Taste – Spring 2019

I am of the opinion that dedication to learning is the only attribute necessary to master an art. Mimi Maumus is the perfect example of someone who loves to cook good food and has dedicated herself to years of learning and studying and practicing her craft. Her recognition within the Athens community and beyond is fully deserved as she aims to serve up every dish with the quality and creativity that a food-lover requires and the accessibility that every person needs.

This concept of “Elevated Home Style Cooking” was inspired by her family while growing up in New Orleans. Her dad had a passion for cooking and trying new things and her grandmother had a penchant for canning. She’d spend days in the kitchen with her family building creative versions of classic dishes or canning pickles or pepper jelly.

Many of these experiences continue to influence her cooking today as she melds her Louisiana upbringing with traditional Southern flavors. After years of working in restaurants and learning first hand how from talented and renowned chefs, Mimi decided to start from the ground up with a catering business that she could run out of a small kitchen in 2006. With an undying commitment to hard work, good food, and learning something new, she has built her business into a thriving restaurant. Located just a couple of miles from the center of town, Home.made has quickly risen to occupy a spot among the premier restaurants in Athens, Ga., and the South as a whole.

Every dish that comes out of the kitchen is crafted by a team of professionals who are as devoted to their craft as their fearless leader, insisting on quality. Whether it’s classic fried chicken or any of the rotating dishes on the weekly supper club menu, everything is prepared with thought and care. Ingredients are sourced locally when possible. The pork shoulder for the ham & cheese sandwich is a four-day long process of brining, smoking, and glazing. The hearty Super Green Bowl is packed full of nutrients and can be left vegetarian or topped with a protein. Even the fried chicken is gluten free and you’d never taste the difference. There’s something for everyone.

Mimi and her team have created a welcoming environment with quality food built on a commitment to classic flavor, quality ingredients, and dedication to the craft of cooking.

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SIP

A neon arrow over the door identifies The World Famous with the words “THIS IS IT.” Step through the door and into this Hot Corner bar and you’ll be inundated with an eclectic collection of local art and people. The walls are covered with art and random found objects. The drinks are creative and original. “It’s the Wild West,” David Eduardo, owner of this gem, tells me.

When I asked him what inspired the vibe, he was quick to attribute the personality “100 percent to the people who walk through the door.” When they opened in 2013 the goal was to fill a need, to be a “whimsical concession stand with late night hours” - a concession stand that can convert into a boutique art gallery at a moments notice... or a concert hall... or a TED Talks venue. The World Famous is whatever you need it to be. It’s a “frontier saloon” that caters to people from all walks of life, all cultures, all backgrounds.

They say variety is the spice of life and the creative cocktail list, rotating taps and brews, and special craft sodas give the bar a well-seasoned flavor, sure to satisfy anyone. Two of the most popular drinks include the Tango Whiskey Foxtrot - an obviously whiskey cocktail featuring flavors of ginger, lemon, and maraschino in a tang-rimmed glass, and Gardening at Night - a gin-based cocktail with refreshing hints of cucumber, orange, and Creature Comforts Athena. The rotating beer list currently includes another Creature Comforts special:  Get Comfortable. This 2019 iteration was brewed in collaboration with Russian River Brewing Co. out of Sonoma County, Calif., with benefits going to local charities in Athens.

This idea of community and contributing to the neighborhood, the art scene, and being a comfortable place for every person who walks through that door is the driving forces behind The World Famous. This decidedly local, folksy bar in historic Athens doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is the perfect place to share a craft beer or cocktails with friends.

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ARTISAN

After more than 40 years of working in all aspects of the food industry from the farm to the table, Thom Leonard opened Independent Baking Co. in August of 2013. Over the past six years they’ve grown to provide bread for many favorite local restaurants, markets such as Daily Groceries Co-op and Half Shepherd Cheese Shop, as well as selling out of their storefront in Five Points.

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The art of baking requires knowledge and patience. It is an exact science that requires understanding of micro-organisms and creating an environment in which yeasts and traditional starters can thrive. Each type of loaf is specifically crafted with its own combination of flour, water, and leavening with specialty loaves requiring additional ingredients. And each one has its own process for kneading, shaping, rising, and baking. The team start early each morning to make every loaf, every roll, and every pastry to standard. Nothing is wasted. The local food bank is part of the daily delivery route for everything that’s not sold during the day so that everyone who comes in contact with Independent Baking is getting the highest quality product.

Thom wanted to take this insistence on quality even further. Almost all of the flours used in the bakery he mills himself from sustainably sourced grains. He get sthem organically and locally as frequently as possible, contributing to both the local economy and environment. Wheat, he explains, is essentially a seed, a dormant, but living thing that starts to degrade once ground. So the more recently it has been milled, the fresher it will taste, directly influencing the flavor profile of the bread. Additionally it allows the bakery to have a wider variety of grains at hand but can wait to mill it until it is needed, giving options to the bakery while reducing waste.

With a commitment to sustainability and quality, Independent Baking has set itself apart as the place to get a morning roll pastry on the way to work, a loaf of Multi-grain bread or baguette for a family dinner, or a treat to look forward to when out-and-about in Athens.

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