Above photography by Alison South Marketing Group, Austin Templeton
ARTISAN – Vance’s Bakery Bar
At the end of 2017, after some big, life-altering events and with a quickly approaching military retirement, Troy and Amy Adamo sat down and asked themselves, “If we could do anything, what would that be?” Amy’s response was a bakery, Troy’s a bar. They were answers full of big ideas and bigger dreams that would send them down an exciting path to Vance’s Bakery Bar.
The gorgeous new establishment at 123 James Brown Blvd., and the latest addition to Augusta’s downtown scene, was designed by 2KM Architects. With a classy midcentury-modern vibe, reminiscent of martini bars of decades past, this 21-and-up establishment has become a highly anticipated hot spot.
The menu features everything from cheesecake to cupcakes to mousse and more, each with its own unique spin in the form of infused liquor, handpicked by Amy and designed to complement the flavors. Take “The Godfather,” for example: With Disaronno and Johnny Walker creatively worked into the icing and chocolate ganache hiding in the center of a rich cupcake, it’s an homage to both the classic cocktail and Augusta’s own Godfather of Soul, James Brown. Each dessert is served in miniature form, so it’s easy to try a few different treats on your own or share with friends, tapas style. The signature cocktail menu is just as unique, with a lineup designed by renowned mixologist Rob Floyd.
As they’ve prepared for their opening over the past year, the Adamos have collaborated with many other businesses and participated in festivals throughout the CSRA, building anticipation by giving the public a little taste of items like Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies, Fireball Cheesecake, and Jack & Coke Cupcakes.
They collaborate with local companies whenever possible, including previous Good Taste features 2nd City Distillery and Savannah River Brewing Co. Augusta is home, and the Adamos have created a beautiful space and menu to host locals and visitors alike.
Whether you’re looking for a place to meet up with friends before a show, host a bridal shower, entertain business colleagues or surprise your partner with a special date, Vance’s Bakery Bar is the perfect location. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date on their official grand opening and Masters Week plans!
Photograph by John Antaki
EAT – Jackie M’s & Son
What does it take to be on Yelp’s list of the Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S.? That’s what I went into Jackie M’s & Son to find out. All you have to do is walk through the door — where you can look straight into the kitchen behind the counter — see the passion that goes into cooking every single order and quickly get your answer. “You have to love it,” Clinton McCalla Jr. tells me. “You have to seriously be dedicated to it. You should really care about how the people feel about what you’re doing.”
Reviews are a great way to know whether a restaurant is worth trying. When someone writes a review it tends to be because they feel very strongly, one way or the other, and people still tend to be more likely to write one about an unhappy experience than a wonderful one. So, to be on this list is a testament to how many people have walked into the vibrantly painted and decorated building, ordered their food and been willing to wait, sometimes for an hour, for the opportunity to try one of those Philly cheesesteaks, Soul Rolls — think meat-filled egg roll — or jerk-seasoned Jamaican Beef Patties — like a meat hand pie — and then loved it so much that they’ve taken the time to write about their amazing experience.
Of course, the menu is more extensive, with homemade sandwiches, wings, desserts including cheesecakes and peach cobbler, and the best scratch-made fries you’ve ever had, and each and every item is handmade with care, precision and actual love. When Jackie McCalla opened Jackie M’s in 2001, she started off making mostly sandwiches, including the Philly from her husband’s home city, always to the highest standard. Her son, Clinton, joined the team after graduating from the Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts. With his expertise (and addition of the fryer), they were able to expand their menu to include some of the items that have made the cafe one of the nation’s favorite places to eat! His presence and the addition of his wife, Reneé McCalla, to the team have allowed Jackie to take a step toward retirement, knowing that the family business is in good hands. The 70-year-old building is packed with both regulars and travelers, quirky art and bright colors, the smell of good food and a good time, and, of course, some very passionate cooks who love what they’re doing and care about each and every person who walks through the door at 3308 Milledgeville Road.
Photograph by John Antaki
SIP – A Tito’s vodka recipe
Tart yet sweet, lemonade and tea make this drink as tasty as it looks. It’s like an Arnold Palmer, the Tito’s Handmade Vodka way.
Tito’s Lemonade & Tea
1 1/2 oz. Tito’s Handmade Vodka
3 oz. tea
3 oz. lemonade
Just add Tito’s Handmade Vodka, tea and lemonade in a glass over ice.
Stir and garnish with a lemon slice.
Appears in the April 2020 issue of Augusta Magazine.