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RESTAURANT NEWS ARCHIVE

Openings

Maureen Kalmanson and Pam Furr, who own the original The Pleasant Peasant, have opened Peasant Bistro, a classy two-story operation overlooking Centennial Olympic Park. Modern yet romantic, the restaurant is under the culinary leadership of Shane Devereux. On opening night, guests enjoyed the braised pork belly, roasted striped bass, grilled lamb chops and other comfort-food dishes. French, American and Mediterranean cooking drives the menu. Lunch and dinner are served daily. Peasant Bistro, 2520 Park Ave. W., Atlanta, 404-230-1724, www.peasantatl.com.

Pisces Seafood & Jazz combines reasonably decent fine dining with some very exciting jazz, in two seatings nightly. Seafood is the name of the dinner game, under the direction of executive chef Raymond Gaboury, who reaches into a Caribbean kit bag of flavors for such dishes as coconut shrimp. Mango salsa and Chambord sauce on almond-crusted grouper is just an example of how the kitchen combines flavors. Stick to simple grilled fish, which is fresh and sweet. Steak is another option. The restaurant also serves lunch Mon.-Fri. Pisces Seafood & Jazz, 4120 Old Milton Pkwy., Alpharetta, 770-475-0057.

The wine tower at Aquaknox

Las Vegas comes to Atlanta in the form of Orlando-based e-Brands' AquaKnox, one of the many new restaurants at Terminus, the glass-enclosed tower at the corner of Piedmont and Peachtree Roads. Executive chef William Sigley is passionate about serving the freshest possible fish prepared in the simplest ways to showcase the natural flavor. The décor at the 275-seat restaurant reflects the slightly off-the-wall character of many Las Vegas establishments. Colors reflect the colors of the ocean, and there's lots of glass, metal and natural light. Do not pass up the lobster bisque and the pecan tart, the latter the work of pastry chef Gary Scarborough. In addition to fish, chicken and steaks are readily available. AquaKnox serves lunch Mon.-Fri., and dinner nightly. The lounge and bar stay open late. AquaKnox, Terminus Bldg., 3280 Peachtree Rd., NE, 404-477-0900.

Inman Park's newest restaurant, Zaya, opened this month. Styling itself as a "Mediterranean Bistro and Bar," the restaurant serves Mediterranean fare and tapas. Chef Scott Major does such dishes as a tuna salad Niçoise; drunken haloumi (made with ouzo) served with fresh tomatoes; house-cured salmon gravlax with dill mustard sauce; ashta (a phyllo purse stuffed with orange- and rosewater-scented custard); and molten chocolate cake. The wine list promises some Lebanese wines. Dinner nightly. Zaya, 240 N. Highland Ave. NE, 404-477-0050, www.zayarestaurant.com.

Bonefish Grill, a unit of Florida-based Outback Steakhouse, opened two more restaurants in the Atlanta area, one in Buford and another in Snellville. The restaurants serve fresh fish with a Caribbean accent, in such dishes as bang-bang shrimp, a delightfully spicy appetizer. Fish and seafood rule, of course, but chicken and steak also are available. Other locations are due soon in Newnan and Macon. The restaurants all serve dinner nightly. Bonefish Grill, 3420 Buford Dr., Buford, 678-546-8240; 1350 Scenic Hwy. 124, Snellville, 678-344-8945.

With new ownership, Athens' Bischero will soon change its name and concept, ceasing to be a pizza joint. New owners Tommy Encapera and Anthony Encapera (cousins) plan to change the name the week after Easter, choosing the address, 237 Prince, for the new name. Wait 'till Athens sees some of these new dishes: melon gazpacho fragrant and intensely flavored; tuna Niçoise; stuffed quail (not far removed from one prepared years ago at New York's La Côte Basque); beef tartare with a quail egg and smoked salt; Malpeque oysters with cucumber gelato; foie gras torchon with brioche; and American lamb with chive mashed potatoes and spinach. Until all is changed, the restaurant will continue to operate as old Bischero, the pizza joint with the uncomfortable chairs. 237 Prince, 237 Prince Ave., Athens, 706-316-1006.

Cakes & Ale will soon replace long-closed Viet Chateau in Decatur. Inventive dishes will blend the flavors of the South in such ways as chicken livers with muscadine wine jelly on garlic toast, and pimento cheese with celery and black-pepper cracker. The emphasis will be on seasonal fresh vegetables, meat from humanely raised animals, and fish that aren't endangered by over-fishing. Cakes & Ale, 254 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur, (no phone at this time), www.cakesandalerestaurant.com.

Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has announced three new restaurant properties to open within Starwood Hotels around the world as part of his new restaurant development company, Culinary Concepts by Jean-Georges. Among the three new Spice Market restaurants, specializing in the flavorful street food of Southeast Asia, the Atlanta location is scheduled to open some time this month at the W Atlanta Midtown. The bustling street life of Southeast Asia, where Vongerichten lived and worked for many years, inspires the Spice Market cuisine. Imagine onion- and chili-crusted short ribs with egg noodles and pea shoots. Spice Market, W Atlanta Midtown, Colony Square, at 14th and Peachtree Streets.

Opening March 20 in the former location of B.E.D. in The Glenn Hotel, Maxim Prime, a modern steakhouse developed in partnership with Maxim magazine. A young men’s lifestyle magazine, the publication teamed up with restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow to launch several units of the operation throughout the country, but the first is slated to open this month in the The Glenn Hotel. Maxim Prime, The Glenn Hotel, 110 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta, 404-521-2250, ext. 5201.

Fadó Irish Pub moved around the corner from its original location, re-opening March 11. The new pub is about twice the size of the old one, but retains some of the same features, with small, intimate spaces scattered about, lots of wood and stained glass, and a sense of having gathered in one place the decorative iconography of every sort of Irish pub imaginable. New in this iteration is a rooftop space with a double-sided fireplace, stacked stone and a heated floor. The move, required by the redevelopment of Buckhead Ave., didn't cause the Guinness-connected Irish pub to miss a beat, and it promises the return of its famous and favorite Irish dishes, including all-day Irish breakfast. Trust us: these bangers will take any we've encountered in Ireland. Fadó Irish Pub, 273 Buckhead Ave., Atlanta, 404-841-0066, www.fadoirishpub.com.

Jagger's is back! Bill Jagger will re-launch his popular eponymous pizza joint near Emory University with just pick-up and delivery, then add sit-down spaces by year's end. Look for it at the intersection of Johnson & Briarcliff Roads, not terribly far from its original spot.

Tony LaRocco, having survived leukemia and celebrating his new lease on life, is naming his new restaurant venture in Atlanta VITA, meaning "life" in Italian. It’s opening for lunch March 17, with a full-blown opening bash slated for March 30 to benefit the Winship Cancer Center at Emory University Hospital. VITA will offer family-style dining in the same manner as LaRocca's original restaurants in Atlanta; such dishes as fratelli di Napoli, calamari fritti, and pappardelle with mushrooms will sound familiar. Wines will come from a wide variety of sources, with an emphasis on Italy. Javier Muñoz serves as executive chef for the restaurant, which replaces Mick's on Peachtree Rd. in Brookwood. The restaurant will serve lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner nightly, and will be open late offering a lite-night menu to 1 a.m. Mon.-Sat. VITA, 2110 Peachtree Rd. NE, 404-357-8482.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten is bringing Atlanta a branch of his New York restaurant Spice Market. Set to open in the new W Atlanta Midtown, the restaurant will offer a high-end take on Southeast Asian street food, featuring items like spiced chicken samosas with cilantro yogurt; crispy sesame crab with sweet soy, pink grapefruit and ginger salad; and onion and chili crusted short ribs with egg noodles and pea shoots. Spice Market, W Atlanta Midtown, 188 14th St. NE, Atlanta.

Ricardo Ullio, whose group of small, classy restaurants includes Sotto Sotto and Fritti, opened Cuerno, devoted to Spanish tapas. The all-Spanish wine list is an inspiration, and so is the food, directed by Ken Bouche, who took over adjacent Beleza, another of Ullio's clever operations, when its founding executive chef, Michelle McKenzie, departed.

Chima Brazilian Steakhouse will offer 16 varieties of meat in an elegant Brazilian setting when it opens February 25. Choices will include filet mignon, pork loin, lamb chops, chicken and salmon all served by authentically attired “gauchos.” Vegetarian guests will have an extensive salad bar option, which offers a wide range of American and Brazilian favorites–from salads and oven-fresh breads to soups and deli meats. Desserts range from ice cream to traditional Brazilian sweets. A full bar and an extensive wine list are being developed. A unit of the family-owned Chima Churrascaria, in Uberlandia, Brazil, Chima in Atlanta will be a 350-seat establishment with two private rooms holding 40 and 60 seats respectively, and will be open for dinner seven days a week. Cima Brazilian Steakhouse, 3215 Peachtree Rd. NE, Buckhead, Atlanta, 404-424-8281, www.chima.cc.

Sisters Aline and Cathy Silverstine have fashioned a French restaurant, La Petite Maison, crafting it out of what used to be a period-style hamburger joint. The menu is home-style French, with a classic pâté maison and all the appointments, fresh salads, croques monsieur and madame at lunch, and steaks with truffle butter or any one of several classic sauces. A wine list with choices from various wine-producing regions is the opening salvo in the libations department. Lunch and dinner are served Mon.-Sat. La Petite Maison, 6510 Roswell Rd. NE, Sandy Springs, 404-303-0600.

A growing Atlanta restaurant chain, f2o Fresh to Order, has opened a new unit near Cumberland Mall. The company, owned by expatriate South Africans, has turned fast food on its ear, providing freshly made-to-order salads and sandwiches plus a small list of hot entrées. A short but decent wine list is available, and the glassware is decent as well. Catering is available. With this unit, there are now four locations spread out in the metro area from Midtown to Duluth. f2o Fresh to Order, 1260 Cumberland Mall, Atlanta, 678-564-1400.

A new Alpharetta restaurant satisfies the search for food and music at Pisces Seafood & Jazz, housed in an elegant, sleek freestanding structure of sharp stone and glass. It’s a new dining concept that unites food with music seven nights a week for a total entertainment experience. A lifelong love for jazz and a passion for fine dining inspired owner Raymond Jones to open the establishment. Wife Debra is a Pisces, and that plus their shared enthusiasm for fresh seafood led to the restaurant's name. Executive chef Raymond Gaboury directs the exhibition kitchen in the production of such dishes as lump crab cakes and jerk grilled swordfish, plus steaks, duck breast and lamb. Pisces Seafood & Jazz, 4120 Old Milton Pkwy., Alpharetta, 770-475-0057.

Atlanta actor, rapper and soon-to-be restaurateur Chris Bridges, aka Ludacris, who purchased Spice last year, will unveil his new concept this April. Straits Restaurant, featuring a "modern Singaporean" menu, will open in partnership with chef Chris Yeo. Atlanta's The Johnson Studio will transform the interior, giving it some subtle Eastern features. The 215-seat restaurant will open for dinner starting this spring. Straits Restaurant, 793 Juniper St. NE, at Fifth St., Midtown, Atlanta, www.straitsrestaurants.com.

After closing on Ponce de Leon, and leaving a neighborhood puzzled and bereft, Louise Holmes and her daughters Tammie and Charla resurfaced last month miles north in Duluth. Louise's World's Best Soul Food, serving the classics of home-style Southern cooking, adapts some traditional recipes for health-conscious patrons, including substituting smoked turkey wings for salt pork or ham hocks and using canola oil for frying. Breakfast and lunch are served Mon.-Sat., but Saturday's closing is earlier (1 p.m. rather than 3 p.m. the rest of the week). Louise's World's Best Soul Food, 1455 Pleasant Hill Rd., Duluth, 770-923-1188.

Two new units of The Flying Biscuit Café opened in late 2007. One is located in the new Terminus complex at 3280 Peachtree Rd. NE, Ste. 145, Buckhead, Atlanta, 404-477-0013; and the second, more rustically styled unit is the first suburban location at 1084 Johnson Ferry Rd. NE, Marietta, 770-321-4445. Both have drawn substantial crowds right out of the starting gate. The original unit still operates in Candler Park. The Flying Biscuit Café, 1655 McLendon Ave. NE, Atlanta, 404-687-8888.

Legacy Properties, Sports Radio 790 The Zone and Concentrics have partnered to open STATS, a food-focused sports bar, in downtown. Among the draws are the revolutionary beer system, the more than 50 high-definition TVs, and American cuisine. This unit is the first to open in the United States and it incorporates new technology by Table Tap, LLC that allows guests to be their own bartenders. Seven tables and ten private rooms are computerized with the point-of-sale system, allowing draught-drinking patrons to experience some of the comforts of home. Here's how it works: the technology begins to operate once the table’s legal identification has been verified. Guests may then pour their own beer. At each of these stations two taps with matching glasses for each draft customize the selections. The system regulates pours to ensure that guests are not beyond the legal limit. And when guests are ready to leave, the system calculates the number of ounces that have been poured and generates a bill for the table. Certified master chef James Corwell has developed a classic American menu that re-concepts typical bar food. Among the dishes are Gruyère fondue, Niman Ranch’s all-beef hot dog (produced from hormone- and antibiotic-free beef), sliders, braised beef short rib “pot pie,” Asian hanger steak salad, house-made cookies, ice cream and sorbet. STATS, 300 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta, 404-885-1472.

MFSushi Bar has opened a second location, in Buckhead's new Terminus Plaza, but this one is called simply MF Buckhead. MF Buckhead would have to be Atlanta's most spectacular, and probably most expensive, sushi bar. MF Buckhead, 3280 Peachtree Rd., Ste. 110, Atlanta, 404-841-1192.

ROOM, at TWELVE Centennial Park, is the first steakhouse concept for Concentrics Restaurants, which launched with its ONE. midtown kitchen. Nick Oltarsh, who began his Atlanta career at Murphy's, commands the kitchens at both ROOM and The Lobby at TWELVE, in Atlantic Station. Expect skewered meats and fish, small plates, and sushi by chef Tomohiro Naito of Tomo, an Atlanta sushi and Japanese restaurant. ROOM also features whopper steaks, such as a 22-ounce porterhouse. ROOM, TWELVE Hotel at Centennial Park, 817 W. Peachtree St. NW, (Ivan Allen Blvd.), Atlanta, 404-418-1250.

VIII fifty Restaurant & Lounge is a hit among north suburbanites who enjoy the combination restaurant and lounge for its late hours as well as what it offers. Dramatic design features include a waterfall and an aquarium. The restaurant serves until 11 p.m. Sun., Tues.-Wed., when most restaurants close up at 10 p.m., and until midnight Fri.-Sat. The lounge rocks on to 2:30 a.m. Tues.-Sat., and to midnight Sun. Dining patrons will enjoy a menu that combines small and large plates. Small plates run from $5-$14, making a big impact for value-conscious and calorie-counting patrons. VIII fifty Restaurant & Lounge, 1570 Holcomb Bridge Rd., Ste. 850, Roswell, 678-306-0850

Finally open after a summer's delay, The National, by Hugh Acheson (chef-owner of Five & Ten, Athens), shows off a winning menu and an intelligent, moderately sized and priced wine list that offers not only fine selections by the glass but also by the half glass. The restaurant is part of the CINE complex, a new arts cinema crafted out of a former tire recapping facility. Small plates and generously sized main dishes all draw from Spanish inspiration, as executive chef Peter Dale, who began by chopping and dicing with chef Acheson at Five & Ten, also has worked with some of the best in Spain. The National serves lunch Mon.-Fri., and dinner Mon.-Sat., closing at 11 p.m. during the week and at midnight on weekends, while the bar stays open to 2 a.m. The National, 232 W. Hancock Ave., Athens, 706-549-3450, www.thenationalrestaurant.com.

Adding to the dining destinations in Inman Park, The Albert is open at Austin and Elizabeth Streets. Specializing in late-night organic–even the hot dog–comestibles, the restaurant is a football scene on Sun., Mon. and Thurs. Imagine a spot where you can watch a football game and munch on a slider or burger made from hormone-free, humanely raised beef? And where vegans can get a black bean burger on a basil bun? No trans fats. No hydrogenation. And it's open late. Lunch and dinner are served daily, with closings at 2 a.m. Mon.-Thurs., at 3 a.m. Fri.-Sat., and at midnight Sun. Brunch is served Sun. The Albert, 918 Austin Ave., Inman Park, Atlanta, 404-872-4990.

Florida-based Urban Flats has opened in Lawrenceville, bringing its flatbread-based menu to Atlanta's suburbs. The likely ancestors of pita, pizza and pissaladière, flatbreads and perhaps the tortilla are some of the world's oldest breads. Dips come with warmed flatbreads, with such flavors as warm cheese and spinach. "Flats" are breads with such embellishments as fig jam, prosciutto, and blue and mozzarella cheeses. Soups, salads and small plates round out the offerings. Richard Miley is in charge of the kitchen. Lunch and dinner are served daily, and brunch is on Sun. Urban Flats, 1250 Scenic Hwy., Lawrenceville, 678-344-2022, www.urbanflats.net.

A banner obscuring the name of vaunted now-closed dick & harry's announces a new location of Midtown's popular Twisted Taco. The popular, funky hangout for 30-somethings proposes to re-create that atmosphere in this suburban strip mall. That will be a challenge. Opening is scheduled for some time this month. Twisted Taco, 66 12th St. NE, Midtown, 404-607-8771, www.twistedtaco.com.

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q has taken over the space last occupied by Asada, a Mexican-Southwestern American restaurant. Brothers Jonathan and Justin Fox have a large following from their previous 'cue work at Smith's Olde Bar near Ansley Park. The place has been completely overhauled and rigged with an adjacent screened barbecue pit. Lunch and dinner are served daily. Full bar is available. Fox Bros Bar-B-Q, 1238 DeKalb Ave., Atlanta, 404-577-4030, www.foxbros.com.

Allegro has opened on the ground floor of the Belvedere, a condominium, with José Rego, formerly at Sotto Sotto, wearing the top toque. The very “Milan moderne” interior serves as a background for an authentic Italian menu, featuring, among other classic dishes, pappardelle with rabbit and tomato sauce and braised pork shank. The menu changes every six weeks, but the chocolate panna cotta may have to stick around for a while. The all-Italian wine list isn’t extensive, but presents many unusual and not-often-found selections. In November the restaurant will begin serving its own Tuscan house wine. Allegro serves dinner nightly. Allegro, 560 Dutch Valley Rd., Atlanta, 404-888-1890.

Also Italian, but with a California accent, Lola Bellini Bar & Restaurant opened in the Terminus Tower on Peachtree Rd. at Piedmont, with Martin Burge, formerly with Vento in New York City, doing the cooking honors. Lola is the brainchild of Tom Catherall, who expands his Here to Serve Restaurants with an antipasto bar concept. Lola Bellini Bar & Restaurant, 3280 Peachtree Rd. NW, Ste. 150, 404-892-9292, www.heretoserverestaurants.com.

VIA

And still more Italian, Via is tucked into one of the many new high-rise structures that have begun to craft the shape of Buckhead’s future. Chef Andrew Sheridan, an alumnus of not only Johnson & Wales but also of numerous famed area kitchens, heads the operation, and turns out lovely pizzas and classic Italian light fare in a buzz-buzz atmosphere. The launch wine list was appalling, but improvements were soon installed, thanks to the timely intervention of Shaun Doty, one of those aforementioned mentors. Via, 262 Pharr Rd. NE, Atlanta, 404-214-5404.

Blackstone Café has opened, abutting its older sibling, Blackstone, on S. Atlanta Road. The more casual operation of the two, the café will focus on soups, sandwiches, salads and gelati for either to-go service or for dining in. Specialty meats, cheeses and other goodies are part of the line-up. Blackstone Café, 4686 S. Atlanta Rd., Vinings, Atlanta, 404-794-6100.

The stylish Beleza, meaning “beautiful” in Portuguese, is the brain child of Riccardo Ullio, who also owns Sotto Sotto and Fritti. Executive chef Michelle McKenzie offers a menu of small plates with inventive dishes and an emphasis on healthful yet exciting fare. Beleza, 905 Juniper St., Midtown, Atlanta, 678-904-4582.

Leaving Pano Karatassos’ Buckhead Life Restaurant Group is former 103 West executive chef Hilary White, who was the company’s first female executive chef. But now she has joined forces with former Peasant Corporation executive Steve Nygren to open The Hil at Serenbe, Nygren’s fine country bed-and-breakfast inn in Palmetto, in south Fulton County, just south of Atlanta. The Hil is the Serenbe Community’s third dining establishment. An operating farm, Serenbe will provide much of the produce and even meats coming from the farm itself. The Hil will serve dinner Wed.-Sun., and brunch Sat.-Sun. It doesn’t get more local than that. The Hil, Serenbe Community, 9110 Selborne Ln., Palmetto, 770-463-6040, www.the-hil.com.

Opening in the new Twelve Hotel Centennial Park, Room at TWELVE, another dining concept from Concentrics Restaurant group, is described by the company as a “modern American steakhouse.” Yet there are twists on this formula, as sushi, slow-roasted meats and even tandoori cooking will be part of the scenario. Executive chef Nick Oltarsh, from Concentrics’ The Lobby at TWELVE, will head up the staff and has designed the menu. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch are served. Room at TWELVE, 400 W. Peachtree St., NW, Atlanta, 404-418-1250, www.roomattwelve.com.

New hotels are popping up all over Atlanta, bringing with them a veritable dining room war. In addition to the new ones, existing hotels are being purchased, re-concepted, renovated and refitted with new restaurants. None, however, is more dramatic than the rebirth of the old Winecoff Hotel, a historic property built in 1913 and designed by famed architect William Lee Stoddard. Atlanta’s most elegant hotel at the time burned in 1946 in a tragic fire that remains the nation’s worst hotel fire. Empty for decades, it has finally gotten a new lease on life, re-opening as The Ellis Hotel. Within, the E. Street Grill, Lounge, Restaurant & Bar will add another dining enterprise to downtown Atlanta’s suddenly alive restaurant scene. E. Street Grill, Lounge, Restaurant & Bar, The Ellis Hotel, 176 Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta, 404-523-5155, www.ellishotel.com.

Drawing substantially from Atlanta for his clientele, Hugh Acheson now has another magnet to bring them from Atlanta to Athens. The National has opened in downtown Athens, under the on-site leadership of Peter Dale, sous chef from Five & Ten. The dining spot, which will feature tapas and larger plates for dinner and late-night dining, is located in a new art film complex that was crafted out of a former tire store space. The National, 232 W. Hancock Ave., Athens, 706-549-3450, www.thenationalrestaurant.com.

With a free concert featuring Shawn Mullins among others, Vinocity Wine Bar & Restaurant, which had closed at its Midtown location, re-opened in Kirkwood. Chef Justin Bright, a native Atlantan, features dishes with lots of classic French and Southern influences. The fried green tomato stack comes with goat cheese and tomatillo salsa. Gourmet sandwiches and wings highlight the lighter fare, and live entertainment inside will be a weekly after-dinner offering. Vinocity serves lunch and dinner daily and brunch Sat.-Sun. Vinocity Wine Bar & Restaurant, 1963 Hosea Williams Dr., Kirkwood Station, Atlanta, 404-870-8886.

Andy Badgett, who established his culinary credibility with a fine dining restaurant named Asher, opted out of fine dining for a while to do a casual spot called The Fickle Pickle, serving sandwiches, salads, and fried pickles and rémoulade. But now he's back in the fine dining business with Relish, a new venture specializing in "New Southern" cuisine. This is a term that in less capable hands could result in some pretty ridiculous fare, but Badgett knows Southern food well and respects it, so the results should be inspired. Occupying an old stone turn-of-the-century building that once housed a funeral home, the structure is fitted with fine warm woods and loads of natural lighting. Dishes will include such plays on authentic fare as pimento cheese fritters, North Carolina-style barbecue (that's the one with vinegar sauce), shrimp and grits with tasso gravy, fried peach pie with buttermilk ice cream, and Krispy Kreme bread pudding. Ignacio Barquera is chef de cuisine. Lunch & Dinner Mon.-Sat., Brunch Sun. Relish, 590 Mimosa Blvd., Roswell, 770-650-7877, www.relishgoodfood.com.

From Tom Catherall's Here to Serve restaurant group comes a new Italian concept, Lola Italian Restaurant. Designed by Atlanta's The Johnson Studio, Lola, located on the street level at the new 10 Terminus Plaza, will be the home of chef Martin Burge. Burge comes to Atlanta from Vento in New York City’s Meatpacking district. The menu will feature an antipasto bar of seasonal vegetables, salads, meats and cheeses and a "Low Cal Ital" section called "Lolita," focused on dishes weighing in at under 600 calories. In a wood-burning pizza oven, thin-crust pizzas, including a lobster pizza, will be a draw, and for these, whole-wheat crust is an option. Chicken, meats and game will be cooking in the rotisserie oven. The wine list will focus on Italian and California wines by the bottle, carafe and half carafe. Lola Italian Restaurant, The Terminus Bldg., Peachtree and Piedmont Rds., Atlanta, 404-892-9292, www.heretoserverestaurants.com.

Roman Lily Café is back. Sort of. Calavino Donati, owner of the Old Fourth Ward bistro called Roman Lily Café, has launched a new operation, Calavino’s, and its companion Andiamo To-Go, featuring meals to-go from the Calavino’s menu. At the moment, Calavino’s serves dinner nightly, but brunch is on the program for the near future. Calavino’s and Andiamo To-Go, 350 Mead Rd., Decatur, 404-370-9575.

Metrotainment, which also owns, among others, Einstein's and Cowtippers, has launched a second Hudson Grille in Brookhaven. Replacing a Jocks 'n' Jills, the 8,000-square-foot Brookhaven location will offer an Old World tavern feel with more than 60 plasma screen televisions and more than 50 beers on draft. Food will feature such popular items as jumbo Buffalo wings; grilled 12 oz. bone-in pork chop with Granny Smith applesauce; and steak selections such as a Certified Angus Beef filet mignon and New York strip. Hudson Grille Brookhaven will also offer personal flat bread pizzas. Metrotainment Bakery rolls out dessert choices including double fudge cake, Key lime pie and strawberry cake. Guests may choose to dine indoors or outside on the spacious patio with its own bar, fireplace and fountain. Hudson Grille in Brookhaven serves lunch and dinner daily and weekend brunch. Hudson Grille, 4046 Peachtree Rd. NE, in Brookhaven Station, Atlanta, 404-233-0313, www.metrocafes.com.

After closing Tamarind, one of Atlanta's and Midtown's most popular Thai restaurants, Nan (she's the chef) and Charlie Niyomkul, who also own Nan Thai Fine Dining, finally re-opened their popular Thai bistro–some six months after its scheduled relaunch and just slightly re-named. Tamarind Seed, serving lunch Sun.-Fri. and dinner nightly, has added a Thai-food friendly wine list to this renewed  but established enterprise. Tamarind Seed, 1197 Peachtree St. NE, Suite 110, Colony Square, Atlanta, 404-873-4888, www.tamarindseed.com.

Also re-opened after a lengthy renovation, Ray's on the River has expanded its ability to offer patrons splendid views of Atlanta's iconic Chattahoochee River. With a menu of fine steaks as well as seafood, the restaurant is well positioned to enjoy its exit decade of growth. Chef Tom McEachern promises to focus his attention on upgrading the popular Sunday buffet. Ray's on the River, 6700 Powers Ferry Rd., Atlanta, 770-955-1187.

Smyrna's Zucca Bar & Pizzeria/Vintage Tavern opened in 2003 and features thin-crust, Staten Island-style pizzas. The bar holds one of Atlanta's icons, a bar from the now-closed Manuel's Tavern in Stone Mountain. Co-founders and childhood buddies Joe Romano, Tim Langell and John Gibney wanted to create the kind of unpretentious, neighborhood eatery they had known in their youth. The goal was to serve high-quality Italian food at approachable prices and in an appealing atmosphere. The second location  opened on July 9 at 745 Chastain Rd. in Kennesaw near Town Center Mall, 678-290-9313. Zucca Bar & Pizzeria/Vintage Tavern, 2860 Atlanta Rd. SE, Market Village, Smyrna, 770-803-9990.

Luckie Food Lounge

Luckie Food Lounge has opened on the corner of Luckie Street and Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard. The high-tech design is a blend of sports bar and aquarium, appropriate as its neighbor is the Georgia Aquarium. Three aquariums dot the space. An adjacent operation, Charm, pitches itself as making available homemade gelati and other goodies, but on the dessert menu at the lounge, one reads that Charm may also make available certain items "discretely delivered to your table." We'll leave to your imagination what those items might be. The food is sandwiches, pizzas and simple main plates, including an overstuffed shrimp po' boy and a good Club sandwich. Diners also may step up to steaks, and sushi is featured. An upstairs club is being developed for the rooftop. Luckie Food Lounge, 375 Luckie St., Atlanta, 404-525-5825.

Tomas Lee, owner of Tomas restaurant in Norcross, recently opened Wok-In Wok-Out New American Stir-Fry in Lawrenceville. A Culinary Institute of America graduate, Lee has worked with Buckhead Life restaurants (was executive chef at Buckhead Diner). Wok-In Wok-Out features a stir-fry bar where customers may add fresh ingredients, choosing from 31 vegetables, eight proteins and 16 sauces. All mains are less than $15. An outdoor patio will seat 40. Karaoke on Friday is a plus. Wok-In Wok-Out does lunch and dinner daily. Wok-In Wok-Out, 860 Duluth Hwy., Ste. 700, Lawrenceville, 770-513-1372, www.wokinwokoutrestaurant.com.

McCray's 6th Street Tavern Neighborhood Bar & Grill, a Midtown bar and pub, launches two locations this summer. The one in Smyrna, known as McCray's West Village Tavern, opened the last week of June, and the other will be in Lawrenceville. McCray's 6th Street Tavern Neighborhood Bar & Grill, 4500 W. Village Pl., Ste. 2009, West Village, 678-370-9112.

New Zealand native Bryan Wilson has opened a second location of his Shorty's, a classic neighborhood bistro, in Tucker in northeast metro Atlanta. Featuring wood-grilled pizzas, Shorty's is home to good food at reasonable prices. A favorite is the buttermilk chicken, a char-grilled breast of chicken previously soaked in buttermilk and layered atop mashed potatoes. His original location is in northeast metro Atlanta as well. Shorty's Tucker, 3701 Lawrenceville Hwy., Tucker, 770-414-6999.

Atlanta's Sweetwater Brewing Company will open two bars at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in late July. The Sweetwater Draft House will open on Concourse B, near Gate B-8, on July 27. A second operation, Georgia Brown Juke Joint, will be opening in August on Concourse D. Less about Sweetwater Brewing Company, this operation will be more about music and art from Georgia, but will, of course, serve Sweetwater brews. Sweetwater Brewery Company, 195 Ottley Dr., Atlanta, 404-691-2537, www.sweetwaterbrew.com.

SIP the Experience, an urban lifestyle coffee lounge, will open late July–early August in Lindberg City Center off Piedmont Road. Focusing on small-lot sustainability, organic and fair-traded coffees, SIP will feature French press coffees. SIP owner April Phillips learned about coffee’s Third Wave while in coffee school in Portland, Oregon. The Third Wave references the movement of coffee enthusiasts away from global chains to small, local shops and, finally, to a focus on the actual coffee beans: where they came from, how they were grown and how they were roasted. SIP the Experience will use freshly roasted coffee beans from Counter Culture, a North Carolina-based roasting company, for the French press coffees and espresso beverages. The minimalist, airy space will feature warm, natural colors and a relaxed, European look. Free Internet access and international lounge music will further enhance the coffee experience. SIP the Experience, Lindberg City Center, 528 Main St., Atlanta, 404-816-3001, www.siptheexperience.com.

Long Island, New York, native Richard Blais, did many tours around Atlanta's kitchens, including ONE. midtown kitchen, before moving to the Miami area. Now he's returned to Atlanta, operating the kitchen at Element, a restaurant replacing Cherry in Midtown. Element launched in January, but lacked distinction. Realizing they needed a change quickly, owners Chris Neal and his fiancée Anouk Esmail reacted swiftly when they got an e-mail from Blais eager to return to Atlanta. After getting assurances of creative control, Blais closed the restaurant for a few days and repositioned it with a "nitrogen cocktail" re-opening. Offering dinner Tuesday-Sunday and brunch Sunday, Element launched its new menu and its new Blais-governed concept on May 22, 2007. Blais plans on checking in from time to time, but leaving much of the operation to Mark Hanna and Jeff Sigler. Element, 1051 W. Peachtree St., at 11th St., Midtown, Atlanta, 404-745-3001.

The Chocolate Bar

The Chocolate Bar, an ingenious little slip of a space by Karen Britain, has opened in Decatur, and offers not only chocolate in sundry forms but also fine wines by the class, including many designed to go with chocolate. Executive chef Aaron Russell worked as pastry chef under Bruno Ménard at The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead. Ménard comes from a long line of chocolatiers, so Russell, a native of Adairsville, GA, learned from the best. He then went on to be pastry chef with Guenter Seeger at Seeger's. The "Sweet Plates" showcase his chocolate work, although his summertime watermelon soup poured over diced pickled watermelon rind and topped with basil sorbet floating on a wedge of frangipane was stunning. Savory snacks may also be had, but the star is chocolate. The Chocolate Bar, 201 West Ponce De Leon Ave., Suite C, Decatur, 404-378-0630.

Ray's on the River Seafood House hopes to open some time in late June. Extensive upgrades include Travertine marble floors, interior and exterior water features, and a wood temperature-controlled wine display. An illuminated porthole wall separates the bar from the dining room, illuminated by custom-made iron chandeliers with decorative glass cylinders. The menu will remain familiar, although some enhancements are anticipated. Patrons who seek the famous Copper River salmon will find it returned to its spot of honor on the menu. And the Chattahoochee River will still lazily roll by the famous patio. Ray's on the River Seafood House, 6700 Powers Ferry Rd., Marietta, 770-955-1187.

