Food for thought: New restaurants open in Canton and Woodstock
by Megan Thornton
November 19, 2011 11:59 PM | 4658 views | 3 3 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Woodstock residents James Rinehart and Jason Lacy stop in for lunch at the recently opened Freight Kitchen and Tap in downtown Woodstock.<br>Cherokee Tribune/Todd Hull
view slideshow (3 images)
CANTON — New restaurants in Canton and Woodstock are drawing in crowds and finding success by offering residents diverse options — from hip, late-night spots to taverns with classic pub fare.

The trio of newly opened, innovative eateries include Wink Woodstock, The Fork and Tavern and Freight Kitchen and Tap.

Wink Woodstock

Longtime Cherokee County resident Steve Rabb has lived in Towne Lake for 11 years. After spending an evening at nearby Pure Taqueria with Shannon Fannin, the two decided the downtown area needed a swanky, sophisticated hangout. That very evening, the idea for Wink Woodstock was born.

Wink Woodstock has been open about three weeks and has yet to see a slow weekend night. The decor might remind patrons of an Atlanta hotspot, but the familiar faces and friendly staff give the space a distinctly local feel.

“We’re packed on weekends,” Rabb said. “One thing we are surprised about is how good it’s been and how well we’ve been received.”

The upscale lounge is quickly evolving from a wine-drinker’s hangout into a full restaurant, with many customers asking for the fajitas and Italian paninis or the popular crabcake dish.

“Our team is putting out great new American cuisine,” Rabb said. “The paninis are flying out the door and the crabcakes — amazing.”

The restaurant’s weekly schedule is full of events, including jazz music and wine tastings on Wednesday nights, DJs every Friday night and a different live band on Saturday nights.

“It’s a great place for a date night, girls night out, or live music,” said Rabb, adding that there are several spots within the restaurant that parties can book on any given night, including the VIP booth, the pillow room and the purple couch.

With more than 1,000 fans on Facebook, the restaurant has learned how to use social media to the fullest to alert fans about special deals and events.

“If you’re looking for nice fresh light meal, cool environment to hang with friends, we’re the place,” Rabb said.

For more information, visit

The Fork and Tavern

With the addition of The Fork and Tavern, a pub-style restaurant with homestyle classics and delicious twists on classic bar food, downtown Canton is starting to become a dinner destination.

The Fork and Tavern has been open for more than a month and owner Mark Ferguson is happy with the crowds he’s seen so far.

“It’s been fantastic,” said Ferguson. “Our lunch crowds are growing rapidly and we’re beginning to see more late-night action.”

Ferguson attributes his restaurant’s success to the quality of his food and service.

“We believe the big portion sizes, quality of price and freshness of our food really brings everybody in,” he said.

Some of the tavern’s most popular dishes include the half-pound Angus burgers and dinner-sized salads. The restaurant finished second in this year’s Taste of Canton event with their soon-to-be famous pot roast sandwich and spicy jambalaya.

Lunch patrons Dan and Laura Bowen enjoyed the often-praised pot roast sandwich and the chicken salad sandwich.

“The okra was really good, too — I ate his,” Laura said.

“It’s like grandma used to make,” Dan added.

The Fork and Tavern has live music performances on Fridays at the upstairs bar, which also boasts a party-worthy pool room and electronic shuffleboard.

For more information, visit

Freight Kitchen and Tap

Since the closing of Right Wing Tavern, downtown Woodstock patrons have eagerly waited for another restaurant to open its doors in the old train depot — the only historic building in Woodstock on the National Register of Historic Places.

And the experience is worth the wait — the decor and renovation are reminiscent of the early 1800s, when the train depot still functioned as a stop from Atlanta on the way north toward Nelson and Tate. History buffs will appreciate the mock-antique signage representative of the area and the Woodstock-related history provided at the bottom of the menu.

General manager David Herman said though the restaurant has been open less than a month, its chef-driven kitchen has garnered a lot of attention.

“People like that we use a lot of locally grown products and that we have a great craft microbrew selection,” said Herman, adding that that the weekends are the busiest, with the restaurant only introducing lunch a little over a week ago.

Herman said that some of the most requested dishes include the fried green tomatoes and the various offerings for braise of the day and seafood of the day. Also, the prime rib (only offered on weekends) is a popular draw.

The Freight Kitchen and Tap Facebook page is overflowing with recommendations from commenters such as Charles Gallant, who enjoyed his pulled pork with cheese grits, and Rachel Hackmann Nix, who said visitors shouldn’t leave without grabbing a piece of sweet potato pie.

For more information, visit
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Karter David
November 23, 2011
"Wink" is horribly overpriced with an un-educated staff... I give it 3-5 months...
November 21, 2011
The Fork and Tavern has excellent food and a great upstairs bar! I am glad to have another choice when it comes to downtown Canton.
Karter Davids
November 23, 2011
"Fork n Tavern" is a breath of fresh air in Canton
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, spam, and links to outside websites will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides