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TooLooPeas gives slice of Southern life
by Nneka Okona
June 27, 2013 01:32 PM | 4642 views | 6 6 comments | 182 182 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Simply Southern
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Staff / Katherine Frye.TooLooPeas owner, Vivian Smith, with a customer favorite, Smothered Pork Chops and collard greens.
Shielded by trees and unsuspectingly within feet of a densely populated residential area is the city of Stockbridge’s newest addition to the restaurant world — TooLooPeas.

I heard about the restaurant from a city official who casually mentioned dining there only days after its soft opening.

My curiosity was piqued when I learned the new establishment specialized in Southern cuisine.

As a native Southerner myself, born in reared in the suburbs of DeKalb County with plentiful family members in northern Alabama, I know a thing or two about the quintessential Southern fare.

As a child, I grew up closely monitoring my mother and grandmother prepare dishes until I felt confident enough to try my own hand at the age of nine.

You see, dining at TooLooPeas instantly put me in this frame of mind — being surrounded by friends, family and loved ones, especially with a menu with items that prompted food nostalgia.

Southern staples such as meatloaf, fried chicken and Salisbury steak have residence on the menu, but for my taste buds, the standouts were modifications of my personal favorites.

For instance, I knew upon the first scan of the menu, without peering too closely at the sheet adorned with a picture of owner Vivian Smith’s mother and father, I would be ordering fried green tomatoes as an appetizer to tease me before the main course.

The fried green tomatoes were unlike any version of the dish I had before.

Juicy, thickly sliced tomatoes were coated in a crispy cornmeal batter, accompanied by a lemon buttermilk aioli, the fragrant flavor of lemon juice and zest ticking my nose and hints of Worchester sauce adding an extra zing.

When a massive platter of smothered pork chops was placed on the table in front of me, I sighed deeply in anticipation.

These pork chops were propped up on a bed of fluffy white rice, topped with a translucent mushroom and pepper gravy.

On the side, collard greens with smoked turkey bits and a dish bursting with a cheese blend intermingled with perfectly cooked al dente macaroni noodles.

My first bite was a medley of yet, again, a crispy coating and gravy with a subtle yet savory flavor.

Red peppers packed an extra, unexpected punch and blended well with the mushrooms.

Other notables from the menu were frits and grits, a plate overflowing with freshly made salmon cakes, fried grit squares and drizzled with a remoulade sauce; chicken fried chicken steak with a creamy, milk and pepper gravy and a sweet potato cake with a rum drizzle, the flavor so sweet and intense it made me think of sipping on Jamaican rum in a Montego Bay dance hall while reggae thumped from the speakers.

Just as tasting the food at TooLooPeas rendered an emotional reaction for me, one filled with memories of food and childhood, Smith could easily say the same.

All the dishes on the menu are family originals.

“I’ve always wanted to open a restaurant,” Smith said. “I’m the oldest of eight children, so I’m like Mama No. 2. I started cooking at a very young age.”

Even the restaurant name, TooLooPeas, is personal — otherwise known in her family as her father’s affectionate way of communicating “pretty little girl.”

Smith meticulously worked with her chef, Brenda Rivera, to customize the homegrown recipes into restaurant quality.

And thus far, as the restaurant approaches its two-week anniversary, they have succeeded.

“We don’t compromise on our food,” said Smith, with a wide smile.

TooLooPeas is at 282 East Atlanta Road in the Publix shopping center.

Information: (678) 289-0912.
Comments
(6)
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McGruder's
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March 16, 2014
Absolutely delicious! Took husband for his birthday and we had an awesome time. Band had all the customers amazed with the soulful mixture of jazz and old school tunes along with laughter. Haven't been to a restaurant in years where I can say that I enjoyed my entire entrée and appetizer selection. The southern hospitality was greatly appreciated. Husband stated that this is a place where you would continue to come back until you have tried the entire menu an with that being said we will most definitely return for more.
Eddie guy
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August 10, 2013
Sometimes I use to many words. Great! Great Great! Great! Great! Great

C

donaldsonfoster
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July 25, 2013
me and my girlfriends have been waiting anxiously for the restaurant to open. The wait was well worth it! Great atmosphere, great food and entertainment. Keisha Jackson was in the house and she rocked it out. we will be back!!!!
Dine'
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July 05, 2013
Stopped in and had dinner with my husband. Jazz playing in the background - fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, glazed yams, mac-n-cheese. Raining. What a lovely atmosphere. Sasha the Diva (KISS 104.1) was in the house. You need to check this spot out for yourself. PEACE
Tanzee
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June 30, 2013
The food at TooLooPeas is absolutely scrumptious and southernly devine. Looking forward to eating there again.
JERRY SMITH
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July 03, 2013
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm
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