Have you heard the buzz about Great Wolf Lodge coming to Georgia? The family-focused resort has 15 locations across the U.S., and the LaGrange is poised to become number 16. It opens May 24.
Without kids to enjoy the massive indoor water park, I figured the lodge wouldn’t have a huge draw for me, but I revised my opinion after sampling some of the food. Here’s what you can expect for the dining scene at Georgia’s new Great Wolf Lodge.
The resort will have a fairly broad range of food options for visitors, from a buffet breakfast at Campfire Kitchen to the clever Wine Down Service, paired with cheese and dessert, delivered straight to parents’ doors after the under-21 crowd is in bed. Across the restaurants, diners with allergies or dietary restrictions will find a generous selection for vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free cuisine.
The Georgia location also has something different: a food hall with packaged meals families can grab and go, including healthy options like salads and light sandwiches. Of course, you can expect an abundance of kid-friendly food, like tacos, pizza and ice cream, but the sophisticated fare might surprise you.
Farm Food at Barnwood
For the latter, look to Barnwood, a farm-to-table restaurant with locally sourced ingredients. The kids won’t care about a golden beet salad, but you’ll love how the richness of the house-made ricotta offsets the roasted beets and arugula.
While the brand is national, the resort focuses on local, so they’ll have a few Georgia favorites, plus twists on favorites, on the menu. The shrimp and grits has a bit of spicy kick to it — a bigger kick than I usually favor — but the grits themselves are pleasantly creamy without being oily like so often happens. The biscuits would make any Southerner proud: lightly sweetened, not too soft, substantial.
Children will be able to chow down on chicken tenders as adults enjoy the really good stuff: seafood, unbelievably tender beef, a parade of cocktails, wines or craft beer depending on what you fancy. I’m a serious fan of macaroni and cheese (and they’ll have that, too), but their mushroom risotto fills that creamy, cheesy niche so well, it leaves nothing to be desired. The BBQ short ribs topped with crispy shallots are another clear winner. I don’t care much for barbecue, but the sauce is secondary in this dish where the tender braised meat takes center stage.
A Sweet Ending
Most restaurants have dessert, sure, but a family resort needs to deliver big when it comes to the final course. After all, science shows children like sugar more than adults. And an ice cream cone the size of your head on summer vacation is just one of the joys of childhood, right?
The resort will have Dunkin’ Donuts and Ben & Jerry’s on-site, but personally, I’d pass those up in favor of something like this.
It’s oh-so Instagrammable, but definitely not a single serving. Really. Same goes for the famous Tipping Bucket Sundae, an oversized ice cream confection loaded with cookie chunks, candy, brownie bites, whipped cream and chocolate syrup. It’s beautiful and best shared with the family.
Which, in some ways, sums up the Great Wolf Lodge experience. Maybe I can borrow a niece or nephew for a weekend visit.