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January 28, 2013

Atlanta Eats Beat: Jan. 2013

The latest “musical chefs,” brand new nosh spots, foodies in the press & former ATL chef Joel Antunes lands in….Little Rock??!

By Nancy Staab

Like bourbon and BBQ, Korean steamed buns, new Italian dishes, honey bubble tea, vintage cocktails or sultry Latin tapas? We’ve got the new eating dens for whatever your yen!

STG Gets Some New Perks

STG Trattoria, which is known for its curated iPad wine list, seasonal small plates, Neapolitan pizzas and house-made pastas, has a new chef. STG’s former executive sous chef Sean Telo is now top toque at the Buckhead eatery. Telo, who worked locally under Chef Richard Blais and Chef Steven Satterfield, describes his approach as “clean flavors, executed with extreme technique, resulting in simply beautiful food- all while supporting local farms and sustainable seafood as much as possible.”

A dish at STG A dish at STG

STG also recently added Pastry Chef Sarah Dodge of Octopus Bar, who will create  newsweets for both STG and sister restaurant Bocado. Among the tricks up her sleeve:  a cake made of house-made ricotta with citrus syrup, and a chocolate pot de crème with espresso whipped cream. Lastly, owner Brian Lewis is adding new lunch service to the trattoria beginning, Tues. Feb. 19, with a menu of sandwiches, pizzas and small plates and look for 12-seat bar expansion to come later this spring.


Food 101 Is Re-Designed with a New Barrel Bar and “Bourbon, Bluegrass and BBQ” Sundays

The popular Sandy Springs restaurant Food 101 has undergone a redesign to appeal to more fast-casual eating trends and has added a cool new Barrel Bar focused on small-batch bourbons, ryes, and “shines.” Tabletops are now composed of wooden butcher blocks and a centerpiece neon “EAT” sign reigns over the dining room, while the masculine Barrel Bar is all warm woods and exposed brick. The rustic décor suits the bold Southern flavors of Chef Justin Keith, who has twice cooked at James Beard House in NYC. Not to fear: the classic buttermilk fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and meatloaf remain on the menu, along with new additions such as an intensely snack-able chicken paté with bacon marmalade and apple jelly; a tasty duck confit bahn mi; and a healthy scallop salad with kale. Dinner includes hearty dishes like pumpkin ravioli and Niman Ranch pork cheeks.

The Buffalo Rose The Buffalo Rose

The adjoining Barrel Bar has an impressive selection of small-batch bourbons (Woodford Reserve, Four Roses, Knob Creek, to name just a few) served straight up or in cocktails. Try the house Barrel Bar Manhattan made with barrel-aged Bulleit Bourbon or a Buffalo Rose with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Aperol, mint syrup, lemon juice, raspberry puree. Sample the tasty bar snacks like duck fat fries with truffle oil and roasted garlic aioli, a Georgia cheese board or butcher’s block of charcuterie. And if you go Sunday, you can not only enjoy a full brunch menu, but a new Sunday “Barbecue, Blue Grass and Bourbon” program. Chef Keith smokes his own meats and each Sunday he’ll offer up rotating Barbecue dishes, sauces and sides for brunch and dinner with bourbon tastings and live blue grass music from noon until 3PM.  Sip a Bloody Mary, bottomless Mimosa, or artisanal bourbon while feasting on pulled pork BBQ sandwiches, smoked chicken wings, and hickory smoked beef short rib.



Yum Bunz

Yum Bunz, the bao and ssam shop from Miso Izakaya’s Guy Wong, is set to open in Westside, opposite Toscano and Sons, in February. Think:  fast-casual or to-go Korean wraps and steamed buns filled with savory Szechuan chicken, pork, duck and/or vegetables. The menu will also include stir-fry dishes, salads, soups, pot-sticker and dumplings for lunch and dinner services, as reported in Atlanta magazine’s “Covered Dish” blog. The décor will be modern and the space will serve wine, beer and sake to wash all those buns down.


