South City Kitchen is on track to open its Buckhead location in the One Capital City Plaza building at 3350 Peachtree Rd. NE. The opening is anticipated sometime in summer 2016, but the project, involving 6,000 square feet of space, has been in the works for more than a year. Moving over from The Sun Dial Restaurant, Bar & View, Jason Starnes will lead the kitchen team as executive chef. South City Kitchen's original location opened in Midtown in 1998, and another outpost is in Vinings. South City Kitchen, One Capital City Plaza, 3350 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30326, no phone.
Linton Hopkins, owner of Restaurant Eugene, Holeman & Finch Public House and several other food and wine enterprises, will open his long-awaited Linton's on Thursday, April 28, 2016 (plans were originally announced in October 2014). The launch will end the operation of Linton's in the Garden. Jason Paolini, a longtime team member of Hopkins' Resurgens Hospitality Group, will be its executive chef. The menu will derive some of its inspiration and ingredients from the botanical garden. Linton's will offer three different levels of dining and seat more than 200. Guests on a rooftop deck will enjoy views of the woodland garden and the Midtown skyline. To access the restaurant, patrons must either be members of the Atlanta Botanical Garden or obtain admission to the garden. Linton’s, Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, 404-585-2061.
Barcelona Wine Bar, based in Connecticut, has opened its second Atlanta location, this one in Westside Ironworks. With features and a menu reflecting the design and cooking of its older sibling establishment, Barcelona Wine Bar Westside is led by executive chef Benjamin Meyer, formerly chef de cuisine at Iridescence in Detroit. This outpost enjoys a good view of the Midtown skyline from its vantage point, and replicates the large custom fireplace on the generous patio as at the Inman Park spot. Dinner nightly. Barcelona Wine Bar, Westside Ironworks, 1085 Howell Mill Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30318, 404-872-8000.
Kevin Gillespie has opened Communion, an innovative food truck operation and beer garden behind his Revival restaurant in Decatur. Crowds thronged, taking advantage of the lovely weather to savor such classic German beer snacks as grilled rye with Kartoffelkäse (yes, potato cheese but it contains no cheese), Bavarian-style pretzels with hot mustard and Obatzda (a spiced cheese spread), and grilled sausages with sauerkraut, mustard and beef fat-fried potatoes. When guests arrive, they purchase tokens (beverages and snacks cost between 1 and 3 tokens) for $5 each, and any unused tokens may be used on a future visit. Tax and gratuity already is figured into the pricing. Operating hours are Thursdays and Fridays beginning at 4 p.m. and at 11 a.m. on Saturdays and 12:30 p.m. on Sundays (weather permitting). Communion, 129 Church St., Decatur, GA 30030, 470-225-6770.
The former Social Vinings space will become 101 Steak, the latest venture for 101 Concepts, which owns Food 101, Cibo e Beve, Meehan’s Public House and Smoke Ring. Chef Joey Ahn will take charge as top toque and partner for the venue. A mid-June opening is planned. Service will start with dinner nightly, then add lunch and brunch as shortly after that as is practical. 101 Steak, 3621 Vinings Slope SE, Atlanta, GA 30339, No phone.
Michael Dorf, founder of New York music venue Knitting Factory, is the driving force behind this unusual concept: a single space offering wine, produced and bottled on site, chef-driven cuisine and live music. The first City Winery opened in New York City in 2008, and now there are locations in Chicago, Napa and Nashville, and this spring, Atlanta. Upstate New York native chef Jeffrey McGar will be in charge of the kitchen. Originally scheduled to open May 7, 2016, City Winery is now slated to debut in June. On Friday, June 3, 2016, is a concert by Peter Wolf and The Midnight Travelers. To purchase tickets for this event, visit the official website. City Winery, Ponce City Market, 650 North Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308, no phone.
Doug Turbush, chef/owner of Seed Kitchen & Bar and Stem Wine Bar in Marietta's Merchants Walk, has opened Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar at The Avenue East Cobb. Drift focuses on wild-caught and sustainable seafood, according to Turbush. Atlanta-based firm ai3 designed the 5,260-square-foot space. Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar, The Avenue East Cobb, 4475 Roswell Rd., Marietta, GA 30062, 770-635-7641.
Billy and Kristin Allin, owners and founders of Decatur's Cakes & Ale, tapped sous chef Bryan Stoffelen to be executive chef of Bread & Butterfly, their newest establishment. Located in the Inman Quarter development, Bread & Butterfly focuses on French fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and is only closed Mondays. You can start as early as 7:30 a.m. weekdays with a proper omelet or go American with pancakes. Roast chicken, one of the best dishes we've had at Cakes & Ale, is on this menu, too. And there's a nice Cru Beaujolais to go with it on the almost all-French wine list. Bread & Butterfly, Inman Quarter, 290 Elizabeth St. NE, Ste. F, Atlanta, GA 30307, 678-515-4536.
