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Atlanta Restaurant Updates: new places & faces


micropundit
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Monday morning musings:

All of the industry big foots-including her honor the Mayor,who is part of a major retail recruitment project,I'm told- are in Vegas this week hobnobbing and consorting with their peers, clients and competitors, so we will have to wait to get all of the latest. However, sources tell me that super chef Marvin Woods is close to a deal that will have him becoming the top toque at a local resto. Stay tuned for details.

One of the biggest stories last week was the announcement of several major mixed use projects in the Center City that will include upscale hotels, condos and retail. It seemed, to me at least, that local shakers and movers were responding in kind to all of the news out of Big D, as duly noted by your humble scribe. These projects will bring some new operators to this market as well create opportunities for some local restaurateurs to expand their empires.And I am also talking major deals yet to be announced people. ( Very B-I-G !)

Speaking of local developers.kudos to the Cousins Properties crew. Their last two residential projects have featured local independant,chef driven restaurants instead of the high profile-and profitable –chains.I hope that this trend continues because the locals are the backbone of the market and, in no small measure, the bellwethers of its health and strength.As Atlanta becomes even more of a destination,the big names will come but at the end of the day,our economy will stand on the shoulders of the locals.

Question of the week: Why doesn’t homeboy Todd English (Symrna) have any of his world famous restos here in the ATL?

NEWS and NOTES:

Alpharetta. THE PEACHTREE DINER has opened at the old RUEBEN’S location at Holcomb Bridge Road and 400.

Downtown.SKYBED,BED's rooftop lounge/bar, has opened with,according to media reprts and my sources,with killer views,orange mod bar stools and comfy beds. Far above the madding crowd anyone?

Midtown. ONE MIDTOWN KITCHEN is renovating its back porch in order to”put it on a par with the dining area”. And wait, there is more: RB is reporting that the community garden will be back next spring with a few new bells and whistles. So,one of the best views in town is getting even better.

Westside. URBAN GRIND an independent locally owned coffeehouse located at 962 Marietta Street getting a lot of buzz in the local media. Guess I’ll have to go and check out what owner Cassandra Ingram has got going over there.

An AU BON PAIN is scheduled to open this fall in Atlantic Station.the smell of fresh bread will be wafting over some new condos and a huge LA Fitness just annouced last week.

Thanks again for tuning in,have a great holidayand I will be back the following week. We will now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ecco means here in Italian and the Fifth Group’s latest restaurant, ECCO, seems to be, at this place and time ,worthy of note. Imagine a PLEASANT PEASANT with a Mediterranean focus and flair. The renovated spot at 7th and Cypress in Midtown ,formerly a night club,among other things, has a patio and interior that look as if they have been around for years. Inside, it is well accuotred.and comfortable. The menu is brief and to the point. Apps are $7-12;Mains ,$22-35. In between are meats and cheeses, paninis and pastas, all in individual or sharing servings.The wine list -I did not partake- seems to be well thought out.After one visit,I can say that I will return.

Speaking of returning,I recently returned to THE GLOBE for dinner. Had an out of town quest who wanted something special.Well, we went and it was-I (heart )the tandori duck at THE GLOBE. This place just gets better and better.

Just when you when you were about to abandon your search for a NYC dining experience ,recent hospitality and restaurant press accounts have been featuring an item that should have a major impact on the ATL’s dining scene . Starwood,owners of the W, Westin and other hotel brands, have hooked up with Jean-Georges Vongerichten in order to create ,among other things, restos for their upscale properties such as the W, St. Regis and Westin brands. With 2 W’s and a St. Regis in the development pipeline here, methinks that some interesting places and faces will soon grace our fair shores.

Question of the week:Oooooo, A hot one people ! What local cuisinier, whose intown restos have garnered national acclaim , is planing an eponymous luxe steakhouse in a warehouse around the corner from his current holdings? (Hint: go back a few columns for the answer)

NEWS and NOTES:

Alpharetta. The good folks at Metrotainment-EINSTEINS,COWTIPPERS- are opening HUDSON’S GRILL, serving “ classic American food” in the Winward Plaza shopping center.

Brookwood. Rumors are floating around that the HAVEN/MIX folks-the Arnetts- are mulling over a steakhouse that would appeal to ladies as well as men, a la NYC ‘s QUALITY MEATS-a SMITH & WOOLENSKY project.

Buckhead. A J.CHRISTOPHERS will join the resto roster at the soon to be completed Buckhead Plaza II building on Peachtree Road.

