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THE DISH: Moondance Restaurant and Lounge

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Moondance Restaurant and Lounge

Moondance Restaurant and Lounge

300 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Suite 300, Suwanee

770-831-9700

www.moondancelounge.com

• Open since: October

• Location: The restaurant is located near the intersection of Suwanee Dam Road and Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in a small strip mall next to the Chevron gas station.

• Hours: 5 to 11 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 5 p.m. to midnight Thursdays, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays, closed Mondays

• Owners: Christine and Mark Alestra

• Atmosphere: The Alestras wanted to create a space where couples could go on a dinner-dancing date without driving into Atlanta.

"We're trying to meet that goal of affordable fine dining," Christine Alestra said. "It's not white linen service, but it's nice food."

The restaurant's atmosphere is cool, calm and relaxed with four rooms to explore: the main dining area, outside patio, bar and dance floor.

The dining room is colored with dark yellow and black with music paintings and old instruments on the walls. The tables are covered with black crocodile patterns.

"It's different and unique, but it still feels classy," Alestra said. "No animals were hurt the creation of these tables."

The bar is fully stocked and built with dark wood. Although it is a bar, it is not a sports bar. You cannot order a bucket of chicken wings and watch the game. Alestra wanted it to be more of a place to hang out on a date or with business clients.

The dance floor is connected to the dining room, but it is a separate area. The owners encourage diners to dance in between plates for that "extra experience."

Depending on the night, there is live music and dancing classes. Blues singer-songwriter Randall Bramblett played recently and is coming back Dec. 6. Other musicians regularly alternate dates at Moondance.

Menu: Executive chef Todd Paige created the menu around the idea that guests can share plates -- like tapas with larger serving sizes.

"Everything you see on the menu is recognizable," Alestra said. "But the way he prepares it ... it's just amazing."

Paige has been cooking for 25 years. One dish he wanted to add to the menu was his crispy roasted duck, a popular item, Alestra said.

The dessert menu was crafted by resident pastry chef, Paul Raiz, who gets inspiration from what's trending in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. He constantly works on new ideas, such as homemade popsicles, Snickers bars and s'mores with fine dining flair.

Can't make up your mind? Order the sampler platter for three different sweets after your meal.

Chefs Paige and Raiz have worked together for 20 years, creating menus and cooking at different restaurants.

"We were kind of the complete package," Paige said.

Alestra added, "When Todd (Paige) was telling me that we needed a pastry chef, I said, 'We do? Why?' Then I met Paul (Raiz) and had some of his desserts and I knew we needed a pastry chef."

• Things you might not know: From now until Dec. 31, children (12 years and younger) can eat free off of the kid's menu when a parent orders an entree.