprisingly complex for only having three ingredients. The Turkish Astronomer mixes two vermouths (Martini and Yzaguirre Blanc) with a lemon peel and is smooth and delicate. The Snake combines Mexican Coke with lime and Miro vermouth and is super refreshing. The only one that doesn’t quite work as a cocktail is the Little Prince, which is a shandy with rose lemonade that tastes more like a straight-up beer.
All these ingredients and others are also available individually. Buvez is open 7:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 7:30 a.m.–11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Sunday.
MPGA: The bumper stickers for Jacob’s Pizza (18 Barnett Shoals Road, in the Watkinsville building that used to be Kumquat Mae a long time ago, as well as the original location in Colbert, 706-705-6367) read “Make Pizza Great Again,” which is a little insulting to pizza, right? Also, is the way to do that really with a whole-wheat crust? Jacob’s has an interesting business model in that you can get as many toppings as you like for a single price. Plain cheese or everything it offers, your pie will cost the same.
Pizza, breadsticks and calzones all use that whole-wheat-based crust, which works pretty well, although it can feel a little heavy and a touch sweet. The owners make it themselves, though, and not from some pre-packaged mix. They grind the grain, too. Salads incorporate the same veggies as the pizzas—onions, tomatoes, jalapeños, banana peppers, mushrooms, black olives, bell peppers, spinach and even pineapple, should you desire.
Everything is pretty informal, as you would expect, but well calibrated to kids, with plates that won’t break and ice cream cups for dessert. Jacob’s Pizza is open 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Sunday through Friday. It has an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet at both lunch ($9.99) and dinner ($11.99).
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