Ton Ton, a ramen spot from Guy Wong (Le Fat), will open at Ponce City Market. Ton Ton, Ponce City Market, 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308, no phone.
The Spotted Trotter owners Kevin Ouzts and his wife and business partner Megan launched Frankly in fall 2015 with a view toward selling themselves as well as sundry hot dog vendors in Atlanta the hot dogs they purvey. Attention to detail is everywhere, as this operation is a cut above the crowd. So the ketchup is Sir Kensington's and the chili is made in-house. Sausages also are on the menu, and none of the offerings break ten bucks. Frankly, Krog Street Market, 99 Krog St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307, 470-428-2509.
Justin Anthony of 10 Degrees South, Yebo and Cape Dutch has opened his long-awaited Biltong Bar. The menu offers South African pies filled with chicken curry, bobotie and vegetable curry, organic house-cured biltong (somewhat like beef jerky) and chicken potpie that we hope reminds us of Malaysian chicken pie. South African wines will be a focus, too. Lunch & Dinner daily. Biltong Bar, Ponce City Market, 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308, 678-515-0620.
Positioned as a little brother (or sister) to Ford Fry's The Optimist, BeetleCat has debuted in Inman Quarter in Inman Park. Executive chef Andrew Isabella is a Florida native and longtime fishing enthusiast, and has worked under Fry's mentorship for a while. Named for a 12-foot wooden gaff-rigged sailboat made since 1920 in New England by the Beetle family, the establishment offers small plates designed for sharing and anticipates a minimum of 12 varieties of oysters available daily. Fry's corporate executive pastry chef Chrysta Poulos is in charge of desserts. BeetleCat stays open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights. Fry, who now owns 10 restaurants in Atlanta and one, State of Grace, in Houston, Texas, has been opening eateries at a dizzying pace since launching his JCT. Kitchen & Bar. BeetleCat, Inman Quarter, 299 N. Highland Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307, 678-732-0360.
Executive chef Stephen McGuffin has opened Café Highlands in the space that formerly housed Café 640, where he served as executive chef until taking that position at Decatur's Parker's on Ponce steakhouse. The restaurant is located in The Highland Inn, in Atlanta's Poncey-Highland neighborhood. McGuffin’s résumé going back two decades ranges from French fine dining to down-home Southern fare, but his vision for Café Highlands combines progressive American cuisine with the atmosphere of a neighborhood bar and grill. Serving lunch and dinner daily and brunch Saturday and Sunday, the restaurant will offer such dishes as duck confit on sweet potato masa with salsa negra, and huckleberry pancakes at brunch. Nick Moody's beverage program showcases classic cocktails, other cask-aged libations on tap and specialty beers. Lunch & Dinner daily, Brunch Sat.-Sun. Café Highlands, The Highland Inn, 640 N. Highland Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308, 404-698-3509.
Minero, a casual Mexican restaurant from chef Sean Brock, has opened in Ponce City Market, once a huge Sears, Roebuck & Co. building and an iconic Atlanta landmark. Dishes are derived from the flavors and culinary traditions of Mexico, with some offerings reflecting the cuisine of formerly Mexican California. So you'll find the Minero Burrito with queso de Oaxaca, crema, hoppin' john, avocado and poblano peppers, and such tacos as al pastor, fried catfish and pork carnitas. The traditional nixtamalization process is used to make fresh masa twice a day, yielding Minero’s authentic, house-made corn tortillas. Extensive tequila and mezcal selections, a small wine list, beer and cocktails inspired by the flavors of Mexico support the fare. Minero, Ponce City Market, 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Ste. 136, Atlanta, GA 30308, 404-532-1580.
Cotton Calf Kitchen has opened in historic Braselton. The concept is classic American steakhouse, and heading the team is Javier Viera as executive chef. Menu items include deviled eggs with University of Georgia sturgeon caviar. Southern touches define the brunch menu, with biscuits, country ham and shrimp and grits among the offerings. Dinner nightly, Brunch Sun. Cotton Calf Kitchen, 9924 Davis St., Braselton, GA 30517, 706-684-0410.
Although he's in his 90s, John C. Portman Jr. remains a driving force in shaping downtown Atlanta. A building he designed in 1965, 230 Peachtree in Peachtree Center, had been owned for a long time by other entities, but his firm has reacquired it and is extensively redesigning the interior space. It contains a Hotel Indigo and a new fine dining restaurant: JP Atlanta. A half century ago, Portman triggered fine dining downtown with Midnight Sun, and now he returns to the scene with this new endeavor. The Ritz-Carlton veteran Julio Delgado has been tapped to be the executive chef. JP Atlanta, 230 Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30303, 404-523-4004.
