You voted. We counted. Here are the places around Cobb that you felt were simply the Best.

Your votes let us know your favorite businesses in the county. Everything from Best Burger, Best Dessert, Best Places to Take Your Kids and more.

We hope you enjoy reading this section and get ideas on where you can go eat, be entertained and take your family in 2018!


Best Festival | Chalktoberfest | Marietta Square | chalktoberfest.com

Fall temperatures, live music, over 150 craft beers from nearly 40 breweries and chalk drawings from professional artists around the world — who could ask for a better weekend?

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Chalk artist Erik Greenawalt works on his portrait of President Thomas Jefferson during the 5th annual Chalktoberfest event. Staff-Kelly J. Huff

The Marietta Museum of Art plays host to Chalktoberfest, a chalk festival and craft beer festival in one, the second weekend of October on the Marietta Square. Last year’s festival included 98 artists from Canada, Italy, Ukraine, Mexico and 17 states. On Sunday, festivalgoers vote for the winner of the People’s Choice Award, and artists are rewarded for the top honor.

Amateur artists of all ages participate in their own contest Sunday, after which awards are given for various age groups. Admission to Chalktoberfest is free, but tickets for the beer festival range from $40 to $50. Funding for the event is primarily made possible through generous donations and sponsorships.

Marietta resident Sarah Bullington says, “I love Chalktoberfest because it has something for all ages and provides access to quality art for people who might not frequent museums. It’s a great experience to observe the artwork taking shape and to see the finished products. I hate when it rains and washes away, but the temporary nature of the art is what makes it a once-in-a-lifetime event.”


Best Place to Spend the Day Outdoors | Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park | 900 Kennesaw Mountain Drive, Kennesaw | 770-427-4686 | www.nps.gov/kemo/index.htm

Containing nearly 3,000 acres of pristine outdoor space for all your adventures, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park has come a long way from its heritage as a Civil War monument. Although it’s been designated national parkland since 1917, Kennesaw Mountain as we know it today has been entertaining its guests since the 1930s.

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Whether you’d like to picnic on the green with family and friends for the day, tour the museum or check out the three battlefield areas, there also are nearly 20 miles of hiking trails to explore— making this local landmark the ideal spot to spend the day outdoors enjoying the lovely Georgia weather almost year-round.

Although you can take a tram to the top of the mountain to catch the truly spectacular view, the walk is highly recommend. There’s nothing quite so breathtaking as coming over the final hill to catch a glimpse of downtown Atlanta and even Stone Mountain on a clear day.


Best Burger | Stockyard Burgers & Bones | 26 Mill St., Marietta; 2850 Paces Ferry Road, Vinings | www.stockyardburger.com

Stockyard Burgers and Bones offers a contemporary, upscale feel featuring a full bar and dishes of the highest quality. Gourmet burgers are made from certified Angus beef, served on a toasted H&F brioche bun, and topped with condiments made in-house.

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Patrons looking for something other than burgers can enjoy hand-tossed salads; baby back ribs; pork chops; and mouth-watering chicken dishes in addition to sides like hand-cut fries and smoked Gouda mac and cheese. Unique, homemade dipping sauces like bourbon and roasted tomato aioli and chili lime mayo make visiting Stockyard a real treat.

Owner Alexis Kinsey says, “We take such great care of each dish we prepare using only the freshest ingredients.”

Located in Vinings, Sandy Springs and on the Marietta square, Stockyard will open a new location at the Avenues in East Cobb in early 2018. Whether seeking a casual lunch spot, a comfortable bar including signature cocktails and small plates, or a formal dinner, Stockyard offers something for every occasion.


Best Jeweler | Cumberland Diamond Exchange | 2800 Cumberland Blvd. SE, Smyrna | 770-434-4367 | www.cumberlanddiamond.com

Located in Smyrna, Cumberland Diamond Exchange has been making dreams come true for 35 years with its award-winning, family-owned approach to jewelry. 

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Owned by husband-and-wife duo Mark and Rhonda Jacobson, Cumberland Diamond Exchange is ranked among the top 5 percent of jewelers in the United States and offers a wide range of bling for every style, including bridal jewelry, loose diamonds, stone settings, designer jewelry, corporate gifts, one-of-a-kind custom jewelry design and even estate consultations and appraisals, in-house repair and ring resizing.

This is the third year Cobb Life readers have voted Cumberland Diamond Exchange the Best Jeweler in Cobb since the contest began, and that’s probably because the Jacobsons and their team of dedicated staff, including daughter Melissa and three graduate gemologists, reflect a culture where everyone, regardless of budget, can feel welcome.

If you’re ready to be treated like one of the family, head over to Cumberland Diamond Exchange for your next jewelry purchase.


