Although Peachtree Corners is not my usual haunt, I was impressed with the growth of retail and hospitality springing up there. Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, which has 49 locations and operates out of Charlotte, N.C., opened its second location here last month. The first is in Alpharetta. Its Peachtree Corners home is a new village, like Town Center across from the more established The Forum, and has many new favorites nearby such as Salata and Sprouts, which are also found in the city.
Firebirds is not quite Houston’s, but steps above TGI Friday’s or Ruby Tuesday.
They identify themselves as “contemporary-polished,” then American and steakhouse with seafood.
The interior is spacious, anchored by a dancing fireplace in cobalt blue below the metal firebird wall sculpture.
The food is served piping hot and with a nice presentation. Our waiter was very attentive and was familiar with the menu.
We started with a rocking coconutty pineapple martini ($11), split the seared tuna (appetizers are called “Shareables” for two to four) and had the salmon entrée with a fluffy baked potato and grilled vegetables – mostly squash. The tuna was most memorable, served with mixed greens, spicy pecans and yummy mustard sauce, although serving four might be a stretch.
The most fun was chatting with general manager-managing partner, Frankie Polanco, who had been transferred here after a career with J. Alexander’s. Polanco, a youthful father of three, put in long hours to get the restaurant up and running. “Being half Italian and half Jewish gives me a unique perspective on food. Serving in the Coast Guard, I visited Israel and Spain to get a grip on cuisines. Most importantly to me here is the experience. We aim to please, and although we are a chain, we listen to customers and continue to fine tune the menu and prepare dishes any way you like.”
Firebirds has charitable outreach and strives to be a favorite among families with kids.
Their agency “Just 4 Fun – Kids and Family Marketing” introduced the campaign, “Sharing Values For A Better World,” through its kids’ Fun Book menu and other family directed initiatives in support of Firebirds’ core values: integrity, trust, empathy, accountability, caring and humility.
“Serving and delighting families with kids is an important marketing strategy for Firebirds,” said Jay Brodsky, president of Just 4 Fun – Kids and Family Marketing. “Firebirds engages families by offering a menu with healthful meal options in coordination with Kids LiveWell.” They also sponsor Alex’s Lemonade Stand, which benefits children with cancer.
The bottom line: The drive to Peachtree Corners on the weekend was 20 minutes. There are, of course, many options inside I-285, but it’s nice to see such thriving activity and hospitality out yonder.
For more information about Firebirds, visit www.firebirdsrestaurants.com.