Downtown. On June 1st, The Reynolds,an upscale condo development opened at 565 Peachtree Street.It will feature 3 restaurant experiences: fine dining,casual and a gourmet coffee cafe. Two of the restaurants will have sidewalk dining on Peachtree Street.(It should be interesting to see which two.)

Midtown. Noticed a sign the other day while speedin-er-driving down Juniper at the soon to be open 905 Juniper condos.It seems that a CP PASTRY CAFE will open there soon.Will report when I know more.

Vinings.ORIENTAL PEARL has re-opened. According to press reports,the original owners have returned.This good news for long time fans,like me,who have enjoyed the dim sum and other treats this classy spot has offered for years.

A note to a long standing local foodie newspaper: IT IS TROIS not TRIOS! You have been repeating this mistake for over a year now.Proof reading is your friend.

Hope everyone had a great holiday,it's now on to summer! So go ye forth and do good things.

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[]

Kevin Rathbuns Steaks is coming next April. Couldn't be happier for him. He's done more to put Atlanta on the culinary map than any other chef in the ATL.

And a tip of the toque to you my friend.You are correct sir-with the possible exception of Herr Seeger.Did you see the piece in Sunday's NYT magazine on the "super agent" to the super chiefs?

Edited by micropundit (log)

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Kevin Rathbuns Steaks is coming next April. Couldn't be happier for him. He's done more to put Atlanta on the culinary map than any other chef in the ATL.

And a tip of the toque to you my friend.You are correct sir-with the possible exception of Herr Seeger.Did you see the piece in Sunday's NYT magazine on the "super agent" to the super chiefs?

Yep. But it didn't really say much bout Seeger. Did see him on Good Morning Atlanta last Friday and Heard he will be on the Today Show soon. He has his PR machine in overdrive lately... USA today, 5 pager in Atlanta magazine, NYT.

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Kevin Rathbuns Steaks is coming next April. Couldn't be happier for him. He's done more to put Atlanta on the culinary map than any other chef in the ATL.

Did not see the NYT piece. I was a chef in Atlanta for several years. I also have a brother who is a chef in Atlanta and I now work in sales selling to restaurants, hotels, etc. (Plus, I used to work for Kevin).

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Breaking news out of Brookhaven: Carmen Capello, executive chef of M!X has departed as of COB June 5th.The former sous chef at TWO URBAN LICKS had somewhat of a short run. Matt Swickerath will replace him for now.With this guy's mad skills, we hope to see him in action in somebody's kitchen soon.

With all of the exciting newbies coming on line, it is easy to forget the restaurants that have stood the test of time and continue to thrill us.As luck would have it,I had a chance to revisit some of my old favorites last week and from all appearances, they are still going strong.

Had lunch at NAN and was once again transported by the ambiance, food and service. The soaring space with the golden columns evokes the mystery of the Orient –note to self, must go to Orient soon. And the peanut dipping sauce- with apologies to the folks at DREAMLAND BAR-BE-QUE- .. ain’t nothing like it nowhere” Service was attentive without being obtrusive; the meal was well paced. As I looked around the room, It seemed that a lot of locals as well as visitors enjoy the experience of NAN as well.Saw some of the High Museum's head honchos with some French officials discussing the upcoming Atlanta Louvre exhibit.

Continuing my Asian theme, I also lunched at MF SUSHI later in the week. Crowded as well. Had the lunch special B: 6 pieces of sushi with tuna roll. Ex-ce-llent. If their Buckhead project is half as good, it will be a smash hit.

Question of the week: Where will the first of the “new” FLYING BISCUITS be located in the metro area? Hint: in a former location of a slowing fading-if not extinct- breakfast food chain east of the city limits

NEWS and NOTES:

Brookhaven. Look for an ATKINS PARK at 1410 Dresden Dr.. It will be modeled after the original Va-Hi location.

Buckhead. The Sheraton Buckhead on Lennox Road is also slated to be converted to a W-is the ATL hip enough for 4? A hot NYC restaurant design firm has been hired to do the interiors so be on the lookout for even more hip restos to come. Remember, you heard it first here.

Downtown. Yves Smake has been appointed as the top toque at THE ATLANTA GRILL at the Ritz Carlton Atlanta. Yves returns to Atlanta-he was at Chateau Elan- from the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay. Look for an emphasis on French technique on the new menu.I guess this means that they are not taking the development of The Ellis Hotel across the street lightly. To Mr. Smakee, we say welcome back.

CTY GRILL has a new executive chef as well: Brent Highsmith has been promoted from sous chef. To Mr. Highsmith, we say congratulations.

South Fulton County. Tony Seichrist, formerly of Athens, Georgia’s highly acclaimed FIVE and TEN, has been named top toque at the newly opened THE FARMHOUSE at THE INN, in Serenbe, the new urbanist community located 30 miles south of Atlanta. The menu will change daily based on the availability of product from local farmers/ the organic garden on site. Sounds like a winner, will have to check it out.I wonder if Delta flys there?

Until next week ,hold it down church. (Use of this blog has been approved for all carbon based lifeforms.)

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Attention,Atlantans/Georgians or folks within a reasonable drive: I have the perfect Father's Day gift for your favorite Dad. You do know it is this weekend,right?

The gift is a slot-out of only 6-at the Four Seasons Atlanta'sTastes & Techniques with Executive Chef Robert Gerstenecker of PARK 75.The once a month sessions are on a Tuesday from 6:30 pm until 8:30 pm. From my personal experience, they are fun,educational and ,best of all,the food is outstanding.Chef Robert and his team,including uber pastry chef Dave Jefferies, take the participants on an culinary journey inside of a Mobile 4 star kitchen without intimidation or stuffiness.

Last evening your intrepid scribe-that would be me- got hands on experience making pasta dough for an unbelievable ricotta ravioli.I also had a ring side seat as we made a seared ahi with carrot dressing summer salad that would make you assault a maternal family member.Last but by no means least,we were given instructions on how to prepare a peaches and cream creme brulee by pastry chef Dave Jeffries made with fresh Georgia peaches.As I stuffed the last spoonful into my mouth ,I could almost hear Ray Charles in the background. All of this was accomplished while consuming a variety of wines selected by the staff.And as an extra added treat,you get a gift bag filled with goodies ranging from gourmet salt to a $25 gift certificate for dinner at PARK 75.

My classmates were a diverse and energetic group ,several of whom had attended the last class. Chef Robert's easy going manner made us forget that we were sitting in the nerve center of a highly kinetic operation that swirled around us as we worked,learned and ate.Next month's class will focus on Bar-be-que.So contact PARK 75 at the Four Seasons ,the telephone number is 404-253-3840,ASAP and give dear ol' Dad a gift that will keep on giving.Operators are standing by.

Edited by micropundit (log)

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As the gentrification of Atlanta's intown continues ,the discussion around the social,political and cultural implications of the changes it has brought continues to heat up.It seems if there is a news story every day that centers around the size of houses that are being built on lots that had smaller scaled homes on them;intra- community disputs regarding retail projects/the lack there of;and, prehaps the most common, how the latest development will affect the "quality of life' within the respective community. It has been my experience that one outcome that has ,by and large flown under the radar, is the appearence of small,chef-driven restaurants geared to the neighborhood that they are located in.Restaurants such as FRITTI and FLOATAWAY CAFE that were the pioneers of the trend here in Atlanta are now being joined by a number of spots that have chefs who have made their bones in several high profile establishments. They have now opened their own shops but without all of the pomp and circumstance(or the overhead).What does remain and in fact shines through is their skill and devotion to to the craft and their neighborhood's quality of life improves significantly with each edition. One such restaurant is REPAST.

My first visit to small chic bistro in the Glen Iris corridor, that is shaping up to be a major intown market, blew me away. After seeing them on the Food Network's Opening Soon and reading the local media reviews , I had a certain level of expectation built up but I was totally unprepared for the depth and breadth of the experience. REPAST'S menu is quintessentially modern American, starting with the idea that good food begins with good ingredients that are cooked with skill and aplomp and then served with effiency and energy.

My dining campanions and I,one of whom is a big time chef, all agreed that from the apps to the deserts,the service;the wine and the ambiance,REPAST is a class act. I was even impressed by the valets.So to chef Joe Truex and his team-a shout out to Seth the GM for his deft touch-, major kudos and continued success. REPAST is a substantial asset to intown Atlanta and the entire region's dining scene.

Question of the week: What Midtown hotspot will be undergoing a major change in their kitchen soon?

NEWS and NOTES:

Downtown. Construction has started on a 21,000 square foot sports dining complex on Marietta Street.Local sports radio station 790 the Zone,is developing the facility that includes a 15,000 square foot restaurant and a sports bar with a roof top deck. All of this is located within walking distance from the Georgia Dome and Phillips Arena.

East Atlanta.The co-owners of CATINA La CASITA.a fairly new East Atlanta watering hole,are planning on opening two more eateries in the'hood: HONEY'S KITCHEN, a breakfast and lunch spot at the corner of Glenwood and Flatshoals; and,LATITUDE 33,a steak and seafood resto on Glenwood in the former GOODNEWS CAFE location.

Virgina Highlands. For all of you chocaholics out there, internationally noted TEUSCHER of Switzerland,has landed in the ATL at 393 N. Highland.

Until next week my peeps.Remember to tune in at the same time and at the same place.

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Atlanta Journal Constitution food columnist and former dining critic John Kessler had a week long series on Japanese food and its impact on American culture last week and it was phenomenal.Sushi USA was a tour of the nation's homes,restaurants and supermarkets ,from Plano,Texas to New York City that artfully framed the issue of what we like about the cuisine and why.As an added bonus,the AJC included several mutimedia presentations of the tour that I found to be fascinating.My fave was JK's experience at MASE for the $ 500 omakase.Rich.

Another facet of the series that merits attention is the focus on sushi.Local guys,MF SUSHI,were profiled in both a print and multimedia format that captured their laser like focus on the quality of their product and their absolute zeal to please the customer.When I spoke to JK -to compliment him on the series-he mentioned that Kinjo brothers Buckhead spot was going to different from MF SUSHI and very exciting.there you have it folks,from JK's lips to your ears.He also allowed that he had heard that a certain former ATL sushi super star might not stay in the Big Apple and might return to the Big Peach.

If you you are interested in reading a well written,well thought out and photographed piece of food journalism,check this series out. Go to the AJC flash page ,scroll down to the story line and click.You will be able to to acces the entire series,including the mutimedia presentation, and there is a blog where you can share your experiences and comments as well.I smell a James Beard award here.

Question of the week:Speaking of sushi, what ATL superstar record producer is planning to bring a NOBU franchise here in the near future? BTW,their initials are not JD

NEWS and NOTES:

Alpharetta: My good friend ,the industry bigfoot,sez that a FIVE GUYS BURGERS, a DC based chain that is very popular there, is planning to place one their stores here. Other proposed locations include Buckhead and Caroline Street intown.

Buckhead: Wine guru Greg Koetting,formerly of WOODFIRE GRILL, has surfaced at PAUL'S as their go to guy for the good stuff.

Downtown:The industry bigfoot also sez that Castleberry Hill,located southwest of the CBD but immediately adjacent to, is now the hot new 'hood. Formerly known for its cutting edge galleries and lofts,it is now gaining a culinary presence to match .New additions will include: MBAR,STUDIO 281 and CAFE NOIR AND SUGAR LOUNGE, who will join the all ready announced(in this column no less) NO MAS CANTINA-a 350 seater ,WASABI SUSHI and SAKE LOUNGE and OWC(Old Wooden Crate) et al.

Duluth:Look for ROBERTO'S WORLD TAPAS at 9700 Medlock Bridge Road,Suite 100.They say that the will serve.."fine food,fun and fancy drinking from all over the world".

Midtown: For the 11th consecutive year BACCANALIA was rated the restaurant in the ATL by the ZAGAT survey.QUINNONES,the younger sibling, was rated number 2 in the food rating category. A tip of the toque to Clifford and Anne.

Thanks for stopping by and remember,as Ann Landers used to say, "Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them."

Edited by micropundit (log)

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In my never ending quest to explore Atlanta's growing list of chic ,chef driven ,neighborhood restaurants, this past week I experienced, THE PECAN, College Park's newest fine dining restaurant. Located in the former OSCAR'S location,THE PECAN is the brainchild of Chef Tony Morrow who, "..after a distinguished career in the armed services, took his MBA and years of business experience and left a promising career in corporate America to pursue his true passion in life… preparing food for his family and friends". His career includes,among other things, graduating at the top of a prestigious culinary school and training at several Buckhead Life Restaurants,

My lunch was an order of blackened shrimp pasta with a side of asparagus that was plated elegantly,served promptly and had me arguing for an extra helping in order to determine if I really,really liked it.The lunch crowd had the place almost packed but the noise level permitted conversational privacy. The decor has been softened a bit from the OSCAR'S days but retains its cool urban vibe.The menu reflects an uptown Charlston twist on Southern cuisine with a moderate set of price points for both lunch and dinner.Chef Tony made the rounds during the meal and seemed to have a firm grasp of what his cliental wanted and judging by their reaction to him,they were very happy with what they were getting. I will return.