Atlanta Brewing Company, founded in 1993, has moved into its new digs, at 2323 DeFoor Hills Rd., in west Midtown. Traffic issues around its original location on Williams Street near 10th St. in Midtown necessitated the move, mandated in 2005 by the Georgia Department of Transportation. Amenities include a new 1,500-square-foot tasting room with a state-of-the-art pouring system and a plasma TV that may be rented for private parties of up to 125 (although capacity allows up to 300 overflow into the brewery itself. ABC will continue its schedule of public tours Wed., Fri. and Sun., from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Live music is an additional amenity on Fri. and sometimes on Wed. Four year-round and two seasonal beers are produced. Atlanta Brewing Company, 2323 Defoor Hills Rd., Collier Hills, 404-881-0300.

Six Feet Under has opened its long-awaited second location at 685 11th St., between Howell Mill Rd. and Northside Dr. in Atlanta's West Side neighborhood. Seafood and burgers are the draw, and bar libations emphasize brews, although decent wines also are available. Six Feet Under, 685 1th St., NW, West Side, 404-810-0040.

Michel and Leslie Panos moved their successful Mellow Mushroom operation from 6218 Roswell Rd. in Sandy Springs to 6100 Roswell Rd. The space is bright and totally unconventional, with flower-bedecked window boxes and bench seating outside and a giant mushroom and multi-colored banquettes within. Busy and bright, it's a vast improvement over the glum surroundings of the former location. Mellow Mushroom, 6100 Roswell Rd. NE, Sandy Springs, Atlanta, 404-252-5560.

TAP, “Atlanta’s First Authentic Gastropub,” is slated to open in June, according to its developer, Concentrics Restaurants, which owns or manages a wide range of restaurants in the Atlanta area, including ONE. midtown kitchen and piebar. Named for the restaurant’s extensive draft beer and barrel wine selections, TAP will feature a year-round patio offering a great view of Midtown Atlanta's street scene. Returning from New York where he worked at Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, executive chef Todd Ginsberg envisions hearty portions of seasonal comfort food. TAP will serve lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner nightly and Brunch Sat.-Sun. TAP, 1180 Peachtree St. NE, at 14th St , 404-347-2220.


Fune

Located in Midtown's Spire Building, Fune, a contemporary sushi bar, held its grand opening in April and now welcomes sushi enthusiasts who come at lunch for the $12 all you can eat sushi lunch and the bento boxes. Dinner also is served. Fune (pronounced something like fyoon) means a small boat in Japanese. Fune, Spire Bldg., 860 Peachtree St. NE, Ste. H, Midtown, Atlanta, 404-541-9322.

But there's more: Blais also will open Elevation in late June-early July up in Kennesaw. Having studied with famed chef Ferran Adrià at El Bulli, Gerona, Spain, Blais is known for his regional interpretation of Adriá's methodology. Iced tea gelée, Caesar salad arranged in a sardine can, and all the foams and frills of the master's style are among Blais's interpretations of the master's style, reconfigured to suit a Southern dimension. Blais says Elevation will be a "molecular steakhouse," complete with all the nitrogen tricks he learned with the master. His team, Trail-Blais, will cook at both restaurants, with Blais. Elevation, 1723 McCollum Pkwy., Bldg. 600, Chastain Rd., at McCollum Airport,  Kennesaw.

Raving Brands will open its first franchised location of Flying Biscuit Café in the Regency Shopping Center at 3515 Northside Pkwy, 404-816-3152, in Atlanta on May 14. Local franchisee John Slocum plans to bring five more Flying Biscuits to the Atlanta area, beginning with a Buckhead location. Atlanta Q100 "Bert Show" radio personality Jeff Dauler is Slocum's partner in the project. Since its opening in 1993, the Flying Biscuit has become known for its fluffy biscuits and its breakfasts. Its original location is in Candler Park (1655 McLendon Ave. NE, 404-687-8888), and a second location is in Midtown at 1001 Piedmont Ave. NE, 404-874-8887.

Kevin Rathbun Steaks will open in May, according to Rathbun, also owner of Rathbun's and the Krog Bar in Inman Park. The eponymous steak operation is located one block north of the latter two restaurants, and only minutes from downtown Atlanta. Bill Johnson Studios, designer of many of Atlanta's best restaurants, has re-crafted the interior of this fine old building that originally housed a cotton warehouse in the mid-1890s. The finished restaurant will have 145 seats in the main dining room, a full bar, an open kitchen, and a patio. A wine wall is one of the welcoming elements. Kevin Rathbun Steaks, 154 Krog St. NE, Inman Park, Atlanta, 404-524-5600, www.kevinrathbunsteak.com.

Lee Stuart, owner of Houck's Steakhouse, and Frank Betts announced the opening of Trilogy in East Cobb, near the intersections of Johnson Ferry and Lower Roswell Roads. Keeping the steak focus, steak and seafood are the main draws, but with occasional Southern touches, such as shrimp and grits, Vidalia onion soup and Charleston crab soup. With a separate smoke-free family dining space, the 17,000-square-foot facility, formerly housing an ice skating rink, will replace Houck's. Trilogy, Parkaire Shopping Ctr., 4930 Davidson Rd., Marietta, 770-859-0041,

McCray's 6th Street Tavern Neighborhood Bar & Grill in Midtown will expand with the opening of two new locations, one in Vinings and another now under construction on the square in downtown Lawrenceville. McCray's 6th Street Tavern Neighborhood Bar & Grill, 98 Sixth St. NE, Midtown, 404-249-1506.

Alexis Southern Diner, the work of New Orleanians Yvette and Melvin Alexis, has opened in Buford, and features Cajun classics, such as red beans and rice, soft-shell crabs, gumbo, jambalaya and redfish. For dessert, there’s bread pudding, of course, and chocolate cobbler, homemade cheesecake and pound cake. The family-oriented restaurant is in a Mardi Gras-style setting, and serves no alcohol. Alexis Southern Diner, 4060 Buford Dr., Buford, 770-831-9884.

Mirko di Giacomantonio, the power behind the Figo pasta enterprise, is among the partners about to open Allegro, a high-end fine Italian concept slated for the Belvedere, a high rise condominium. Opening is anticipated for July 2007. Allegro, 560 Dutch Valley Rd., Virginia Highland.

Chef Paul Albrecht of Paul's, a Peachtree Hills bistro (10 King's Cir. NE, 404-231-4113), and formerly the Paul of Pano's & Paul's, will open four restaurants in Peachtree Hills Place, a private residential community for residents aged 62 and older. One restaurant will be open to the public, and the other three will be reserved for residents and their guests. The project is expected to open in 2009.

Bonefish Grill has opened in the rapidly developing Johns Creek area. Serving dinner nightly, the eatery specializes in market fresh fish cooked over an oak-burning grill. Signature sauces will be part of what patrons may choose from to customize the dishes. Beef, pork tenderloin, pasta and chicken preparations also are offered. The large restaurant, measuring out at about 5,000 square-feet, features an open kitchen, patio and large bar. A second location is due this summer near Snellville, on Atlanta's east side. Bonefish Grill, Johns Creek, 11706 Jones Bridge Rd., Atlanta, 770-475-6668.

Ethan Patrick's Bistro

Opening in Canton, Ethan Patrick's Bistro is the work of Cameron Moore and Michael Taylor. Serving dinner Tues.-Sat., the restaurant will focus on organic produce, grain-fed meats and fresh seafood flown in daily. Executive chef Tiffany Moon expresses her style in Asian influenced dishes. Ethan Patrick's Bistro, 190 E. Main St., Canton, 770-479-2553.

Ray's on the River, which had closed for an extensive renovation, is slated to reopen in May. Specializing in fish and seafood, the restaurant has at its disposal one of the best riverside views along the Chattahoochee. Ray's also is known for its brunches. Atlantans will rejoice to have an old friend back for good times. Ray's on the River, 6700 Powers Ferry Rd., 770-955-1187.

Atkins Park has opened its long-anticipated location in Cumming, with entertainment (no cover) and late-night hours on weekends as part of the bill of fare. Lunch and dinner are served daily, and brunch is featured Saturday and Sunday. Executive chef J.J. McFarland heads up the kitchen, which specializes in American cooking with some Asian touches. Atkins Park Tavern, 5820 S. Vickery St., Cumming, 678-513-2333.

Well-known barbecue guru Bennett Brown III, president of LowCountry Barbecue Express, had tried to operate a restaurant years back, and swore he'd never do it again. But he's doing it again. Opening in April 2007, LowCountry Barbecue Outpost is a 2,850-square-foot, 80-seat restaurant that in atmosphere and décor reflects the culture and scenic beauty of the Low Country, that is, the Atlantic coast of South Carolina, Georgia and north Florida. A mural on the wall at the entrance depicts LowCountry Barbecue’s colorful catering history. A covered patio accommodates 22 for outdoor dining, and a separate side entrance serves customers picking up to-go orders. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner daily. More locations are on the drawing board, with one in Brookhaven due to open in late 2007. LowCountry Barbecue Outpost, 3455 Peachtree Pkwy., Ste. 201, Suwanee, 678-688-7678.

Downtown Atlanta west from CNN Center to Castleberry Hill is coming alive with restaurants. Thrive, near the Georgia Aquarium and CNN Center, is an upscale, casual restaurant with a contemporary décor designed by The Johnson Studio. Executive chef Oscar Pinto, formerly at Sia's, calls the culinary shots. The restaurant morphs late at night into a sophisticated lounge featuring drinks and a sushi bar. Thrive, Centennial Tower, 101 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta, 404-389-1000.

Fabrice Vergez, former owner and manager of Brasserie Le Coze in Lenox Square, lost his space to an expanding Neiman-Marcus department store. Undaunted, he set about developing a new concept, FAB (404-266-1440), which will debut in March at the Southern Company Building downtown at 30 Ivan Allen Plaza.

Palm Beach Restaurant

After years of serving as an executive chef for a cruise line that coursed its way through the Caribbean, Geir S. Kilen has opened Palm Beach Restaurant in McDonough with his wife, Cindy, a former Carnival Cruise line food and beverage director. The restaurant's theme and vision borrow heavily from the islands, even to the real palm trees that line the patio. Lots of seafood graces this menu, plus meat and pasta dishes. The restaurant will serve lunch daily, and dinner Mon.-Sat. Palm Beach Restaurant, 2180 GA 20 W., McDonough, 770-898-1992.

Part of the rationale for selling Flying Biscuit Café to Raving Brands in July 2006 was to have the wherewithal to expand. The first franchise is due to open shortly in a former Mama Fu’s (one of Raving Brands’ brands). Founder, concept manager and developer Delia Champion likes the fact that they’re coming out of the starting gate slowly on this expansion. And she is delighted that the Biscuit’s first franchisee is the well-managed team of George McKerrow (Longhorn Steaks), Ted Turner (Ted’s Montana Grill, which is both McKerrow and Turner) and John Slocum (Slocum’s). Target date, says Champion, is mid-May, but she adds carefully: “That’s a moving target.” Look for it in a shopping center at the corner of Northside Pkwy. and W. Paces Ferry Rd. The original Flying Biscuits are located at 1655 McLendon Ave., Chandler Park, Atlanta, 404-687-8888; and 1001 Piedmont Ave., in the Davis & Assoc. Building, at Tenth St., Midtown, 404-874-8887.

Hailing from Baton Rouge, La., where they had a lunch spot that once fed the state's famous politicos, and with restaurant experience in Florida, Bill and Peggy Shakey and their son Kelly are ready to launch The Depaux in the historic Decatur train station. Target date is April 2007. The menu will feature seafood, steaks and what Bill Shakey calls "Louisiana comfort food." "It's not just all hot," he says. "It's more about flavor than it is heat." The Depaux, 303 E. Howard Ave., Decatur.

Agave's Jack Sobel has teamed with Gregg Herndon, late of fondly-remembered Tiburon Grille and Taste of New Orleans, to open their long-dreamed-of joint project, Redfish, A Creole Bistro in Grant Park. Renovating the spot once occupied by a cafeteria-style Cuban-Spanish operation, the twosome added a large bar and completely redecorated. This concept somewhat takes executive chef Herndon back to his Taste of New Orleans roots. The word is out that those big soft-shell crabs he used to do are once again available; if you have a craving, call ahead (they're only served when available fresh). Dinner is served nightly. Redfish, A Creole Bistro, 687 Memorial Dr. SE, 404-475-1200.

Former Dish restaurant proprietor Bryan Wilson and two of his longtime employees have opened a new pizza joint, but they haven't strayed too far if the menu is any indication. Wilson, Brian Hogan and Michael Murphy opened Shorty's, featuring a wood-burning brick oven. The focus is on thin-crust pizzas, but there also are a few roasted entrées, like filet of cedar-planked salmon and fish in parchment, as well as interesting salads that are available in appetizer or entrée size. A full bar is available. Shorty's, 2884 B N. Druid Hills Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-315-6262.

ECCO, from Fifth Group Restaurants, seats 220 patrons and sports a large bar-lounge area, an outdoor patio and flexible private dining. Heading the culinary team is Micah Willix (formerly of Seasons 52). The menu features seasonally inspired Italian and Mediterranean fare like build-your-own antipasti boards; wood-fired seafood, steaks and seasonal pizzas; fresh pastas; and roasted shellfish bowls. The adventurous wine list focuses on boutique selections. ECCO, 40 Seventh St. (old Atlanta Fencing Club), 404-347-9555.

Famous in New York City for more than two decades, especially for its tableside preparation of guacamole, Rosa Mexicano has opened in Atlantic Station (there is also a location in DC). Authentic Mexican food that's focused on flavor is the draw. Rosa Mexicano, 245 18th St. NW, Atlanta, 404-347-4090, www.rosamexicano.com.

Hop into B.E.D. for dinner? Sure, why not, when it’s at the new boutique Glenn Hotel. The company's third location (others are in New York and Miami) is located at 110 Marietta St. NW. Mercifully, tables also are available. B.E.D., 110 Marietta St. NW Atlanta, 404-222-7992.

Atlanta's locally-owned Mexican restaurant, Zócalo Taquería, with two locations well established in Midtown and Decatur, has opened a third spot in Grant Park. Zócalo Taquería, 465 Boulevard, Atlanta, 404-635-9930.

Eclipse di Luna has opened a second location at Perimeter Park Place. Ofer Ayal, formerly at Pricci, has chef duties at the tapas joint's new locale (4505 Ashford Dunwoody Rd., 678-205-5862). Meanwhile, Andrew Long, formerly at Aria, has become chef at the sister restaurant, Eclipse di Sol (640 N. Highland Ave. NE, Poncey-Highland, 404-724-0711). Hopeton Hibbert commands the kitchen at the original (764 Miami Cir., Miami Circle Design District, 404-846-0449).

Metrotainment Cafés will see a June opening for its tenth venture, Hudson Grille, in the Windward Promenade shopping center in Alpharetta at 865 N. Main St.

Landmark Diner has opened a new location (open 24 hours) at 3785 Roswell Rd. in Sandy Springs, 404-250-3985.

Atlanta caterer Susan Steinberg has opened the restaurant-wine shop The Epicurean, a Parisian-style bistro that takes inspiration from Provence. Chilean sea bass en papillote, braised pork cheeks and roasted quail salad are just a few of the dishes on offer. The wine bar features wines from Alsace to Oregon. The Epicurean, 1361 Clairmont Rd. NE, Decatur, 404-321-0530.

Commensurate with the closing of his Fishmonger Seafood Grille on Piedmont Avenue in Midtown, owner Nik Panagopolos has opened Fishbone Wood Grill, which serves lunch and dinner daily. The focus is on grilled and fried fish, but the menu includes some pasta dishes and steaks. Fishbone Wood Grill, 5131 Peachtree Pkwy., Peachtree Corners, Norcross, 770-840-3052.

Mario Maccarone, Costanzo Astarita and Ferruccio Cosenza are partners in several Atlanta restaurants, including Baraonda downtown where Cosenza is chef (Astarita is executive chef for all the restaurants). Following the concept of the Italian wine bar, the trio has opened Enoteca Carbonari next to Baraonda. Serving none of the pasta dishes offered at adjacent Baraonda, it instead offers cheese plates, salads, rotisserie meats, suckling pig, organic chicken, duck, wild boar sausage and leg of lamb, all cooked on charcoal. Enoteca Carbonari, 710 Peachtree St. NE, 404-810-9110.

BED (Beverage Entertainment Dining) has opened at The Glenn Hotel, with three levels of lounge and dining areas. BED is named for the plush beds upon which the French-American contemporary cuisine and cocktails are served. Chef Vitor Casassola comes to BED Atlanta from stints at Aquavit, Delano Blue Door, BED Miami and BED New York. At night, “Murphy” beds reveal a wood wall with an illuminated laser cut pattern of botanical imagery. The roof of the hotel is the third level of the restaurant where glass railings provide a view of the Atlanta skyline. BED Atlanta, The Glenn Hotel, 110 Marietta St. NW, 404-222-7992.

Rosa Mexicano, the new casual fine dining restaurant located in Atlantic Station, focuses on authentic Mexican food with dishes such as mixiote de borrego (lamb shank marinated in tequila and chilies and slow-cooked in parchment paper) and cochinita pibil, a Yucatecan specialty. Culinary director Roberto Santibáñez will oversee the kitchen along with executive chef Stacie Meehan. Rosa Mexicano, Atlanta Station, 245 18th St. NW, 404-347-4090, www.rosamexicano.com.

