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Golden Eagle closes May 2, with quick-service Muchacho set to take over the space

Inside Golden Eagle

Photo by Caleb Jones

Golden Eagle—the moody Reynoldstown lounge along the BeltLine—is closing its doors for good after service on May 2. The indoor dining challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic just proved too much for the once-packed mid-century-modern bar, says owner Michael Lennox, who also runs adjacent California-casual taco spot Muchacho and Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall down the road. With its counter-service model and handheld fare, Muchacho, on the other hand, is ready to expand.

“The last year has been pretty challenging industry-wide for full-service dining,” Lennox says. “Muchacho has been showing consistent growth for the last couple years. It was bursting at the seams. Golden Eagle was moving in the other direction.”

The counter at Muchacho

Photo by Ash Wilson

Inside Muchacho

Photo by Ash Wilson

Come May, the Golden Eagle space will undergo a complete revamp to remove the wall currently separating it from Muchacho, along with lightening and brightening the building. Muchacho will continue to serve breakfast and lunch (think coffee, toasts, and tacos) during the renovation. Once complete, the new Muchacho will include a 14-seat interior bar, a 6 to 8-seat indoor/outdoor bar, and a refreshed patio. A new menu (still in development) will provide dinner options, as well as cocktails made with tequila and mezcal.

“We still want it to feel natural, small, and approachable, as well as deliver the same fun, high-energy experience,” Lennox says.

Muchacho will continue to serve its usual fare, including these chilaquiles.

Photo by Ash Wilson

Lunch at Muchacho includes tortas and tacos.

Photo by Ash Wilson

Meanwhile, at Ladybird, Lennox and team are installing a 24-foot counter, as the counter-service model followed during the pandemic becomes the new norm. A large menu board will replace the map decor, and food offerings will shift to focus more on smoked meats like pulled pork, brisket, and ribs, served as sandwiches and platters. The brunch menu will stay the same, but diners can now order off the lunch menu as well.

“We experimented with counter-service as a survival tactic this past year, and it became clear to us that the quality of the guest experience could be enhanced by speeding it up. That’s what the consumer really wants right now,” Lennox says. “The goal is to get a drink in someone’s hand within a minute of getting their order.”

The Continent opens on Buford Highway with Jamaican fusion and fine cigars

Chef Scotley Innis

Photograph courtesy of the Continent

Chef Scotley Innis, best known for competing on Hell’s Kitchen Season 18 and for his popular ghost kitchen Scotch Yard, has opened a swanky Afro-Caribbean restaurant called the Continent on Buford Highway (4300 Buford Highway Northeast). There, Innis combines his Jamaican background and Southern experiences with Asian and African influences to create a menu full of unique dishes. Serving dinner, late-night dishes, and weekend brunch, the Continent pairs flavorful eats with boozy cocktails.

“I wanted to take Jamaican food to an elevated level,” Innis says. “People know us for jerk chicken, and I wanted to do more than that.”

Oxtail lo mein

Courtesy of the Continent

Pepper prawns

At the Continent, he’s created a menu balancing small plates with heartier large ones. His oxtail lo mein features braised oxtail, baby bok choy, and chambray onions; while the Yardman oysters put a Jamaican twist on Rockefeller oysters with callaloo, duck bacon, garlic butter, and Parmesan cheese. And the aforementioned jerk seasoning? That can be found on lobster cooked with a sherry beurre blanc and served with grits.

After working with mixologist Mike Haze (of Red Phone Booth) on the Atlanta Spirits Festival, Innis selected him to lead the Continent’s bar program, which has a focus on craft cocktails. Expect spins on Old Fashioneds and Sazeracs, plus a bramble-berry julep and a hibiscus Moet martini. Ale Sharpton hand-picked the beer offerings—local bottles only—including his new Piano Keys imperial stout from New Belgium Brewing.

Call Me Old Fashioned cocktail

Courtesy of the Continent

Those looking for something harder can head to the Cigar Lounge, where rare and pricey spirits include Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac, as well as Macallan scotch flights. Hand-rolled cigars can be enjoyed in what Innis promises is a less smoky space than one might expect. Though the Cigar Lounge is open to the public, memberships and cigar lockers are available.

The 120-seat restaurant is designed to awaken all of the senses—not just tastebuds. Dark wood, plush banquettes, and red velvet elicit a clublike vibe, and a DJ plays reggae and Afro-Caribbean beats Thursday through Saturday evenings.

“I wanted everybody to feel at home in a nice, comfortable setting, that’s laid back, where they can chill,” Innis says.

Inside the Continent

Courtesy of the Continent

Virginia-Highland’s culinary comeback

Virginia-Highland's culinary comebackWhen Tom Murphy opened his namesake restaurant in Virginia-Highland in 1980, the area was ripe with new restaurateurs. The neighborhood had fought off the Georgia Highway Department—which had planned to plow an interstate right through its heart—and home values were soaring. The Dessert Place and Capo’s Cafe had joined stalwarts like Atkins Park, George’s, and Moe’s and Joe’s as neighborhood hotspots. The original Taco Mac had opened the year before, foregoing the expense of a new sign in return for a better kitchen.

Longtime Atlantans may remember Capo’s owner John Capozzoli roaming the dining room—occasionally with a joint tucked behind his ear—stopping to chat with regulars as they feasted on fettuccine Alfredo and his signature chicken diablo. Down the street, at the Dessert Place, cofounders Sheryl Meddin and Bennett Frisch baked moist carrot cake and addictive cheesecake brownies.

“What I loved about the area was that all the operators were single-unit operators like me,” Murphy says. “They were present. They really put their heart and soul into it, making it fun, intimate, accessible, and tasty.”

Virginia-Highland's culinary comeback
Tom Murphy’s iconic restaurant has anchored the district for more than three decades.urph

Photograph by Ben Rollins

Virginia-Highland actually encompasses more than a dozen original neighborhoods developed during the early 1900s along the city’s Nine-Mile Circle trolley line. In the 1980s and ’90s, the area helped inspire a new appreciation for Atlanta’s walkable, urban communities. Featuring bungalows built close to lot lines and a diversity of dining and shopping establishments, it boasted a vibrancy that attracted a new generation of young professionals and families.

“Virginia-Highland always had this small-town feel,” says Murphy. “You knew your neighbors. It was the place to be.”

But during the past 10 years, as Inman Park, Old Fourth Ward, and other communities have been revitalized, competition for businesses and consumers has increased. National players like Jamestown, which developed Ponce City Market, moved in along the polished new Atlanta BeltLine. It was hard for the Highlands, with its homegrown mix of landlords and aging sidewalks, to compete.

Virginia-Highland's culinary comeback
Highland Tap, launched in 1989, is located at the intersection of Virginia and North Highland avenues.

Photograph by Ben Rollins

“Virginia-Highland just got stale; it needed a refresh,” says Gene Kansas, a cultural developer and founder of Gene Kansas Commercial Real Estate. “Atlantans wanted current places to go on dates and take their children. [Virginia-Highland] didn’t have what they wanted and needed, so the community went elsewhere.”

Longstanding places like Everybody’s Pizza, Goin’ Coastal seafood, Bill Hallman boutique, and Hand in Hand pub closed their doors, while others like Moe’s and Joe’s (founded in 1947), Surin of Thailand (1990), Highland Tap (1989), and La Tavola Trattoria—which replaced Capo’s in 1999—held on. Annual events like Summerfest and the winter Tour of Homes remained popular, but the area’s commercial districts began to languish.

Virginia-Highland's culinary comeback
Sandra Spoon, top right, owns and operates Atkins Park Restaurant & Bar, founded as a deli in 1922.

Photograph by Ben Rollins

Virginia-Highland's culinary comebackArchitectural planner and local resident Katie Voelpel helped launch Beautify VaHi in 2018. The group started with simple facelifts like new flower planters, but as businesses shut down during the pandemic, they recognized a unique opportunity to reinvigorate the mix of tenants. They changed their name to the Virginia Highland District Association (VHD) and posted a Change.org petition to garner support for attracting “some of the best names in retail and dining” to “recharge” the neighborhood. It attracted 1,800 signatures.

“Our goal is to create an itinerary throughout the district, so you have more than one thing to do when you come [here],” says Voelpel, who is also helping to spearhead events like movie nights, a porchfest, farmers markets, and food truck Fridays.

Kansas, whose company is leading preservation of the circa 1925 Va-Hi building, home to longtime favorite Paolo’s Gelato, supports VHD’s mission. “It’s about how businesses complement each other and the neighborhood,” he says.

