The Hostess City of the South is known for her heavy shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, and boiled peanuts. All that is starting to change, though. Fox & Fig, the newest addition to the local Foxy brand of cafés, is helping pave the way for a brighter, healthier future with their plant-based menu.
Health can be achieved without sacrificing the flavors and culinary feel of the South. For Clay Ehmke, Fox & Fig co-owner and general manager, that’s what it’s all about: disproving the stereotypes of veganism and showing the predominantly omnivore-leaning customers the possibilities of plants.
“I want people to know that they can eat plant-based food with no loss whatsoever to palate,” says Ehmke. “It’s not just salad and raw vegetables.”
The brunch-heavy 15-dish menu came together with inspirations from Ehmke’s own experiments over the years and the expertise of Fox & Fig’s two chefs, Shawn Harrison and Anthony Bayness. Their expertise is evident in the menu, and your mouth can’t help but water as you hear Ehmke rave about his favorite dish: the Banh Mi.
“We mix it up with all the spices and herbs,” says Ehmke. “Then we braise it in the oven for two hours, sear it on the flattop, and then we glaze it in our maple-ginger-tamari sauce.”
The dish includes a house-made seitan with sriracha mayo, key lime pickled carrots, a side of agave Dijon slaw and ciabatta from local Auspicious Baking Company. Sourcing from local businesses is a common theme at Fox & Fig, who also partners with Adam Turoni. And Fox & Fig employee Greg Hornak makes the hot sauces—Greg’s Famous—in-house.
Those strong partnerships with other local businesses runs throughout the Foxy family of cafés. The third addition to the family, Henny Penny, is a joint effort between the Foxy Brand and Scribble Art Studio, and all the Foxy locations—Coffee Fox, Foxy Loxy, Henny Penny and Fox & Fig—serve up the locally roasted PERC Coffee.
In addition to dairy-free specialty drinks and coffee, Fox & Fig offers a wide, “eclectic” wine list—such as a hibiscus Bellini. With labels from California, France and Italy, there’s something for everyone.
Of course, Fox & Fig is still adjusting. Customer feedback has helped shaped the menu with some dishes getting the cut to avoid things that have “been done before.” For Ehmke, those changes are crucial for the café to continue to grow and thrive.
“I don’t believe in stagnation,” says Ehmke. “We always have to push forward and continue to improve and refine what we are doing.”
One way the refinements may happen is through seasonal changes to the menu. But while the main menu may see those changes, it’s the weekend dinner specials that will predominantly feature local farms and seasonal produce. So far the specials have included an oyster mushroom with yellow squash and a yellow curry fried dumpling.
And, if after that you’re still craving the Southern classics, Ehmke suggests the seared Southern seitan and French toast with Cholula-maple syrup.
“A little Southern,” says Ehmke. “It’s got Southern spices. It’s an eclectic sort of modern spin on chicken and waffles.”
Fox & Fig is located at 321 Habersham St. and is open Tuesday-Sunday 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Monday 8 a.m.-3 p.m. For information, head to foxandfigcafe.com or call (912) 297-6759.