Castellucci Hospitality Group, which also owns Sugo, The Iberian Pig and Double Zero Napoletana, will finally open its long-awaited Spanish Basque restaurant Cooks & Soldiers on November 24. Landon Thompson, former chef de cuisine at The Iberian Pig, will helm the kitchen. The group took time to explore Basque cooking in its home turf, and the dishes to be presented will bring Spain ever closer to Georgia diners. We look forward to head-on Georgia white shrimp, bacalao, clams in Basque cider, Basque pepper stew (piperade) and vieras (scallops) with blood orange. The restaurant will serve dinner nightly, and on Friday and Saturday evenings the bar will stay open until 2 a.m. Cooks & Soldiers, Elan Westside Apartment Bldg., 691 14th St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30318, 404-996-2362.
Tom Murphy and Ian Winslade, the inspired team behind Virginia Highland's Murphy’s restaurant, is introducing its latest concept, Paces & Vine, to Vinings. Paces & Vine aims to strike a balance between high-caliber cuisine and a sense of “home." The restaurant opened Friday, October 24, 2014, for dinner service and began serving brunch the next day. Lunch service debuted Monday, October 27. The cuisine, says Winslade, will be contemporary American comfort food. A well-developed beverage program, from a wine list to craft beers and cocktails, accompanies the food offerings. Lunch Mon.-Fri., Dinner nightly, Brunch Sat.-Sun. Paces & Vine, Vinings Jubilee, 4300 Paces Ferry Rd. SW, Atlanta, GA 30339, 404-205-8255.
Chef, TV host and cookbook author Marvin Woods will open Asante in downtown Atlanta's Luckie Marietta District on December 1, 2014. Woods has developed a unique style that blends the ingredients and techniques of the Caribbean, South America, the low country and the Southern U.S. and Africa. Asante is located in the space formerly occupied by Peasant Bistro, and will serve dinner nightly; the lounge will stay open until midnight on Friday and Saturday, and until 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Lunch will be offered Monday through Friday and brunch Saturday and Sunday. Asante, 250 Park Ave. West NW, Atlanta, GA 30313, 404-893-0022.
Southern Proper Hospitality has opened Gypsy Kitchen in the new Buckhead Atlanta complex. The restaurant's mission is to bring to Atlanta a unique Spanish-style dining experience. Executive chef Randy Lewis offers a menu of tapas, small plates and larger entrées for communal-style meals. The dishes reflect the subtle regional differences that make Spanish cuisine unique. Accompanying the cuisine will be live Spanish music and Flamenco on the patio overlooking Peachtree Road. Gypsy Kitchen, Buckhead Atlanta, 3035 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30305, 404-939-9840.
In November through his Resurgens Hospitality Group, Linton Hopkins, chef/owner of Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch Public House, will assume management of the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s cafe, to be called Cafe at Linton's in the Garden. Its menu will focus on natural meats and local produce. Hopkins, who is a frequent guest chef at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market in Buckhead, views "farm-to-table" as an ethic, rather than just as a way of cooking. The garden's renovation project won't be completed until 2017, but as part of that process, the cafe will morph into Linton's in the Garden, a full-service restaurant filling two stories of the contemporary glass building. When that is completed, the current cafe will house offices. Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, no phone.
Willy Bitter, CEO and founder of Willy's Mexicana Grill, has opened a 24th Atlanta-area outpost that boasts a patio for al fresco dining. The menu includes fresh-made California-style burritos, quesadillas, tacos, nachos and salads and a salsa bar. Known for its reliance on fresh ingredients, Willy's makes its guacamole and salsas twice a day. Vegetarian options are available, too. For dessert, looks for an array of Atlanta-founded King of Pops. Eventually, beer will be offered at this location. Lunch & Dinner daily. Willy's Mexicana Grill, Sandy Springs Plaza, 6309 Roswell Rd., Sandy Springs, GA 30328, 470-355-9596.
Another venture from Legacy Restaurant Partners, Twin Smokers Barbecue & Bourbon will open in November 2014 in downtown Atlanta's Luckie Marietta District. The restaurant's name, “Twin Smokers,” refers to its two custom red Oyler 700 smokers: one for chicken and pork and the other for beef. The restaurant also boasts its own “wood library” for the mesquite and post oak (for beef) and hickory and white oak (for chicken and pork). The 4,000-square-foot restaurant will be helmed by executive chef Chris Blobaum (Bone’s, OK Café, Blue Ridge Grill). Twin Smokers Barbecue & Bourbon, 300 Marietta Bldg., 300 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30313, 404-698-4707.
