2023 Best Salad Contest


Photos by Karl Lamb

Salad lovers, rejoice! The time has come for Suwanee Magazine’s ultimate battle of the greens, where flavor, freshness, and creativity collide! For our 2023 Food Issue, we went on a quest to find the crème de la crème of leafy delights with our Best Salad Contest. Seven local restaurants eagerly delivered their finest salads to our office, presenting them before a panel of three discerning foodies, ready to put their taste buds to the ultimate test and declare a triumphant winner! We also tasked the Suwanee Magazine staff with sampling each salad to vote on a “People’s Choice” winner. Salads were judged on appearance, taste, creativity of ingredients and overall impression.

Meet the Judges:

Maurice Odoms
Maurice is a sales and marketing professional with more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality and tourism industry. In his current role as Senior Sales Manager at Explore Gwinnett, he leads the sales team in promoting Gwinnett County as a premier destination for meetings, conventions, and social gatherings. Maurice takes pride in generating revenue for his community; he is savvy at closing deals but most important, loves to make his clients shine. In his free time, Maurice enjoys jogging in the park, spending time with family, and binging Netflix shows.

Skye Estroff
Skye is known as the “Atlanta Food Expert” on TV and Radio. She began her career in food by receiving her bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from the University of Georgia. After college, she took root in Atlanta and began working for local food and media companies, Atlanta Eats then Taste of Atlanta, before founding Skye Estroff LLC, a food-focused social media company, and Foodie Roadtrip LLC, a food production company and regional TV Show. Her lifelong goal is to connect people through food, and she is sharing that perspective with Foodie Road Trip.

Derek Douglas
Derek Douglas is the owner and operator of Dinners by Derek, a prepared meal delivery service based out of Buford since 2018. Before having his own business, Derek received his BA in Hospitality Management with a minor in Business Management at Georgia Southern University and then went on to receive his certification from the Culinary Institute of America in Napa, California. After working in various steakhouses, Derek ventured off on his own to have more time for family. Derek has been married to his wife, Elizabeth, for 10 years and they have two girls: Reece, 8, and Ryan, 5.

And the winner is…

2023 Winner: Marlow’s Tavern: Crab Louie Salad

1950 Satellite Blvd., Duluth MarlowsTavern.com
Duluth’s Marlow’s Tavern serves high-quality meals in a relaxed environment, making it the perfect spot for a family dinner or after work gathering of friends. Their new Crab Louie Salad was voted the Best Salad by our team of judges! Featuring lump crab, a hard-boiled egg, Green Goddess dressing, asparagus, French green beans, grape tomatoes, radishes, avocado, and lemon, the salad is light, refreshing, and perfect for summer!

Judges’ comments:

“I fell in love with this salad. The crab meat brought me back to fond memories when I lived in Maryland.”
— Maurice Odoms

“I did not miss the greens on this one! This niçois-adjacent crab salad was such a light and bright balanced dish.”
— Skye Estroff

“Perfect cook on all the veggies. Intriguing dressing.”
— Derek Douglas

TIE: Runner-Up, PLUS the 2023 Reader’s Pick: Cheeky Taqueria’s Mango Chile Lime Salad

1039 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Suwanee, EatatCheeky.com
A salad blend with grilled chicken, mango pico, avocado, roasted corn, roasted red peppers, black beans, chile lime tortilla strips, grape tomatoes, and smoked gouda.

Judges’ comments:

“The mango salsa really elevated this salad. Loved the tomato-based vinaigrette for a complimentary pairing!”
— Skye Estroff

“This salad was amazing! I really like the dressing combo.”
— April Miller, People’s Choice

“This salad was amazing! The chicken was very flavorful, and the dressing was the perfect pairing.”
— Maurice Odoms

TIE: Runner-Up: Bare Bones Steakhouse’s Cobb Salad

101 E. Main St., Buford, BareBonesSteakhouse.com

Romaine and iceberg mix with grape tomatoes, sliced red onion, bleu cheese crumbles, fresh chopped bacon, sliced boiled egg, and chopped turkey with house-made honey vinaigrette and topped with steak.

Judges’ comments:

“Definitely a protein-packed bowl! The steak was cooked perfectly.”
— Sky Estroff

“Delicious, flavorful steak. The dressing is perfect with the steak seasoning.”
— Laura Holcomb, People’s Choice

“Meal in a bowl! The nice, light dressing was the perfect accent to the ingredients.”
— Amy Kimball-Niepmann, People’s Choice

Third Place: Main St. Deli’s Salad Soleil with Chicken

60 E. Main St., Buford MainStDeliBuford.com
Mixed greens, cucumber, carrot, strawberries, oranges, sunflower seeds, feta cheese, poppy seed dressing.

Judges’ comments:

“Very fresh! Perfect for summer.”
— Maurice Odoms

“Excellent seasoning on the chicken.”
— Derek Douglas

Honorable Mention: Seaside Oyster Bar’s Cobb Salad

3890 Lawrenceville Suwanee Road, SeasideOysterBar.com
Spring mix with red onion, bleu crumble, sliced boiled egg, cucumber, radish, applewood bacon, tomato, croutons and avocado.

Judges’ comments:

“The watermelon radish was awesome, and the sesame dressing was perfect.”
— Derek Douglas

“The watermelon radish, tricolored tomatoes, and fanned avocado added a lot to this presentation.”
— Skye Estroff

Honorable Mention: The Diner at Sugar Hill’s Southwestern Chicken Salad

4500 Nelson Brogdon Blvd., Sugar Hill, TheDineratSugarHill.com
Oak fire grilled blackened chicken over mixed field greens, tomatoes, shredded Monterey Jack, and cheddar cheese with black bean, corn salsa, honey mustard dressing, and crisp julienne tortillas.

Judges’ comments:

“The chicken was delicious and had a lot of flavor.”
— Lauren Moore, People’s Choice

“The marinade and seasoning on the chicken had a wonderful taste.”
— Derek Douglas

Honorable Mention: Mellow Mushroom’s Greek Salad

320 Town Center Ave., Suite C1, Suwanee, MellowMushroom.com
Romaine and iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, red cabbage, onions, cucumbers, green peppers, mushrooms, authentic sheep’s milk feta cheese, kalamata olives, Roma tomatoes, pepperoncini, and banana peppers.

Judges’ comments:

“This salad was fresh and light.”
— Maurice Odoms

“The iceberg lettuce was very crisp!”
— Skye Estroff

“Classic homestyle salad.”
— Derek Douglas



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