University of Georgia alums and brothers Alan and Ryan Pope will open The Place in Athens, Georgia, in January 2015, virtually right across the street from the iconic Arch. Naming the restaurant after their name for their grandfather's Atlanta-based car dealership, the brothers will offer what they call refined Southern fare; for example, braised pork shoulder with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables. A classic cocktails program also will be available. The lower level will be for the main service, while upstairs high-top table and bar seating will provide a more casual feel. Décor on both levels will feature rustic wood elements. The Place, 229 E. Broad St., Athens, GA 30601, no phone.
Atlanta chefs Shaun Doty and Lance Gummere have opened the newest outpost of Bantam + Biddy at Buckhead's Lenox Square Mall, the fourth location of the fast, casual, healthy concept. All units offer the same regionally grown pastured poultry and organic, seasonal vegetables. The Lenox Square Mall edition also has an espresso bar serving Batdorf & Bronson coffee. For more information, visit bantamandbiddy.com. Bantam + Biddy, Lenox Square, 3393 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30326, 404-841-7559.
Castellucci Hospitality Group, which also owns Sugo, The Iberian Pig and Double Zero Napoletana, opened its long-awaited Spanish Basque restaurant Cooks & Soldiers. Landon Thompson, former chef de cuisine at The Iberian Pig, helms the kitchen. The group took time to explore Basque cooking in its home turf, and the dishes to be presented 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 serves dinner nightly, and on Friday and Saturday evenings the bar stays open until 2 a.m. Cooks & Soldiers, Elan Westside Apartment Bldg., 691 14th St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30318, 404-996-2362.
Chef, TV host and cookbook author Marvin Woods has opened Asante in downtown Atlanta's Luckie Marietta District. 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 serves dinner nightly. Lunch is offered Monday through Friday and brunch Saturday and Sunday. Asante, 250 Park Ave. West NW, Atlanta, GA 30313, 404-893-0022.
The Southern Gentleman, by the same group that launched nearby Gypsy Kitchen, The Big Ketch and Smokebelly, has opened for dinner. Randy Lewis, who also handles the kitchen at Gypsy Kitchen, will helm this operation. The menu has some tempting items: head-on shrimp are used for the New Orleans barbecued shrimp and the shrimp and grits; rarely seen pickled shrimp; risotto made with Carolina Gold Rice; Sequatchie Cove (Tenn.) cheese on H & F (Holeman & Finch) bread. Local purveyors supply much of the raw material, including Riverview Farms for heritage pork and Tucker Farms for some of the vegetables. Dinner nightly. The Southern Gentleman, Buckhead Atlanta, 3035 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30305, 404-939-9845.
Krog Street Market joins the ranks of food halls that have debuted around the country. The market opened November 24, 2014, and several restaurants already are up and functioning, among them The Luminary and Craft Izakaya. A total of 13 businesses had either already launched or did so that day, with more to come. In addition to restaurants, there will be market stalls selling a wide variety of interesting comestibles. Krog Street Market, 99 Krog St., Atlanta, GA 30307, no phone.
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.
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 Saturday, December 27, 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). Lunch & Dinner daily. 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.
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.
Three-course "Surf and Turf" December 15-30
To celebrate its 20th holiday season, Horseradish Grill will feature a three-course "Surf and Turf" prix-fixe dinner from Monday, December 15, to Tuesday, December 30, 2014. The menu features lobster bisque, lobster beignets served with wood-grilled top-of-the-rib steak, sautéed spinach, and a selection of freshly baked homemade cookies with hot chocolate. Price is $40 per person, not including tax or gratuity. Reservations are suggested and may be made by calling the restaurant at 404-255-7277. Horseradish Grill, 4320 Powers Ferry Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30342, 404-255-7277.
OK Cafe Struck by Fire
OK Cafe, one of the city's longest running establishments having been founded in 1987, was struck by fire in the early hours of December 7, 2014. Popular for breakfast, as well as lunch, dinner and take-out, OK Cafe is part of the same company that owns the Atlanta steakhouse Bone's and Blue Ridge Grill, the latter located only steps away from OK Cafe. OK Cafe, 1284 W. Paces Ferry Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30327, 404-233-2888.
Gunshow Dinner Schedule Christmas-New Year's Week
Gunshow, usually closed on Sundays and Mondays, will be open on those days during the holiday week of Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The restaurant will offer normal dinner service, from 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Friday, December 26, through Tuesday, December 30. Reservations are encouraged and may be made by calling the restaurant at 404-380-1886. Gunshow, 924 Garrett St., Ste. C, Atlanta, GA 30316, 404-380-1886.
Macon's Dovetail Adding Lunch in 2015
Macon's Dovetail will launch lunch in January 2015, according to sous chef David Jolley. The adventurous menu changes frequently but explores new ways with Southern classics that seem updated yet solidly rooted in tradition. Along with plans for lunch service, the wine list, already somewhat expanded, is being reworked and may begin to include wines from Georgia's emerging wine world. Dovetail, 543 Cherry St., Macon, GA 31201, 478-238-4693.
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
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.
On Sunday, December 14, 2014, Watershed on Peachtree's chef Joe Truex fried his last piece of chicken for the restaurant to prepare to depart for Dubai after the first of the year. The opportunity came when a former server at his restaurant, Repast, moved to Dubai, married and started a pizza operation there. When the couple decided to upscale the place and rebrand it, they reached out to Truex to come over as their consultant. Watershed on Peachtree, The Brookwood, 1820 Peachtree Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30309, 404-809-3561.
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.
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.
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