Here in Gwinnett, the options for dining out are as varied as the thousands of different taste buds on your tongue. In the sea of restaurants available, we are lucky to have innovative restaurateurs bringing unique dining experiences that please the palate and delight our senses.
Joe Pittman and Terry Robinson
The newest restaurant in downtown Norcross is the brainchild of a restaurateur and art gallery owner. According to Terry Robinson, he and Joe Pittman and their wives were sitting in the restaurant that Pittman co-owned, when it came up that the building next to Robinson”s gallery was for sale. They thought it would be a great place for Pittman to open a restaurant and that”s what happened in September 2004.
With more than 20 years experience in the restaurant industry, Pittman knew how to run a restaurant and what people want. He and Robinson decided The Continental should have a European flair, with smaller portions and reasonable prices.
"We wanted to have a food product different from anything in town or nearby, something upscale and appropriate to the area. From a consumer perspective, I know what good food and service should be like and that”s what we”re providing," said Robinson, who handles the financial side of the business.
For Pittman, giving people great service and food while having fun is what makes it worthwhile.
"My relatives had a restaurant when I was small. I saw them having fun and that”s what I wanted to do – have fun and please people," said Pittman.
Lil” River Grill
Bill Green got into the restaurant business after college and never looked back. Twenty-seven years ago, he started working at Steak and Ale and made his way up through the ranks. After a while, he felt like he had enough experience, so he researched Gwinnett”s market and thought it was the perfect fit for his new venture. In 2001, he opened Lil” River Grill.
"I figured it was time to do it. You can only be managed for so long, and by nature I”m an operator, so maturity met experience," said Green.
Since that day, Green”s practiced controlled growth with the restaurant.
"I”m in no hurry to open a bunch more. This is a neighborhood place that people feel special at and if you grow too fast, you lose that," said Green.
When he began, Green had an idea of what he wanted the inside and menu to look like, but over the years, he”s "ridden the coattails of consumers" – changing the menu five or six times with customer direction.
For this busy restaurant owner, finding free time isn”t very easy, but when he does, it”s usually spent, "with a packet of sunflower seeds, watching my son play football!"
Aqua Terra, Third Coast Grille, 37 Main
Her grandparents were in the restaurant business and her father still is, so it stands to reason she would eventually end up there too. And she did; at age 14 Laurie Attaway began her career waiting tables, working at fast