His firm commissioned a mural of a peach tree—conceived by design studio Proper and installed by the Loss Prevention collective—on the side of the building facing the neighborhood’s namesake intersection. Kansas says he has fielded more than 600 calls about leasing space. So far, Kinship Butcher & Sundry and Pizza by the Slice have signed on for Goin’ Coastal’s former spot. Other eateries, such as Morelli’s Gourmet Ice Cream and Farm Burger, have opened nearby.

Virginia-Highland's culinary comeback
Kinship Butcher & Sundry owners Myles Moody and Rachael Pack

Photograph by Ben Rollins

Kinship, slated to open soon, will feature locally sourced meats and cheeses, dry goods, produce, wine, and a coffee bar. Led by Myles Moody, who worked at Restaurant Eugene and Eleven Madison Park, and Rachael Pack, a sommelier, Kinship is designed to be “a throwback to the idyllic butcher shop of yesteryear,” Pack says. “It’s a mom-and-pop shop that throws us into the community and lets us meet people on a more human level.”

Moody says the pair were drawn to the character, charm, and warmth of the building. “We don’t want it to feel commercial—we want it to feel lived in,” he says.

Kansas recruited Anthony Spina, who started O4W Pizza and helped launch Nina & Rafi, to open Pizza by the Slice—selling him on the neighborhood’s charm and walkability.

Even though Robby Kukler’s company, Fifth Group Restaurants, owns La Tavola Trattoria across the street, he recognizes more competition can be a good thing. “The pizza place is definitely needed,” he says. “It gives people a reason to come visit the area and reminds them of the great options here.”

This article appears in our March 2021 issue.

Lazy Betty team to open a modern Vietnamese cafe and bakery on the Westside

A rendering of Juniper Cafe

Courtesy of PRAXIS3

After much success with fine-dining restaurant Lazy Betty, chef-partners Ron Hsu and Aaron Phillips are planning a very different eatery on the Westside—a modern Vietnamese spot called Juniper Cafe. Planned to open this summer at 2250 Marietta Boulevard, it will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a casual atmosphere, with Vietnamese specialties like pho, noodle salads, banh mi, and shaved ice. As opposed to Lazy Betty, which offers a prix fixe menu, Juniper Cafe will serve items a la carte with a price point of $12-$18 for lunch and $18-$24 for dinner.

“Vietnamese food is very communal—you sit around a table and everyone shares stuff,” Hsu says. “On that side of Atlanta [where Juniper Cafe will be], everyone is very family oriented.”

Hsu will serve as the culinary director for both Juniper Cafe and Lazy Betty, while Phillips serves as Lazy Betty’s executive chef and Juniper Cafe’s corporate chef. Lazy Betty beverage director and general manager Carl Van Tyle Gilbert is also a partner in the cafe and will create a beverage program with French and American wines, global beers, and cocktails using Vietnamese ingredients. Craft sodas, coffee, espresso, and tea will be available all day.

A rendering of the exterior of Juniper Cafe on the Westside

Courtesy of PRAXIS3

A rendering of Juniper Cafe

Courtesy of PRAXIS3

Named for Hsu’s niece, Juniper Cafe will feature design elements that pay homage to historic Vietnamese homes and will be decorated with bright colors to reflect a playful spirit. The 110-seat space includes two patios and a takeout window for pastries and coffee.

Hsu and Phillips will begin testing Juniper Cafe menu items during pop-ups at Lazy Betty. The first one will be held Tuesday, April 13 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (or until sold out).

We spoke to Hsu to learn more.

Why’d you decide to open a more casual concept after such success with Lazy Betty?
I wanted something that can be more accessible to everybody. The amount of attention that a restaurant like Lazy Betty requires is more than I can handle. [Juniper Cafe] is very fun. It gives me a platform to offer a different kind of experience. I’m not always about a fancy dinner.

Vietnamese food is near and dear to me. It’s a melting pop of themes—French and Chinese. I’m classically trained in French food and traveled throughout Vietnam a few years ago. It made me love the cuisine even more.

What’s on the menu?
Charcuterie with strong French influence—homemade sausages with banh mi, homemade baguettes. We’ll have a small-scale bakery program. We might do Georgian cheese bread with egg inside of it and put sausage in it for breakfast. We’ll have pastries like croissants and Danish, and big, gooey signature cookies with oatmeal, pecans, and dark chocolate.

