Last summer, husband and wife team Chris Malfitano and Carla Geniso—whose collective resume includes training under French chef Guy Gateau and staging at New York’s Park Avenue Café—opened a quick-serve Southern restaurant at 2615 George Busbee Parkway in Kennesaw. Called the Rotisserie Shop, it offered chicken and meat platters, sides, and sandwiches in an order-at-the-counter format. But the customers wanted more.
Recently Malfitano, who worked at Marietta Country Club, and Geniso, who attended the Culinary Institute of America, decided to rethink their 2,000-square-foot restaurant and turn it into a place where diners would want to hang around.
“We changed the interior—brightened it up—and changed some of the plating and techniques,” Malfitano says. “The customers wanted healthier stuff so we added more salads and sides.”
Gone are the collard greens, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Instead, quinoa and chunky vegetable salad and pickled cucumber salad serve as staples. In addition to the signature rotisserie chicken and pulled pork, other menu items include Georgia shrimp and stone ground grits served in a roasted tomato butter sauce with crispy Andouille sausage; Southern BLT salad with Greek blue dressing; and farm stand chicken ravioli with goat cheese and vegetables.
Customers are now greeted by a hostess and waited on by servers. The décor is vintage with vintage Venetian plaster-treated walls in rich earthy greens, taupes, and browns. Modern folk art hangs on the walls.
Takeout and catering are still available, but Malfitano hopes customers will come in to eat and drink (wine and beer only) in the 42-seat dining room or on the patio.
“Rotisserie hasn’t hit Atlanta the way it’s hit in England and France. In New York, it’s really big now, too,” he says. “It’s an everyday kind of food that you can take to a new level.”