Back when Mary Baker and her husband Lee both worked from home, they liked to go out and have lunch downtown for a midday change of scenery. One of those days, serendipity struck. “We were at a local downtown establishment having lunch and a few adult beverages, and as we were leaving, we noticed a For Sale sign at the wine bar,” says Mary. The couple had been thinking about ways to invest in downtown Acworth, and this felt like a sign, literally. They called the number and walked inside that day. “We just fell in love,” Mary says.
Since quietly opening their doors on New Year’s Eve of 2015, Brix on Main has become one of downtown Acworth’s go-to date night spots, where guests can indulge in everything from mac ‘n cheese to martini flights (or, preferably, all of the above). Mary describes the vibe at Brix as “if a frou-frou place and a non-frou-frou place had a baby” — that is, a place where you can get dolled up for date night or pop in in shorts and a t-shirt, and still get the same great experience each time.
We chatted with Mary about her journey into the restaurant world, what makes Brix special, and why you can often find her and her family posted up on the Brix deck right around sunset time.
Did you always know you wanted to open a restaurant like Brix?
No! We had this beautiful building, and thought, what can we put here that Acworth doesn’t have, that it really needs? We knew Acworth was going to grow, it’s such a beautiful little community. So, we said, let’s plan something that fits Acworth now, but also for the future. That’s kind of what we did. We sat out on that bench in front of Brix for months with a little notebook. People would come up and say, oh, the wine bar’s closed, and we’d be like, yeah, but what did you love about it? What would you like to see here? We kept notes. And everything that’s in that notebook is Brix.
And what did those folks tell you?
They wanted something a little more adult-friendly. There are a lot of wonderful family places in town, but not as many that caters specifically to adults. A lot of people said, I’m gluten-free or vegan or vegetarian but I can’t find that — and being gluten-free myself, I know that challenge. Mostly, people wanted a nice, quiet place to have a nice glass of wine or a good cocktail.
How do you describe Brix to the uninitiated?
It has a very elegant and sophisticated vibe. We offer the organic produce; we make sure we get the best quality olive oils and balsamic vinegars from Italy. I only use 100% grass-fed Angus beef and wild-caught fish. These things are important to a lot of people. And then the atmosphere itself, it tends to lean a little more sophisticated and adult and elegant… but also, we do sliders. Our staff is pretty laid back. It’s a combination of the two, like you’re going out for a nice dinner, but you don’t feel uncomfortable, you don’t have to dress up and meet somebody’s expectations. It’s a place for everyone.
What do you love about being in Acworth?
It’s like the best of both worlds. You have the park side, you have the beach side, it’s a little bit of everything. And it’s all so close to Atlanta, so you can bebop down there and do the city thing if you want to. I think Acworth is great because it just offers so much. Everybody kind of has their own little niche. There’s deep history in the town, and lots of local historic sites. Within Acworth, you can be in Acworth and within 15 minutes, do just about anything – go see some bigger cities, visit college campuses, go hike the trails, go out on the lake, go to the beach, you can go to some really great restaurants and mom ‘n pop shops. There’s something for everybody in Acworth.
What’s your idea of a perfect day in Acworth?
I have teenage girls, so it’s going to involve going to the lake. We might go hike the trails around the park, pop down to the lake and hang out on the beach. Have a nice lunch, maybe do a little shopping downtown, and then have dinner. And nothing beats the sunset view over the lake. My favorite thing to do is go watch the sunset over the lake. Our deck at Brix has a great view, so that’s a thing my kids and I love to do, even when I have the day off.