5385 Five Forks Trickum Road, Lilburn
• Open since: September 2004
• Owner: Joel Guldenschuh
• Location: Always Fresh Market is located in the Mountain Park Plaza shopping center on Five Forks Trickum Road in Lilburn.
• Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sundays
• Atmosphere: Casual family dining with warm, yellow walls and bright red table linens. Open and airy atmosphere with a fresh produce market and dining offered in one area, and a cozy dining room in the other. Catering is also available and is very popular for holiday meals.
The Market offers customer seasonal produce in the spring and summer. In the winter, jars of berry jellies and jams like the shelves ($5 each), alongside jars of sorghum syrup ($8), honey ($7.50), pepper jellies and chow-chow (priced according to variety). Bakery-made cakes, pies, cookies, brownies and apple fritters are also available for sale.
• Menu: Always Fresh Market and Restaurant offers customers a slightly different menu each day, with several choices of meats and more than a dozen selections of side dishes each day. Southern home-cooking best describes the menu offerings, with classics such as meatloaf, pot roast, barbecue and pork loin and gravy. Sides include such favorites as mashed potatoes, broccoli cheese casserole, green beans, macaroni and cheese, and more.
The extensive menu also features a kids’ menu, several varieties of hot dogs and hamburgers (from plain to fancy), deli sandwiches, impressively fresh salads and bakery-made desserts.
According to assistant manager — and the owner’s daughter — Michelle Weimer, the chicken salad at Always Fresh is famous for miles around, and while she and her dad will share a lot of recipes with their regular patrons, the chicken salad has a secret ingredient that will remain that way — secret.
“My parents used to run two fruit stands near here years ago,” owner Joel Guldenschuh said, adding that Always Fresh started out to be just an indoor produce market. “I saw within about three months that I was going to have to add a restaurant if I was going to stay in business, so I did. It’s hard work, but we love it.”
Years ago, a customer walked in and asked whether Guldenschuh and Weimer could make a casserole and sell her the whole thing.
“We did, and that started something,” Weimer said. “Now, we easily make more than 100 casseroles to order for people, especially during the holidays or when they have guests coming for dinner. We even have some people who bring us their own casserole dishes. We make what they order and send it home in their dishes.”
Now that’s hospitality and home cooking.