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February 6, 2012

Rathbun Redux! A Preview of KR SteakBar

Buckhead lands Kevin Rathbun’s buzzy new Italian-themed project

By Nancy Staab

Beloved chef Kevin Rathbun throws a bone (as in bone-in-steak) to the Buckhead crowd with his upcoming KR SteakBar. Think: steak house-meets-Italian-small plates concept that’s poised to open in Peachtree Hills this August. Rathbun recently shared a preview of his culinary plans with LuxeCrush. Read below for all the delicious details.

Chef Kevin Rathbun, Kevin Rathbun Steak, A New York Strip dish Chef Kevin Rathbun, Kevin Rathbun Steak, A New York Strip dish

There’s seemingly nothing Chef Kevin Rathbun can’t conquer in the culinary world from slaying Bobby Flay in an Iron Chef America competition to opening one creative and accoladed restaurant after another— the robust Modern American cuisine of Rathbun’s ( “One of the Top New Restaurants in the U.S.,” Esquire magazine), the atmospheric Spanish tapas joint Krog Bar, and the immensely popular re-think of a steakhouse known as Kevin Rathbun Steak (“Best New Steakhouses in America,” Details magazine ). Kevin is also a regular on the local charity circuit and holds star billing at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. This year he’s hosting a big throwdown at his house to honor some local rising chefs—more details on that to post soon. But up until now, Rathbun has staked out Inman Park exclusively for his culinary empire. Buckhead residents regularly made the pilgrimage to Inman Park to pay homage to his “second mortgage” plates, prime steaks, tapas and seductive sides ( jalapeno creamed corn with scallions; smoky braised greens with Kentucky hog jowl; eggplant steak fries; brown butter cauliflower mash). However, now Buckhead residents can boast an intimate, 120-seat Rathbun joint of their own, KR SteakBar, located in what Rathbun terms “the slightly off-beaten track of Peachtree Hills, according to the format of all our restaurants.”

NY Strip with shaved Brussels sprouts from Rathbun's NY Strip with shaved Brussels sprouts from Rathbun's

Never one to repeat himself, Rathbun is tackling the cuisine of Italy for his newest eatery and marrying that with some of the concepts borrowed from Krog Bar (the small plates trend) and Kevin Rathbun Steak (protein). “I would like to offer up the best quality of meats, with a better value perception that meets a neighborhood feel,” says Rathbun of his new place. Only now the beef, sourced from Allen Brothers in Chicago, will be served up in more dainty “pack of cards” sizes, according to current healthy eating trends. Rathbun says there will be lots of roasted meats as well as pastas and Italian-style small plates for sharing. “I may break down a roast tenderloin or strip and serve it with really good balsamic oils or olive oils,” muses Rathbun.

“I’ve traveled through Italy and I’ve always loved the simplicity of the food there, the attention to local foods and the commitment to quality,” says Rathbun. “I will be touching on many regions of Italy. Pasta from Emilla-Romagna will be the largest essence of the menu due to the pasta. I will of course be doing coastal Italy as well. Cheeses, pork, vegetables will all be locally-sourced and prepared in an Italian way.” The pastas will mostly be made in-house, with the exception of a few extruded types that will be out-sourced as needed. As expected, Rathbun says KR SteakBar will also offer an extensive Italian wine portfolio and cocktails to match, and an extensive range of beers to tap into the current craft beer craze.

Warm lemon pudding cake with strawberry gelato from Rathbun's Warm lemon pudding cake with strawberry gelato from Rathbun's

Renowned Atlanta-based design house, The Johnson Studio, will helm the design of KR SteakBar, just as they left their design imprint on Rathbun’s other design-centric restaurants. No word yet on design details, but Rathbun says that KR SteakBar will have “a large bar, lounge and high-top table format to entice larger groups. We will also have an outdoor patio, fire pit and maybe some outdoor hearth cooking…”  Sounds like a recipe for another rave-worthy Rathbun restaurant.

KR SteakBar is slated to open August 2012 at 349 Peachtree Hills Ave.,  www.kevinrathbun.com