We’ll do a collard greens wrap with homemade sausage and peanut sauce for a southern spin as an appetizer, rice paper rolls, papaya salad, and starfruit salad. [Also,] shaking beef, Vietnamese-style caramel pork, and bahn xeo using local vegetables.

There’s shaved ice—shaved extremely thin like snow—with fresh fruit on top. We’ll have boozy ones like a coconut milk one with rum.

How will the menus change throughout the day?
Lunch and dinner will be similar but with some exclusive entrees or chef specials for dinner, like lemongrass grilled chicken.

What are your plans for the future?
I’m always interested in doing other concepts. Lazy Betty is very indicative of the food we like to cook and it’s very global. If we get the right opportunity and the business and economic conditions are right, we will try to do more concepts.

Athens import Maepole is ready to open in Summerhill

Chef Peter Dale—owner of the National, Seabear Oyster Bar, and Condor Chocolates in Athens—is bringing his healthy, comfort food spot Maepole to Summerhill. Located across from Wood’s Chapel BBQ at 72 Georgia Avenue Southeast, Maepole serves seasonal dishes in a build-your-own format. When the counter-service restaurant soft-opens next week, it will offer takeout and patio seating. The dining room will open later.

“The Maepole neighborhood in Athens has a lot of similarities to Summerhill,” Dale says. “We love being in a really diverse area near industrial spaces, old homes, and UGA. We love that Georgia State has a lot going on really close to Summerhill. There’s a great community vibe for all ages, and everyone is really friendly.”

Dining at Maepole is all about choice. Step one: Select a base (greens, brown rice, sweet potato, or quinoa). Step two: Choose two sides, including roasted vegetables, whole wheat macaroni and cheese, and chopped salad. Step three: Opt for a protein (shredded pork, black-eyed pea fritters, seared chicken thighs, or tempeh), or pick another side instead. Finally, top it off with sauces like buttermilk, turmeric-ginger, and sriracha-honey.

Vegetable sides

Select composed plates are available to avoid decision fatigue, and menu items change five times a year. Beverages follow the elevated health food theme and include hibiscus limeade, iced yerba mate, Figment kombucha, and sparkling Hop Water, which is exactly what it sounds like.

“We love vegetables and delicious, healthy food,” Dale says. “My other restaurants are all at a higher price point. I wanted to do something more accessible and convenient.”

Maepole is focused on sustainability as well. Everything is served in a disposable, compostable container. Dale says the restaurant generates very little trash, as almost everything can be recycled or composted.

The Summerhill restaurant resides in a new building with high ceilings and a covered but airy front patio with picnic tables, fans, and heaters. At full capacity, it will seat approximately 65 diners.

Vegetable sides

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Dent

Gilly Brew Bar is bringing its signature elixirs to Castleberry Hill

Gilly Brew Bar owner Daniel Brown

Courtesy of Mary-Claire Stewart

Daniel Brown and Nephthaly Leonidas founded Gilly Brew Bar in Stone Mountain in 2018 with a goal of building community while disrupting the norm. They created a coffee shop that uses its kitchen as an incubator for up-and-coming chefs, while serving Firelight Coffee Roasters’ cold brews, cortados, macchiatos, and more. In addition to traditional drinks—and masala lattes—Gilly has grown a following for its James & James-brand elixirs.

These elixirs are what Brown calls “medicine for the soul.” They are named as chapters (Chapter 1, Chapter 3) as each is designed to tell a story and ties to the bible. “In historic times, drinks were poured out as an offering to a deity,” Brown says.

Often made with coffee or tea, in addition to herbs, bitters, and house-made simple syrups, these tinctures look like cocktails (and may or may not include alcohol). Chapter 2, for example, is comprised of coffee, Riesling, jam, and smoke, and is touted on the website as “a refined smoking experience.”

Gilly’s Stone Mountain location introduces five new elixirs each season; the Castleberry Hill spot will further emphasize these drinks, seeking inspiration from the artist community surrounding it.

