LaGRANGE — Walk in to Mare Sol on a given afternoon and classic rock flows past tables, and customers consider trying something on the menu or a special on the chalkboard sign above the bar as the staff prepares for the dinner rush.
Mare Sol opened in 2011, the sister restaurant to C’sons, which opened in 2008. The restaurants aim to bring fine dining style food reminiscent of Atlanta and other large cities to the little city of LaGrange.
“C’sons was started because Chase and Charles (Hudson) got together, and they wanted to start something in LaGrange that no one else could offer,” said Executive Chef Devin White. “They wanted to bring that fine dining, upscale restaurant thing to LaGrange. … It was basically a passion and a dream for them to do it.”
C’sons and Mare Sol aspire to offer more than good food. With menus made up of largely locally grown produce and even some local meats, the restaurant appears on track to be a part of the local food movement that has swept the nation in the last few years.
“Our slogan is simple, fresh ingredients, so we try to always embrace that,” White said. “I’ve recently turned that menu into a little bit more of a farm-to-table establishment. We’ve got about 20 different local providers that give us our fruits, our vegetables, our proteins. I’ve actually got a farm or two that raises pork and lamb specifically for the restaurant. The same with vegetables. We’ve got a lot of local vegetables grown specifically for us.”
Mare Sol has recently started listing those local providers on a chalkboard near the bar so that customers can see exactly where their food is coming from. White emphasized that it is important to have good relationships with local farmers in order to get the best quality produce possible for both C’sons and Mare Sol.
Chefs try “to create seasonal farm-to-table preparations with all our specials, and utilize our chefs’ knowledge to come up with ideas,” White said. “Just try to be a little different from everyone else. Try to be original. Try to create things that other people haven’t done in LaGrange. (Chefs) make everything from scratch in both houses, just to ensure the fresh ingredients.”
The specials change daily at both restaurants based on what ingredients are available. White’s current favorite dish on the menu is the Brasstown beef chimi churis because he is excited about the beef. White got the chance to visit the farm where the Brasstown beef was raised to see the conditions the cows were raised in, and enjoys the fresh herbs used for the dish.
“But we’ve got so many good things on right now that it is hard to pick one,” White laughed.
The chef loves working in LaGrange because of the people he meets in the restaurant and because of the growth he sees in the community.
“You just have an abundance of regulars,” he said. “With it being a small community, you see a lot of the same faces. You get a lot of people who trust you to create new innovative things, and they are willing to try it because they have that relationship with us to give them something different. It is fun to have those bonds between your consumer to have them trust you to do creative things and then to support you.
“… LaGrange is going through a lot of changes, so being part of that feels good because you feel like you are helping a small town like LaGrange grow.”
C’sons and Mare Sol are both located on Main Street near the promenade and are open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner.
Alicia B. Hill is a correspondent for LaGrange Daily News. Reach the office at 706-884-7311.