Joe Truex, former executive chef at Georgia's Château Élan, and his wife, Mihoko Obunai, have opened Repast. The focus is on contemporary American cuisine with such dishes as fritto misto with a yuzu-flavored rémoulade, and grilled hangar steak with shoestring potatoes. Truex worked with Daniel Boulud at Le Cirque; Obunai with Cyril Renaud at La Caravelle. Repast, 620 Glen Iris Dr. (North Ave.), Ponce Springs Lofts, 404-870-8707.

A number of new locations of existing restaurants opened in early 2006. Among them, Fifth Group Restaurants opened a second location of its South City Kitchen at 1675 Cumberland Pkwy., Smyrna, 770-435-0700. Executive chef Timothy Magee will relocate from the Midtown location to Ivy Walk.

Replacing Church St. Grill in Decatur is What a Crock! with its stellar chicken potpie. The little company started off doing both catering and lunch, but is now catering exclusively. However, those hungry for the potpies may still order them. What a Crock!, 406 Church St., Decatur, 404-687-3311.

Fifth Group Restaurants, whose operations include Sala Sabor de Mexico, La Tavola Trattoria and The Food Studio, will open Ecco, a European-inspired concept, in April 2006 at 40 Seventh St. in Midtown. Ecco's executive chef will be Micah Willix, most recently of Seasons 52 in Ft. Lauderdale. Ecco will serve seasonal, old-world food with an emphasis on Italian, French and Spanish cuisine.

Jack Sobel, founder of Southwestern-themed Agave, and Gregg Herndon, founder of Tiburon Grille, will soon open their new venture, Redfish, a Creole Bistro, around the corner from Agave (242 Boulevard, Cabbagetown, Atlanta, 404-588-0006). Redfish will feature a full-service bar, extensive wine list and diverse Cajun-Creole cuisine: classic Louisiana etouffée, jambalaya, seafood gumbo, red beans and rice, barbecue shrimp, oysters en brochette and redfish moutarde.

Table 1280, starring Shaun Doty, formerly of MidCity Cuisine and Mumbo Jumbo, has opened in the Woodruff Arts Center. Serving Contemporary-American Regional cuisine, the new space, fashioned by famed Italian designer Renzo Piano with Bergmeyer Associates, is a visual delight. Table 1280, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Rd. NE, 404-897-1280.

Avra Greek Tavern has opened its doors in Midtown (replacing Salt) in an ample former Victorian residence. From the same company that owns Sage Woodfire Tavern and Mythos, Avra leans more sturdily into Greek traditions, especially with an all-Greek wine list. Avra Greek Tavern, 794 Juniper St. NE, Atlanta, 404-892-8890.

Michael Bramblett, who owns Magnolia Café in Roswell, has opened a new spot right across the street. 946 South, a casual neighborhood bistro in a century-old building, features chef Margarito Reyes' eclectic menu. 946 South, 946 Canton St., Roswell, 770-992-4830.

Nico Romo, executive chef of Café at East Andrews, is co-owner with Steven Chain of the new restaurant Pop. An international gourmet market selling fish and seafood, meats, prepared foods to go, pastas, pizzas, salads, soups, sandwiches, gelati, beer and wine, Pop offers both take-out and sit-down dining. Diana Watkins, former sous chef at the Café at East Andrews, is the chef de cuisine. Pop, 410-B W. Ponce de Leon Ave., 404-378-8787.

Atlanta restaurateurs Bob Amick and Todd Rushing opened piebar, their third Atlanta restaurant concept in three years. This latest venture is located in the circular-shaped structure on Monroe Drive that was originally designed by Atlanta architect Henri Jova. Chefs Richard Blais, Scott Serpas, Nick Oltarsh and Jen Etchison, the talented culinary team behind ONE. midtown kitchen, TWO Urban Licks and Murphy's, developed the "sun food" menu for piebar which is influenced by the warm climate regions of the Mediterranean. piebar, 2160 Monroe Dr., 404-815-1605.

Hip-hopster Jermaine Dupri opened Café Dupri, with Christopher Banks as chef. Focused on healthy American and Southern cooking, Banks dishes up offerings taken straight from the Southern repertoire. The restaurant keeps some pretty late hours, closing at 2 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and at 4 a.m. Friday-Saturday. Café Dupri, 3133 Piedmont Ave. NE, 404-846-2773.

Lucy Alvarez and Hilton Joseph, whose popular Mambo operated for years in Virginia-Highland, have resurfaced at Mojito in the Wyndham Garden Hotel at 125 Tenth St., 404-892-4440. The pair will be handling all food services for the hotel, according to Joseph, with wife Lucy doing the food, even for banquets and special events, as he handles business and management issues. Meanwhile, the couple is in the process of creating another operation, named for their first and fondly remembered Decatur restaurant, Babalú, to be located in a mixed-use community in Grant Park.

Tom Catherall, seeking to switch the space to a more dinner-focused operation, closed his Peri-Peri next to Shout and handed the keys to the kitchen over to Nancy Delgado, his maven of Latino cooking. Delgado will be doing an all-Latino menu for the new restaurant, named Ola (Spanish for ocean wave). But devotees of Peri-Peri won't have to wait too long for the opportunity to reconnect with this spicy Afro-Portuguese chicken menu, as Catherall plans to relocate the concept to another spot. Ola, 1197 Peachtree Rd. NE, Ste. 511, Midtown, 404-892-9292.

The Doc Chey noodle parade is an ever-expanding operation, opening a new location in Vinings in the Ivy Walk shopping center, 1675 Cumberland Pkwy., Smyrna, 770-333-9657, www.doccheys.com.

Opening Soon
South City Kitchen announced the scheduled opening of a new location in One Ivy Walk, a mixed-use community in Vinings. With a menu similar to that of the Midtown South City Kitchen, the new location will serve dinner only, and possibly Sunday brunch. South City Kitchen, 1675 Cumberland Pkwy., One Ivy Walk, Vinings.

Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, benefactor of the Georgia Aquarium scheduled to open November 23, 2005, announced the culinary team that will direct guest dining experiences at the attraction, including ballroom special events, catering and guest restaurants. Wolfgang Puck headlines the team that includes Restaurant Associates and Atlanta restaurateur Pano Karatassos. Georgia Aquarium, Baker Street in Downtown Atlanta.

Zócalo, one of Atlanta's most popular Mexican restaurants, is about to open a third location at 464 Boulevard. Target for opening is mid-September.

Meehan’s Public House proved to be so popular in Vinings, Alpharetta and Brookhaven that the 101 Concepts group decided to open one in Sandy Springs. The opening is scheduled for early October. Offering a full menu of traditional Irish cuisine complemented by beer, wine and specialty drinks, the restaurant will be located at 227 Sandy Springs Pl., Ste. 416, Atlanta, www.101concepts.com.

Also coming up in early October from the same organization, 101 Concepts, a new location of Food 101 will replace long-closed Horizon in Virginia-Highland (1397 N. Highland Ave. NE). Family-friendly Food 101 serves classic American fare.

Chef Shaun Doty, former executive chef of MidCity Cuisine, is moving his toque to Table 1280, a new operation to be located within the Woodruff Arts Center in its Hospitality Pavilion. American bistro-inspired dishes and a tapas lounge, serving a variety of small plates, will be offered. The restaurant began taking reservations August 1 and is scheduled to open September 13. Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Rd., Midtown, 404-733-1280.

Sampan has opened at 1198 Howell Mill Rd., Ste. 18, on the West Side, raising the bar for Chinese cuisine. Black lacquer tables and dark woods create a rich environment for very fine Chinese fare. Five-spice braised beef is just one signature dish. For information, call 404-367-8333.

Departing after a long session at Canoe (4199 Paces Ferry Rd., 770-432-2663) for his own operation, Gary Mennie will open Taurus, a new American restaurant with a chophouse focus. Taking the name from his own Zodiac sign, Mennie looks forward to taking his career to the next level by having his own place. Lamb, pork, veal, duck and chicken entrées will include local favorites. Whole roasted duck with pumpkin purée and candied chestnuts is an example of the flavors to expect. Organic ingredients will have a major role. With its position on the top of the Selig Enterprises’ Brookwood Place, Taurus will have a commanding view of the Midtown and Downtown Atlanta skylines. The restaurant will serve lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Taurus, 1745 Peachtree St. NE (at 25th St.).

Former chef at Mumbo Jumbo and MidCity Cuisine (both now closed) and Table 1280, Shaun Doty celebrated year's end with the opening of his eponymous bistro, Shaun's. Located in the heart of historic Inman Park, the intimate 65-seat bistro features easy-to-enjoy food such as crab cakes, butternut squash ravioli and Painted Hills skirt steak. This space is special to Atlantans, as it once housed the beloved Deacon Burton's, whose fried chicken once fed society notables and common folk alike. The outdoor patio seats another 25. Shaun's, 1029 Edgewood Ave. NE, Inman Park, Atlanta, 404-577-4358.

Owner of Sotto Sotto and Fritti, Italian-born, Conyers, Georgia-reared Ricardo Ullio has been poking around Spain lately, eating tapas in all corners of the Iberian Peninsula. The result of his research will launch in the spring as Cuerno, meaning "horn." The plan, besides authentic tapas, calls for some Spanish meat main dishes as well. ¡A la obra! Cuerno, 905 Juniper St. NE, Midtown.

Bob Amick and Todd Rushing of Concentrics Restaurants opened TROIS, the company's newest addition to a line-up that includes ONE. midtown kitchen, TWO Urban Licks, The Lobby at TWELVE and piebar. A three tier restaurant-bar on the lowest level, then dining room, then private dining space on the upper level—TROIS is devoted to French cuisine. Executive chef Jeremy Lieb comes to TROIS from Le Cirque in Las Vegas. Desserts are the work of Jonathan St. Hilaire, who rotates among Concentrics' restaurants handling the sweet fare. Lunch may be enjoyed Mon.-Fri. in the main dining room on the mid-level or in the lower level bar area, where $5 sliders make a tasty and inexpensive lunch. Dinner is served nightly. Later, perhaps this spring, and in the same building, the pair will launch Tap, while partner Scott Serpas will launch a Cajun place called Parish in Midtown. TROIS, 1180 Peachtree St. NE at 14th St., Midtown, 404-815-3337.

Kevin Rathbun has closed on the purchase of space for his upcoming steakhouse operation, Kevin Rathbun Steaks (www.kevinrathbunsteak.com), located at 154 Krog St. NE, only a block north of his successful Rathbun's and Krog Bar in Inman Park. The 1890s-era brick structure has seen duty as everything from a cotton warehouse to Clorox's first manufacturing facility in the South. Atlanta's Bill Johnson Studios, an internationally renowned restaurant design firm, will handle its transformation into a comfortable steakhouse. With 145 seats in the main dining room, a full bar for dining, and an open kitchen, Kevin Rathbun Steaks will offer a beltline patio with large comfortable chairs wrapping into the patio dining area. Under the kudzu climbing one wall remain the graffiti left from the previous owners. The opening is scheduled for spring 2007. Rathbun's, 112 Krog St. NE, Ste. R, Inman Park, 404-524-8280, www.rathbunsrestaurant.com.

Five Seasons Brewing Company acquired a former location of the defunct Buckhead Brewery & Grill, later briefly Embers Grille, on Old Milton Parkway in Alpharetta in late 2006, and raised the quality of neighborhood dining in a single stroke. Five Seasons North, as the new spot is called, will enjoy the talents of chef-partner David Larkworthy in the kitchen, leaving longtime chef de cuisine Phillip Rainwater in the Sandy Springs toque spot. Some menu items are different, so it's not just a knock-off of the original. Crawford Moran, formerly with the now-gone Dogwood Brewing Company, will monitor suds production. Five Seasons North, 3655 Old Milton Pkwy., Alpharetta, 770-521-5551.

The Grape has opened in Inman Park. These Atlanta-based operations (now numbering six) combine the retail store concept with an adjoining wine bar that serves inventive tapas. The Grape at Inman Park, 300 N. Highland Ave. NE, Inman Park, Atlanta, 404-577-4662.

Coming to downtown, Fire of Brazil, with two locations in the Atlanta area, is building out its third in the former Planet Hollywood location.

Restaurant Expansions

Originally open in Vinings, The Grape has expanded to new locations in Phipps Plaza and The Forum in Norcross. Combining retail wine sales with wine bar and small plates fare, The Grape is designed to make wine selection easy. The two new locations are at Phipps Plaza, 3500 Peachtree Rd., Buckhead, 678-990-9463; and The Forum, 5145 Peachtree Pkwy., Ste. 470, Peachtree Corners, Norcross, 770-447-1605. The original The Grape is located at Vinings Jubilee Shopping Center, 4300 Paces Ferry Rd., Ste. 248, 770-803-9463.

Following success in Alpharetta, John Metz and team opened a second location of Marlow’s Tavern at 2355 Cumberland Pkwy., Ste. 101, Atlanta, 770-432-2526.

French Quarter, Too, an intimate Cajun-Creole restaurant, opened a new location in Alpharetta at 10595 Old Alabama Connector (Mansell Rd.), Mansell Point, 770-645-7810.

By the end of May, Eclipse di Luna will open a European café serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in the former location of Muse. Extensive renovation has gone into the effort. Playing to the distaff side of its name, it will be called Eclipse di Sol. Look for it at 640 N. Highland Ave. NE, Poncey Highland, Atlanta. For more information, call 404-724-0711.

Michael Arnette of Haven will open Mix, a name he chose to honor the great mix of people who come to Haven (1411 Dresden Dr. NE, Ste. 160, 404-969-0700). Food will be mostly Italian small plates, and the bar will be about three times the size of the bar at Haven. Arnette plans "great signature drinks," he says, and a broader wine list than at Haven with emphasis on Italian varieties. "A swanky, contemporary bar and lounge," says Arnette, describing his new venture, that will be "mixing food, mixing music, mixing art and mixing people." As a gallery, Mix will show a different artist's work each month. Mix is located in the same retail complex as its sister restaurant, Village Parkplace at Brookhaven, 1441 Dresden Dr., Ste. 100, 404-969-3250. Target date is late June for the opening.

Taking over a historic fire station in Midtown Atlanta, Derek Lawford Pubs will open The Spotted Dog toward the end of June. Near the corner of Peachtree Street and North Avenue, the pub will feature a meeting room with its own banquet kitchen upstairs and a traditional pub on the main floor. The food will be the same classic pub grub as at the company's other pubs: The Angel in Decatur (426 W. Ponce de Leon Ave.), The Prince of Wales in Midtown, Fox and Hounds in Collier Hills, Hand in Hand in Virginia-Highland, and Rose and Crown in Buckhead (now closed for renovation).


Roberto's World Tapas at the Medlock Crossing Shopping Center is slated to open in late summer. Chad Anderson will run the kitchen as executive chef; Spanish tapas will join Greek mezze and Italian cicchetti to create an innovative menu. The drinks selection will be similarly global in concept, and there will be a substantial list of wines by the glass. Roberto's World Tapas, 9700 Medlock Bridge Rd., Duluth, 770-662-4056.

Seasons 52, a restaurant devoted to healthy, seasonal food with no dish having more than 475 calories, will open September 5 at 90 Perimeter Center W., Dunwoody, Atlanta, 678-904-2393.

In College Park, Pecan offers what it calls "classical Southern fare," under the guidance of Tony Morrow, a cum laude graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta's culinary program. A caterer as well as a restaurateur, Morrow has focused on the best of Southern cuisine, including Tybee Island crab cakes, salmon croquettes, pepperjack grits, lobster beignets and oven-roasted buttermilk-pecan chicken. Pecan, 3725 Main St., College Park, 404-762-8444 (near College Park Marta Station).

In Athens, Farm 255 seeks to reconnect people and food. The owners also own Full Moon Farms, an organic operation located five miles away, which supplies fresh veggies for the restaurant. Other raw materials come from nearby and typically organic sources, such as Red Mule grits, Riverview Farm's grass-fed beef, Sweet Grass dairy cheeses and, of course, Georgia white shrimp. Farm 255, 255 Washington St., Athens, 706-549-4660.

Franco de Amicis and his wife, Karen, have opened Dolce Vita. He has owned restaurants in Italy and Florida and managed New York's Bice. De Amicis, the fourth cousin of Rudolph Valentino, moved to Atlanta from his position as food and beverage director for the Lake Blackshear Resort in South Georgia. Traditional and contemporary Italian fare is featured. Dolce Vita, 11706 Medlock Bridge Rd., Duluth, 770-814-7477.

Rafih Benjelloun and his wife Rita have owned the Imperial Fez (2285 Peachtree St., 404-351-0870) for seventeen years. Years ago, the pair attempted a downtown operation, but closed it after a brief run. Now they have what may well be a better idea. Revamping the space that was once the Fez's gift shop, the couple has opened Ibiza Restaurant & Lounge with a partner, Ismael Mansour. The Imperial Fez celebrates the Moroccan dining experience and cuisine, while Ibiza, as the name suggests, focuses on the cooking of Spain and the Mediterranean. Hot and cold tapas are offered ranging in price from $3 to $9. The alcohol selection includes sherry and other wines and drinks from Spain, Portugal and Brazil. Nightly entertainment will range from flamenco to salsa and/or musicians. Ibiza, 2285 Peachtree Rd. NE, 404-352-2081. Open daily 5 p.m.-7 p.m. for happy hour and from 5 p.m. for dinner.

