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Atlanta Restaurant Updates: new places & faces


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The local blogasphere has been humming with reports about the new spot: the Krispy Kreme shake is the bomb… the duck fat fried fries are to die for… the prime quality beef burgers are scrumpdilious. The good news is that the hype didn’t go far enough- America’s fast food faves have been given a brand new bag by Atlanta’s master of molecular gastronomy, Richard Blais, that brings a whole new meaning to having it your way.

FLIP BURGER BOUTIQUE is part hipster lounge; part MOMOFUKU; and part family friendly dining spot. It combines some unique and delicious twists on American staples with a contemporary and engaging design in a West Midtown location convenient to office workers, families and hipsters alike.

Recently, I sampled the Flip Burger, the Butcher Cut Burger and the Po Boyger, along with the aforementioned fries and onion rings.All were better than advertised.Both the Krispy Kreme and Nutella and Burnt marshmallow shakes (frozen with liquid nitrogen)were off the chain.And the house made condiments were outstanding as well, especially the smoked mayo.

The better news is that FLIP will dazzle your taste buds without busting your wallet. The burgers are $6.50-$11.00(14 on the menu with another 16 on rotation).Sides run from $3.50-$4.50 and all shakes are $7.00. There is a small well crafted beer and wine list as well as some intriguing sounding cocktails.Vintage sodas like Nu Grape and Bubble Up add variety to the beverage list.

According to my well traveled tablemates (a shout out to Tiffany and Bren), FLIP’s menu and ai3 inspired décor will be a smash not only locally but nationally. (On that note, Richard stopped by the table and dropped some hints that there are some VERY interesting things in both his and FLIP’s future.)

So in a town full of gourmet burger chains, a renowned Ghetto Burger,and with artesianal burgers on just about every menu, there is a new burger king in town: Richard Blais.

NEWS and NOTES: (From my keyboard to your screen).

Glenwood Park.THE MATADOR CANTINA and TEQUILA BAR has opened its second location at 925 Garret Street.

Midtown. The Palomar Hotel developers are courting a “big name” out of town chef for their 4 star hotel slated to open this Spring.

ANTICA POSTA, the highly regarded Buckhead traditional tratattoria, is slated to open its second location in the former SAGA location at 1100 Crescent Avenue this winter.

SUITE, a modern lounge featuring a menu of sophisticated bites and cocktails in an ultra modern setting, will open in the Metropolis condominiums at 933 Peachtree Street early next year.

Sandy Springs. RJ’s CASUAL CAFÉ and BAKERY, featuring salads, soups, sandwiches and pastries (including a complete line of sugar free desserts), has opened at 8540 Roswell Road in the former CAFÉ BRAZIL spot.

Folks, this is my last blog of the year and I want to thank everyone who helped me keep the ball rolling. I hope to continue being a strong advocate for Atlanta’s dynamic dining scene but I can’t do it without your support, so please keep the info and love flowing. Have a Happy and Prosperous Holiday Season!

PS. The answer to last week’s QOTW- What deadly Asian delicacy is now being legally served in metro Atlanta- is Tiger Blowfish (Tora Fugu ) at Yasu Japanese Bistro in Suwanee,Georgia.

100% right 50% of the time.

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Reynoldstown. DEPOT, the renovated train depot turned bar and restaurant on Memorial Drive, has closed after less than a year in operation.

I was standing in their parking lot staring in the windows of the place just last week and not believing they had already closed when a gentleman walked up and asked if I was interested in the place. My reply was just as a customer/sales-person. He informed me that he is planning to purchase the lease fr/ the current owners as soon as possible and open it hopefully early 2009 so hopefully some thing is going on there as it is a beautiful spot.

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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Happy New Year. Hope everyone is ready, after chillaxing over the holidays, for some exciting new faces in kitchens, the front of the house, the local food media as well as new architects that will tweak the usual context of Atlanta’s dining scene.

First, downtown’s dining scene gets some TLC from Laurent Tourendal’s BLT STEAK at the W Hotel and Residences slated to open January 27th. The savvy Frenchman promises to bring locally sourced meat themed fine dining set in a modern setting that will redefine Atlanta’s steakhouse dining.

In Buckhead, CRAFT chef Kevin Maxey says that he has found a home for him and his family here in Atlanta after stints in New York and Dallas. He promises to bring a skillfully executed style of upscale dining to our fair shores that will make Atlanta reassess what is important to the fine dining experience.

Across the street, the affable A.D. Allushi returns to Buckhead as GM at MARKET, Jean Georges Vongerichten’s second coming in The W Hotel Buckead. The ultra chic space, designed by noted interior designer Karim Rashid, is the most unique in Atlanta. The menu choices are both intriguing and delectable but do not miss the hand crafted cocktails, they sparkle.

The local food media has some new faces as well. Jamila Robinson is the new food editor for the AJC and she promises to bring some new and exciting changes to their coverage of the food scene. And Bill Addison, a former Creative Loafing scribe, has returned from stints in San Francisco and Dallas as food editor for Atlanta Magazine and is already at work on a feature for the upcoming issue.

There are other stories that will be making a significant impact on Atlanta’s dining scene as well but I’ll let you chew on these morsels just to get the year started. So stay tuned for more of the news and notes that will keep you on point and up to date on Atlanta’s dining scene.

NEWS AND NOTES: (From my keyboard to your screen).

Alpharetta. Oswald Morgan, the friendly former GM of THE GLOBE, is opening his own upscale spot, KOSMO GASTROPUB, at 11890 Douglas Road in the Shops of Douglas shopping center this month.

Buckhead. BENTO SUSHI TO GO, serving “fresh Asian food for on the move trendsetters”, has opened at 3060 Peachtree Road (entrance is on West Paces Ferry).

Downtown (DT). Cass Smith, whose San Francisco firm, CCS, is renowned for its Modernist idiom and creating projects with exceptional material and spatial qualities, is the architect of record for BLT STEAK Atlanta. It will feature a bustling walnut bar, a banquette lounge and stand-alone fresh shellfish raw bar made from Calcutta marble that will precede the relaxed112-seat dining room, where Macassar ebony tables, caramel-colored banquettes and herringbone black walnut floors will create warmth amid modernity.

Inman Park. The much anticipated MISO IZAKAYA is scheduled to open by the end of the month on Edgewood Avenue.

Midtown. Eli Kirshtein, a 24 year old Atlanta native with a CIA pedigree and NYC props (DANIEL and JEAN-GEORGES) is the new face at the helm of ENO’S kitchen. He promises to make the wine bar cum restaurant “a little more approachable but still (at) the highest level of quality”.

Sandy Springs. FISHMONGER SEAFOOD GRILL is reopening at a new location in the former LOOP PIZZA GRILL location on sandy Springs Road.

Toco Hills. MADDIO’S PIZZA,a new gourmet pizza concept from the co-founder of MOE’s, has opened their first location at 3027 Druid Hills Road.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What Buckhead steakhouse is rumored to have closed over the holidays?

Thanks for stopping by and remember:

The earth was made round so that one cannot see to far down the road.

100% right 50% of the time.

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The holiday season was a dramatic time for Atlanta’s dining scene. There were dramatic closings, dynamic openings and, some horrible crimes that captured the headlines but I had an experience that put a focus on the type of operators who, while flying under the radar, are the hope for the brighter future that we all pray comes sooner than later.

My dinner at ALLEGRO, the restaurant that Atlanta Magazine described : ” there is no better champion of regional Italian cooking than this swank and semiformal Midtown restaurant rooted in the traditions of the Adriatic coast”, was occasioned by a good friend’s invitation to share some holiday cheer. The meal not only provided a true gastronomic experience but demonstrated that Atlanta’s dining scene is approaching the point where it offers excellence at all price points.

