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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.

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


RESTAURANT AWARDS

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