Best Golf Course | Marietta Country Club | 1400 Marietta County Club Drive, Kennesaw | 770-426-1808 | www.mariettacountryclub.org

With 27 beautifully manicured holes, Kennesaw Mountain as a backdrop and nearly a century of golf history and tradition, it is easy to see why the Marietta Country Club golf course has earned top honors.

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The 180-acre course was designed by Robert Cupp, and is maintained in near pristine condition with the leadership of its grounds superintendent, Mark Hayes.

Seasoned member John Clotfelter says, “The course provides versatility that makes it enjoyable for recreational golfers to play, yet can be set up to test top amateur and professional golfers.”

Director of Golf Stephen Keppler leads an all-star team of PGA professionals offering lessons and assistance in the fully merchandised pro shop. Although the course requires membership to play, a golf membership to the Marietta Country Club also includes the use of the pool, tennis and clubhouse facilities.


Best Fine Dining | Capers Restaurant & Bar | 1635 Old 41 Hwy. Ste. 403, Kennesaw | 678-594-7735 | capersonmain.com

Once nestled in a quaint home in historic downtown Kennesaw, Caper’s Restaurant & Bar relocated to the corner of Old 41 Highway and Barrett Parkway (and a much larger space) about six years ago.

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Although the new American style eatery with a decidedly Southern twist changed locales, one thing hasn’t changed in its 13-year tenure, and that’s a commitment to great food made from fresh ingredients. Pass Around appetizers, including Fried Green Tomatoes and Hickory Smoked Salmon dip are long-time fan favorites, while the Steak of the Day and Sautéed Trout entrées are hearty portions that will melt in your mouth.

Top it all off with a scrumptious dessert like the Chocolate Mousse Cake or Strawberry Pound Cake. And, whatever you do, don’t forget to enjoy a nightcap from the fully-stocked bar.

In addition to the expanded dining room, this is one area you won’t want to miss given its homey den-style ambiance.


Best Salon & Spa | Dyer & Posta Salon | 600 Chastain Rd., Suite 312, Kennesaw | 770-514-1620 | dyerandposta.com

With a huge clientele that travels from around the southeastern states for natural, hand-painted hair color and high quality cuts at once organic and precise, this ain’t Dyer & Posta Salon’s first rodeo in our Best of Salon & Spa category.

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Helmed by partners Stephen Posta and Amanda Dyer for almost a decade, the salon’s committed staff consistently hits hair home runs with its high-volume clientele while managing to maintain an uber cool vibe and strike a delicate balance between personalized service and on-trend style.

The team at Dyer & Posta has traveled all over the world to train with some of the salon industry’s most recognized and esteemed talents, ensuring you’ll walk out of Dyer &Posta with not only a cut and color perfectly suited to you but also a standard of service you won’t soon forget.

At Dyer & Posta, you can rely on a consistently excellent in-salon experience even as you walk out looking like the very best version of you!


Best Boutique | Doodlebugz | 15 W. Park Square, NE, Marietta | 770-792-6734 | www.facebook.com/shopdoodlebugz/

Whether purchasing the perfect birthday gift, picking out home décor, or shopping with the kids, Doodlebugz, on the Marietta square, truly offers something for everyone.

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The store welcomes customers of all ages through open doors and tickles the senses with colorful gifts, whimsical décor, and sweet smelling candles.

Marietta resident, and frequent shopper, Samantha Johnson says, “Doodlebugz is my go-to spot for unique finds and gifts. It’s perfect for all occasions.”

The boutique carries everything from women’s apparel and children’s books, to brands like Sid Dickens and Corksicle. (Don’t miss the sale room in the back packed floor to ceiling with great deals on gifts and décor!)

Each month, the shop hosts in-store workshops on subjects like: terrariums, jewelry, stamping, monoprinting and bath bombs. Doodlebugz is open Monday to Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 9:15 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Follow them on Facebook for more information on promotions and events.


Best Place to Take Kids | Marietta Square | www.mariettasquare.com

Candy shops, ice cream parlors, toy stores, theaters, a playground, a fountain, and train horns echoing in the background — what kid wouldn’t love the Marietta square?

Each season offers something new in the park but two things remain the same — the playground, modeled after a train engine, and the fountain, upon which many-a-Marietta-resident has wished.

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Stephanie Coston, Operations Director of the Marietta Square Experience Branding Project, summarizes the magic that is Glover Park saying, “It’s a place where kids can play and parents can enjoy the setting. Our museums, family friendly restaurants, and galleries are also part of what makes the square so inviting. Kids feel welcome here and the eclectic environment lets families enjoy time together.”

Follow Marietta Square Experience on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or visit www.mariettasquare.com for updates on family friendly events.