Well as our lovely Gifted Gourmet has reported,Richard Blais is leaving our fair shores.Barton G., the Miami-based international events design, production and management company that also owns and operates BARTON G. THE RESTAURANT, one of South Beach’s most celebrated restaurants, has named Richard Blais culinary creative director, effective July 24.

Now didn't we all see this coming after RB was passed over for the top toque at TROIS? After all, this was the flagship-$ 5 million to date- of the Amick empire and they went with someone outside the organization. With his national profile ,RB can have his pick of rewarding opportunities and so I quess this came along at the right time. He has been quoted as saying that he will continue doing work here so who knows,maybe there is a little BARTON G in the ATL's future? Best wishes RB,we will miss you.

Allready rumors are flying about RB's replacement;one name I've heard is Drew Van Leuvan, former top toque at SPICE.

Question of the week:Will the noted record mogul.song writer and producer who vowed to bring a NOBU to Atlanta be able to return any time soon from his " Arabian adventure" ?

NEWS and NOTES :

Ansley Park.TIERRA,the pan latin hotspot, 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.

Buckhead. PRICCI'S executive chef Piero Premolia, a Milan native, has become the first Atlanta chef to win "recognition of excellence" from the 53-year-old organization Accademia Italiana della Cucina. The group is dedicated to preserving authentic Italian cuisine. As a reward, PRICCI will be listed in the Accademia's annual restaurant guide.

TAURUS is offering patio massages. Each Thursday, beginning at 5:30 p.m., anyone sipping on the patio gets a quick rubdown, courtesy of a pro from Spa Sydell.A view,a drink and a massage,life is good.

Amy Miller, formerly of the DIXIE TAVERN, is opening LOTUS LOUNGE this summer. The multi-level “ultra lounge” will feature a main level open to all guests as well as two themed floors that require memberships with levels ranging from $250 to $2500.(!) The lower level will feature a 15-foot revolving lotus flower. The menu will include tapas, dim sum and sushi. Lotus will be at 565 Main Street in the new Lindbergh City Center.

Downtown. Look for LUCKIE FOOD LOUNGE, "Atlanta's newest modern -day American eatery" at 375 Luckie Street, across from the Georgia Aquarium,to open soon. It looks like it is going to be an exciting part of the growing dining and entertainment presence in the Centennial Park/ Allen Plaza nabe.

Inman Park. The ATL'S seventh THE GRAPE location will open at 300 N.Highland Ave.

Midtown. SBYDEE (pronounced sa-by-dee) means “doing just fine” in Thai it’s also the name of a new Thai restaurant, opening today in the space formerly occupied by Cha Gio on 10th Street.

Poncy Highlands. CRU URBAN LOUNGE,an intimate wine bar,featuring fine wines,premium liquor,cold sake,international beers and light cuisine,will open in the Ponce Springs Lofts at 620 Glen Iris Drive this month.

Have a great holiday people and don't do anything I wouldn't do.

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Well boys and girls ,it's time for the annual mid-year report card. The current State of the Plate here in the ATL is pretty good all things considered.The growth of neighborhood based,chef driven restaurants has been oustanding and a number of big name ,out of town operators have landed on our fair shores with more to come.And the national press has been very kind to us,witness Anne Quatrano's big fat wet kiss in last Wednesday's New York Times.So here goes my take on the ATL's 2006 dining scene to date:

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

Not all was rosy however.We are losing Richard Blais to south Florida(. But we are gaining Marvin Woods from the same locale.) SOTO is gone. There is only one BRIDGETOWN GRILL left and SAMPAN ,a great chinese spot in the old COMMUNE location, is no more.Ditto,IRIS and LUXE and OSCAR'S.But some newbies have arrived that should more than make up for the losses.

MEMORABLE

Among the more memorable additions are:BALTIMORE CRAB and SEAFOOD(checked it out and it's very,very good) BED,ECCO,ENOCATA CARBARI,REPAST,ROSA MEXICANO,SPOON, STRIP STEAK and SUSHI and THE PECAN.

ON THE HORIZON

Here are just a few names coming on line this year that will draw attention ,in fact I am seeing at least one getting national attention. Can you say Best Restaurants of 2007?

TROIS,the crown jewel of the expanding Amick et al empire.Will it be open in time for the grand opening of the Louvre exhibit at the High and will it wow all of the high brow visitors,some of whom might have some experience with French haute cuisine?

