Review of Native Kitchen in Dalton, Georgia

Chili bowl photo by Amy Burger

by Amy Burger, VRG Intern

Dalton,
Georgia
restaurant Native Kitchen prioritizes serving healthy, fresh food. While its
menu is not vegan or vegetarian, much of it is, and dishes can be customized to
accommodate diners’ diets. The menu is free of gluten and refined sugars, and
the bar serves alcoholic drinks including wine, beer, and cocktails, as well as
mocktails.

     Native Kitchen
opened in the summer of 2018. Its light-filled interior offers several seating
options, with a mixture of standard and counter-height tables and lounge-style
areas with cozy chairs and low tables. The open-air mezzanine above the kitchen
area is a popular location for students to enjoy coffee drinks while they
study, and the space is made to linger.

     I have dined at
Native Kitchen several times, and while it’s open Tuesdays through Saturdays
from 9 am to 9 pm, my visits have always been during lunch. Fortunately, the
entire menu is available all day.

     Some of my
favorite dishes are their dirty south sweet potato and peanut butter sweet
potato, but on my most recent visit with a friend, I opted for the veggie chili
quinoa bowl with a locally-made kombucha, and she chose the y’all nachos with a
sparkling water. We decided to sit on the mezzanine. Our food arrived quickly
and looked delicious, and our server checked in periodically to offer anything
we needed.

     A perk of dining
with friends is sampling their choices, and the y’all nachos did not
disappoint. The plate of freshly-made crinkle potato chips is topped with
chili, housemade cashew cheese, and a dollop of guacamole. With nachos, getting
the perfect bite containing each ingredient is key. Native Kitchen serves
theirs on a wide plate, so this was easy to achieve. The crunchy chips were
cooked to perfection, and the creamy cheese sauce and guacamole offered a
perfect complement to the rich, tomatoey chili.

     While I could have
eaten the entire plate of nachos, I had my own meal to enjoy. The veggie chili
quinoa bowl was generously, but not excessively portioned. Its base of cooked
quinoa and savory chili was enhanced by roasted vegetables and fresh greens,
served with a fresh piece of house bread. The flavors and textures of the dish
were well-balanced. Overall, I found it a hearty and flavorful meal.

     Because our
lunches were so filling, we were not able to enjoy dessert, but having done so
often on previous visits, I can confirm that they are just as delicious as the
entrées. My favorite is their vegan cheesecake with unique seasonal toppings.
On this most recent visit, the flavor was strawberry and fig. The restaurant is
also known for its uniquely-flavored donuts, which pair perfectly with the
coffee drinks on offer. While I prefer a black Americano, the lattes I’ve
sampled have been well-crafted and indulgent, and can be made with almond or
coconut milk.

     Native Kitchen is
located at The Mill at Crown
Garden, a converted
textile mill dating back to the 1880s. The mixed-use development at 825 Chattanooga Avenue
houses apartments, restaurants, shops, and more. Not only is it a welcome
addition to the Dalton
area, since Native Kitchen is located six minutes from exit 336 on Interstate
75, it’s a good dining option for drivers looking for something other than a
typical chain restaurant.

     You can find
Native Kitchen online, on Instagram @nativekitchendalton and on Facebook
@nativekitchendalton

For more information about vegan dining in the USA and Canada, check out VRG’s online restaurant guide: https://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php