Atlanta native and “Top Chef: Las Vegas” alum Eli Kirshtein has opened his first restaurant, The Luminary, at Krog Street Market. A protégé of Richard Blais and Kevin Rathbun and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Kirshtein describes his place as an American brasserie with regional influences; the moniker comes from the name of Atlanta’s historic first newspaper. The Luminary features a classically inspired menu putting an American slant on a traditional French concept --- think favorites like steak frites and croque monsieur, and more adventurous selections such as roasted chicken hearts and chicken liver mousse. It also has a sizeable raw bar, craft beer and cocktail program, and 400-square-foot patio space. The restaurant is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday and will expand its hours and begin serving lunch in the coming weeks. The entire Krog Street Market will open in the fall, but The Luminary is the first restaurant to debut. Dinner Tues.-Sat. The Luminary, Krog Street Market, 99 Krog St., Ste. Y, Atlanta, GA 30307, 404-600-6199.
As Decatur continues to develop as a fine dining destination, owners Michael Lo and George Yu along with assistant general manager Damiano Pak have opened long-awaited Makan in the Courtyard Atlanta Decatur Downtown – Emory. Pronounced “ma-kun,” the word is an Indonesian or Malay term meaning “eat.” Inspired by Asian street food and traditional Asian comfort food that you might find in market stalls in cities like Hong Kong, Taiwan or Seoul, the cuisine is based on the threesome's culinary heritage. Yu is the executive chef, and he created a menu that emphasizes locally sourced ingredients in such dishes as Korean seafood pancakes and Taiwanese five-spice fried chicken. Large-format family meals and other communal dining opportunities will be a part of the scene. Future plans call for whole-animal cookouts on the patio and other exciting and exotic events. Lunch & Dinner daily. Makan, Courtyard Atlanta Decatur Downtown - Emory, 130 Clairemont Ave., Ste. 100, Decatur, GA 30030, 404-565-4510.
Smokebelly is a chef-driven barbecue joint from the team behind Tin Lizzy's Cantina and several other Atlanta restaurants. The executive chef for the operation is Darrell Rice, who also oversees the company's other venues. Rice plans on showcasing American barbecue influenced by techniques from several regions of the country, buttressed by an extensive craft beer and craft cocktail selection. Plans call for Sunday Gospel brunch to follow shortly after the restaurant’s opening, and the place’s own house band will perform classic rock from The Allman Brothers to Johnny Cash. Smokebelly, 128 E. Andrews Dr. NW, Atlanta, GA 30305, 404-848-9100.
In 2005 Nadia DeMessa, a native of Jamaica, launched the city's first licensed dessert food truck, Yum Yum Cupcake & More. Now with a fleet of three trucks done up in dashing pink, she has opened a small (500 square feet) dessert bakery called Yum Yum Dessert Co. We're especially fond of the croissants, which sport the requisite flakey texture and buttery flavor. Lemon meringue tarts are another superior choice, and so are the chocolate versions. Cupcakes galore, of course, still rule, and now coffee service has been added, along with indoor and outdoor seating. Self-taught, DeMessa is proud to come from a long line of bakers. Yum Yum Dessert Co., 3792 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30342, 404-405-1999.
Southern Soul Barbeque Launches Line of Hot Sauces
Expanding its line of handcrafted, small-batch sauces, Southern Soul Barbeque has launched four flavors of Georgia Heat Sauce. The sauces will be available for order online and in Williams-Sonoma stores nationwide. The heat sauces are made from authentic family recipes and use pure cane sugar, and the launch builds upon the success of the previous barbecue sauce line, featuring Sweet Georgia Soul Sauce and Hot Georgia Soul. Heat Sauce flavors include Balsamic Blueberry Hot Sauce made with Georgia blueberries and Red Savina habanero peppers; Charred Habanero Hot Sauce; Hot Red Cayenne Table Sauce; and Habanero Peach Sauce made with Georgia and South Carolina peaches. Lunch & Dinner daily. Southern Soul Barbeque, 2020 Demere Rd., St. Simons Island, GA 31522, 912-638-7685.
STATS Closes Temporarily Due to Fire
STATS, a popular downtown sports bar and restaurant, experienced a small hood fire and has closed for repairs and to correct any conditions that might have caused the event. STATS should reopen in the near future. Stay tuned. STATS, 300 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30313, 404-885-1472.
Frites Grill Menu at Mimi's Cafe
Chef Katie Sutton, the head of the culinary team at Mimi’s Cafe restaurants, spent two months in France perfecting her version of the French frite that’s crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The results can now be found on the Frites Grill menu, offering steak frites, grilled salmon & frites, grilled chicken & frites, mussels & frites, and roasted chicken & frites. For more information and locations, visit www.mimiscafe.com
Daily Specials at The Shed at Glenwood
In Grant Park, The Shed at Glenwood is now offering daily specials, with different features each day of the week (excluding Mondays when the restaurant is closed). Returning to the line-up is the very popular Slider Night on Wednesdays. Specials are as follows: Tuesday is a small plates menu ($3-$10); Slider Wednesday for eight different sliders offered for $3 each; Thursday is Brewer’s Dozen --- a dozen oysters (three ways), plus a beer for $12, also offering $7 PEI mussels steamed in white wine, garlic and cream; Friday and Saturday is Buy the Bottle --- ten-12 bottles of wine offered at $20 each; Sunday brunch for pitchers of mimosas, Bellinis and sangría, plus $7 specialty Bloody Marys; Sunday Supper is three courses of comfort food for $25 per person. The Shed at Glenwood, Glenwood Park, 457 Bill Kennedy Way, Atlanta, GA 30316, 404-835-4363.
Cibo e Beve Supper Club
Cibo e Beve in Sandy Springs will host “The Cibo Supper Club” every Friday and Saturday night, with two seatings: 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. These dinners will present an interactive dining experience as chef Linda Harrell will create a four-course weekly menu with accompanying wines so guests may expect a new culinary experience each week. The meal can include a variety of menu combinations, such as appetizers, paste, entrées and desserts. To start, bar manager Jonathan Turner will use the signature bar cart to discuss flavor profiles and interact with guests while constructing the evening's specialty cocktail. Harrell will talk about the dishes and wine pairings and why they are complementary. Cost is $59 per person, plus tax and gratuity. The minimum reservation per table is six and the maximum is ten. Cibo e Beve, Belle Isle Shopping Center, 4969 Roswell Rd., Atlanta, GA 30342, 404-250-8988.
Wine Classes at Campagnolo Restaurant + Bar
Campagnolo Restaurant + Bar has launched a series of wine classes that began Monday, April 21, 2014, with the topic "How to Drink Wine." For more information on the upcoming classes, call the restaurant at 404-343-2446. Campagnolo Restaurant + Bar, 980 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, 404-343-2446.
Founding chef David Bradley has departed Lure, leaving a new opportunity for Brent Banda, formerly the executive chef at La Tavola Trattoria. Incoming in Banda's place at La Tavola Trattoria will be Justin Jordan, current sous chef at Lure. Banda has long been with Fifth Group Restaurants, beginning with his work at The Food Studio. Bradley's new post will be as chef and nutrition director for the Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School. Lure, 1106 Crescent Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, 404-817-3650.
When Joe Schafer departed King + Duke, it was certain he would turn up somewhere significant in Atlanta. Now that's known: it's Abattoir. When Hector Santiago took over there as executive chef, it was equally certain that would be a finite post, as Santiago surely would want another restaurant of his own. And now he's signed a letter of intent to open a restaurant in the Ponce City Market. The pair will work together until Santiago departs, giving Schafer time to get to know the team and to envision how he might put his stamp on some of the restaurant's fare. This change may result in the loss of some of the Latin-inspired flavors that had become popular under Santiago's governance, but we look forward to what Schafer may produce as his own mark. The transition gives Abattoir an executive chef with first-rate grilling skills and turns Santiago loose again to create something uniquely his. Atlanta wins all around. Abattoir, White Provision Building, 1170 Howell Mill Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30318, 404-892-3335.
Joe Schafer left his post as executive chef at King + Duke for reasons that chef/owner Ford Fry announced as "personal." In his place, overall company executive chef Drew Belline, also the chef at No 246 Restaurant in Decatur, has been overseeing the operation, but now a replacement has been named within the company's structure. Formerly at Woodfire Grill and most recently executive chef at JCT. Kitchen & Bar, one of Ford Fry's other restaurants, E.J. Hodgkinson has been named King + Duke executive chef. Hodgkinson, a native of California, figures to lighten up the food at King + Duke. Called Rocket Farm Restaurants, Fry's organization soon will tally eight establishments with the imminent opening of two new ventures, one in Avalon in Alpharetta and another at the Krog Street Market. King + Duke, One Buckhead Plaza, 3060 Peachtree Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30305, 404-477-3500.
No one can have it all, and Jonathan and Justin Fox of Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q have come to realize that in a most bittersweet way. Their business has grown so rapidly that the brothers, now the official source of barbecue for the Atlanta Falcons NFL football team, closed Big Tex Decatur to devote that space and all their energies to producing the barbecue without suffering any loss of quality. So effective November 3, 2014, Big Tex Decatur closed, but the brothers will retain use of the space for the foreseeable future. Attention will now focus on completing the build-out of the new catering/commissary facility on Ottley Drive. But the brothers hope to be back in Decatur sometime in the future. Perhaps (we can only hope) the Big Tex Decatur space can one day become an outpost of Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q. Big Tex Decatur, 308 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur, GA 30030, 404-377-3939.
As Thelma's Kitchen & Rib Shack moved from location to location, from Luckie Street to Marietta Street and finally to Auburn Avenue, where it replaced the vaunted Auburn Ave. Rib Shack, loyal fans followed it to enjoy the downhome Southern fare. Now we hear with great sadness that the place has closed. Thelma's Kitchen & Rib Shack, 302 Auburn Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30303, no phone.
Founded in 1952, the Old Hickory House in Dunwoody has closed, leaving only the location in Northlake (2202 Northlake Pkwy., Tucker, 770-939-8621). At one time there were numerous Old Hickory House outposts all over the Atlanta area, including Buckhead and Ansley. But that number had dwindled to two, and now only one remains standing. Old Hickory House, Shoppes of Dunwoody, 5590 Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd., Atlanta, GA 30338, no phone.
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