Good bagels in Atlanta used to be few and far between—and, often, far out of town. When I moved here in 2006, I was bereft at the options. Raised in South Florida as the daughter of a New York expat, I grew up surrounded by bagels—not the moist, doughy kind you get in bakery chains but plump rounds with the slightly crispy shell that comes from being boiled briefly before going in the oven. The closest approximations I could find back then—the only nonchain outlets—were Bagel Palace in Toco Hills (RIP) and Bagelicious in Marietta.
A year in, I discovered Bronx Bagels (aka BB’s) in Alpharetta, slinging hand-rolled, kettle-boiled circles with the crunch-to-chew ratio New Yorkers swoon over. But schlepping to McFarland Parkway, in Atlanta traffic? You might as well bring two dozen Ess-a-Bagels back from Manhattan.
In 2013, the General Muir brought New York–style bagels into town—but, because TGM is more restaurant than bagel shop, it’s not always easy to snag a dozen on the go. Enter Emerald City Bagels. Initially selling their long-fermented bagels from a stand in Cabbagetown, mother-daughter team Deanna and Jackie Halcrow skyrocketed to fame after landing a booth at the Piedmont Park Green Market. In 2018, they opened a shop in East Atlanta Village.
Emerald City’s success foretold a boom of independent bagel bakers around the city—and not just New York wannabes. Montreal bagels, which are sweeter, smaller, and thinner, have found a Southern home as well. Here are three newcomers—and one old favorite making moves inside the Perimeter.
On the back of its more upscale sister, the Deer and the Dove, B-Side serves Montreal-style bagels that are proofed overnight, boiled with molasses, and finished on wooden planks in a wood-fired oven. The result is smaller bagels with a slight char, reminiscent of pizza crust.
What to get
Everything bagel topped with a custom mix from local dry-goods company Beautiful Briny Sea
While Spiller Park Coffee owner Dale Donchey searches for a permanent home for this side project, he’s selling bagels under the Dear Friend label most weekends at Spiller Park. They’re made with Georgia wheat and South Carolina rye in the dough and malt and honey in the boil.
What to get
Poppy and sumac–topped bagels, black-pepper labneh schmear
Politan Row, the new food hall in Colony Square, officially opens to the public on June 25. But lest you roll your eyes at the opening of yet another food hall in metro Atlanta, there are a few things that set Politan Row apart. For starters, it’s small with a unified design. Its vendors are independent chefs and up-and-comers. The food is served on china. There’s a photo booth and a central bar. Seated dinners? No problem.
The development of a new Colony Square food hall has been in the works for years after North American Properties—which developed Avalon and revitalized Atlantic Station—acquired the historic property in 2015. Steve Palmer, founder of Indigo Road Hospitality Group (O-Ku, Oak Steakhouse, Colletta), was associated with the food hall project in 2017 when it was still called Main & Main. Later, Texas-based food hall operator Oz Rey signed on—before parting ways with North American Properties. Last year, Politan Row, a New Orleans-based group that operates six other food halls around the Southeast, stepped in, announcing that the Atlanta hall would be its largest yet.
“Atlanta was on our bucket list,” says Politan Group founder and CEO Will Donaldson.
“We had worked together before. I liked Will’s philosophy and approach to business,” says Adam Schwegman, partner and senior vice president of leasing at North American Properties. “We wanted something true to Midtown with that balance between sophisticated and approachable, something people haven’t seen before.”
Politan Row takes over the space previously home to Colony Square’s food court, but you’d never know it. The more than 50-year-old building—the Southeast’s first mixed-use development—at the corner of Peachtree and 14th streets in Midtown underwent a $400 million renovation. Portions were gutted. Ceilings were dropped. An IPIC movie theater now resides above the food hall. There are three new outdoor spaces dubbed the Grove, the Plaza, and the Patio, including a stage, shuffleboards, and an outdoor bar.