Finally replacing one of the long-closed Buckhead Brewery & Grill locations—the Alpharetta location specifically—Gilles and Cynthia Maillet have restored brew pub suds to Alpharetta at Embers Grill, no relation to the Embers that once served as Sandy Springs' most popular fish restaurant. Gilles, who has trained in France and Switzerland, has extensive restaurant management experience. Julie Baggett, an alumna of the UC-Davis Brewing School, has been "tapped" as brewmaster. Chad Harrison, widely experienced as a chef and owner of a catering company in Tampa, Florida, dons the top toque as executive chef. An emphasis on native Georgia ingredients, such as grilled wild shrimp, will inform dishes on the lunch, dinner and bar menus. Lunch and dinner daily, with service to midnight every day. Embers Grill, 2655 Old Milton Pkwy., Alpharetta, 770-751-8880, www.embersgrill.com.

After closing his highly regarded Iris in East Atlanta Village, followed by a brief and somewhat vexing stint at MidCity Cuisine, Nicolas Bour resurfaces as executive chef of Ma Mer, slated to open later this year at 9700 Medlock Bridge Rd. in Duluth. Ma Mer will feature fresh seafood from around the world and include a fine retail market where patrons may purchase for take-home some of the products the kitchen uses in its dishes. Bour, a native of New Brunswick, Canada, has worked at a variety of stellar restaurants, including Savannah's Elizabeth on 37th and at The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead.

Fire of Brazil, with two locations in Atlanta, is soon to open a third, downtown, in the former Planet Hollywood location (218 Peachtree St. NW, at Peachtree and Andrew Young International Blvd.). More than a churrascaria, which it will be on the first level, this new operation adds Jalapeño Charlie's on the second level where tapas, salads, tortas, guacamole made tableside, queso fundido and ceviche will rule the menu. Main dishes also will be offered for more substantive dining. The main level will continue the churrascaria style of dining, complete with gaucho-garbed waiters and a selection of meats. Fire of Brazil also has a location in Palm Beach, Florida, and is going exotic with the opening of a location in Bahrain in November. www.fireofbrazil.com.

Metrotainment, which owns Joe's on Juniper, Einstein's and Cowtipper's, has opened Hudson Grille at 865 N. Main St., Alpharetta, 770-777-4127. Draft beers, martinis, plasma and wide-screen TVs and late-night dining with a casual American menu are the features. Open until 2 a.m. Monday-Saturday and until midnight Sunday.

Seasons 52 breaks out of its Florida mold to open two locations in Atlanta this year, one near Perimeter Mall in late summer and another shortly thereafter at Two Buckhead Plaza. The restaurants will unveil a new menu each season, while each week foods reaching the market at their peak of freshness will be introduced. All meals contain less than 475 calories. Executive chef Clifford Pleau, Seasons 52 director of culinary development, will supervise the team of chefs as they create each week's menu. With 140 wines, including 70 offered by the glass, the list will explore the globe. Both locations will open daily for dinner at 5 p.m. and lunch service will begin shortly after each opening. Reservations are accepted. The locations will be at 90 Perimeter Center W., 770-671-0052; and Two Buckhead Plaza at 3050 Peachtree Rd. NE, 404 846-1552. Both restaurants are entirely non-smoking.

Adding its third location, Maggiano's Little Italy will launch a branch in late 2006 in the new expansion section of Cumberland Mall on U.S. 41 at I-285.

Marlow's Tavern will open its third spot in a new Midtown condominium on W. Peachtree Street in the spring of 2007. Chef-partner John Metz of the new location in Plaza Midtown, a mixed-use project, reports they’re shooting for a mid- to end-of-March opening. The menu, says Metz, will be somewhat customized to appeal to the local market, while retaining the core dishes that are signature to Marlow's.

A second location is on the drawing boards for MF Sushi Bar (265 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, 404-815-8844), to open in the Terminus on Peachtree development in May 2007.

Figo Pasta is due to open a fourth location on Virginia Avenue, but no date has yet been determined.

TWO Urban Licks

Anticipating the opening of his latest Atlanta restaurant, Trois, Bob Amick, who also owns ONE. midtown kitchen and TWO Urban Licks, has appointed Jeremy Lieb executive chef. Scheduled to open in November, Trois will feature modern French cuisine. Serving as executive chef at Le Cirque in Las Vegas for three years, Lieb also held that post at Medici Café at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas. Lieb has worked in France under Bernard Loiseau in La Côte d'Or and in New York as chef de partie at Daniel. Trois, 1180 Peachtree St. NE, Midtown.

Buckhead Life Restaurant Group plans a version of its Chops/Lobster Bar for Boca Raton, Florida. The new location—inspired by the Buckhead edition—is slated to open December 2006. Blending the steakhouse concept with the lobster bar, the new restaurant is located at the corner of Plaza Real S. and SE First Street, Boca Raton. For more information, visit www.chopslobsterbar.com.

A twist on barbecue has arrived in Atlanta in the form of Waikikie Hawaiian BBQ, 2160 Briarcliff Rd., Atlanta, 404-638-1115.

Atkins Park is due to open a location at S. Vickery Street in Cumming, at Vickery Village, a new mixed-use complex off Post Road. Some differences will appear on this menu, along with signature dishes; J. J. McFarland will head up the culinary team. Opening is scheduled for late September. Another location in Brookhaven is on the drawing boards for next year.

JCT Kitchen & Bar is slated to open in early January 2007, fielding the talents of two former associates at now-defunct eatZi's. William "Ford" Fry, former eatZi's corporate chef, and Ray Camillo, former general manager, left the foundering firm early in 2006. Replacing Sampan in the back space of the old Star Provisions building, the pair will specialize in what they call "Southern Farmstead Cooking." Taking a page from "farmstead" cheese-making, the duo plans to rely on local growers and the farmers who supplied some of what they sold at eatZi's. They'll make their own mayonnaise and torn-bread croutons flash-crisped in a very hot oven. They'll do their own brioche. Upstairs, a bar with an independent small kitchen and a stellar view of the city skyline, will dish up small plates. In summer, there will be movies shown on the terrace gratis. What a concept! JCT Kitchen & Bar, 1198 Howell Mill Rd., Atlanta, 404-355-2252, www.jctkitchen.com.

Atlanta-based Ted's Montana Grill, a collaboration of media maverick Ted Turner and Texas Longhorn's George Kerrow, continues to grow. Despite closing its Newnan and Fayetteville locations, Ted's will gain a net of one new spot in the Atlanta area in 2007. Having already opened a location in East Cobb on Johnson Ferry Road, Ted's now will add a location at Cumberland Mall in January and one in Decatur in February 2007, bringing its total in the Atlanta area to eleven. Ted's Montana Grills are located in numerous other states as well, mostly east of the Mississippi River. Ted's Montana Grill, The Turner Bldg., 133 Luckie St. NW, Downtown, Atlanta, 404-521-9796, http://www.tedsmontanagrill.com/.

Figo Pasta opened an additional location in 2006 in the new Edgewood development off Moreland Avenue and will launch another in Virginia Highland in 2007. The casual, self-service pasta joints offer freshly made pastas with a choice of sauces, house-based breads and desserts. While the original is almost too small to allow seating, the Decatur location took the little operation off in a new direction, and Edgewood continues that trend.

SAGA, representing the flavors of both South Africa and Georgia, opened in late October 2006 with executive chef Drew Van Leuvan, most recently at Spice and Woodfire Grill, at the helm. SAGA, 1100 Crescent Ave. NE, Midtown, 404-872-0999.


Purchasing Seeger's, Atlanta restaurateur Tom Catherall will rename the restaurant Posh. Plans call for a January 17 opening. Catherall's Here to Serve Restaurants includes Prime, Strip, Noche, Twist and Shout. “I took one look in that Rolls Royce of kitchens and couldn’t wait to start cooking again,” Catherall announced exuberantly. He is also working on an Italian concept, to be called Lola. Posh, 111 W. Paces Ferry Rd. NE, Buckhead, 404-869-0777, www.heretoserverestaurants.com.

Chef Shuffle

Chef Joël Antunes will leave his eponymous restaurant Joël this summer and take up a new assignment in New York City at Oak Room in The Plaza hotel, which has now completed its long-awaited renovation and retains about half the space as a hotel with the remaining space being residences. Joël the restaurant will remain open after his departure, leaving as top toque chef Cyrille Holata. Joël, The Piazza at Paces, 3290 Northside Pkwy. NW, Atlanta, 404-233-3500.

Chef Todd Paige has left Blackstone for Black Creek, in Suwanee, one of Atlanta's suburban areas. The new restaurant features an American menu: pan-roasted grouper over lentil ragoût and grilled Atlantic salmon over fennel ratatouille. Black Creek, 4090 Johns Creek Pkwy., Ste. J, Suwanee, 678-475-9557.

At di Paolo, one of the most successful Italian restaurants in the 'burbs, the chef shuffled to the front of the house while keeping his toque firmly in place. Purchasing the restaurant from its founder, Darin Hiebel remains ensconced in the kitchen while his fiancée, Susan Tucker, runs the front of the house. Patrons should notice few differences in the menu, but we bet the passion factor kicks up a notch. Just so nobody keeps him from doing the lovely free-form duck ravioli, one of the city's best dishes. di Paolo, Rivermont Square Shopping Center, 8560 Holcomb Bridge Rd., Alpharetta, 770-587-1051.

Beleza's founding executive chef Michelle McKenzie has departed to pursue more study of nutrition. Replacing her is former sous chef Ken Bouche, who also handles duties at adjacent Cuerno. Beleza, 905 Juniper St. NE, Midtown, 678-904-4582.

Eno has announced the hiring of its new executive chef, Jerome Grilhot, formerly of Au Pied de Cochon in the InterContinental Buckhead. Grilhot joins the restaurant as it prepares to celebrate its eighth anniversary. Eno, 800 Peachtree St. NE, Cornerstone Village, Midtown, Atlanta, 404-685-3191.

Longtime pastry chef at Park 75 Restaurant and the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, David Jeffries has accepted a position as corporate pastry chef for Fifth Group, which owns and operates several of Atlanta's most popular restaurants, including South City Kitchen and The Food Studio.

Following the departure of Jay Swift, Rainwater announces the appointment of Boyd A. Rose as executive chef. A Johnson & Wales alum, Rose worked in a wide variety of establishments, but most notably with Robert Carter at Peninsula Grill in Charleston, South Carolina. At Rainwater, he adds a touch of Southern flair to the popular American regional dishes, as he seeks to focus and simplify this sometimes all-over-the-block menu. Rainwater, 11655 Haynes Bridge Rd., Alpharetta, 770-777-0033.

After a brief sojourn, during which Eno's food excelled in quality, executive chef Dusty Cooper has moved on to other assignments, leaving owner Doug Strickland looking for a replacement. The bar has been raised, however, so the heir to this duty will need to be at the top of his or her game. While he waits to open his own restaurant in the spring, Jay Swift, formerly of Rainwater, is consulting. Eno, 800 Peachtree St., Atlanta, 404-685-3191.

Jay Swift, whose previous posts have included South City Kitchen in Midtown and Smokejack, a barbecue and blues spot in Alpharetta, left the helm at Rainwater in the hands of Boyd Rose, who comes to Atlanta from Charleston, South Carolina. Until he opens his own restaurant in spring 2008, Swift is consulting with Eno in the absence of an executive chef there. Rainwater, 11655 Haynes Bridge Rd., Alpharetta, 770-777-0033.

At The Feed Store in College Park, Peter Golaszewski has taken over the top toque position; he comes from The Epicurean in Decatur. A Detroit native, Golaszewski has taken the time to understand Southern food, and used it in restructuring this southside restaurant's menu. The sweet iced tea float is a blend of sweet iced tea and lemon sorbet. Best summer treat we've seen in a long time. The Feed Store, 3841 Main St., College Park, 404-209-7979.

At POSH, chef Ian Winslade has rotated out of Tom Catherall's high-end restaurant and gone on to Shout, whence he came in the first place. Chef Mel Toledo, who worked with Winslade through the opening months at POSH, now heads the kitchen. POSH, 111 W. Paces Ferry Rd. NW, Atlanta, 404-869 0777; Shout, 1197 Peachtree Rd. NW, Ste. 526, Atlanta, 404-846-2000.

Following Thomas McEachern's departure from Horseradish Grill for greener waters at renovated and re-opened Ray's on the River Seafood House, Horseradish Grill owner Steve Alterman named Manuel Vasquez executive chef. From Ft. Worth, Texas, Vasquez had cooked at Horseradish ten years ago while attending school at the Culinary Institute of Atlanta, but came back to Horseradish from Georgia Grille. Most familiar with Southwestern cuisine, he learned his taste for Southern food from former Horseradish executive chef Dave Berry. Horseradish Grill, 4320 Powers Ferry Rd. NW, Atlanta, 404-255-7277.

Sala Sabor de México had lured executive chef Jeff Smedstad away from his home base in the American Southwest. But the pastures here must have been too green for Smedstad, who soon packed his toque and headed back across the Big Muddy, leaving Fifth Group advertising for a new executive chef to command the newly renovated restaurant. Sala Sabor de México, 1186 N. Highland Ave. NE, Virginia-Highland, 404-872-7203.

Following the closing of SAGA, chef Drew Van Leuvan joined Concentrics and will handle general duties among its various restaurants until taking over one of the company's many upcoming projects. Owning and-or managing many fine Atlanta restaurants, Concentrics has just opened TAP, a gastropub, and Van Leuvan will work there and at other Concentrics restaurants until he's assigned a new spot. TAP, 1180 Peachtree St. NE, at 14th St., Atlanta, 404-347-2220.

Is he back? Guenter Seeger, who sold his eponymous restaurant, which became Tom Catherall's new venture POSH, was rumored to have taken off for New York City following the sale. Now he's re-rumored to be back in Atlanta, and is said to be looking for a new restaurant opportunity. Stay tuned.

Tom McEachern, formerly at Horseradish Grill, will take over the top toque slot at the newly renovated Ray's on the River Seafood House when it re-opens sometime in June. Ray's on the River, 6700 Powers Ferry Rd., Marietta, 770-955-1187.

After leaving Atlanta's Château Elan spa for Ritz-Carlton duty elsewhere in the country, Paris-born Yves Samake has returned to The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta, where he serves as executive chef for the hotel. That's a big job, but then Samake has cooked for the president of France. Although his duties have him overseeing the entire dining scene at the downtown hotel, Samake has made time for devising special ethnic menus for the Atlanta Grill, the restaurant's fine dining room. Atlanta Grill, The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta (downtown), 181 Peachtree St. NE, 404-659-0400.

ONE. midtown kitchen Restaurant

ONE. midtown kitchen announced the appointment of Tom Harvey as executive chef. Harvey left his post at Nava to take over the kitchen at ONE. Nava, meanwhile, is being captained by San Antonio, Tex., chef Jesse Peres, who joined the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group just after Thanksgiving. ONE. midtown kitchen, 559 Dutch Valley Rd. NE, Midtown, Atlanta, 404-892-4111, www.concentricsrestaurants.com.


After much fuss and fanfare attended his arrival on Atlanta’s dining scene as executive chef at Spice—how many does that make now?—TV cooking star (Turner’s Home Plate) Marvin Woods has departed Spice, and rumor has it that the restaurant may soon be sold to a high-profile performance artist. Spice, 793 Juniper St. NE, Midtown, 404-875-4242.

Fifth Group has a new chef for Sala Sabor de México. Jeff Smedstad, former chef-owner of Los Sombreros in Phoenix, Ariz. Recognized for his authentic approach to Mexican cooking, Smedstad has fifteen years of travel to Mexico in his experience portfolio. His cooking style is simple, and relies on fresh ingredients. At Sala, Smedstad will prepare rustic Mexican dishes in a contemporary style. Fifth Group is planning a wide range of restaurant renovations, to be revealed in March, as a way of upgrading the theater for Smedstad's cooking. Sala Sabor de México, 1186 N. Highland Ave. NE, Virginia-Highland, 404-872-7203.

After just a few weeks at Sweet Lowdown, executive chef Carmen Cappello left for other projects. Former chef de cuisine Paul Wooten has been named executive chef. Sweet Lowdown, 942 Peachtree St. NE, Midtown, Atlanta, 404-207-1324.

Going from Pricci to Pampas, Marc Sublette now has joined forces with Thomas Taylor (also formerly at Pampas) to change Napa Valley Market & Trattoria into Trattoria 141

Carmen A. Cappello is departing as executive chef of tapas bar MIX, to be replaced, at least for the time being, by Matthew Swickerath. MIX, 1441 Dresden Dr. NE, Ste. 100 (Village Parkplace), Brookhaven, Atlanta, 404-969-3250.

Shaun Doty has left Table 1280 after getting it on solid footing, and plans to open his own restaurant. Table 1280's New York-based owner, Restaurant Associates, is now searching for a new executive chef for the restaurant, and Doty continues to help from time to time while the search is being conducted. Meanwhile, Doty is taking over the space formerly occupied by The Inman Park Patio, and prior to that home to Deacon Burton's (1029 Edgewood Ave., Inman Park). He envisions a casual, comfortable neighborhood space with a smart wine list.

After a brief stay, Nicolas Bour, formerly of now-closed Iris, has departed MidCity Cuisine and has been replaced by Rob Phalen, who was one of the original staffers under founding chef Shaun Doty. MidCity Cuisine, 1545 Peachtree St. NE, Brookwood, Atlanta, 404-888-8700.

Returning to the Atlanta area where he worked as spa chef at Chàteau Elan north of the city, Yves Samake has been named executive chef of The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta. He returns to Atlanta from his most recent position as executive sous chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay in Northern California. His strong training in French cooking and his talent for bringing innovation to regional specialties should refresh the food and beverage operations for the 444-room hotel. The hotel's main dining room is Atlanta Grill, principally known as a steak restaurant. The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta, 181 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, 404-659-0400.

City Grill has a new executive chef, Brent Highsmith. A native of St. Simons Island, Ga., he previously worked as a line cook and kitchen manager at Blanche's Courtyard. In 2003, he joined the staff at City Grill as a line cook and was promoted to sous chef the following year. City Grill, 50 Hurt Plz., Downtown, Atlanta, 404-524-2489.

Taking over at South City Kitchen’s Midtown location for executive chef Timothy Magee is Dean DuPuis, who has served as chef de cuisine at La Coquille Restaurant in Hamilton, Bermuda. South City Kitchen, 1144 Crescent Ave. NE, Midtown, Atlanta, 404-873-7358.

MidCity Cuisine has introduced two new chefs: executive chef Nicolas Bour joined after closing his restaurant, Iris, in East Atlanta Village. Joining him is pastry chef Nicholas Crawford. MidCity Cuisine, 1545 Peachtree St., Midtown, Atlanta, 404-888-8700.

Alex Friedman, former sous chef at Pastis, has taken over as executive chef of Pastis' sister restaurant, Anis Café & Bistro in Buckhead. Friedman's new menu maintains tradition, taking its inspiration from Provençal and Mediterranean cuisines. Besides full dinners, Anis also offers tapas. Anis Café & Bistro, 2974 Grandview Ave. NE, Buckhead, 404-233-9889.

Pastis, meanwhile, transitioned to a new chef, Ofer Ayal, who came to Pastis from Pricci. No changes have yet been made to the menu, but by September, he expects to have a new menu ready for the fall. Pastis, 936 Canton St., Roswell, 770-640-3870.

La Tavola Trattoria has introduced a new chef, Craig Richards, who in turn has instituted a few changes on this popular menu. While the restaurant continues with the same basic menu, salmon now is grilled and served with braised cranberry greens, broccoli rabe and an herbed mustard vinaigrette, and veal piccata was swapped out for veal Marsala, among other changes. La Tavola Trattoria, 992 Virginia Ave. NE, Virginia-Highland, 404-873-5430.

Charles Schwab resigned from Grace 1720 effective April 16, and co-owner Barbara DiJames will take over his duties in the kitchen. Grace 1720, The Forum, 5155 Peachtree Pkwy., Ste. 320, Peachtree Corners, Norcross, 678-421-1720.

Philippe Haddad has departed his eponymous Philippe's bistro, and now may be found Thursdays and Fridays cooking his famous mussels at Madison Grill, Pershing Pointe, 1375 Peachtree St. (17th St.), in the Earthlink Bldg., Midtown, 404-475-1188.

Meanwhile, Philippe's now is in the hands of Saul Montezuma, who plans to continue the traditional French fare Philippe had established, including the mussels and the occasional Belgian dish, but will add some Spanish dishes because of his own Hispanic heritage. (He's from Mexico). Philippe's Bistro, 10 Kings Cir. (Peachtree Hills Ave.), Peachtree Hills, 404-231-4113.

At Eno, a casual Mediterranean-Italian restaurant in Midtown, owner Doug Strickland has appointed Milton “M. G.” Farris as the new executive chef. Among his experience is a stint at Jo Jo with esteemed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and in Atlanta as chef de cuisine at Pano’s & Paul’s. Becoming the chef, owner and operator of MG’s, Market 102 and Food 102 in Florida, Farris decided to return to the kitchen where he could pursue his passion for cooking. He came to Eno in 2005 and brought his cutting edge contemporary cuisine to this restaurant and wine bar. For more information call 404-685-3191. Eno, 800 Peachtree St. (Fifth Street).

Earlier this year, Johannes Klapdohr left Nikolai's Roof (pictured) for the Georgia coast, where he's to be found at the Lodge at Sea Island. In February, sous chef Olivier De Busschere was named to the top toque position as chef de cuisine. A native of Antwerp, Belgium, De Busschere has worked at Nikolai's Roof since 2000. Expect a few touches of his native Belgian cuisine on future menus. For reservations call 404-221-6362. Nikolai's Roof, Hilton Atlanta, 30th Fl., 255 Courtland St. NE.

Also recently departed from his post is Joey Masi, executive chef at ONE. midtown kitchen (559 Dutch Valley Rd., Midtown, 404-892-4111). His replacement will be Richard Blais, moving over from a sous chef position at TWO Urban Licks, ONE.'s sister restaurant. Blais has studied with the vaunted Ferran Adrià, from El Bulli near Gerona, Spain, and has cooked at Blais, Fishbone and Bazzaar (654 Peachtree St., 404-885-7505), before joining TWO Urban Licks (820 Ralph McGill Blvd. NE, 404-522-4622).

And, perhaps the most shocking of all, Bruno Ménard will depart The Dining Room, pictured, at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead in June to return to Japan. Ménard will become executive chef at a fine upscale restaurant in Tokyo, he tells us. No one has yet been chosen to replace him, but if you want a last taste of his cuisine, now's the time to savor it before he fades over the horizon. Doesn't he know how far it is from Tokyo to Nashville? (This Frenchman is a country music enthusiast.) The Dining Room, The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, 3434 Peachtree Rd. NE, Buckhead, 404-237-2700.

Richard Blais has left ONE. midtown kitchen (559 Dutch Valley Rd. NE, Midtown, 404-892-4111), and Atlanta, for greener pastures at Barton G in Miami, Florida. The restaurant is recruiting nationally for a replacement and hopes to announce a new one in a few weeks.

Drew Van Leuvan barely got a new menu implemented at Spice (793 Juniper St. NE, Midtown, 404-875-4242) when his replacement was announced in the form of Marvin Woods, the charismatic young chef of Turner South's Home Plate. Meanwhile, Van Leuven has taken on the role of pastry chef at Michael Tuohy's Woodfire Grill, located at 1782 Cheshire Bridge Rd., Atlanta, 404-347-9055.

Following Shaun Doty’s departure to open his new eponymous establishment, chef Todd Immel will become executive chef at Table 1280 at the newly expanded Woodruff Arts Center. Immel developed his reputation under Guenter Seeger at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead; he made his own name at sorely missed Oscar's in College Park. He returns to Atlanta from an executive chef position at Luma on the Park in Orlando, Florida. Table 1280, 1288 Peachtree St. NE, 404-897-1280.

Pampas has lost Marc Sublette, who departed to a new venture, leaving his associate, Luis Ramírez, as executive chef. Ramírez had managed the day-to-day operation of the kitchen under Sublette, so he has kept the menu on course since taking over the top spot. Pampas, 10970 State Bridge Rd., Carlyle Commons, Alpharetta, 678-339-0029.

Palate, a wine bar and art gallery in Decatur's Oakhurst-Eastlake neighborhood, has acquired the services of an executive chef, Francina Sanders, and has expanded the menu to allow complete dinner service, rather than the previous desserts and small plates selection. The popular wine bar-cum-art gallery is located at 321 W. Hill St., Ste. 7B in The Seen Art Gallery, Oakhurst, Decatur, 404-373-4702.

Carmen Cappello departed MIX, leaving all in the capable hands of former sous chef Matt Swickerath. Cappello meanwhile spices up the airwaves on his radio spot at Radio Sandy Springs every Thursday at 11 a.m. Specializing in finely crafted small plates, most of which cost under $13, MIX is located at 1441 Dresden Dr., Ste. 100, Village Parkplace Brookhaven, Brookhaven, 404-969-3250.

Leaving piebar just after Thanksgiving, Melissa Fedorko has turned up over at Feast Restaurant in Decatur. She's now busy changing the menus. Feast serves lunch and dinner, with a focus on simply prepared Euro-influenced American fare. Feast Restaurant, 314 E. Howard Ave., 404-377-2000, www.feastatlanta.com.

Since opening Posh, restaurateur Tom Catherall has named Ian Winslade, formerly executive chef at Catherall's dynamic Shout, executive chef at Posh, located in the former Seeger's temple d'haute cuisine. Posh, 111 W. Paces Ferry Rd. NE, Buckhead, 404-869-0777, www.heretoserverestaurants.com.

Replacing Ian Winslade at Shout is Australia-born Shayne Vaughn, longtime sous chef at Shout, who will move easily into the top toque spot. Shout, 1197 Peachtree St., NE, Colony Square, 404-846-2000.

Paul Wooten has left his post as executive chef at Vinocity Wine Bar & Restaurant in Midtown to become chef de cuisine at the newly opened Sweet Lowdown. Matt Ahlberg has taken over the position at Vinocity. Vinocity Wine Bar & Restaurant, 36 13th St. NE, Atlanta, 404-870-8886.

Nothing beats the chef shuffle that took place recently at Taka Sushi Café, an inventive sushi spot in Buckhead. Chef-owner Taka Moriuchi opened his sushi café in 2002 and late last year had a squabble with a partner that, temporarily, caused him to vacate his post and the restaurant. But that didn't last long. Soon he was able to reassert his authority, and took the restaurant back over. Changing the name simply to Taka, he's back in the toque. Taka, Pharr Plaza, 375 Pharr Rd., Ste. 600, Buckhead, Atlanta, 404-869-2802.

News Bytes

A Moon for Mall-Goers
Crescent Moon has opened one of its breakfast, lunch and dinner spots in Mall of Georgia. Steve Vastakis and John Kastanos bought the Northlake and Decatur locations in 2007, and opened their own new Crescent Moon in 2008. Their Greek heritage explains the addition of home-style Greek dishes to the Mall of Georgia Crescent Moon menu. Crescent Moon, Mall of Georgia, 3333 Buford Dr., 770-831-5317.

Pig-n-Chik News
Founded in 2002, Pig-n-Chik, by Jim Graddy and Bill Marrack, now has its first franchisee, due to open in Alpharetta in the next few months. Pig-n-Chik, 3050 Windward Pkwy., Alpharetta, 770-346-7705.

End the Week Right
JCT Kitchen & Bar has started Sunday Suppers, served from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Executive chef Ford Fry has long been eager to start serving gourmet "meat and three" dinners, and here they are. The menu includes five fancy meats and nine home-style vegetables for the table to choose from. Also included are JCT's black-skillet cornbread, warm biscuits and "farm stand" salad, plus whatever pie or cake Fry has decided to make for the moment. Start your Sunday at 2 p.m. on the terrace with live music, drink specials from Bloody Mary's to hand-squeezed margaritas and sangría, cold-water oysters and Champagne or sparkling wine, then segue right into supper at 5 p.m. JCT Kitchen & Bar, Westside Urban Market, 1198 Howell Mill Rd. NW, Ste. 18, West Side, Atlanta, 404-355-2252.

Bigger Digs for BBQ
KC Pit BBQ will move from its current location on Hilderbrand Road to larger digs at 6317 Roswell Rd. NE sometime around the end of April to mid-May 2008. Meanwhile, it continues to dish out its splendid Kansas City-style 'cue at its original spot. KC Pit BBQ, 234 Hilderbrand Rd. NE, 404-459-6497.

Donnie’s Relocates
Donnie's Country Cookin' at 2922 Clairmont Rd. NE has closed and will move by the end of the month. If all goes well on the renovations to the new location, it will relocate just a few yards down the road in the Skye Hill Shopping Center at the corner of Clairmont Rd. and Buford Hwy. Donnie's Country Cookin', 3300 Clairmont Rd., 404-639-5566.

New Location for India Chef
India Chef has moved to a new location on Holcomb Bridge Rd., just around the corner from its original Alpharetta Hwy. location. The new spot gives the restaurant much more street visibility, and promises more menu items, a full bar service and a better wine list. The daily lunch buffet now is on Sat. only. India Chef, 720 Holcomb Bridge Rd., Roswell, 770-817-0661.

Name Change in Poncey-Highland
Eclipse di Sol has been sold to Mike Burdick, also owner of Mosaic. Burdick has changed the name to Café di Sol, but otherwise says nothing has changed. Café di Sol, 640 N. Highland Ave. NE, Atlanta, 404-724-0711.

Celiac Dinners at Shaun’s
More and more people require a special diet due to celiac disease, so chef Shaun Doty of Shaun's has created a special menu all diners can enjoy. Due to the success of Shaun’s first Celiac Dinner, the restaurant has decided to host one the second Sunday of every month. The dinner will feature a prix-fixe, gluten- and wheat-free menu catering to those who suffer from Celiac disease. The regular menu will also be available on those nights. The first course will be Hawaiian # 1 crudo with flaxseed flatbread and spicy coconut noodles with a Green’s Tripel Ale beer pairing. The second course will be butternut squash soup with toasted pumpkin seed oil and creamed honey with a Green’s Amber Ale beer pairing. The third course will be grilled sirloin steak with chickpea fries and arugula salad with a Green’s Dubbel Ale beer pairing. The fourth and final course will be chocolate pudding with an assortment of gluten-free biscotti and macaroons with a pairing of I Quaranta Brachetto d’Asti. The menu is $45 and $65 with the beer pairings, per person, plus tax and gratuity. Shaun's, 1029 Edgewood Ave. NE, Inman Park, Atlanta, 404-577-4358.

New Location for Loca Luna
Pressured by continuing redevelopment in Midtown, Loca Luna has moved to Virginia Highland/Morningside. The tapas restaurant and music venue celebrated its relocation with a grand opening. Loca Luna, 550-C Amsterdam Ave. NE, Atlanta, 404-875-4494, www.loca-luna.com.

Shaun’s Introduces a Special Menu
More and more people require a special diet due to celiac disease, so chef Shaun Doty of Shaun's is creating a special menu all diners can enjoy. The regular dinner menu will be available in addition to the prix-fixe menu, a gluten-free and wheat-free menu paired with beers. The prix-fixe menu is priced at $45 and, with beer pairings, $65. The first course will be heirloom lentil soup with homemade wild boar sausage and a Green's Gluten-Free Amber Ale. The second course features Atlantic cod in rice paper with basil, seaweed and ginger with a Green's Gluten-Free Tripel Ale. The third course will be Coleman beef tenderloin with short rib marmalade and endive with a Green's Gluten-Free Dubbel Ale. The fourth and final course will be a creamsicle with orange, Campari and Prosecco paired with a hot tea cocktail. Shaun's, 1029 Edgewood Ave., NE, Inman Park, Atlanta, 404-577-4358.

Pura Vida Does Lunch
Pura Vida, known for its Puerto Rican take on tapas, is now offering lunch service for Sat.-Sun. Inventive takes on classic dishes is the stock in trade of owner-chef Hector Santiago, who can turn out a wicked good paella for 50 as easily as some people make sandwiches. Pura Vida, 656 N. Highland Ave. NE, Atlanta, 404-870-9797.

New Menu at Agave
Agave rolled out its new menu on October 30, for the fall and winter season. Highlights include a house-smoked Idaho trout salad; cayenne fried calamari; a soup of roasted white beans, serrano pepper and rosemary; and a slow-cooked pork shank with braised collards. Agave, 242 Boulevard, Cabbagetown, 404-588-0006.

Sala Sabor Sold
Sala Sabor de México and its neighbor, Vine, were both purchased by John Pulaski, formerly in engineering construction with several Fortune 500 companies. In that capacity, he became familiar with many restaurants and fell in love with the business. Sous chef Dennis Davis has moved up to executive chef position at Sala Sabor de México, while Vine is in the hands of longtime Atlanta chef Scott Donnelly. Sala Sabor de México, 1186 N. Highland Ave. NE, Atlanta, 404-872-7203; Vine, 1190 N. Highland Ave. NE, Atlanta, 404-892-2393.

Tierra’s End of Year Schedule
Tierra plans to be closed on December 8 for a private function. The restaurant also will close between Christmas and January 1, reopening January 2, 2008. Tierra, 1425-B Piemont Ave., Atlanta, 404-874-5951.

Joël’s Makeover
Joël Antunes' eponymous restaurant Joël received a total makeover, yielding a bi-cameral operation that has about 80 seats for a bistro-style establishment, while the remaining 100 seats showcase fine dining. Atlanta's The Johnson Studio was in charge of the redesign. Joël, The Piazza at Paces, 3290 Northside Pkwy. NW, Buckhead, Atlanta, 404-233-3500.

Seeger Sightings
"Seeger Sightings" seem to be a new game in town, as everyone tries to figure out what vaunted chef Guenter Seeger will do next. He was spotted coming out of one of the under-construction W hotels, but we hear another outfit was chosen for that location. Will we find him at one of the other W hotels now being built in Atlanta? Only time will tell.