Honey Bubble Tea Lounge

bubble tea bubble tea

First Georgia produced Honey Boo-Boo, now it’s produced a less dubious product…Meet Honey Bubble, the sleek new bubble tea café and lounge on Ponce de Leon (opposite Clermont Lounge). What’s bubble tea? It’s the addictively sweet-ish fruit or milk-based teas invented in Taiwan in the 1980s. The “bubbles” are the chewy, flavor-filled and honey-soaked tapioca pearls at the bottom of each glass, sipped through extra-fat straws. The concoction can be made with black or green teas and sometimes condensed milk is also added. Think of these bubble cafes as the Asian version of juice bars. Popular flavors include: strawberry, cantaloupe, passion fruit, watermelon, coconut and non-fruit flavors like almond, ginger, lavender or sesame. Honey Bubble will serve 25 flavors of the tea, in addition to sweets like Brookyn egg creams, gelato, sorbet, cupcakes, scones and Parisian macarons from Alon’s. Free Wifi will appeal to the business and laptop sets, who will also appreciate the sleek modern décor of leather couches and Italian lamps. The lounge will also be open on weekends and late nights (open until 10PM weeknights and midnight on the weekends). Look for resident DJs in the future.



Executive Chef Jared Pyles (Flip, HD1, Villains) grew up with Latin grandparents and those seminal memories are flavoring his Latin soul dishes at new, under-the-radar spot Cruzado (translation “crossroads”). Cruzado is located in the former Cuban eatery and bodega Las Palmeras, in a leafy, residential section of Midtown on 5th Street. In fact “Las Palmeras” is still evident on the outside of the unmarked building and the obscure, neighborhood locale is part of Cruzado’s underground charm. Nevertheless, it’s already been found out by the neighborhood patrons, by lovers of Latin cuisine, hookah smokers (more on that later) and, surprisingly, Midtown lawyers venturing off the beaten path for lunch hour. On the former Las Palmeras side of the building, Pyles and Cruazdo owner Grace Lee offer full-on lunch and dinner entrees from all the Latin crossroads (Cuban, Spanish, Caribbean, Haitian, Columbian, Peruvian) in a bare-bones atmosphere with a charming wall mural depicting Cuba. Think: pollo asado from the in-house rotisserie, ropa vieja, and a luscious oxtail stew that is a bestseller for good reason. Don’t miss the Sunday Latin brunch with bottomless mimosas.

Cruzado Cruzado

The bodega half of the house has been transformed into a sexy tapas lounge, which opened mid-December, with partially curtained nooks, splashes of turquoise, and late-night, flavored hookah smoking. (Lee, a foodie from Miami, is a fan and noticed few spots in Atlanta for this pastime). Here you will want to sip a Mi Corazon concocted of St. Germaine, Champagne, blood orange and order up Pyles’ plays on Latin classics like rice and beans –here translated into golden fried arrancini of cojita cheese with black bean sauce. The shrimp ceviche is a thing of beauty on the plate with fried plantain garnishing and fresh flavors of the sea, plus olive and chili oil, sherry wine and herbs. The chicken wings are a succulently sweet antidote to the standard bar hot-wings, with their coconut-guava lacquer that also delivers some heat. And men: don’t miss the men’s bathroom with exuberant grafitti mural by local artist ComenC Jesse.

This is a cool spot by talented twenty or young thirty-somethings with a DIY indie spirit; underground cachet; and good global fare in a friendly neighborhood locale.


General Muir

THIS JUST IN:  The much-anticipated General Muir restaurant, from the West Egg Cafe team Jennifer and Ben Johnson, just opened. The restaurant will bring the "New Deli" trend of the hip, Jewish delicatessen to Emory Point with former Bocado chef Todd Ginsberg as top toque. Think: house-made pastrami and corned beef; bagels with lox, salmon row, cucumber and chives; potato lattkes, matzoh ball soup and killer pastries from pastry chef Lauren Raymond (formerly of Miller's Union and Empire State South). The atmosphere is deli-chic with black-and-white decor, a deli counter (of course) and white subway tile. The deli will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. For more info:


Ecco at Atlanta Airport

We hear that the Ecco restaurant at Atlanta airport will be open the second week of February. Fried goat cheese balls wth black pepper and honey should make that layover a tad more bearable! 



