I wasn’t beating a path to drive to Roswell to eat at a tavern. The word “tavern” comes from the Latin taberna, meaning “shed, workshop or pub” and more currently conjuring up people gathering for a brew and salty appetizers. That was until I met Jenna Aronowitz at a Kollel event, and she explained, “Go home and look at our menu before you form an opinion.”
Whoa! The 1920 Tavern menu covers “Dixie like the Dew,” which begs the next question: With so much super specialization, can one albeit “globally inspired,” restaurant do so many things well? The answer is “Surprisingly so.”
1920 Tavern is 1,800 square feet of a vertical and deep historic building with a speakeasy feel echoing the Roaring Twenties. The front area houses a long bar with adjacent dining booths. The bar has enough bottles to make the head spin.
The back area is quieter and more family oriented. The servers work in teams and are well-paced.
What we had:
Grilled Caesar Salad: The presentation with hanging anchovies was impressive, topped with parmesan crisps. The dressing was too white and sweet (mayonnaisey?) for my taste, still shareable and accented with heirloom tomatoes.
Salmon Stir Fry: Pan-seared Atlantic salmon with veggie medley over long grain rice in house-made teriyaki sauce – sweet and tangy. Even better as leftovers. ($14.95)
Sesame (sashimi) Encrusted Tuna: Sautéed baby bok choy in ginger soy broth. The wasabi risotto had a nice kick and minty color. ($16.95)
Brussels Sprouts: The absolute best. Our server called this right! Huge portion, crispy, yet solid.
Don Pedro: A South African tradition – a rich vanilla-chocolate blended amaretto/Kahlua frothy liqueur. Aronowitz recalled that she drank it as a child in Zimbabwe.
Bounteous other fish choices: Chilean sea bass, grouper and blackened corvina.
Salads to order next visit: Roasted pear salad, melon beet salad, and quinoa salad with shallots, oranges and feta cheese.
There are ‘Nawlins choices, 17 small plates, 13 sandwiches, cheeses, charcuterie, dips, Keto vegetarian lasagna, specials and entrees galore. The challenge comes in focusing and choosing.
Jenna and Howard Aronowitz first immigrated to the U.S. as tennis pros. Jenna noted, “Coming from South Africa, we were used to ‘from scratch’ fresh food made from different tastes and cooking styles. We started our restaurant careers at the Atlanta airport in franchising (for 16 years). Our biggest issue would be ‘Where we would eat?’ as I’m a vegetarian, and Howard goes for meat and potatoes. Thus, we opened 1920 Tavern, where you can get an Amazing Burger, steak, vegetarian lasagna and everything in between.”
The couple believes in teamwork and jokes around. Howard, who went to Auburn University, joins in, “We share the work, but basically I do what she tells me. I like to chat with guests and make everyone feel like a VIP. We are fussy when we go out to eat and train the staff to create this positive energy.” There is no shortage of work to share. With a staff of 30, they are only closed two days a year.
With two sons at The Weber School, they take off Shabbat and Sundays. “We both share a common passion for food and entertaining, whether at our Dunwoody
home, or here, our home away from home,” Jenna said. Although 1920 Tavern is not kosher, with advance notice, they can order meats from Griller’s Pride, separate out all dairy, and prepare in a different area.
Bottom line: If you think Houston’s can do a wide variety well, you will like 1920 Tavern with its heimish family touch.
The two blocks of Canton Street, in which the restaurant is located, are bustling.
1920 Tavern can seat an additional 22 people outside to dine, where they can watch the street scene with space heaters. We parked three blocks away at the Roswell municipal complex only to realize that the restaurant had free valet parking on its back side on Webb Street.
1920 Tavern is open at 11 a.m. seven days a week at 948 Canton Street, Roswell. Brunch on weekends. Some nights have live music.