Best Dessert | Gabriel’s Restaurant & Bakery | Marietta: 800 Whitlock Ave., Marietta; 770-427-9007 | Acworth: 4271 Southside Dr., Acworth; 570-891-5969 | gabrielsdesserts.com

Owner Johnnie Gabriel has been making sweet treats the locals love since 1996. She and her team have won not only accolades but herds of loyal customers since Gabriel’s Restaurant & Bakery first opened back in 1996.

The outfit moved to its current location in 2007 and recently expanded to include a stand-alone bakery that runs from the wee hours of the morning until after dinner each night.

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Try the Little White Lady with its thin layers of chocolate cake filled and frosted with white chocolate mousse and finished with semi sweet chocolate swirls or a Flourless Chocolate Heart (it’s gluten free after all) paired with the perennial favorite Fresh Fruit Tart.

The gluten free chocolate heart can be made in sizes from the small heart seen here all the way up to a 9-inch round that serves up to 18 people.

No matter what size you crave, it’s the perfect pairing for a seasonal assortment of fresh fruits and made-from-scratch pastry cream. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Gabriel’s Restaurant & Bakery.


Best Breakfast | The Marietta Local | 148 Roswell St., Marietta | 770-794-2299 | www.themariettalocal.com

Using the freshest ingredients on the local market, The Marietta Local, offers a scrumptious selection of dishes for both breakfast and lunch.

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As winner of the “The Big Chicken” award the last four years in a row at the Taste of Marietta, breakfast includes chicken and French toast; chicken biscuits; an array of omelets; and sides like stone-ground cheese grits, donuts, and potato hash .

Owner, Jim Tidwell, says, “We make all our dishes fresh from scratch daily to ensure the highest quality and richest flavor.”

As a 2017 Cobb Chamber top 25 small businesses of the year, The Local also offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner catering with custom menus for any event.

The restaurant is open Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Arrive early and hungry as tables can be a challenge to find and dishes are satisfyingly large.


Best Home Decor | Acorn Home & Garden | 3870 Due West Road, NW, Marietta | 770-426-9840 | acornhomeandgarden.com

Tony Whitlock and Loriann Thibodeaux combine almost 30 years of experience in interior design and floral arrangement to create a home décor wonderland at Acorn Home & Garden.

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A visit to the shop is like walking into a dream home where every detail has been carefully selected and perfectly paired. Acorn offers everything from hostess gifts and simple décor pieces, to special event floral arrangement, holiday decorating, and complete room makeovers.

Whitlock, a Marietta design icon, says, “I really enjoy visiting clients’ homes; interviewing them; and creating a room tailored to their personality and lifestyle.”

Follow Acorn on Facebook and Twitter, or visit acornhomeandgarden.com for updates on sales and events.

Fresh looks are created monthly — don’t miss a visit in February to the newly re-decorated “inspiration showroom.”

Thibodeaux explains it best saying, “Acorn has something for everyone; a service for everyone. In addition to our products, we offer expertise, talent, and the highest level of quality and customer service.”


Best BBQ | Dave Poe’s BBQ | 660 Whitlock Ave., Marietta | 770-792-2272 | davepoes.com

Award-winning pulled pork (cooked each night for 16 hours), two styles of fall-off-the-bone ribs (baby back and St. Louis spare), fresh made collards and mac-n-cheese so good it’ll make you want to slap your momma — what’s not to love about Dave Poe’s BBQ?!

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This joint seamlessly blends a little bit of rustic Southern charm, some darn fine ‘Q and the kind of customer service that will have you coming back for more again and again, which isn’t surprising since its owner has been in the business since 1975 and in this location for a decade.

With this kind of high quality product and consistency, it’s no wonder customers always leave with a smile on their faces and maybe just a little bit of the house made sauce still dripping off their chins.

If you haven’t yet been to Dave Poe’s, don’t let the shopping center fool you, it’s some of the best barbecue around!


Best Customer Service | Project: Escape | 1395 S. Marietta Parkway, Suites 202 & 230, Marietta (two locations in the same business center) | 844-372-2731 | projectescapeatl.com

What began two years ago as a gifted family birthday outing from daughter to father became much more than an occupation — it became a passion for the Woods’ family (husband and wife team Brandy and J.R., daughter Savannah and four-legged furry grandson and company mascot George).

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The result is the Marietta-based escape room Project: Escape. If you’ve been to other escape rooms before, get ready for something entirely different at Project: Escape.

Gone are the days of choosing amazing game play or a completely immersive aesthetic experience. Here, you can have the best of both worlds thanks to J.R.’s background as a construction company owner with Disney (yes, that Disney) training and Savannah’s zest for puzzles.

Add Brandy’s zeal for customer service, and you have a recipe for not only a Best of Cobb winner but an absolutely unforgettable night out with family, friends or co-workers.

Book your holiday escape room adventure today!

Photography by Kelly J. Huff & Erin Gray Cantrell

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