SHAUN'S,Mr. Doty goes to Inman Park. Is the magic still there;will Inman Park replace Virgina Highlands as the cool neighborhood? Stay tuned for this one 'cause a lot of eyes and mouths will be following Chef Shaun.

RATHBUN's STEAK HOUSE.while still in the planning stage with no official date,the news that kevin is adding to his nationally noted portfolio with an upscale steakhouse has local foodies hearts aflutter.

FAB ,aka THE FRENCH AMERICAN BRASSERIE,nee BRASSERIE LE COZE, has opened the downtown fine dining flood gates. Watch for some serious announcements in the coming months of some el primo restos locating in downtown. FAB debuts this fall.

GEISHA HOUSE,and it's siblings DOLCA ENOCATA and KINGPIN are set to rock Atlantic Station this fall. In doing my research-yes ,I actually try to find out about the things I write about thankyouverymuch- it has come tomy attention via the LA Times that GEISHA HOUSE is a big deal there so IJS,watch out for this one.

STUDIO 281,the Castleberry Hill nabe is fast becoming a see and be seen scene for more than arts types and the growing culinary focus is part and parcel of that phenomenon.This is one of the newbies that will set the standard for the area.

SPICE, now under uber chef Marvin Woods, will seek to regain the flavor that once made it the hottest spot in Midtown.

Question of the week: What chef has been selected to represent our fair city in the World Meeting of Food Communities in Turin, October2006?

NEWS and NOTES:

Alpharetta. Nicholas Bour ,formerly of MID CITY CUISINE and IRIS, will be the opening chef at MA MERE,an upscale seafood restaurant to be located at 9700 Medlock Bridge Road this fall.

Buckhead. Brian Murray,has been hired as chef de cuisine at EMERIL'S Atlanta,according to the local paper of general circulation.Chef Brian comes to us from EMERIL'S Miami Beach were he was executive sous chef.The same article noted that Kleber Cozer,former general manager at MARK's MIZNER PARK in Boca Raton,will become the GM for EMERIL's Atlanta as well. Hmmm.. sounds like a shake up to me.

Downtown.THE SUNDIAL RESTAURANT has a new top toque,Christian Messier,who comes to us from The Renaissance Grand in St Louis.Chef Chris began his career at Country Club of the South,so welcome back.

Folks,I want to assure you that 'm not crazy, I am just a genuis with a slightly different perspective. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself.CIAO

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Georgia Organics, a non profit group that promotes ,among other things ,environmentally sound farming,has produced a stunning 64 page guide that identifies the farms,markets and restaurants that feature sustainably grown local products.The 2006-7 Local Food Guide is a comprehensive listing of Georgia's vast array of resources that are available to those who are concerned about the production and consumption of healthy and locally produced food.

Georgia Organics is an Atlanta based membership organization that provides educational services to farmers concerning organic and sustainable farming;connects Georgians to organic farms,farmers and local markets;partners with communities to promote local food systems; and, and promotes policies and practices that improve stainable and organic farming in Georgia.Members receive newsletters,monthly on-line updates,and receive discounts,invitations and tours to events and conferences.

Their first annual guide is a well designed piece that demonstrates how sophisticated and dedicated the organization is.The on line version is chock a block with detailed information in an easy to read format.I was pleasantly surprised at the depth and breadth of the movement here in Georgia, a movement that is very strong nationally and growing. Support is coming from everyone from citizens to big name chefs such as Michael Touhy; farmers' cooperatives and an assortment of state and local governmental agencies.You can check out the Guide is at www.georgiaorganics.org. Read it and eat.

Question of the week: What former top toque at an hot intown spot and a number 2 at THE 2005 hotspot is now doing a radio show?

NEWS and NOTES :

Buckhead.Local foodies are buzzing about the opening of IBIZA,a taps bar named after a Spanish owned island in the Mediterranean Sea, owned an operated by the dynamic duo of Rafih and Rita Benjelloun(IMPERIAL FEZ) at 2285 Peachtree Road.

In the Atlanta Business Chronicle's 2005 annual ranking of restaurants,CHOPS was number one with $ 12.5 million in sales. In fact,seven of the top ten restaurants were located in Buckhead.

Downtown. The recently announced $100+ million renovation at the Marriot Maquis hotel also included a tasty morsel for ATL visitors and residents: All 5 of the hotels are being moved and renovated but look for the opening of PULSE,a spectacular new restaurant in the lobby of the Mobil 3 star hotel ,soon.

Karim Sharif is the new general manager at BED.