Gilly Brew Bar’s James & James collection of elixirs

Courtesy of Mary-Claire Stewart

Planned to open later this month, the approximately-3,500-square-foot space at 333 Peters Street Southwest will feature a 16-seat bar and a vintage, “gritty” vibe. There are brick walls, wooden floors, local artists’ work on the walls, and plenty of plants.

“We’re rough around the edges—we’re not your cookie-cutter coffee shop,” Brown says.

In addition to drinks, he’ll serve Woodstone Bakery muffins and cookies. There will be a small retail area with simple syrups, Just Add Honey teas, mugs, hoodies, and more. After the Castleberry Hill location opens, Brown says he’ll be looking to expand to other brews—namely beer and wine. He may decide to roast his own coffee beans as well, and is exploring packaging and distributing his elixirs.

Claudia Martinez embraces Southern ingredients on Miller Union’s new dessert menu

Miller Union executive pastry chef Claudia Martinez

Courtesy of Miller Union

Pastry chef Claudia Martinez, best known for her work launching the dessert program at Tiny Lou’s at the Hotel Clermont, has a brand-new gig. As executive pastry chef at Miller Union, Martinez is swapping French inspirations for Southern and embracing the farm-fresh style of executive chef/owner Steven Satterfield.

“When I left Tiny Lou’s in December [2020], I only wanted to work two places in Atlanta: Bacchanalia or Miller Union,” Martinez says. “I’m a big fan of Steven Satterfield. He aligns with me as far as values and ethics. He has never been afraid to be vocal and raise money for causes. We want to put out good food and give back to the community.”

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Martinez started Café Claudia, a pastry pop-up that donated a portion of the proceeds to causes like Black Lives Matter and Free99Fridge. After Tiny Lou’s operations separated from Indigo Road Hospitality late last year, Martinez originally planned to move to Charleston, South Carolina, with the restaurant group. But the opportunity at Miller Union changed her mind.

”Atlanta is the place I have a platform,” she says. “I want to stay here, build my brand, learn from Steven, and continue Café Claudia pop-ups.”

Her next pop-up will be held at 8Arm in late March. In the meantime, she’s busy revamping Miller Union’s pastry program. We spoke to her to learn more. 

Cornmeal cake with compressed strawberry, chèvre creme, and candied pistachio

Courtesy of Miller Union

How are your Miller Union desserts different from those you created at Tiny Lou’s?
It’s a different side of town and a different clientele. I’m getting to know what people here want to see from me. I’m trying to do at least one savory or adventurous item and one that leans more classic.

Tiny Lou’s was playful, fun, and out there, in a historic hotel, so the desserts reflected that. These are more based on nostalgia and southern influence, focusing on presentation and highlighting local ingredients. I still use savory ingredients and tropical flavors, but instead of French, the food has more Southern roots. The dairy is the highest quality—it’s crazy the difference it makes in the cream or mousse.

What can people expect?
I’m keeping the ice cream sandwiches Miller Union is known for. I just made one that’s dulce de leche with candied coconut ice cream. I’m using Venezuelan Valrhona chocolate for my take on Ferrer Rocher candy. It’s chocolate mousse, hazelnut ganache, passion fruit, and cocoa streusel. It’s a richer dessert that really comes together with the acidity. There’s also a chocolate salted caramel tart. It’s classic with grapefruit and bourbon brown sugar ice cream.

Venezuelan chocolate mousse with hazelnut ganache, cocoa streusel, and passion fruit

Courtesy of Miller Union

Creme fraiche vanilla cake with citrus shortbread, blood orange-lemon sorbet, and fennel

Courtesy of Miller Union

How often are you changing the dessert menu?
I change about one item every two weeks based on what we’re getting from farms and what’s selling the most. Things change with the seasons, and I’m focusing on cross-utilizing products from the main menu.

What have you learned working with Steven Satterfield so far?
I learned how much this restaurant is zero waste. Food waste is an issue we don’t always talk about. I’m learning a lot about composting, using trim, and using extra food for the family meal. Instead of throwing away the trim of a cake, we’ll dehydrate it or turn it into powder.

Tiny Lou’s new chefs reinvent the menus at the Hotel Clermont

A selection of items from the new dinner menu at Tiny Lou’s

Courtesy of Hotel Clermont

In December, the Indigo Road Hospitality Group (O Ku, Oak Steakhouse, Colletta) ceased operation of Tiny Lou’s in Hotel Clermont after Oliver Hotels, which operates the property, decided to manage the popular restaurant in-house. Executive chef Jeb Aldrich and pastry chef Claudia Martinez wrapped up their work in the kitchen, making room for Jon Novak and Charmain Ware to take over in early February. Now, the duo has settled into their new roles and is ready to share their carefully crafted menus.

