Since the pandemic, the physical workplace has changed for a large number of people. Remote working has opened doors for many folks to pack up and leave city-living. For the first time, people can hand pick where they wish to live, not based on the commute to and from the office. Where to land is now based on factors like community, local activities, climate/scenery, cost of living, and good quality seafood—yes, you read that correctly.
Many folks are making the move to Blue Ridge for the relaxed mountain vibe, the friendly natives, and the newest seafood restaurant in town, Whiskey & Water. With menu items like miso black cod, Alaskan snow crab boil served with clarified drawn butter, and lobster mac and cheese, which includes a three-cheese bechamel, crispy pancetta and shaved parmesan, Blue Ridges’ culinary cuisine has expanded from Southern comfort food to tastes from Americas’ coastlines. With fresh seafood, quality ingredients, and bourbons from around the world, the news is spreading fast as guests can’t help but share their experience and excitement for Whiskey & Water.
PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF
You may ask, how does one get fresh, sustainable Alaskan seafood delivered every other day to this North Georgia mountain town? Persistence. Co-owner Anthony Battaglia would not take no for an answer as he was determined to provide only the freshest, high-quality seafood. After months of persistent requests, W&W partnered with a co-op of Alaskan fishermen to supply their locally-caught seafood, fresh, never frozen, directly to Depot Street. You’ll find plenty of fresh halibut in a delivery as the restaurant’s halibut steak entree is highly favored, cooked in spring butter sauce and served on a bed of au gratin potatoes, topped with crispy pearl onions and microgreens.
Each menu item reads tempting, but Matt and Mason, W&W servers, can assist guests with the overwhelming task of choosing what to order. Everything—and they mean everything—is made from scratch. Over 20,000 masa corn tortillas have been hand-pressed for the mouthwatering fish tacos, made with grilled fish of the day, Serrano chili & mango pico de gallo, grilled lime, and served with a side of Caribbean rice and beans.
HISTORIC YET REIMAGINED
The 1930s building, which initially served as the local Post Office, needed some quality TLC and, quite frankly, a complete facelift. The building has transformed from tired and unfashionable from the basement to the roof to Blue Ridges’ first sophisticated speakeasy. Refurbished cedar shiplap walls and leather accents give the renovated space a comfortable yet classy vibe. The delicate crystal chandeliers and intricate designs press into the tin ceiling, offering a softness to the overall masculine appeal.
As stated on the menu, “Whiskey & Water strives to keep our cocktail recipes the same as when they were originally crafted. We want to honor those pioneers who came before us and share with you their history.” After reviewing the leather-bound drink menu, you’ll leave educated as each cocktail includes its origin and history. Sticking with a speakeasy atmosphere, the Smoked Old Fashioned is a must-try as this classic—smoked with your choice of apple or cherry wood—is crafted with Old Forester Statesman, house-made simple syrup, and bitters garnished with a cocktail cherry and orange peel.
Co-owners and newlyweds Anthony and Kelli Battaglia have both worked in the restaurant business for well over a decade, resulting in a great knowledge and understanding of the industry. Before opening W&W doors in July 2021, they worked hard to ensure they could offer Blue Ridge the very best.
Renovated historic building with a great vibe? Check.
Deliciously fresh cuisine? Check.
Wide selection of bourbon from all over the world? Check.
The last task was to hire and cultivate a great workplace. Through their hard work and careful selection process, Anthony and Kelli put together a truly amazing team. The staff here is well balanced and complementary to each other, working together with a fluidity that can only be explained by the close family-like relationship they all share. Once a month, the staff has the opportunity to further their knowledge of specific foods, ingredients, and bourbons to serve the guests better. Suppliers such as WhistlePig Whiskey offer tastings and training to the group—all to better serve Whiskey & Water’s patrons and to foster the team’s growth. Guests can be confident with the servers’ recommendations when ordering a Curated Whiskey Flight due to their monthly continuing education.
Whether you are making the move to Blue Ridge or stopping by on an autumn day, Whiskey & Water welcomes you to experience what all the buzz is about personally. Guests dream about the cheesy lump blue crab dip served hot with crispy fried lavash bread, perfect for dipping paired with bartender James’ famous Whiskey Sour. Open for lunch and dinner six days a week, you’re bound to find an opportunity to experience the beauty of Blue Ridge while indulging in a meal you won’t forget.
WHISKEY & WATER
187 Depot St