After years of having its brew made in South Carolina under contract, Wild Heaven finally has come home to roost, joining two other local craft breweries, BlueTarp, the first, and Three Taverns Brewery. Wild Heaven had already become very popular with its Ode to Mercy, an Imperial Brown Ale. On the opposite end of the scale, Let There Be Light is a very flavorful American pale ale. Tours and tastings are Friday (5:30 p.m.-8 p.m.), Saturday (2 p.m.-5 p.m.) and Sunday (2 p.m.-4 p.m.), and you must be over 21 Friday and Saturday. Kids are welcome Sunday, and plenty of buzz-free beverages will be on offer for them. Wild Heaven, 135B Maple St., Decatur, GA 30030, 404-614-0006.
When the Hyatt Regency Atlanta was built in the 1960s, it was the stepping stone to fame for its architect, John Portman. Signature elements of his hotels are his atria. At this property, his launch project, he created the blue-topped rotating Polaris space. But it had been closed for a decade as surrounding taller buildings affected its views. Now reopened, Polaris serves small plates and intriguing libations. While the wine list isn't exciting, the comfortable seating, music and conversation-friendly ambience create a sure-to-please after-work environment. The menu will change frequently. Polaris, 265 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30303, 404-577-1234.
With its Tudor-style main street, Atlanta suburb Avondale Estates, founded in 1924, is beginning to develop a dining life, and adding to that nascent movement is the newly opened The Bishop. Southern notes grace some of the dishes, such as a pickled green tomato butter adorning the grilled oyster appetizer; knife-and-fork deviled eggs; a Southern Picnic Board with Gum Creek (Carroll County) country ham, pimento cheese, cream cheese with pepper jelly and local vegetables; and smoked fried chicken. Both beers and wines on tap are offered, and the kids’ menu looks like something you wouldn't be ashamed to feed to your children. Dinner Tues.-Sun. The Bishop, 124 N. Avondale Rd., Avondale Estates, GA 30002, 404-692-5454.
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.
After 17 years on Ponce de Leon Avenue, The Righteous Room has stepped out into the near ’burbs and opened a spot in Brookhaven. Fans of the famed late-night spot will find the same menu right down to the vegetarian chili and the terrific burger, available to the wee hours. This branch of The Righteous Room is open for lunch and dinner and is open late. The original is located at 1051 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, at N. Highland Ave., Plaza Theatre shopping center, 404-874-0939. Lunch & Dinner daily. The Righteous Room, Old Five Points Shopping Center, 2142 Johnson Ferry Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30319, 770-559-5678.
Ian Mendelsohn, former beverage director for The St. Regis Atlanta, and his wife Susan have opened Vine & Tap, a wine and brews bar in Buckhead. Zeb Stevenson, formerly with Livingston Restaurant + Bar and now executive chef at PARISH Foods & Goods, consulted on the menu, which offers a raft of small plates and tapas of Mediterranean culinary inspiration. No liquor is served, so the focus is entirely wine and brews. Mendelsohn has the right background for such a project, having served as sommelier everywhere from Windows on the World to The Mirage in Las Vegas before coming to the St. Regis. He promises to draw his wines from small producers from around the world. At least two taps will be devoted to local brews, Monday Night and SweetWater. Vine & Tap, 2770 Lenox Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30324, 404-600-5820.
Chefs Shaun Doty and Lance Gummere opened a second Bantam + Biddyon January 21, 2014. The newest location of the fast-casual concept is in the heart of Midtown on Crescent Avenue, and makes the third restaurant from the duo; the other two are Bantam + Biddy in Ansley Mall and Chick-a-Biddy in Atlantic Station. In addition to offering the same regional and pasture-raised poultry and organic, seasonal vegetables as at the other two establishments, the new restaurant has a caffeinated bonus: an espresso bar serving Batdorf & Bronson coffee. Farm-raised eggs from a local source, gluten-free offerings, meatloaf made from White Oak Pastures beef from near Albany, Ga., and sustainably raised pork are all part of the pair’s philosophy. A kids’ menu for children 10 and under also focuses on healthy fare. Bantam + Biddy, 1050 Crescent Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, 404-835-6450.
St. Cecilia by Atlanta restaurateur Ford Fry has opened, replacing Buckhead Life Restaurant Group’s BluePointe in Buckhead’s Pinnacle Building across from Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza. Seating 160 patrons, the restaurant is the design work of The Meyer Davis Studio. The massive, light-filled 11,000-square-foot space features a second floor private room that holds a hidden flat-screen TV. Playful, European beach-inspired photographs line the walls. Downstairs, three stone chef’s tables together seat 12 in front of the icy crudo bar. Continuing the hearth-centered cooking of King + Duke, which Fry opened in 2013, a roaring, mini-hearth visible in the shiny stainless steel open kitchen roasts the fish of the day. For more information, visit stceciliaatl.com or call 404-554-9995. Lunch Mon.-Fri., Dinner nightly. St. Cecilia, Pinnacle Building, 3455 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30326, 404-554-9995.
W Atlanta – Midtown to Launch TRACE
W Atlanta – Midtown’s signature restaurant Spice Market closed in late April. It began in association with noted restaurateur and chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and it will be replaced with TRACE. Shean Suter, who had served as executive chef of Spice Market, will helm the kitchen at TRACE. Launched at W Austin and from there W San Francisco and W Seattle, TRACE restaurants focus on the local personality of their outposts while reaching out to area growers, purveyors and artisans to secure the season’s best produce and raw materials. The key concepts, besides “sustainable,” are foraged, farmed, crafted, hunted, healthy and shared. In a completely redesigned space, TRACE Atlanta is slated to open this June and will showcase classic and modern twists on New South favorites. TRACE, W Atlanta - Midtown, 188 14th St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30361, 404-724-2550.
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.
Adam Hayes has taken over as executive chef at Barnsley Resort, a luxury complex of lodging, historic structures, and fine and casual dining located just north of Atlanta. Hayes has more than 15 years' experience in restaurants in North Carolina, and is devoted to incorporating local products into his menus. Barnsley's two main dining facilities --- Woodlands Grill and Rice House --- should see a major enhancement of their offerings as a result of his arrival. Now retired, former executive chef Charles Vosburgh has been granted the title "emeritus." Woodlands Grill at Barnsley Gardens, 597 Barnsley Gardens Rd., Adairsville, GA 30103, 770-773-7480; 877-773-2447.
With the departure of Tyler Williams from Woodfire Grill, established in 2002, sous chef Matt Weinstein has taken over the kitchen duties until a decision can be reached on the executive chef position, while the pastry chef post is handled by Patrick Dineen --- he replaced Karie Brown in that spot. Dinner Tues.-Sat.. Woodfire Grill, 1782 Cheshire Bridge Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30324, 404-347-9055.
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