Walk through the door of Mare Sol and take in the sleek surroundings with walls of windows overlooking Main Street in LaGrange, Georgia. Follow the hostess to your seat and begin your journey through the vast number of menu choices. Settle in with high expectations for a meal filled with unexpected dishes and the flair of the chef. This is NOT Southern home cooking.
Location: 124 Main Street, LaGrange, Georgia, one block from the town square.
Menu: Under the category of Tapas, there are lots of interesting fried choices, such as whole fried okra, fried quail, fried ravioli and fried brie. But there are also Mediterranean devilled eggs, Moroccan-style chicken wings, boiled crawfish, white bean bruschetta and Southern shrimp and grits.
In the list of Soups and Salads, grilled vegetable salad and arugula Caesar salad are interesting items alongside normal choices of Cobb salad, French onion soup, and tomato basil bisque.
Under Fresh Pasta, you’ll find all kinds of intriguing choices like vodka penne and clam risotto.
Nine flatbread and pizza varieties are described, along with 15 sandwiches, wraps, hoagies, and sliders.
But, when you get to the section of Entrees, you’ll see that Chef Devin White pulls out all the stops. Alongside chicken, shrimp, salmon and pork chops, you’ll find braised pork shanks, Mediterranean sea bass, and lamb ribs, which are extremely rare on menus in the South.
Desserts have unusual twists too, as in strawberry Swiss cake rolls, strawberry Boston cream pie, and four-layer German chocolate cake.
Thoughts: Mare Sol might refer to itself as a Mediterranean restaurant, but the surprising number of possibilities listed give diners much more variety than a single cuisine could provide. Chef Devin White obviously wants all of his customers to have plenty from which to choose, regardless of preferences or dietary restrictions.
Owners, Charles Hudson and his son Chase Hudson, have made a great investment in the downtown area of LaGrange with Mare Sol and C’Sons, its sister restaurant located next door. They are continuing a long-established tradition and the example set by their grandparents, Fuller and Ida Cason Callaway. Grandfather Fuller E. Callaway was a successful businessman before the age of 20. Then, at age 30, he established Unity Cotton Mill, a textile industry that exploded with success and eventually provided jobs for thousands. The Callaways were generous with their financial success from their earliest days and made a commitment to improving their beloved community. These two restaurants and other organizations benefitting from grants derived from the Fuller E. Callaway Foundation are having a tremendous impact on the quality of life for LaGrange residents and visitors to this thriving city.
Mare Sol is closed on Sundays but is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. Parking is available on the street or in a parking lot in the back. The restaurant is a short walk from the LaGrange Art Museum, Legacy Museum on Main, the Lafayette statue and fountain in the town square, the movie theater complex and numerous shops and boutiques.
Price range: Tapas are $6-8. Soups and salads range from $4-12.. Plates of pasta are $12-17. Flatbreads and pizzas are $10-12, as are sandwiches. Entrees range from $12-27.
Disclosure: The author received a complimentary meal to assist in this review.
Connie's book "Telling It On The Mountain: 52 Days in the Life of an Unlikely Missionary" was published in 2016 and is available on Amazon.In addition to her blog, www.theregoesconnie.com, she is a regular contributor to The Yums,Trip101.com, MilesGeek.com, Epicurean-Traveler.com, ShortWeeks-LongWeekends.com and other print and online travel publications.