When development is complete, onsite restaurants outside the food hall will include counter-service spots Sukoshi, Freshii, Brown Bag Seafood Co., Starbucks, Sweetgreen, Chick-fil-A, and Moe’s Southwest Grill. Full-service options will include Holeman and Finch Public House, Rumi’s Kitchen, 5Church Atlanta, Establishment, Serena Pastifico Italian, and Saints and Council (from the Café Intermezzo CEO). At least half of these are open now, but come June 25, Politan Row’s opening will add at least nine other food and beverage options to the list. Here’s what you can expect:
A carefully selected mix of vendors—“a wide variety of options without overlap,” explains Schwegman. Vendors include:
Bun Mi Grill, a Vietnamese spot that focuses on banh mi and pho (its previous location in Buckhead recently closed)
Federal Burgerby chef Shaun Doty (formerly of the Federal). This is Politan Group’s first burger concept in one of their food halls.
Gekko hibachi bowls and sushi from Jack Bai, who runs a food truck with the same name
Locale Café, a Caribbean spot specializing in jerk chicken, stewed oxtail bowls, and Jamaican meat patties
Pretty Little Tacos, launched in Triton Yards and quickly gained notoriety for founder Michaela Merrick’s birria, a decadent beef taco dipped in broth. Expect chicken, steak, shrimp, oxtail, and vegan tacos, plus dessert options like a strawberry shortcake taco.
Unbelibubble Tea recently opened a stall at the Works on the Westside. Now it is bringing its vibrant bubble teas to Midtown.
YOM juices, smoothies, grain bowls, and toasts by Atlantan Rob Green
A unified design that makes you feel like you’re in a restaurant. The mid-century modern approach pays homage to Colony Square’s 1970s roots. Every stall features the same yellow/orange tiled counter with rounded edges, two horizontal mirrors, and navy menu board. The 11 stalls line the exterior walls so you can see them all at once. “When you come into this room, it’s one experience,” Donaldson says. “You don’t want to overcrowd the senses because it feels chaotic.” The piece de resistance, Bar Politan, is in the center. With striking LED strip lights and warm woods coming down from the ceiling, it provides a focal point—and a central meeting place.
Quality libations. “We’re trying to meet where speed and craft come together,” says Politan Group beverage director Sophie Burton. To do so, she’s created a drink list with spritzes, margaritas, and hard seltzers on tap, and six additional shaken cocktails. A full bar means guests can order any classic cocktail, too. Expect 10 wines by the glass, plus eight beers on tap, as well as few cans.
Plated dishes served on china and drinks poured into stemware. Food halls are the modern-day equivalent of a mall food court, right? Not this one. Food from every stall is served on the matching china, and drinks are served in appropriate glassware. A “guest ambassador” will greet diners, tell them about his or her favorite dishes, and even introduce them to the chefs upon request. “Guest assistants” can bring diners extra silverware and water, and remove empty dishes. “We’re taking more of a neighborhood restaurant approach [to hospitality],” Donaldson says.
A chef’s table. Sure, you can order via an app and take your food to-go if you so desire. But if you want a sit-down experience, that’s what you’ll get. For $30 per person for 2 to 20 guests, Politan Row will serve your party eight dishes representing a signature offering from each chef. “It’s a rock-star experience for an everyday budget,” Donaldson says. (Reservations recommended.)
Not your average event space. The 250-seat hall includes a private event space with its own bar—and a built-in photo booth. There’s plush, throwback furniture, black-and-white photos of Colony Square’s early days, and floor-to-ceiling windows that bring the outside in. The space is fully equipped with A/V capabilities for meetings and presentations.
Just in time for its 10th anniversary, Decatur staple No. 246 (29 East Ponce de Leon Avenue) is ditching its modern, California-Italian roots for a nostalgic throwback to “red-sauce” dining rooms of the 1970s. The restaurant’s new concept focuses on Southern Italian classics like fried mozzarella, cheesy garlic bread, spaghetti and meatballs, and veal Milanese. Fear not, pizza will still be on the menu.
“When you get older, you start liking things that remind you of those comforting moments of your childhood,” says Ford Fry, founder of No. 246 and its parent group, Rocket Farm Restaurants. “During quarantine, [246 partner] Drew [Belline] and I both ended up making meatballs or a massive chicken parm. It’s just what you want to eat.”
