As Virginia Woolf once said, “One cannot think well, love well and sleep well if one has not dined well.” We all love good food. And what is better than having good food in your backyard? Cherokee County is booming with top rated restaurants, and the boom just keeps growing.

Cherokee County has doubled in population since 1990 and with those new 100,000 residents, we are continuously changing. If you have ever tried to get a parking space in downtown Woodstock or visited a First Friday event in downtown Canton, you have felt the impact that our doubled population has had on our “small” towns. We are definitely finding ourselves in a different spot than we were 50 years ago. But with that growth comes more opportunities to eat!

With the hundreds of restaurants in Cherokee County, comes hundreds of new and innovative ideas from restaurant owners looking to move their business into the 21st Century. We are living in an era of making food as pretty as it can be so we can share it on social media, driving (or flying) hundreds of miles away to try a food unique to one town and planning our meals weeks in advance so we can get the best of the best.

While we have plenty of chain restaurants that satisfy taste buds every day and plenty of new restaurants, Cherokee County natives know classic staples that make this county what it is. Places like R&M Hoagie shop, that draw crowds to sowntown Canton like no other sandwich spot, the Burger Bus in Ball Ground that people from far and wide come to experience, J.D.’s Barbecue in Woodstock, that has been around for 20-plus years and delivers quality barbecue every day and so many more started the movement to make Cherokee County the food destination it is today.

While we all know and love the classics, we also know the exhilaration of finding out that a new and innovative restaurant is coming to our county. Pie Bar, Truck and Tap, Queenies, Local on North, Tiny Bubbles, Freight, Pure, J. Michael’s Prime and Maple Street Biscuit Company are just a few examples of the innovative restaurants that call Cherokee County home.

How did our humble beginnings become such a hot spot for good food? Pie Bar owner Lauren Bolden said that the reason is simple: a supportive and excited community.

“We started selling at local markets all around Atlanta and when it came to choosing where we were going to call home, we chose Woodstock because of the incredible support we were shown at those local markets,” Bolden said. “We knew that Woodstock would provide us with a really great balance of new people coming in, exploring the city, as well as continuing the relationships with Woodstock residents.”

Whether visiting Cherokee County for business, attending a concert or just passing through, residents and visitors alike are guaranteed a great meal anywhere in the county. City Manager, Billy Peppers, said that Canton’s diversity of people makes it unique in its food variety.

“Canton is a natural crossroads of state highways and the interstate, the mountains and suburban north metro, as well as a mix of cultures. Perhaps no where else in Cherokee County do so many cultures and backgrounds collide,” Peppers said. “We have a wide selection of franchise restaurants, a growing number of entrepreneur chefs and a mix of flavors and ethnic styles that give our residents and visitors a great pallet to choose from.”

Restaurants with rave reviews line the streets of Downtown Canton. Places like Mazzato, which offers a modern take on Peruvian cuisine, Queenie’s, jazzes up traditional southern staples or Goin’ Coastal, which brings the Georgia coast to Canton with mouth watering seafood and more.

Restaurant owners flock to Cherokee County for the diverse population, “small town” feel and the kindness of our people. Zach Yurchuck, co-owner of Truck & Tap in Downtown Woodstock, said that their business thrives due to the overwhelming support of the community.

“There is something about the people of Cherokee County that made us successful,” Yurchuck said. “They are kind, supportive and loyal, none of us (restaurant owners) would be able to do what we do without the customers, and the customers of Cherokee County makes our lives easy.”

He was mind blown when Truck & Tap brought the concept of craft beer and rotating food trucks to Woodstock and people didn’t hesitate to jump on board.

“We knew it was a unique concept, it’s the first time anyone has done this in Georgia. When we chose to put the emphasis on the food, we were cautiously optimistic and the community blew it out of the water with their support,” Yurchuck said.

The Cherokee County community continues to support local restaurants, small businesses and people with a dream.

“Reel in downtown Woodstock is one of the most welcoming places I have ever been. It’s been a family favorite of ours for years,” Woodstock resident Madison Wilson said. “The management remembers people and knows them by name.”

Canton frequenter Amy Williams said, “Riverstone Corner Bistro! Amazing farm-to-table food with a super diverse menu. Wait staff is kind and knowledgeable, they source local products, and are involved in the community.”

We have quickly seen an influx of people moving or driving to Cherokee County to get involved in what we have going on around our county.

President of Cherokee Office of Economic Development Misti Martin said, “Along with our population growth, the restaurant growth has followed. Our cities and county provide an atmosphere that helps them achieve success. First Friday events, concerts, etc. generate a buzz and an inviting atmosphere for all age groups.”

Ball Ground, Woodstock and Canton are all creating ways to appeal to all walks of life whether that be through events, food options, drink options or just revitalizing the town in general. People are drawn to our county because of the consistent and quality options we provide and it isn’t stopping any time soon.

“I think commercial growth continues to follow residential construction. There are many neighborhoods still under development in Canton and in the surrounding area that will bring rooftops to support additional restaurants,” Peppers said. “In the last few weeks we’ve seen plans submitted for a large scale sushi restaurant, more downtown dining options including restaurants at The Mill on Etowah, and I don’t see the city getting less diverse … which means even more flavors to bring to the residents.”

Residents and city officials alike will attest to the immense growth we have experienced in the past 20 years. But it has sure made things exciting and brought us a plethora of new dining options. Try out a new Cherokee County restaurant soon, we have plenty to choose from.


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