In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and just northwest of the bustling Georgia state capital is a suburban city with a rich and budding culinary identity. Though lesser known than Atlanta, Marietta is home to a small business making big waves. Two proud locals and permanent residents, Cecile and Brian Benefield, are contributing to the revitalization of Marietta as a culinary destination of its own merit and to the development of the city’s unique and developing food culture.
When they started Marietta Food Tours, their goal was simple – to share with strangers in the rich history of their community over plates of its best-kept culinary secrets. Now one of the area’s leading food attractions, the tour includes stops at seven local eateries, and daring diners can expect to cover a mile and a half of ground while sampling savory plates, sweet treats, craft coffee and even a libation or two. Amidst steps throughout the Marietta Square and in between bites, Brian and Cecile take care to incorporate interesting bits of local history, helping to unfold the story of how such diverse influences came to exist in one place.
In the spirit of community, the Benefields’ tour includes visits to several other homegrown spots, including the Marietta Wine Market which is owned and operated by Randall and Karen Heard, also local residents. The Heards’ Market boasts in excess of 500 wines available for purchase from all over the world, plus over fifty wines made with Georgia-grown grapes. Perhaps after a glass of local wine, tourers will appreciate a pick-me-up – after all, the tour is 3 hours – at Cool Beans Coffee Roasters, another independently and locally-owned coffee shop which has already gained local buzz for its signature light, delicate roast.
For Atlanta’s in-town dwellers and city newcomers, and even for local residents, a Benefield-led food tour of Marietta promises something for every palate on a worldly culinary adventure just a short drive up Interstate 75.