Located in an obscure Midtown cul de sac across from the lauded ONE MIDTOWN KITCHEN, ALLEGRO (Lively in Italian) is the epitome of the emerging trend of neighborhood based, chef driven restaurants that are opening up all over town. With an all Italian wine list, crisp service and a romantic atmosphere it is not inexpensive but it is a great spot to chat, chew and chill.

NEWS and NOTES: (From my keyboard to your screen).

Buckhead. According to their web site, the name of the primary restaurant at the St. Regis Atlanta is VERANDA 88.It is scheduled to open in March 2009.

Decatur. MINT No.2 THAI and SUSHI, a casual spot that also delivers within a 5 mile radius, has opened at 1359 Clairmont Road.

Grant Park. LAMPLIGHTERS, Chef Carmen Capello’s upscale casual neighborhood joint has closed due to a robbery suffered on Christmas Day.

Inman Park. THE GRAPE, entertainment mogul Usher’s wine bar, has closed “for renovations”.

Marietta. STEFAN’S OFF THE SQUARE, a long time downtown Marietta favorite fine dining spot, has closed.

Midtown. PARK 75 at The Four Seasons Atlanta is serving their Chocolate Lovers Table, a decadent buffet of chocolate delights from Pastry Chef Christopher Jennings, every Friday and Saturday from 9pm to 1 am until March 28th.

Old Fourth Ward. JOHNNY’S PIZZA on North Highland is now JACK’S because the owners dropped their franchise agreement and are proceeding as an independent operator with a very similar menu.

Question of the Week: What superstar New York cocktail impresario, who kick started the classic cocktail/ speakeasy trend, is opening a shop in a soon to open downtown hotel?

Thanks for stopping by and remember:

It is our choices, not our abilities that show who and what we truly are.PS.

The answer to last week’s QOTW - What Buckhead steakhouse closed over the Holidays?-is TAURUS, which closed on December 31st.

100% right 50% of the time.

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Atlanta’s dining scene is about to get fresh infusion of New York talent but this time it will involve a cocktail impresario whose leitmotiv is the use of special ices to craft classic cocktails for discriminating palates.

The internationally renowned Sasha Petraske, who developed a reputation for delivering a world class experience with his NYC bars Milk and Honey and Little Branch, has chosen the scintillating W Atlanta-Downtown for the first location of his newest concept, DRINKSHOP, slated to open by the end of this month.

DRINKSHOP’s beverage program will focus on fresh ingredients, including a selection of ices. A fruit juicing and vegetable extraction station, featuring mise en place bar inserts with fresh fruit and herbs, will enhance the hand-crafted offerings. In addition, the back bar will have freezers to chill spirits and glassware. Wine will be served as well.

But wait; there’s more. A 150-pound showcase block of ice will be used for individual drinks and bottles will arrive at guest tables frozen in a solid block of ice, accompanied by freshly-made mixers such as apple juice, strawberry lemonade or spicy homemade ginger ale.

DRINKSHOP’S cutting-edge design is by San Francisco based CCS (BLT STEAK Atlanta). The1, 600 square foot space features low communal cocktail tables, creating private spaces for guest interaction, and DJs spinning an eclectic mix of music.

Sasha and his corporate partner, Starwood Hotels, are committed to raising the bar for cocktails in Atlanta and promise that DRINKSHOP will be in the tradition of the “great hotel bars”. I’ll drink to that.

NEWS and NOTES: (From my keyboard to your screen).

Alpharetta.SAI MURALI,a family-friendly Indian restaurant serving a lunch buffet daily, has opened at 3070 Windward Plaza.

Downtown(DT). MEEHAN’S PUBLIC HOUSE, the Irish themed eatery from 101 Concepts, has announced their third location in the former Macy’s building at 180 Peachtree Street. The 4,200 square foot establishment is slated to open in November of this year.

