By Rachael Mason
Owner: Bahama Breeze’s parent company is the Darden Restaurant Group.
Open since: 1999.
Hours: Monday through Thursday from 4 to 11:30 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Saturday from noon to 12:30 a.m. and Sunday from noon to 11:30 p.m.
Location: Bahama Breeze is located just off Pleasant Hill Road, just east of the Interstate 85 interchange.
Capacity: Bahama Breeze seats 260, including the deck.
Atmosphere: With its tropical colors, casual setting and reggae soundtrack, Bahama Breeze seems like a beachside restaurant. The friendly but unobtrusive servers dressed in floral print shirts and shorts add to the vacation feel.
The menu: The Bahama Breeze menu has been updated for the first time since the first restaurant opened in 1996. Pam Smith, a nutritionist and registered dietitian, worked with the company on the menu redesign. “It’s about a very authentic Caribbean experience,” Smith said.
The food: The Caribbean is a cultural crossroads, so the restaurant’s menu reflects French, Spanish, African and even Chinese influences, Smith said.
Beverages: The drink book on top of each table is immense. To narrow it down, the menu lists some of the restaurant’s speciality drinks. The signature beverage is the Bahamarita, a frozen margarita made with Cuervo Gold tequila and mango, kiwi and strawberry ices. The Mojito Cubano, a Cuban cocktail, is made with fresh-squeezed sugar cane, Bacardi light rum, crushed spearmint and lime juice.
Dessert: Two new desserts are the Tropical Tower, scoops of coconut and mango sorbet in mango puree with fresh strawberries, and the Chocolate Island, a brownie cube topped with chocolate mousse served in a swirl of chocolate and vanilla sauce. Key lime pie and a banana and ice cream dish are also on the dessert menu.
Things you might not know: The three Bahama Breeze locations in metro Atlanta will serve as a test market for the new menu. The Gwinnett location is among the largest of the 34 Bahama Breeze restaurants across the country. The chain began in Orlando, which is Smith’s hometown. The chef at the Alpharetta location developed both the shrimp salsa and the crab tower dishes, Smith said.
The last word: “My goal is to have there be no bad decisions,” Smith said of the menu.