At 30 years old, executive chef Novak has spent nearly half of his life working in restaurants, including a stint as sous chef at TORC in Napa Valley. With classic culinary training, he draws inspiration from French nouveau cuisine and local, seasonal ingredients.

He’s reworked nearly every dish on the Tiny Lou’s menu. Take the free-range chicken, for example. He confits and quarters the leg for one-and-a-half days, slow cooks it for three hours, then sears it to suck up all the jus in the pan. Braised carrots are the vegetable accompaniment, while crisped and dehydrated carrot greens add crunch to the sauce.

“The flavors of the dish sing together,” he says.

Another of his favorites is the Gnocchi Parisienne cooked in brown butter and served with roasted okra and celery root velouté. Steak frites, pan-seared diver scallops, and Berkshire chop round out the menu, which still includes French onion soup and a burger.

Unlike Novak, executive pastry chef Ware did not take a traditional career path. After a car accident forced her to be bedridden for some time, she became fascinated by cooking shows. She attended City of Refuge’s 180 Kitchen Culinary Program and then fine-tuned her skills in the kitchens at Brasserie Café at Parish and Restaurant 356 at the Porsche Experience Center, where she met Novak.

“I’m inspired by things that bring back memories from when I was a kid, like the way your mother’s kitchen smells on a Sunday after making brownies,” she says. “It’s always about a memory for me.”

She devised a play on a hummingbird cake with white chocolate, pistachios, turmeric, pickled pineapple, curry, and local honeycomb, inspired by life in the South. She also created a savory goat cheese cheesecake that is served like a cheese plate with Parmesan twill, honeycomb, and savory graham cracker crumbs.

Executive pastry chef Chairman Ware and executive chef Jon Novak worked together previously at Restaurant 356.

Courtesy of Hotel Clermont

“I go to a lot of wine tastings and taste unexpected things that blew my mind. You’d be surprised how well curry and white chocolate pair with each other,” she says. “I guess I’m like a mad scientist in a way.”

Martinez’s popular Ode to Blondie dessert, inspired by the Clermont Lounge’s infamous dancer, has been reinvented and renamed Hello Blondie. A banana blondie with chocolate cremeux, pretzel crunch, dulcey mousse, PBR caramel, and espresso ice cream, Ware describes it as “a little salty, sweet, grimy, and grunty, just like Blondie.”

The Hello Blondie is a banana blondie with chocolate cremeux, pretzel crunch, dulcey mousse, PBR caramel, and espresso ice cream.

Courtesy of Hotel Clermont

Ware has also reinvented the multi-layer crepe cake to include chai spice, caramel, vanilla mascarpone, and toasted pistachio.

“I try to stay fun, familiar, and local. I like to play,” she says. “A dessert should be inviting; it doesn’t have to be hoity toity.”

She believes her Southern upbringing and Novak’s technical training provide a nice balance to their working styles.

“We ask each other for advice,” Novak says. “She’s been in the South longer than me so she unlocks the ingredients for me.”

Though Tiny Lou’s is perhaps their biggest undertaking, Novak and Ware are responsible for leading the culinary approach to the entire Clermont Hotel, including the Rooftop dining space.

“For the roof, I think about slutty and nasty, like chili cheese fries with all the toppings, pulled pork, gumbo, fried okra,” Novak says. “We’re switching it up every 60 days—maybe do a Pho bar, Mexican, lobster rolls.”

Similarly, Ware strives to keep the Rooftop sweets simple and familiar, such as cookies, brownies, and shaved ice. In the hotel’s Café, she’ll have grab-and-go items like biscuits, muffins, parfaits, cake pops, spiced nuts, and flavored popcorn. Once Tiny Lou’s re-launches brunch, she’ll be making sweet potato cinnamon rolls, Cinnamon Toast Crunch French toast on brioche, and Cheddar Bay biscuits.

Meanwhile at the Lobby Bar, Novak is focusing on light items that he describes as “fun, fast, and go well with a cocktail,” like pimento cheese deviled eggs.

