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August 2015 Archive

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Villaggio Gastro Italian has opened in Decatur Grazie Hospitality Group, which also owns Baraonda, a long-popular Italian restaurant in Midtown, has brought its talents to Decatur. Taking over a former Villagio restaurant, the team started by spelling Villaggio in the sign and adding the words "Gastro Italian" to the name. Finding authentic dishes a hard sell in the neighborhood, the menu at Villaggio Gastro Italian has shifted back to a more Americanized set of offerings --- veal Marsala, and chicken Parmigiano for instance --- but there is grilled octopus, lasagna with besciamella sauce and braciole di manzo to appeal to those seeking an authentic experience. The wine list is happily heavy on Italian selections, especially among the reds, with many by the glass. Dinner Mon.-Sat., Brunch Sun. Villaggio Gastro Italian, 1355 Clairmont Rd., Decatur, GA 30033, 404-235-0620.
The team of Nicholas Niespodziani, Peter Olson and chef Nick Melvin is to open Venkman’s in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward in mid-September 2015. New restaurateurs Niespodziani and Olson are co-front men of the group Yacht Rock Revue and founders of PleaseRock. Local chef Melvin is founder of Doux South Pickles, a line of classic Southern pickled vegetables sold at local farmers markets and in gourmet shops. Dishes such as cast-iron-cooked fried chicken with pickled mustards reflect his interest in the process. The restaurant occupies the former NuGrape Soda Factory overlooking Ponce City Market and Old Fourth Ward Park, and promises to offer eclectic live music and creative comfort food under one roof. Designed by local architecture firm ai3, responsible for designing many of the city's edgier establishments, Venkman’s aesthetic will be part “vintage lounges” and feature an open kitchen with chef table seating. Venkman's, 740 Ralph McGill Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30312, 470-225-6162.
Reservations and a photo ID will be required to dine at the new Restaurant 356 at the Porsche Experience Center. The German automaker's North American headquarters is near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. From its perch on the second floor of the building, the restaurant offers panoramic views of the airport and the 1.2-mile driver development track. Expect a seasonal, regional menu. The space offers multiple options for private and semi-private events, a feature that's sure to attract a good crowd. Lunch & Dinner Tues.-Sat. Restaurant 356, Porsche Experience Center, 1 Porsche Dr., Atlanta, GA 30354, 770-290-4356.
Little Trouble, a Victory Brands project, opened August 6, 2015, beneath Ford Fry's Restaurant Marcel, which replaced Abattoir in the White Provision Building. Victory Brands includes Victory Sandwich Shop in Decatur and Inman Park as well as Paper Plane (next to the Decatur Victory Sandwich Shop). Little Trouble opens from 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Although closing times Monday through Thursday are not yet defined, Little Trouble will definitely be busy Friday and Saturday when it pours to 2:30 a.m. The menu of bar bites includes such Asian-inspired morsels as meats on skewers, noodle dishes, dumplings and steamed buns. Melissa Allen of Paper Plane is in charge of the kitchen, and has been trialing many of the dishes at Paper Plane. Ari Form and Drew Gillespie, formerly at Bocado and Empire State South, respectively, handle the bar. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Little Trouble, White Provision Building, 1170 Howell Mill Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30318, 404-500-4737.
Dave DeFeo and Tim Ensor (Leon's Full Service, Brick Store Pub) partnered with Lawson Wright to open My Parents’ Basement. The new business occupies the former James Joyce, a handsome Neo-Tudor building that's been empty for about three years, and launches with Tim Hastings as executive chef. The location, around the corner from Pine Street Market, enables the kitchen to dip into the artisanal charcuterie that comes from the staff of Rusty Bowers' operation, noted for its bacon and salumi. In addition to brews --- especially from Avondale Estates' own Wild Heaven brewery --- and tavern fare founded on seasonally available local ingredients, the place is home to classic and antique comics. My Parents’ Basement, 22 N. Avondale Rd., Avondale Estates, GA 30002, 404-292-4607.
Tavernpointe has opened in Atlanta Seven Lamps executive chef/owner Drew Van Leuvan and restaurateur Billy Streck (Grain, Cypress Street Pint & Plate) introduce Tavernpointe, a neighborhood restaurant in Atlanta's Midtown. Conor O’Reilly, previously sous chef at Seven Lamps, is chef de cuisine. Located in the space formerly occupied by MidCity Cuisine, La Pietra Cucina and LPC most recently, where Peachtree and Spring Streets meet (known as Pershing Point to longtime Atlantans), Tavernpointe features American cuisine in a casual atmosphere. Joined by Seven Lamps' mixologist Madison Burch, who created the craft cocktail menu, chef Van Leuvan and his team draw inspiration from common 19th-century tavern themes. Designed to be family-friendly, the menu offers items to appeal to children and it invites sharing. Look for Peruvian-style chicken, tacos, bar snacks, and dishes with bold flavors from the chilies favored by chef Van Leuvan. Redesigned to feature steel, repurposed pine from a Georgia warehouse and reclaimed brick from a South Carolina textile mill, Tavernpointe’s interior is layered with industrial influences. Expect honey-colored floors, sanded down to complement the furniture and soften the space, and a custom bar with a floating wood ceiling. Tavernpointe, Peachtree Point, 1545 Peachtree St. NE, Ste. 101, Atlanta, GA 30309, 404-549-3954.

News Bytes

Canoe Celebrates 20th Anniversary
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Canoe, Atlanta’s quintessential restaurant on the bank of the Chattahoochee, has decided to honor the past and celebrate some of the dishes that were popular. Chef Matthew Basford has developed a special “Dish Revival” menu that rotates each week and features a retired appetizer and entrée. It includes guest favorites such as seared Georges Bank scallops and grilled Maple Leaf Farms duck breast. For more information, contact Canoe at 770-432-2663. Canoe, 4199 Paces Ferry Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30339, 770-432-2663.

Chef Shuffle

Adam Evans’ departure from The Optimist, where he served as founding executive chef, will cause barely a blip in the operation of the restaurant, one of Ford Fry's most admired establishments. Taking over for him is Wesley True, late and briefly executive chef replacing Richard Blais at The Spence. The Optimist, 914 Howell Mill Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30318, 404-477-6260 .


Take your taste buds on a walk down memory lane! Check out our exclusive closed restaurant database for Atlanta to virtually visit your favorite dining spots from the past. Bazzaar, R.I.P.

Gravy has closed after being in business for less than a year. The Grant Park restaurant offered a range of contemporary Southern dishes. Gravy, 465 Blvd. SE, Atlanta, GA 30312, no phone.

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