Midtown. The erst while Georgia Tech fave THE SOMBER REPTILE has closed.

North Druid Hills.Aloha to WAIKIKIE HAWAIIAN BARBEQUE,located at 2160 Briarcliff Road. It is the first location of the chain outside of California.

Oakhurst. This rapidly gentrifying nabe is being enhanced with yet another resto,STEINBECK'S OYSTER BAR.It is located at 659 Eastlake Drive and serves ,well,oysters, among other things.

Thanks for stopping by and remember, a smile is a medium of exchange that is always worth more than face value.

Edited by micropundit (log)

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Question of the week:  What former top toque at an hot intown spot and a number 2 at THE 2005 hotspot is now doing a radio show?

Carmen Cappello from M!X on Sandy Springs Radio

He already started.

http://www.radiosandysprings.com/Tastebuds/Carmen.html

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Atlanta Magazine's August issue features the "Best new restaurants in Atlanta" and based on their selections, Midtown is indeed the epicenter of the San Francisco of the South's culinary community.Over half of the selections were based in the middle of Atlanta's center city.The emphasis appeared to be on a combination of mise en scène ,service and cuisine,with simple being the dominant theme for all of the elements.Congratulations go out to the gang at THE GLOBE, named by the magazine as its Restaurant of the Year! My take on the the article is that the local marketplace is catching up with the national trends in terms of having a good geographical spread of restaurants that are accessible to residents,visitors and gastronauts alike and have good food at good price points.Here are the winners:EAST PEARL;ENOTECA CARBONARI;FEAST;KROG BAR;LOBBY at TWELVE;NAM CHUN HONG;PAUL'S;PIEBAR;PURE TAQUERIA;QUINONES at BACCHANALIA;REPAST;ROSA MEXICANO;SHORTY'S;TABLE 1280;TAURUS;and,TOMO

Speaking of gastronauts,I imagine that there is more than a little trepidation creeping in to their souls because of last weeks report in the newspaper of general circulation concerning SEEGER'S tax issues.Don't have the skinny yet but a quarter of a million dollar tax lien is no joke. Is it the economy-gas is now precious commodity- or are there other forces at work here? Stay tuned for details.

I have it on good authority that a to be announced downtown Allen plaza project will feature a "super high end restaurant".I have my suspicions but I want to cross check everything before going on the record. But this going to be a biggie!And ,if my suspicions are correct,the resto will bring a new design team to our shores to compare with our own stellar crew.

Question of the week: What ATL James Beard award winner and local fave scored their second New York Times piece in the last sixty days last week?

NEWS and NOTES :

Alpharetta. Rumor has it that Chad Scott is leaving/ has left CAFE MONACO.

Buckhead. TAKA SUSHI will be without its owner and top toque for an undisclosed period of time. Taka-san left a cryptic message in his monthly newsletter top the effect that he had to leave town and travel to an undisclosed location for unspecified reasons. I guess that clears that up.

Downtown.MICK's at Underground Atlanta has closed. This was one of the original tenants in the redeveloped Underground. This is not good: Underground ,the location,is reverting to a eyesore in the city.

On a more positive note,due to the success of their two ATL locations-including the downton flagship,GLADYS KNIGHT and RON WINNAN'S CHICKEN & WAFFLES will open a Las Vegas location this fall.

Midtown.Look for Plaza Midtown's restaurant roster to get a bit bigger. MARLOW'S TAVERN,sibling of AQUA BLUE and HI-LIFE, will open its third Chicago style bar location in the trendy condo complex next Spring.

Attention Piedmont Park visitors,QUATRO, an Italian bistro, has opened next WILLEY'S at 12th and Piedmont .The bill of fare will include gourmet pizza,pannini's and beverages.

Big ups to the folks at ECCO, they received a 4 star review from the food critic at the news paper of general circulation after being opened for less than 6 months. Get ready to be slammed.

On Wednesday,July 26,SPICE will host a Chef's Tasting Auction from 6-8pm.The event will benefit for the Black Women's Film Preservation Project.There will be prizes,including a meal prepared by Chef Marvin Woods.

Thanks for tuning in and remember, we all live under the same sky,but we all don't have the same horizon.

100% right 50% of the time.

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Question of the week: What ATL James Beard award winner and local fave scored their second New York Times piece in the last sixty days last week?