New Lunch Options
Antica Posta announces that it will now open for lunch on Saturday, from 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m., making it a logical place at which to conclude a shopping morning at Buckhead's nearby emporia. Antica Posta, 519 E. Paces Ferry Rd. NE, Atlanta, 404-262-7112. Also, Enoteca Carbonari announces that it will now serve lunch and dinner daily. Enoteca Carbonari, 710 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, 404-810-9110.

All’s the Same at Ali
Leaving everyone wondering what's next for her, Ophelia Santos sold her last restaurant, Ali-Oli, to Andreas Papandreou. Some changes may be in the offing, but for the moment, all stays as it has been, with pastas and simple grilled dishes as hallmarks. Papandreou hopes to re-start the restaurant's to-go business. Ali-Oli, Lenox Marketplace, 3535 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta, 404-266-0414.

Sala Sabor Sold
Sala Sabor de México has been sold by Fifth Group, its founding owner, and has remained open throughout the ownership transition. No major changes are anticipated in the food or service staff. And the restaurant will continue to be an outpost of authentic fine dining Mexican cuisine in Atlanta. Sala Sabor de México, 1186 N. Highland Ave., NE, Virginia Highland, 404-872-7203.

Warm Weather Dining
Latin-themed Tierra has launched its spring menu with such dishes as roasted sweet onion salad and moqueca de camarao (shrimp in a Bahian sauce of tomatoes, peppers, onions and coconut milk) returning to the line-up. Churrasco típico salvadoreño (beef tenderloin with refried red beans and salsa) and mango tart are spring-summer items. Tierra, 1425-B Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta, 404-874-5951.

Joël Update
After trying to pin down exactly how to proceed with a major update, Joël will close temporarily from August 1, 2007 to September 5, 2007, for renovations. Chef Joël Antunes plans to be back in action this fall re-opening the restaurant as a casual chic, very French bistro serving French Provençale cuisine as well as French-focused cocktails. Of course, the re-concepted restaurant will retain its extensive wine list and inviting bar. Joël, The Plaza at Paces, 3290 Northside Dr. NW, Atlanta, 404-233-3500.

Changes for Joël
Joël Antunes' eponymous restaurant is about to undergo a major renovation and remodel. The bar is to become Bistro JoJo, which will focus on French farmhouse fare serving imported beers and wines with lots of small plates and reasonable price points. The restaurant will close from mid-June to mid-September, except for the private dining rooms and catering. There will be a bar at the end of the day, but not in the same space, and it will have a casual, comfortable feel. Joël the restaurant will be reduced in size, and more private dining rooms will be crafted from the space. Joël will become a 40-seat (or fewer) intimate, very exclusive "extreme French" fine dining establishment with very high prices. Joël, Piazza at Paces, 3290 Northside Pkwy. NW, Buckhead, Atlanta, 404-233-3500.

Singing a New Tune
Joël Antunes' eponymous restaurant will get a total makeover, yielding a bi-camera operation that will have about 80 seats for a bistro-style establishment, while the remaining 100 seats will showcase fine dining. Atlanta's The Johnson Studio is in charge of the redesign. Completion is targeted for late summer 2007. Joël, The Piazza at Paces, 3290 Northside Pkwy. NW, Buckhead, Atlanta, 404-233-3500.

Boosting the Banquet
Concepts 101, part of the group that also owns both Food 101 locations, SoHo and the two remaining Meehan’s locations, has opened a new events facility in a classical Revival-style mansion, Belle Manor, in Sandy Springs. The 5,000-square-foot facility can seat 100 guests. The plan is to respect budgets while offering a full-service caterer featuring restaurant-quality food in a banquet-style setting. Belle Manor, 5229 Roswell Rd., Sandy Springs, 404-250-9970.

Trans Fats Finished
Following a national trend, but not waiting for legislative action to do it, Fifth Group announced a complete elimination of all trans fats from cooking at its restaurants. Fifth Group's restaurants include ECCO, South City Kitchen (Midtown and Vinings), Food Studio, La Tavola Trattoria and Sala Sabor de México.

The Lobby at TWELVE

Space in The Cellar
The Lobby at TWELVE has developed a private dining space, The Cellar, with capacity for 40 seated and 70 for a stand-up cocktail event. The Lobby at TWELVE, TWELVE Hotel & Residence tower in Atlantic Station, 361 17th St. NW, at Spring St., Midtown, 404-961-7370.

Sala Gets Spiffy
Sala Sabor de México closed briefly (March 18-19) to begin a complete makeover of the interior design. The restaurant is open and operating, although the project is not yet completed. By mid-April, all should be returned to normal. Newly installed executive chef Jeff Smedstad will have a new theater for his performances. Sala Sabor de México, 1186 N. Highland Ave. NE, Virginia-Highland, 404-872-7203.

Big Eats in the Big Peach
From July 24-30, downtown Atlanta will play host to Restaurant Week, an all out feast-a-thon where you can dine on proper three-course meals at more than 25 of the area's finest restaurants for the subsidized price of just $26. Downtown is currently undergoing a massive revitalization project, and to promote its rising food service industry, restaurants ranging from bistros and steakhouses to cafés and exotic foreign eateries have agreed to demonstrate Atlanta’s gastronomic savvy. Crab lasagna or glazed quail anyone? There is no pass to buy. Just call the participating restaurant of your choice and make a reservation. Some spots even have a two for one deal, where two people can feast for the same $26 price. For more information call 404-658-1877 or visit www.atlantadowntown.com.

Dailey’s Redo
Dailey's Restaurant & Bar celebrated its 25th anniversary in May with a renovation project that updated the restaurant's look while retaining its “old-world” appeal. Owner Karen Bremer (who also owns City Grill) has a long history in Atlanta's restaurant scene, having been a corporate official with Dailey's and City Grill's founding Peasant Corporation. Dailey's Restaurant & Bar, 17 International Blvd., 404-681-3303, www.daileysrestaurant.com.

Time Off for Tierra
Tierra will close for vacation July 1 to July 11. Owners Ticha and Dan Kinsky will take off for Panama this year to explore new culinary ideas. Tierra, 1425 Piedmont Ave. NE, Ansley Park, Atlanta, 404-874-5951, www.tierrarestaurant.com.

Staff Switches
Woodfire Grill has changed some staff members, adding new general manager Seth Roskind and wine manager Matt Olson. Woodfire Grill, 1782 Cheshire Bridge Rd. NE, Atlanta, 404-347-9055.

Atkins Group Expands
The Atkins Park Group, owners of the original Atkins Park Restaurant-Virginia Highland and Atkins Park Tavern-Smyrna, is opening two new locations. The first, in Cumming, is slated to debut in September 2006 and will be located at the Vickery Village retail and business center (5820 S. Vickery St.). Executive chef of this location will be Jason “JJ” McFarland. For the past year, McFarland has served as sous chef under Andrew Smith at Atkins Park Restaurant-Virginia Highland. The second opening will be in the historic Brookhaven neighborhood of Buckhead. Atkins Park-Brookhaven (1410 Dresden Dr.) will model itself after the original Atkins Park, maintaining the traditional tavern feel.

More Biscuit Biz
Delia Champion, founding owner of The Flying Biscuit, is nearing the conclusion of her two-store company's merger with Raving Brands, an Atlanta-based concern that owns, among other chains, Moe's Southwestern Grill and Mama Fu's. Once the deal has concluded, she expects to open one new restaurant in Brookhaven in the former location of the Original Pancake House. She sees opportunities for expansion, for cost savings, and security for her employees. The Flying Biscuit, 1655 McLendon Ave. NE, Candler Park, 404-687-8888; and 1001 Piedmont Ave. NE (Davis & Assoc. Bldg.), Midtown, 404-874-8887.

Kevin Rathbun, eager to take command of an intimate space at the Stove Works, will open Krog Bar, named for the street on which his nationally renowned restaurant is located. The small space will provide an opportunity to try interesting beverages and cold tapas or small plates. Rathbun, who soon will be doing on-the-ground research in northwestern Spain, is looking forward to the June opening. Krog Bar, Stove Works, 12 Krog St., Ste. R (Edgewood Ave.), Inman Park, 404-524-8280.

Breakfast in the Lobby
Atlanta's new hotspot, the Lobby at TWELVE, started serving breakfast on February 13. The Lobby is located in the new development, Atlantic Station, at 361 17th St. NW (Spring St.), Atlanta, 404-961-7370.

Have Pie for Lunch
Located in a cleverly adapted former bank building at 2160 Monroe Dr. NE (just off I-85 and Armour Cir. NE), piebar is now serving lunch daily (404-815-1605).

A Time for Vegetables at Woodfire Grille
Woodfire Grill chef-owner Michael Tuohy has designed a four-course vegetable menu featuring local organic produce. The menu includes creamy parsnip soup, grilled wild scallions with romesco, whole wheat pappardelle with sun-dried tomatoes, and a Meyer lemon tart. Cost is $38 per person plus tax and gratuity. Woodfire Grill, 1782 Cheshire Bridge Rd. NE, Atlanta, 404-347-9055, www.woodfiregrill.com.

Blais vs. Batali: Who wins Iron Chef?
The first Atlanta chef asked to compete in the Food Network’s Iron Chef, Richard Blais, executive chef at ONE. midtown kitchen, competed against Iron Chef Mario Batali. Blais had one hour in which to prepare five courses. We'll know the outcome some time this fall—watch for the updates. ONE. midtown kitchen, 559 Dutch Valley Rd. NE, Midtown, Atlanta, 404-892-4111.

Chef Going to the Big "House"
Rainwater executive chef Jay Swift has been invited to cook at the James Beard House on Saturday, January 21, 2006. Swift will prepare a five-course tasting menu with matching wines for each course.

Seeger’s Makeover
Seeger's has re-opened after closing on September 17, 2005, for a $600,000 makeover after ten years in business. The highly-regarded restaurant got not just a face-lift, but a re-configuration, reducing its seating capacity to 32 from an original 72. Where once there was no valet parking, guests now will be received under a tent and then greeted by the host at the parking tent and escorted up a newly landscaped walkway. Also, Seeger’s now serves lunch Friday and Saturday. Seeger's, 111 W. Paces Ferry Rd., Buckhead, Atlanta, 404-846-9779.

Murphy’s Remembers 25
Coming up on 25 years of Murphy's successful operation in two different locations, Tom Murphy and Jan Butsch have assembled the 192-page commemorative book, Murphy’s: 25 Years of Recipes and Memories. The book gathers favorite recipes as well as remembrances by former chefs and patrons. The book is available at Murphy's or online at www.schrodermedia.com. Murphy's, 997 Virginia Ave. NE, Virginia Highland, Atlanta, 404-872-0904.

“Blunch” Anyone?
Adding a new buzz term to the culinary lexicon, Joe's on Sullivan announced the start of "blunch" (not a typo!) on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dishes will include such creations as "Joe's Benny," a classic eggs Benedict with poached eggs on English muffins, Canadian bacon and Hollandaise sauce. Omelets, french toast, salmon salad and similar goodies round out the offerings. Joe's on Sullivan, 2144 Sullivan Rd., 404-844-5000, www.metrocafes.com.

Construction Obstructions
Canton House is closed for renovations and will reopen in July. Nothing other than the surroundings will change, we are assured, which will be larger, more modern, and able to accommodate more people without so much waiting. That reopening will be eagerly anticipated by fans of this excellent dim sum operation. Canton House, 4835 Buford Hwy. (Chamblee-Tucker Rd.), Chamblee, 770-936-9030.

Southern SoHo
SoHo in Vinings, serving Southwestern-influenced cuisine, updated its bar to create a lounge area where patrons may enjoy the full SoHo dining experience with first-come, first-served seating. For more information and reservations, call 770-801-0069 or visit www.sohoatlanta.com. SoHo, Vinings Jubilee Shopping Center, 4300 Paces Ferry Rd. (just inside I-285).

Finding Thelma’s
Thelma Grundy has relocated her Southern food establishment to the former Auburn Avenue Rib Shack locale (302 Auburn Ave. NE, 404-688-5855), leaving the Marietta Street address she had occupied since the 1996 Olympic Games.

Attention LowCountry Barbecue Fans!
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2005, LowCountry Barbecue Catering has developed a new menu for online ordering (www.lowcountrybbq.com). LowCountry Barbecue Catering operates LowCountry Barbecue Express Catering & Carryout locations in Buckhead, 1281 Collier Rd. NW, 404-352-1121; Alpharetta, 355 Curie Dr., 770-777-5907; and Smyrna, 2000 S. Pioneer Dr., 404-799-8049.

Star Gets Casual
Star Provisions has opened Provisions To Go, a self-service dine-in and take-out facility with fully prepared foods. Provisions To Go offers ready-to-eat foods as well as a counter top and seating area for dine-in guests. Provisions To Go, 1198 Howell Mill Rd. NW, Atlanta, www.starprovisions.com.

Prix-Fixe Push at Joël
Joël restaurant announced a price increase in its three-course fixed price menu, now $39, available at dinner only Mon.-Fri. Patrons may choose from three appetizers, main courses and desserts, and selections vary daily. Sample choices include braised veal cheeks and pecan tart with caramel ice cream. Joël, Piazza at Paces, 3290 Northside Pkwy., Buckhead, 404-233-3500.

Weekender Lunch Idea
Sala Sabor de Mexico now offers a weekend lunch, enhancing substantially the dining opportunities in Virginia-Highland. Focused on the regional cuisines of Mexico, Sala will feature at lunch huevos rancheros (flour tortillas topped with pinto beans, fried eggs and ranchero sauce); chilaquiles (crispy tortillas tossed with roasted tomato-pasilla chile sauce and aged Mexican cheese); quesadillas; and tostadas de pollo (roasted chicken, tangy tomatillo salsa, refried pinto beans and avocado on crispy shells). For more information and reservations, call 404-872-7203 or visit www.fifthgroup.com. Sala Sabor de Mexico, 1186 N. Highland Ave. NE, Virginia-Highland.

Everything Nu Under the Sun
Changes to Soleil Bistro include just about everything that makes a restaurant go: ownership, décor and furnishings and name. To be called Soleil Nu Bistro, the Buckhead restaurant is now owned entirely by Tate Clements, once a co-owner. Clements bought out his partners and began the serious project of changing the restaurant to suit his vision which, he says, gets closer to French bistros as he understands them, with a relaxed atmosphere where guests may linger if they wish. Soleil Nu Bistro, 2081 Maple Dr. NE, 404-467-1790.

Silver Skillet Sizzles On
When a local TV camera crew showed up December 22, 2006, to film what was rumored to have been its last day, owner (with husband Jeff) Teresa Breckenridge, daughter of founders George and Louise Decker, knew something had gotten mixed up. Marking 50 years in business in 2006, the Silver Skillet was alive and busy, pumping out the tasty, made-from-scratch Southern fare that has gotten it in the movies and on national TV. The mix-up was with the Silver Griddle, on Monroe Drive at Tenth St., which was indeed giving up after six decades in business. Silver Skillet, 200 14th St. NW, Midtown, 404-874-1388, www.thesilverskillet.com.

Still Fabulous Fuzzy’s
On October 24, 2006, Jefferson Michael Cawthon passed away. Nobody knew him by that awesome moniker, however. He was known as "Fuzzy," and for years that handle graced the restaurant and music club that still bears his name: Fuzzy's Place. Living on and nearly 90, his culinary mentor, Joe Dale, continues to keep an eye on the cooking at Fuzzy's, dropping by from time to time to make sure the chef is minding the stove properly. Fuzzy's brother, Chris, and longtime bartender Jerry Rooks have inherited the establishment, and are continuing its operation. So far, it doesn't seem that anything's missed a beat. Fuzzy's Place, 2015 N. Druid Hills Rd. NE, Atlanta, 404-321-6166.

Let’s Do Lunch
Two longtime "dinner only" restaurants began serving lunch in November 2006: Restaurant Eugene and Woodfire Grill. Restaurant Eugene is noted for its sophisticated ambience and food, as well as for fielding some of the city's best fried chicken on its Sunday supper menu. Woodfire Grill, whose owner-chef Michael Tuohy is inspired by his mentor Joyce Goldstein's fresh California cooking, launched lunch Monday through Friday. Restaurant Eugene, Aramore Condominium, 2277 Peachtree Rd. NE, Buckhead, 404-355-0321; Woodfire Grill 1782 Cheshire Bridge Rd. NE, Atlanta, 404-347-9055.

Blazing New Trails
Richard Blais, former executive chef of Blais and ONE. midtown kitchen, left a few months ago for Florida, but plans to return to Atlanta and look for space for a new endeavor. Having studied with Feran Adrià at El Bulli in Gerona, Spain, Blais has that quirky contemporary style that some find vexing, with its foams and amusing touches, while others remember his jellied iced tea and Caesar salad in an anchovy can with fond regard. As yet no spot is chosen, but he's moving back, a prelude that holds promise for interesting things to come.

Closings

Ambra has closed in Cartersville.

Most of the City Café Diners have closed, leaving just one on Tenth St. near Georgia Tech. The unit on Piedmont Cir. now is Midtown Diner, open 24 hours, and the one in Northlake now is Kasey's Country Cooking.

