Home to Georgia's second-largest convention center - the
Georgia International Convention Center (GICC) - College Park combines the
conveniences of a big city with the charm of a small Southern town. "We're
doing whatever we can to raise awareness about our beautiful facility," Cookie
Smoak, president of Meet College Park, says of GICC, "our wonderful name-brand
hotels that offer a great economic package for those groups that want to be in
a big city but don't want the hassle of having to go downtown. They can hop on
a sky train or free transportation and be at any of our hotels, have their
convention out here and yet hop on Marta for $2.50 and see all the attractions
of the city. It's a great option for those planners who want to do a convention
or meeting and save money while they're doing it." Meet College Park, adds
Smoak, is the convention and visitors bureau for the airport area, and became
fully staffed at eight members in February 2015.
In addition to convention offerings, the city has more than 5,000 hotel rooms and a variety of restaurants. Some of those restaurants were part of the city's second-annual College Park Restaurant Week - a week that included $9, $19 and $29 prix fixe menus for lunch and dinner. At the Atlanta Airport Marriott on Best Road, Voya Bistro offered a $19 lunch menu and $29 dinner menu, the latter of which included three courses: side salad, soup, spiced pecans or homemade potato chips with water trout, veal meatloaf, a burger or flat iron steak with chocolate brownie bites, crème brulee, cupcake or bread pudding.
The filling and tasty Georgia Fresh Water Trout included sautéed crab, shrimp, spinach fennel and lemon brown butter. Also worth mentioning: House Favorite - Buttermilk Fried Chicken with red skin mashed potatoes, Augusta style green beans, as well as sous chef Edgar Maldonado's pre-meal amuse offering of arepa reina. The arepa reina, Maldonado explains, stems from his Venezuelan background, and is flatbread in corn flour that includes chicken avocado salad and a slice of cherry tomato. It's a small bite that brings big, could-I-please-have-more flavor! This spring and summer, visitors also will have a chance to try a new offering, according to Executive Chef Eldon Pico. The wild salmon dish will include roasted tomato, gazpacho, wild rocket arugula and fennel salad.
On Main Street in College Park, both The Pecan and Tony Morrow's Real Pit BBQ - two establishments by Chef Tony Morrow - signed on for College Park Restaurant Week. The $19 lunch menu at The Pecan included grilled chicken breast on field of greens with pan-seared chicken, blackened tilapia or terres major steak with Southern pecan pie. As with Voya Bistro, guests also could order from the regular menu.Both Blackened Shrimp with Cajun Crème Sauce over Pepper Jack Grits and Oven Roasted Buttermilk Pecan Chicken - a boneless marinated chicken breast with pesto sauce - proved pleasing picks.