Open since: Aug. 10

General manager: Jordan Satary

Executive chef: Aysar Fuqaha

Location: Near the intersection of Mall of Georgia Boulevard and Woodward Crossing Boulevard

Hours: Closed Monday; 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 3 to 10 p.m. Sunday

Atmosphere: Sage took the existing interior of the Turkish restaurant that used to occupy the space and brightened it up. The first thing customers see entering the restaurant is a neon sign the reads, “Sage.”

“We pretty much changed the whole color scheme,” owner Jordan Satary said. “It was very dark and dim in here. It was almost club-like. It just felt enclosed, so we kind of opened up the space by adding colors like light green.”

The new signage and remodeling of the restaurant have attracted guests in the first month since the restaurant’s opening, along with its prime location near Mall of Georgia. The building is at the intersection of Mall of Georgia Boulevard and Woodward Crossing. That leads mall-goers from the Dacula and Hamilton Mill areas, who use Gravel Springs Road to get to the mall, practically to Sage’s front door.

“I would say a month or two months leading up to us opening we would have people walk in thinking we were open,” Satary said.

After a soft opening, the restaurant celebrated its grand opening on Aug. 10. Satary, a graduate of Mill Creek High School, is a young entrepreneur who is also busy expanding a chain of international grocery stores call Souq. The market in Lawrenceville contains a deli, and contributes to Satary’s goal of providing authentic Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine — communities he believes are underserved and suffer from a quality gap in restaurants.

“With restaurants, you do have standalone restaurants that are really good across the states, but you typically find them in major cities,” Satary said.

Menu: Sage’s dinner menu has a long list of appetizers. So far dips, such as hummus, are some of the most popular dishes. A secret special is Sage’s chocolate hummus.

“It’s one of those things that is such a surprise,” Satary said. “It’s actually hummus with Hershey chocolate (blended in). For Mediterranean and Middle Eastern people that come here, it’s just like, ‘I never would have thought of putting those two together.’”

After a selection of hot and cold appetizers, the menu features a variety of salads, from routine Greek salad to fatoosh and tabouleh.

Satary also said lamb chomps and chicken tandoori kebabs — boneless thigh meat marinated in yogurt and Indian spices — are some of the favorite entree items so far.

The lamb chops make up a robust specialty dish menu that includes Sage Chicken, boneless half chicken marinated with lemon, olive, spices, grilled, served with brown butter.

With Mediterranean food, Sage looks to share culture and hospitality with the Atlanta suburbs.

“I know that when it comes to cooking, there’s always something new to discover,” chef Aysar Fuqaha said in a news release. “And I also know that people these days have less time for themselves. More and more, families and friends are going out to eat instead of eating in their homes. And when they do go out, they are demanding better, healthier, and tastier meals. My contribution to the Atlanta-area is to provide everyone with a nice feeling restaurant that serves full-flavored meals that satisfies my community in ways they’ve never experienced before.”

Something you may not know: Sage has a hookah bar in a separate space. Though the bar does not serve alcoholic drinks, Satary said the hookah bar will take on more of a coffee shop atmosphere with specialty drinks.

That’s one idea, he said, that he hopes will help keep the space occupied in the daytime.

“Something I’ll push very heavily is to make it like a coffee house,” Satary said.

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Taylor Denman is a reporter born and raised in Gwinnett County. He came back home to seize the rare opportunity of telling stories about the county in which he grew up.

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