Woodfire Grill, JCT Kitchen and more play “musical chefs”…Plus Joel Antunes Resurfaces in…Arkansas???!

STG Trattoria’s Executive Chef Josh Hopkins (Abattoir, Bacchanalia ) has departed to White Oak Kitchens & Cocktails, a modern-Southern eatery at 270 Peachtree, downtown. No word yet on what he will add to the menu but expect some innovative, meat-centric dishes, that are his trademark. 

Tyler Williams Tyler Williams

Meanwhile, another Abattoir alum, Tyler Williams, has departed as executive chef of the Westside “meatery,” and is now bringing his culinary expertise to Woodfire Grill in the wake of Kevin Gillespie’s departure (to open his own spot Gunshow this spring) and the recruitment of Gillespie’s Woodfire Grill replacement E.J. Hodgkinson to JCT. Kitchen this month.   Famed for his teriyaki octo-dog and wagyu beef belly with rootbeer BBQ sauce, expect Williams to bring the same meat savvy approach to Woodfire’s decidedly seasonal program.   Another JCT, Kitchen alum, Chef Joe Schafer (who also worked at Parish) will open Ford Fry's King +Duke restaurant, focused on wood-grilled meats and seafood, in Buckhead this March. And as reported earlier, chef Kevin Maxey (formerly of Craft Atlanta) was also recruited by Fry to participate in his growing restaurant empire. 

TWO Urban Licks, the high-energy warehouse eatery in Inman Park, gets a re-boot with a hot-shot chef from Chicago, Todd Stein. Stein has worked at Bank (Minneapolis), David Burke (Las Vegas) and Cibo Matto and The Florentine in Chicago before his Atlanta move. Stein also appeared on Iron Chef America and was named “Best New Chef 2010” by Chicago Magazine. Stay tuned to see what stamp Stein puts on TWO Urban Lick’s fiery New American menu.

Lastly, French chef Joel Antunes, of Brasserie Joel, Atlanta, will alight in Little Rock, Arkansas, of all places, to helm the Capital Bar & Grill at the iconic Capital Hotel in Little Rock. Post Atlanta, Antunes was opening chef at the Oak Room at New York City’s Plaza hotel and brought his famed Brasserie Joel to London at the Park Plaza, along with a Kitchen Joel at the Embassy Mayfair. Stay tuned for what this Michelin-star chef plans to bring to Arkansas palates, but we are sure his classical French training and Asian inflections will both be in play.



Hugh Acheson professes his love for Fannie Farmer and Lodge cast-iron pans in Food & Wine magazine; and Proof and Provisions is named one of America’s top bars

Hugh Acheson Hugh Acheson

In the holiday edition of Food & Wine magazine, Hugh Acheson cited his love for Lodge cast-iron pans from Tennessee, his subscription to a local CSA [Community Supported Agriculture] from Woodland Gardens farm; a classic Old Fashioned cocktail, dinner at the steakhouse Bone’s, and the Fannie Farmer cookbook. But not all of Acheson’s hankerings are old-school. He’s also into fermenting kimchi, the work of Atlanta artist Radcliffe Bailey and would blow a $1,000 eating budget at Gordon Ramsay London. His dream when he retires? “To open a cider house in the mountains. I’ll wear overalls, it’ll be lovely.”  Read the full profile here:">  Also read Acheson's favorite local nosh spots in Atlanta here, from Octane and Octopus to One Eared Stag:"> 

Cheers to Proof and Provision, the popular new-ish speakeasy beneath Livingston at The Georgian Terrace Hotel. The subterranean bar just got a nod from Details magazine as one of “The Best New Bars in America” for its barrel-aged cocktails such as a six-week-old rye Manhattan. Pair it with Chef Zeb Stephenson’s grilled cheese (fontina, pecorino spread, truffle butter, bourbon barrel bacon) from the bar menu. Or try the vintage Hemingway’s Margarita. See the full list of best new bars here: