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Acheson's Empire State South: An Update

ATL Food Chatter: April 26, 2010
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At last week’s Farm to Table and Back event at JCT Kitchen, I spoke with Hugh Acheson about his highly anticipated Atlanta project, Empire State South. Here are some of the latest details:
 
According to the latest construction documents Acheson has reviewed, the opening is now on track for late August. (It was set first for April and then June; these types of delays are common for restaurant openings.)
 
Acheson continues to interview chefs to help run the kitchen—he is already looking at some chefs with established cred in the Atlanta dining scene. Expect some announcements on that front fairly soon. Acheson intends to be on site for the first couple of months of operation and will continue to spend a significant amount of time at the restaurant as a matter of course.
 
Empire State South will have several interesting features: One will be the availability of a luncheon delivery service for the tenants of 999 Peachtree, the Midtown high rise where the restaurant is located. Another will be a coffee shop that will prepare and sell gourmet coffee helmed by a noted Atlanta barista. As an aside, Acheson is pleased about how the selection of red Burgundies he’s gathered will blend with his progressive Southern cuisine.
 
The restaurant’s design team is led by Rob Rule of Rule Joy Trammel + Rubio, the same architects behind the 12th & Midtown project. Rule said that he was influenced by the restaurants he saw at Manhattan’s Chelsea Market when designing Empire State South and he and Acheson  believe that  the courtyard at the rear of the restaurant that Rule describes as looking like an ‘Italian villa” will be a big hit for diners.
 
Acheson, who is also working on a cookbook titled “A New Turn in the South,” promises that Empire State South will not be a “celebrity restaurant.” He sees it as a neighborhood spot that will be around for a long time.
 
NEWS AND NOTES:
 
Two Atlanta cooks, Brianna Jenkins and Herb Mesa, will be contestants in the sixth season of the Next Food Network Star that begins Sunday, June 6.
 
Rumors are flying about town that Flip Burger Boutique will open a Buckhead location in the Tuxedo Festival shopping center at the corner of Piedmont and Roswell Road. So far there has been no official confirmation.
 
Alpharetta. Harry O’s Gourmet Kitchen and Catering, featuring Southern cuisine and deli food, has opened at 8465 Holcomb Bridge Road.
 
Buckhead. What Now Atlanta is reporting that long time Chinese favorite Chopstix has opened a piano bar and has a new operating partner.
 
Thrillist is reporting that Blush Ultra Lounge, featuring a late night menu, has opened at 2847 Buford Highway.
 
Downtown. What Now Atlanta is reporting that FountainSide Cafe at Centennial Olympic Park will re-open in June with a “re-conception” by ai3 architects and it, along with the Visitors Center, will feature a new architectural element modeled after 1950s style signs.
 
The Atlanta Street Food Coalition will hold their second Urban Picnic this Friday, April 30 at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, 209 Edgewood Avenue, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Emory. The annual "Berry Bash" will be held at the Emory Farmer's Market tomorrow, noon to 5 p.m., featuring mixed berry cobbler (until 2 p.m.) and other sweet treats.
 
Grant Park. Cliff Bostock first reported that Ziba’s Restaurant and Wine Bar has opened in the former Solstice Cafe spot at 562 Boulevard.
 
Midtown. The iconic Bobby & June’s will close April 29 after more than 30 years in business.
 
Tomorrow’s News Today is reporting that the original Twisted Taco location at 66 12th Street is closing and will reopen as Dead Man Saloon later this year.
 
Vinings. Tomorrow’s News Today is reporting that TeaFuse, a locally based contemporary tea house, will open by the end of the month in Vinings Jubilee at 300 Paces Ferry Road.
 
Virginia Highland
. Rumor has it that construction on the second location of Yeah! Burger will start on May 1.
 
Question of the Week: What three ATL restos did Food & Wine editor Dana Cowin single out in her remarks about her recent visit to our shores in the May issue of the magazine?
 
PS. The answer to last week QOTW—What local resto is serving a version of Vancouver’s beloved “Japo Dog” Japa Dog?— is Wonderful World of Burgers, with its Teri-Mayo Hotdog (though commenter SalMonela also points out that Miso Isakaya is doing its own version as well).