Sweet Lowdown, which opened so hopefully only a little more than a year ago, has closed in Midtown.

Decatur has lost its unit of Zócalo, which remains in business on Tenth St. in Midtown and at its taquería in Grant Park.

Cedars Lebanese restaurant on Lenox Rd. has closed, but has re-opened in Sandy Springs as Sultan.

The original Fratelli di Napoli, located on the grounds of the Bennett Street complex, has closed.

Closings reported this month include O.B.'s BBQ (Tanger Outlet Mall), The Grape (The Forum), and Bitter End Seafood.

Basil's Mediterranean Café in east Marietta has closed, and two more Mick's closed, leaving just one on Peachtree Street. Other closings at year's end include Urbān, Pangaea, Fune sushi bar, and long-loved Dish, although the rumor mill says that a former chef at the restaurant may reopen it in another form.

Concentrics restaurants has closed piebar and will develop a new concept in the old, round former bank building to be unveiled sometime in the spring of 2008.

Perhaps the hardest closing to bear is the loss of Fuzzy's Place, where a sign posted on the door says it's "closed for re-organization." Members of the many music groups that have performed at this spot that also served Joe Dale's Cajun cooking were given a fundraising benefit that netted them nearly $10,000 as they seek to transition to other employment during the holiday season. Some staffers are looking for a way to reopen the bar, which has been an Atlanta music institution for some 30 years. We'll keep you posted.

Despite apparent popularity, Louise's on Ponce de Leon Ave. has closed.

As real estate in Midtown and Buckhead undergoes redevelopment, many restaurants have to find new digs. At year's end, Loca Luna will close in its current location and re-locate immediately to Amsterdam Ave. in the former location of Red Light Café. The remake is in progress, so Loca Luna's fans will not skip a beat. Chef Chad Anderson, formerly at Vino Libro, now is at the helm of this popular small plates and music joint. Loca Luna, 114 Sixth St. NE, Midtown, 404-875-4494.

Element, the latest Atlanta home of Ferran Adrià protégé Richard Blais, has closed. Blais had taken over the helm of an existing, but stumbling, restaurant that opened in January in the former Cherry location. Unfortunately, his witty and inventive cuisine was not enough to save the enterprise.

Fadó Irish Pub, the last of the clubs along soon-to-be-redeveloped Buckhead Avenue at Peachtree Rd., closed but will move and re-open in early 2008 next to the Fulton County Library.

Ali-Oli has closed, a casualty of change of ownership. Founder Ofelia Santos had sold the establishment to a Greek family from New York, but they closed the restaurant and removed all the elegant, fine fixtures for transport back to New York.

Epicurian in Decatur has closed, and its space now has become the dining room for adjacent Bhojanic, a singularly popular neighborhood Indian restaurant that specializes in small plates, but also offers full meals. The expansion will allow Bhojanic to accommodate the large crowds that assemble even on weekdays, and give its entertainment component more space.

MIX closed in preparation for a move to either Midtown or Buckhead, according to owner Michael Arnett. But rather than giving up on the location, Arnett morphed it into Valenza, leaving the same executive chef, Matthew Swickerath, in the top toque position. Gone are the dark singles bar and plush velvet interior accoutrements and in their place is a clean, bright (with windows) interior. Valenza, 1441 Dresden Dr. NE, Ste. 100, Atlanta, 404-969-3250.
                                 
Ruth's Chris Steak House’s Buckhead location closed in Renaissance Plaza and moved to the Embassy Suites Hotel in Buckhead, where it serves both lunch and dinner daily. An interior water feature keeps soothing sounds as an ambience element. While the famous sizzling steaks are the main draw, fish also is available. The restaurant's topnotch wine list was imported over to the new location and expanded. Ruth's Chris Steak House, 9285 Peachtree Rd. NE, 404-365-0660.

Toast, which served Mediterranean-influenced cuisine, closed, and the future of that site (817 W. Peachtree St. NW, Ste. E125, Atlanta), which is rather difficult to find, is unclear.

The Epicurean, a French bistro, closed after an 18-month run. Owner Susan Steinberg will also close the adjacent wine store, perhaps at some point turning it into a take-out location connected with her catering operation. Steinberg's neighbor, Bhojanic, an Indian tapas-style restaurant, will take over the space. Bhojanic, 1363 Clairmont Rd. NE, Decatur, 404-633-9233.

After a good two-year run, Seasons of Provence in Acworth (4416 Senator Richard B. Russell Ave.) closed its doors on August 31, 2007.

Seasons of Provence in Acworth announces it will close after 2 1/2 years in business on Aug. 28, 2007. Seasons of Provence, 4416 Senator Richard B. Russell Ave., Acworth, 678-574-7188.

McCray's 6th St. Tavern Neighborhood Bar & Grill, a popular Midtown bar and pub, will close at its original location because adjacent development has acquired the corner parcel it occupies, leaving Midtown with one less classic, casual watering hole. Sept. 1, 2007, is scheduled to be its last day, but patrons hope it will find another spot in Midtown. McCray's 6th St. Tavern Neighborhood Bar & Grill, 98 Sixth St. NE, Atlanta, 404-249-1506.

Joël Antunes' eponymous restaurant closed its dining room on July 28, 2007, to undergo a major renovation and remodel. The restaurant will become a 40-seat (or fewer) intimate, very exclusive "extreme French" fine dining establishment with very high prices. During the renovation, the private dining space (the Chef's Room) will still be available; this space can accommodate from 15-42 for a private event. Joël, 3290 Northside Pkwy. NW, Piazza at Paces,  Buckhead, Atlanta, 404-233-3500.

Madras Saravana Bhavan has closed for an extensive renovation and will re-open some time later this summer. The popular Indian vegetarian restaurant promises to re-open with an upgraded ambiance and the same great food that has made it a neighborhood (and beyond) hit. Madras Saravana Bhavan, 2179 Lawrenceville Hwy., Decatur, 404-636-4400.

Kelly Coggin moved her young and popular restaurant Ambra from an industrial zone on Atlanta's Chattahoochee Avenue to a completely different style venue: Cartersville, on metro Atlanta's northwest side. Joining a growing list of restaurants that ring the suburban town's central core, Ambra is a key tenant in a new commercial development. Ambra, Integrity Plaza, 148 W. Main St., Ste. 100, Cartersville, 770-386-1960.

Smokey Bones Barbecue & Grill has closed the majority of its Atlanta locations, leaving just three still in operation, namely: Kennesaw, Peachtree City and Lithonia. Considering the extent of the chain, Smokey Bones does a pretty decent job of expressing the true character of Southern food and barbecue.

SAGA, which opened in October 2006, closed its doors in late June after a brief but delicious run featuring the exciting cuisine of South Africa.

Bennett's Bad to the Bone has closed in its original location, but is planning to re-open in another spot. The slightly California take on barbecue came with Southern touches such as tasty collard greens cooked with smoked turkey, and they offered tri-tip for homesick Californians. The slightly bi-coastal take on this Southern classic had a definite following, and we look forward to its prompt re-opening.

With rumors running wild, Spice in Midtown closed, apparently having been purchased by the Grammy-winning Atlanta-based rapper Ludacris, aka Christopher Bridges. No word yet on what the restaurant's future holds.

Café Tu Tu Tango closed, having lost its lease to a coming mega project that will transform Buckhead Avenue and surrounding blocks into a high-end shopping/dining district reminiscent, some say, of Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive. The Florida-based company expects to look for a substitute location.

Vinocity, after a successful run in Midtown on 13th Street, closed its doors to move to East Decatur. The new space will have 26-foot-high ceilings, a 35-foot bar, and a 700-foot mezzanine, among other outsize features. Vinocity, 1963 Hosea L. Williams Dr., Decatur.

Ippolito's closed its Suwanee location, and moved it to 350 Town Center Ave., Town Center, Suwanee, 678-985-4377.

Fogão Gaucho closed its launch location on Windy Hill Road, leaving only its location in downtown Atlanta. Fogão Gaucho, The Flatiron Bldg., 84 Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta, 404-477-1700.

After ten years in business, The Supper Club in Decatur closed its doors March 31, 2007. Chef-owner Michele Niesen sold the establishment, and it will re-open as a bar named The Parrot's Room.

Vinocity Wine Bar & Restaurant has closed at its Midtown location, and will reopen in June in Kirkwood. Vinocity Wine Bar and Restaurant, 1963 Hosea Williams Blvd., Kirkwood Station, Decatur, 404-870-8886.

Asada, which did Southwestern American fare, has closed. Replacing it is Fox Brothers BBQ. Look for an opening in the late March to mid-April time frame. Lunch and dinner will be served daily, and—especially unusual in 'cue joints—a full bar, beer and wine will be offered.

It took less than a year for the B.E.D. concept to fizzle in Atlanta, although the problem may well have been that the space wasn’t “B.E.D.” enough. B.E.D. enthusiasts apparently found the mix of beds and tables less exciting than the all-bed versions in other locations. But the mix was essential, as the space also had to do breakfast and lunch duty for the hotel. Nico Romo, chef de cuisine, continues the same menu and service hours at The Glenn Hotel Restaurant, as it is now known, that were observed under B.E.D., but the beds will mostly disappear (a few are built into the wall and will stay, but those that are moveable will go away). The Glenn Hotel Restaurant, 110 Marietta St. NW (downtown), 404-222-7992.

Café Tu Tu Tango lost its lease and closed after 14 years. Serving tapas in an atmosphere designed to suggest an artist's garret, Café Tu Tu Tango was one of the earliest restaurants in Atlanta to showcase the small-plates concept.

On March 25, 2006, one of Atlanta's finest restaurants closed. Fabrice Vergez' Brasserie Le Coze was claimed for space by a projected expansion of adjacent Neiman-Marcus department store. But he's not leaving Atlanta. Around September, look for the opening of FAB, (i.e. French American Bistro and his nickname) on the ground floor of 30 Ivan Allen Plaza, not far from CNN Center, the Georgia Aquarium and Centennial Olympic Park. His models are the grand brasseries that were recently built into French train stations, with period appointments that will suggest a gaslight-era bistro.

Another lost landmark restaurant is the Soto Japanese Restaurant in Buckhead (3330 Piedmont Rd. NE). For weeks, the street buzzed with talk that famed sushi guru Sotohiro Kosugi wanted to sell his highly esteemed establishment, despite a recent major decorative overhaul. Well, he's done it.

Located on the grounds of the State Farmers Market, Thomas' Marketplace Restaurant (16 Forest Pkwy.), after more than four decades, has closed. Nona Thomas figured it was time to kick back and enjoy retirement, travel and dote on her 15 grandchildren. Kasey Carpenter, a young restaurateur from Dalton, Ga., where he owns the locally esteemed Oakwood Café, has signed a lease on the space, and plans to open a classic Southern restaurant.

Fishmonger has closed its Piedmont Avenue location in Midtown, leaving the original in Sandy Springs at 4969 Roswell Rd., Ste. 160, Atlanta, 404-459-9003 and a second location in Roswell at Holcomb Bridge Road, 770-993-1600.

Metamorphosis is the name of the game for Atlanta restaurateur Ryan Aiken. More than a year ago, he switched concepts at his Burrito Art on Howell Mill Road, changing to Misto (1950 Howell Mill Rd. NW, 404-425-0030). Now the Emory Burrito Art is gone, replaced by his Saba (1451 Oxford Rd., Emory Village, 404-377-7786), a casual pasta and sandwich place with self-service dining and a decent wine list.

Famous Fish Co. closed its Sandy Springs location after only a few months. The Peachtree City location remains open at 200-401 City Cir., The Avenue, 770-632-1880.

Parting ways, Philippe Haddad and Bill Swearengin sold Philippe's Bistro to Atlanta chef Paul Albrecht (he of Pano's & Paul's) who opened Paul’s, 10 Kings Cir. NE, Peachtree Hills, Buckhead, Atlanta, 404-231-4113.

Virginia-Highlanders will miss Harvest, which closed after a ten-year run at 853 N. Highland Ave.

Downtown lost Luxe, a sister restaurant to now-closed Oscar's in College Park, where Kosmos, too, has closed.

City Café Diner closed two locations, one in Stone Mountain and another in Decatur, and opened two locations: 3925 LaVista Rd., Northlake, Tucker, 770-908-0380; and 1935 Piedmont Cir. NE, Atlanta, 404-249-1656.

Rick's Place in Dahlonega (47 S. Park St.) closed after a lengthy run.

Iris, formerly located in East Atlanta Village at 1314 Glenwood Ave. SE, announced its last day of service on Saturday, October 15.

In College Park, Oscar's (3725 Main St.), which had established the viability of College Park as a fine dining destination, has closed its doors.

The Abbey has been converted to a special events facility at163 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Midtown, 404-876-8532.

Among the recent fallen in Atlanta are ¡Che! Tapas & Rum Bar, occupying a revolving operation location in Buckhead; Stringer's Fish Camp (in-town), now a Mexican restaurant; Santino di Roma, now vacant; Mambo Restaurante Cubano, which is shopping for another location; The Cabin Room; SALT Kitchen & Bar, due to be re-concepted; Mouth of the South, which will continue its catering operation; Montri's Thai Cuisine (still vacant); and Smokey Q (morphed into a nightlife venue).

Bien Thuy, longtime temple of Vietnamese cooking in Atlanta, and Alpharetta's Azel, which merged Eastern and Western cooking, have closed.

Jake Rothschild closed his original Highland Avenue Jake's Ice Cream & Muncheteria (676 Highland Ave. NE) as well as the spot serving Emory University (1540 N. Decatur Rd. NE) to take on better locations.

All locations of the Buckhead Brewery & Grill have closed.

After trying to slug it out in the ’burbs, Barcelona gave up its half-hearted attempt at Spanish cooking and closed.

Sweet Devil Moon closed its East Decatur location but opened a new location in the former Fishmonger Seafood Grill on Piedmont Avenue at Tenth Street, Midtown.

Pastries a Go Go closed its Decatur location but moved down the street to brand new spiffy digs.

Famous Fish Co. (Peachtree City) finally lost its grip on Atlanta, closing the last of its three locations and the original in Peachtree City.

Not finding enough depth in patrons for vegan cuisine, Lush in Inman Park gave in to buyers, who opened Pacific Kitchen.

Jake's Ice Cream & Muncheteria closed most locations, selling two to former investors who morphed them into Murial & Sebastian's, also doing small-batch ice creams.

Mythos Taverna on Holcomb Bridge Road has closed.

Fine dining Chinese restaurant Sampan, behind Bacchanalia, is now closed.

Landmark Diner gave up on its Central Avenue operation but opened a new one in Sandy Springs just outside I-285 on Roswell Road.

Woo Chon Myun Ok gave up on Korean food in Norcross.

In a nationwide collapse, eatZi's closed all its locations throughout the country, including both Atlanta locations, just before Thanksgiving, leaving customers who had ordered holiday dinners scrambling to reorder just before the big feast. And many suppliers were left in shock as well, having just delivered large orders to the stores for the holiday season.

With a lease that was due for renewal and a landlord looking for lots more money, Calavino Donati's Roman Lily Café, the jewel of the Old Fourth Ward, closed September 30, 2006.

Gwinnett County's decision to close down the kiosk-style Mexican restaurants that had begun to dot its highways and byways cost Puras Tortas its location on Jimmy Carter Blvd. But others remain alive and well. Puras Tortas, 2078 Beaver Ruin Rd., Ste. 100, Plaza Mexico, 770-849-9698; Plaza Fiesta Shopping Ctr., 4166 Buford Hwy. NE, Atlanta, 404-633-2110.

Tamarind closed at its original location and is due to open in February 2007 in Colony Square, at Peachtree St. and 14th St., in Midtown, Atlanta.

The original location of Goldberg's Bagel Company & Deli (4383 Roswell Rd. NE, Buckhead, Atlanta, 404-256-3751) closed to accommodate a major overhaul of the dated strip shopping center, and plans call for an early 2007 reopening.

The renowned Seeger’s, a Gayot Top 40 Restaurant in the U.S. in 2006, has closed. When Guenter Seeger announced his intention to close after a ten-year run, a local banker tried to come to his rescue. Local fans flocked for a last meal. Moved and humbled, he said, Seeger resolved to remain open. But after Thanksgiving, it became apparent that Seeger's would be no more. Purchased by Atlanta restaurateur Tom Catherall, Seeger's is slated to reopen as Posh on January 17. Plans call for only a few changes, such as a few more tables. Posh, 111 W. Paces Ferry Rd. NE, Buckhead, 404-869-0777.

Some recent closings are the result of moves or, in many cases, extensive renovations and re-conceptings, such as Waverly Grill in the Renaissance Waverly Hotel (2450 Galleria Pkwy.). It is due to open in 2007 as Medici after a complete makeover.

Ray's on the River, for the first time in its more than two-decade-long history, is closed for renovation. The restaurant, a linchpin in the Ray's Restaurants group, enjoys a superb position on Atlanta's icon Chattahoochee River. Plans call for a spring 2007 reopening. Ray's on the River, 6700 Powers Ferry Rd., Marietta, 770-955-1187.

Wine dinners & tastings in Atlanta

(Updated: 04/26/13 JDM)

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