“This building is a representation of our personalities,” Ware says. “We can be fun, grimy, and refined.”

Brooklyn Tea expands to Atlanta, with a Castleberry Hill shop set to open this spring

Growing up, everyone in A.D. Wright’s West Indian household had a job to do; his was serving tea to his mother. In that regard, his life’s work was established at age 3. After growing up and working as a digital marketer, Wright found himself missing tea. He secured a job at a Manhattan tea shop and learning the business side while simultaneously studying to be a tea sommelier.

In 2017, he used his digital prowess to launch an online tea store with significant other Jamila McGill. A year later, the pair opened a brick-and-mortar shop near called Brooklyn Tea near their home in New York. Now, in May, their long-time friend Kerri-Ann Thomas is bringing Brooklyn Tea to Castleberry Hill in Atlanta.

“I’m from Atlanta. Kerri-Ann and I found each other at Spelman College. [Castleberry Hill] is our stomping grounds,” McGill says.

With a casual, industrial vibe, Brooklyn Tea sells 100 types of loose-leaf teas, plus hot and iced tea drinks. There’s chocolate mint, blueberry rooibos, apple cider tea, and lavender Earl Grey, to name a few. The Atlanta location will start with 50 varieties and introduce more over time.

Blueberry Rooibos tea

Courtesy of Brooklyn Tea

“We’re the Ralph Lauren of tea,” Wright says. “We’re a high-quality brand known for style that’s not pretentious, but not a bargain brand either.”

Thomas is partnering with Dymetra Pernell of First Batch Artisan Foods to offer vegan pastries and breakfast offerings. While none of the Brooklyn Tea owners are vegan, they believe they’re filling a void in the market, Wright says.

The 1,300-square-foot space will highlight fellow Black-owned businesses in the neighborhood by rotating the art on the walls and displaying locally made products like candles and hand sanitizer.

“We’re focused on having a communal experience,” Wright says.

A new bar from the Joystick team will showcase the scientific side of cocktail mixing

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By Weight and Measure pop-up display

Courtesy of By Weight and Measure

Joystick Gamebar and Georgia Beer Garden owners Brandon Ley and Johnny Martinez, along with long-term general manager Ian Carlson, are plotting another entertainment-focused bar called By Weight and Measure. Located in the Collective at Coda food hall near Georgia Tech, By Weight and Measure aims to educate the public about the scientific techniques used in making craft cocktails. While mixology classes aren’t on the agenda yet, patrons will be able to see the drinks being made using machines like centrifuges, immersion circulators, and dehydrators.

“It’s a small space, and everything we do will be on display,” Carlson says. “It gives people the opportunity to ask questions.”

At 400 square feet, the wedge-shaped bar stall will only seat four or five people. Additional seating is available throughout the food hall, and Coda’s open container policy allows people to take their drinks to go.

“It’s all part of the show: a little bit theater, a little bit fun,” Ley says of the science. “It gives people something to watch while they wait for their drinks.”

By Weight and Measure pop-up display

Courtesy of By Weight and Measure

Beverage offerings include six to eight beers by the bottle or can, a concise selection of wines by the glass, and six to eight cocktails that rotate seasonally. The bar also plans to offer a favorite from Joystick: a coffee-and-bourbon slushie called Knuckin’ & Buckin’, made with Old Forester bourbon, house cold brew concentrate, and sweetened condensed milk. In addition to Carlson’s signature slushie, there will be a tropical Manhattan made with banana-infused bourbon with coconut water ice cubes and lime, a peanut-infused bourbon and Coke called Simple Peanut Farmer, and an Ecto Cooler-like margarita.

“We’re trying to keep it playful,” Carlson says.

Don’t expect the space to look like a laboratory; the By Weight and Measure team opted for warm woods and greenery to make the space feel comfortable and homey. High ceilings with large windows bring light into the corner space, which is located across from El Burro Pollo.

By Weight and Measure is slated to open in June or July. In the meantime, the team is focused on safely reopening Joystick Gamebar and converting the upstairs section of Georgia Beer Garden into Mambo Zombi, a new bar that pays homage to Latin American and Afro-Caribbean cultures.

By Weight and Measure uses a centrifuge to clarify juice, infuse liquor, and clean up milk washes.

Courtesy of By Weight and Measure

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