Anne Quatrano of Bacchanalia

Peaches and Ice Milk: A Marriage Made in Georgia

Anne Quatrano and her husband, Clifford Harrison, live on 60 acres about an hour’s drive from their three Atlanta restaurants. They’ve got chickens, turkeys and goats. They’ve got a few random head of cattle and two pigs. They’ve got herb beds and pea vines. And they’ve got peach trees. Dozens of peach trees. The fruit grows on trees that shade the modern farmhouse she designed, and stretch out over her family property
.

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Question of the week: What ATL James Beard award winner and local fave scored their second New York Times piece in the last sixty days last week?

Anne Quatrano of Bacchanalia

Peaches and Ice Milk: A Marriage Made in Georgia

Anne Quatrano and her husband, Clifford Harrison, live on 60 acres about an hour’s drive from their three Atlanta restaurants. They’ve got chickens, turkeys and goats. They’ve got a few random head of cattle and two pigs. They’ve got herb beds and pea vines. And they’ve got peach trees. Dozens of peach trees. The fruit grows on trees that shade the modern farmhouse she designed, and stretch out over her family property
.

I actually counted 3 articles in 3 weeks on Chef Anne in the NYT, but all are about her farm- more like a series of articles

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What is going with Craftsteak? When are they opening and who will be the chef?

Just located this information:

additions to the craft family:

craftsteak New York, opening May 2006

craft Dallas, opening June 2006

craft Los Angeles, opening winter 2006 -2007

craftsteak Atlanta, opening summer 2007 :biggrin::biggrin:

the dessert menu alone makes me feel faint and weak in the knees! :shock:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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This past week we here in the ATL were inundated with remembrances of Olympics past. Specifically,the Centennial Olympic games that propelled the city to the international spotlight for several years were recounted in great detail in the press and with countless celebrations.When all of the new buildings and attractions that have come on line since 1996 are totaled up,it has been an impressive run.All of the hoopla reminded me of how far the city has come in terms of culture, commerce and cuisine. And it made me wonder where we are going to go from here.Are we a feast for the palate as well as the eye?

We are seeing an influx of big name chefs/restaurants charging into our sylvan city giving us some culinary cache. Not on the order of say,Las Vegas ,which has proven that people will travel far and spend big for a great meal.Without regard to price.Other cities are following a similar blueprint for their economic development,see inter alia Dallas.There is some good news for the home team on the this account: CRAFTSTEAK,the latest from NYC's uber chef Tom Colicchio, is now confirmed for an Atlanta location(thank you Gifted Gourmet).However, there are some missing pieces that ,IMO,should be filled in-preferably by locals- in order for our town to not only stay in the game but to be a Top 5 contender.

Number one would be a great 4 star Asian restaurant on the order of NOBU. Second,a destination tapas bar , in Downtown, on the order of DC's MINI BAR.Third, a cutting edge resto specializing in "molecular gastronomy", a la Chi-town's ALINEA.( We will miss Richard Blais)This is by no means an exhaustive listing,if anyone has any thoughts on this topic,please share.The doors to the church are open.

Question of the week: Who is Jeremy Lieb and what is he doing in our town?

NEWS and NOTES:

Buckhead. Tammy Harris,former pastry chef at JOEL'S, has now assumed a similar position at ARIA. The rich just keep getting richer.

Drew Van Leuvan,former top toque at SPICE and the dearly departed IRIS,is now at WOODFIRE GRILL.He is slated to be sous chef in the very near future.Congrats!

Decatur. OZ PIZZA's location at 309 E. College Street has closed.

Downtown. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle,two new resto's will help turn the corner of Peachtree and Andrew Young International Blvd into our version of Times Square. FIRE of BRASIL,a 200 seat churrascia, and JALEPENO CHARLEY'S, a 150 seat Latin-Mexican fusion spot, will be located at 218 Peachtree this fall as part of a mixed use development being proposed by some local developers. A 120 key boutique hotel and a martini bar are also part of their plans for the former Planet hollywood site.

THRIVE is the name that is being bandied about for the proposed restaurant-bar-lounge to be located in Centennial Tower's ground floor,across the street from BED. Bill Johnson is the designer for the spot being brought to us by the crew that created the popular Compound nightclub in West Midtown.

Virginia Highlands. Bob Amick and his TWO URBAN LICKS chef,Scott Serpas, are planning a new concept to come out of the ground by Winter of 2007. Will keep an eye on this because these guys have mad skills, so who knows what they will come up with?

Until next week my friends and remember one of life's great challenges is to know when to apply wisdom like a tourniquet or a suppository.

100% right 50% of the time.

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