Bon Appetit Magazine has named DYNAMIC DISH as one of the 10 hottest vegetarian restos in America.

Grant Park. Chef Carmen Cappello is opening SHAME BURGERS, his take on a burger bar, in the former LAMPLIGHTER space” in the near future” depending on the timing of their insurance proceeds regarding the holiday robbery they suffered.

Midtown. AMORE, the casual Italian spot located in the Plaza Midtown condos, has closed.

Old Fourth Ward (O4W). Local media reports indicate that many of the FOH staff from the recently shuttered TAURUS have found employment at the soon to opened SERPAS TRUE FOOD.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What downtown restaurant’s chef has been selected to cook at the James Beard house this spring?

Thanks for stopping by and remember:

To praise more and criticize less.

PS. The answer to last week’s QOTW- What superstar New York cocktail impresario, who kick started the classic cocktail/ speakeasy trend, is opening a shop in a soon to open downtown hotel?-is Sasha Petraske, whose bars are ranked among the “World’s Best Bars,” and have created a cult following of cocktail aficionados.

100% right 50% of the time.

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The 2009 Mobil Travel Guide’s awards have been announced and Atlanta fared well in the 5 and 4 star dining categories. THE DINING ROOM at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead received its’ customary 5 stars and PARK 75; BACCHANALIA and QUINONES received 4 stars. Congratulations one and all!


Richard Blais has been invited to serve as athe guest chef at a pretigious California wine festival on February 7th & 8th,2009 .He will prepare a mutli-course dinner with foods abundant in the Wine Country, and a number of those Blais introduced on the number one food show on cable television, Top Chef.

The star of the fourth season of Bravo's Top Chef, will be cooking up culinary pleasure at Stevenswood Spa Resort, situated along the Northern California, Mendocino Coast, two and a half hours north of San Francisco.

Featuring: Oysters with cocktail sorbet & salmon berries, a Gin sashimi with carbonated lime and tonic jelly, followed by Fish 'n Chips with ranch caviar.

Next, a housemade Linguine with geoduck clams, "impasta", then a Canned soup of whiskey and rye, next local fresh Smoked salmon in aroma dome, Blais' Chicken fried rabbit and baby food and a special McLamb rib dish. Dinner will be finished with a pistachio Toffee white truffle.

Looks like RB is more than a burger king.Speaking of which, the latest rumor is that he is planning 3 more FLIP BURGER BOUTIQUES: Atlanta,DC and a city to be

named later.


Edgar Cruz,formerly of BALACE,SPICE and New York’s GRAMMERCY TAVERN, has been tapped to become the top toque at the post Blais HOME.The new menu adds some of Tom Catherall’s greatest hits from his much lauded TOM TOM and AZALEA. Maybe the rumors of HOME closing aren’t true,yet.

NEWS and NOTES: (From my keyboard to your screen).

Folks this will be my last column on the egullet.org site.I want to thank all of you who have made this such an exciting and informative experience for me.I am going to become a contributor to Atlanta Magazine’s web site starting Friday January 30th. I will be updating you on Atlanta’s dining scene at www.atlantamagazine.com. Please join me there!

PS. The answer to last week’s QOTW- What downtown restaurant’s chef has been selected to cook at the James Beard house this spring?-is Shane Touhy ,top toque at DOGWOOD, who will appear this April.

This just in:MUSS and TURNER'S is NOT moving! Spoke with Russ and thier new project LOCAL THREE will be located in Buckhead and is slated to open this fall.

Edited by micropundit (log)

100% right 50% of the time.

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Maxim Prime to exit downtown, moving to Buckhead?

Less than a year after it opened, Maxim Prime is leaving downtown Atlanta.

The much ballyhooed collaboration of noted restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow and Maxim, the men’s magazine, said Wednesday it will close at The Glenn Hotel on March 1. Chodorow will re-launch the chic steakhouse in a new location, according to a news release.

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