ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Dockery’s Café, an icon of old town Alpharetta, will be torn down soon to make way for the new Alpharetta City Center, and with it, many memories of the way the city used to be.
Being just across the parking lot from City Hall, Dockery’s became a favorite lunch spot for the city workers for many years. In fact, the café used to be located inside what is now City Hall. It moved in the mid-1980s.
Former Alpharetta mayor Arthur Letchas said he has fond memories of the restaurant.
“A lot of the employees went over and ate there,” Letchas said. “I ate there about every Thursday. My mother always got her hair done on Thursdays and I would take her to eat there.”
It was the cooking that kept them coming back, he said.
“They have vegetables and fried chicken that was always good,” Letchas said.
Former City Clerk Sue Rainwater said she ate there nearly every day for lunch.
She and her friends would meet and sit at the same table and just share the news, gossip or comings and goings in the city.
“We checked on everyone to make sure they were OK,” she said. “It was always nice to see everyone and keep up with friends.”
The restaurant was a regular meeting place for many of the locals of Alpharetta who grew up back when the town was a sleepy country village.
“It was a family-oriented place,” Rainwater said. “We saw children grow up and graduate high school and college and have families of their own.”
“It’s the perfect example of what a hometown is about,” said regular Craig Hahn. “I could walk in and the cook would start cooking what I wanted.”
He and the other dozen or so members of the Dockery’s group are still a little bitter about the closing of their favorite gathering hole after so long. The sadness at losing Dockery’s is tempered by the fact he and his group have found a second home at Alpha Soda, just around the corner from Dockery’s on Haynes Bridge Road, where they have picked up the daily tradition.
“What’s the use of a 2,000-car parking lot if there isn’t anything downtown?” Hahn asked. “Alpharetta would be much friendlier if it had more places like Dockery’s.”
Nancy Chatham said the group was all upset at the news it would close down after so many years.
“We’re just lost,” she said.
Leonard Barron is taking it in stride.
“It’s going to be hard to swallow, but it’s progress,” he said.
The groundbreaking of Alpharetta’s City Center will take place April 22. After that, demolition will follow.