The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill, now five years old in Buckhead, has opened a Roswell location. Executive chef is Derek Dollar, who also leads the kitchen at Milton's Cuisine & Cocktails, another of Southern Proper Hospitality Group's venues. Fresh seafood is the order of the day at the restaurant, which has a nautical-themed décor with industrial touches by Marty Mason Design Group. The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill, 1105 Canton St., Roswell, GA 30075, 770-993-5749.
Aria Closing for Renovations
Aria will close for the week of April 24 to May 1, 2016, for an extensive renovation. Stacey Kirby of Atlanta’s Seiber Design is in charge of the project, which, she says, will give the popular Buckhead restaurant warm gray walls, bright canary yellow drapes and glowing backlit custom mirrors, along with new leather banquettes. An oversize antique mirror will appoint the upstairs dining room and white oak tabletops will serve the banquettes in the main dining room. Aria’s bar area will be opened up with seating for casual diners (no reservations required), and will feature a new white marble bar top along a rich walnut bar. The plan is to reduce the formality of the previously stark white space, although the exterior will still sparkle with its signature white tones. New black accents on windows and the door will be added, however, along with a new sign. Aria reopens for dinner on May 2 at 5:30 p.m. Aria, 490 E. Paces Ferry Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30305, 404-233-7673.
The Big Ketch Roswell Open for Daily Lunch
Roswell's The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill opened for lunch during the week as of Monday, April 18, 2016 (it was previously only offered on weekends). Fresh fish entrées and sandwiches featuring fish highlight the menu; ample starters and salads are still available. Anyone not eager for fish will find a burger and a jerk chicken sandwich. Lunch & Dinner daily. The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill, 1105 Canton St., Roswell, GA 30075, 770-993-5749.
Taka, Sushi & Passion On the Move
Born in Hiroshima, Japan, Taka Moriuchi arrived in the Deep South in 1995. After working in a series of restaurants, he opened Taka Sushi Café in 2002, then became its sole owner in 2006 and renamed it in 2007 to Taka, Sushi & Passion. He will close his current location Saturday, March 5, after dinner service and relocate temporarily to 3145 Peachtree Rd., but the phone number won't change, he told us. This is the Cafe at Pharr, which closes its service there at 4 p.m., so he will offer dinner in that spot. Then in May, he will move to 4600 Roswell Rd. in Sandy Springs, and says construction on the new restaurant has already started. Again, he anticipates the phone number will remain the same. Taka, Sushi & Passion, Pharr Plaza, 375 Pharr Rd. NE, Ste. 600, Atlanta, GA 30305, 404-869-2802.
OK Cafe Reopens After Fire
OK Cafe closed in 2014 after a fire in the take-out area nearly demolished the building. After finally getting permits and other needed clearances, the reconstruction was finalized and the restaurant reopened, returning to serving its mammoth breakfasts, sandwiches and blue plate specials at dinner. Classic home-style desserts and milkshakes are the sweet meal-enders we've been missing. OK Cafe, 1284 W. Paces Ferry Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30327, 404-233-2888.
David Connolly, who had taken over the top toque spot at TAP just last August 2015, has been replaced by Tyler Williams. Williams, an alum of Woodfire Grill, Bacchanalia and Abattoir, among others, had taken refuge in the north Georgia mountains doing a pizza operation and an organic farm. In March he announced on his Facebook page that he was packing it in to return to Atlanta and was available for an executive position. Concentrics Restaurants apparently saw opportunity. Williams says he figures to roll out a new menu for summer 2016. TAP is popular with the young Midtown set for its small and shareable plates and its intriguing beer and cocktail menus. No word on what Connolly's next assignment may be. TAP, 1180 Bldg., King & Spalding, 1180 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, 404-347-2220.
Roberto Leoci enjoyed a lengthy run as Savannah's Italian cuisine guru. But he is on the road to New York City, leaving behind his closed trattoria and having cut his ties to Pacci Italian Kitchen + Bar, the restaurant in redesigned The Brice hotel in the Historic District. Leoci had not only developed Savannahians understanding of authentic Italian cuisine through his two restaurants, he also had produced a line of fine Italian food products. Staff pretty much operated on their own anyway, so no one expects any misses in performance, although we think leadership will be needed to press forward with updates to menus and to keep Pacci at the top of its game. Pacci Italian Kitchen + Bar, The Brice, 601 E. Bay St., Savannah, GA 31401, 912-233-6002.
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