Belline says he’s wanted to create a “red-sauce concept” for more than five years, and saw a good opportunity in Atlanta.
“Atlanta feels like it’s missing that mafia-vibe restaurant, and 246 was kind of going in that direction anyway,” Fry says. “This is fun and not so serious. We want to be old school with technique, rather than a cigarette hanging out of your mouth.”
Old 246 favorites like baked ricotta will still be available, white others, like the agnolotti, will be simplified. Other menu items will include spicy rigatoni vodka, chicken al lemone, Bistecca alla Florentina, and flounder piccata. For dessert, expect tiramisu with a sidecar of espresso.
The five-course chef’s menu will continue to be an outlet for executive chef Dave Stockford’s creativity with ever-changing offerings like tagliatelle carbonara with white truffles and roasted fish in brown butter.
The drink menu, too, is being transformed from a focus on seasonal, craft cocktails and simple, tried-and-true classics. The menu includes approximately 10 cocktails, including a $4 half-pour negroni served in a tiny martini glass. There’s also a garibaldi made with Campari and whipped orange juice and a martini with a gorgonzola-stuffed olive and seasonal sidecar snack, such as a date with pecorino and basil, named Papa Lou after Belline’s father. Lighter options include a seasonal bellini, apero spritz, and Hugo, made with elderflower, prosecco, and soda water.
“When we opened in 2011, the craft cocktail scene was just taking off. Now, we’re going back to the classic Italian bar,” says beverage manager Clarke Anderson. “The drinks speak to traditional Italian flavors and ingredients like vermouth, Campari, and prosecco.”
The grappa, apertif and digestif menu has been expanded to include 34 amari. The beer list is changing from primarily local brews to classic European and Italian lagers. Although the wine by-the-glass menu is mostly unchanged, the bottle list will be reorganized by price point falling into three categories: $45, $60, and $85. A special occasion cellar list will feature a higher-end dozen bottles.
The decor will also be updated to pay homage to Italian restaurants of decades past. Fry says to expect a homier vibe with black and white photos on the walls, herbs hanging to dry, and white tablecloths with butcher paper on top. The servers will don classic uniforms featuring white shirts, thin black ties, and long bistro aprons for a more polished look.
“This type of restaurant was real strong in the ‘70s, so we’ll have elements of disco playing, and a Studio 54 vibe going on,” Fry says.
In other Rocket Farm Restaurants news, chef Mirra Sims—formerly of Gramercy Tavern—is taking the reigns at Beetlecat and will reinvent the menu there. She replaces chef Andrew Isabella (formerly of No. 246), who moved to Florida for a change of pace during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Mirra has a subtle touch with food. She balances salt, fat, acid, and heat, and brings interesting spice to everything,” Belline says. “She will be focused on lightening up the food, steering away from the Asian flavors on the menu now. You’ll see a lot of small vegetable and fruit dishes.”
A new Superica location is opening in Dunwoody next year, and yet another location of the popular Tex-Mex restaurant may be in the works for the Westside.
Chef Ian Winslade is opening a modern Italian restaurant called Tre Vele in Sandy Springs next month. Together with his Mission + Market partners Jonathan Akly and Tony Akly, Winslade is turning the former Three Sheets building (6017 Sandy Springs Circle) into a destination for house-made pasta, pizza, and craft cocktails.
“I’m classically French trained, which is similar to Italian training in regard to understanding the basis of food, so this is a natural extension of where I come from,” Winslade says. “I don’t want to be tied to a particular region or area. I just want to present well-made, modern Italian food.”
Tre Vele, or “three sails” in Italian, pays homage to the 11-year-run of the space’s previous tenant. Winslade plans to take full advantage of the Three Sheets setup, from the 3,500-square-foot dining room to the 1,500-square foot rooftop. The space is being redesigned to catch the eye with plant-filled trellises on the ceiling, gold leaf mirrored backlit shelving, and bold geometric shapes. The dining room boasts a 30-foot Carrera marble bar.
Tre Vele will also have a 600-square-foot cafe and market selling Illy coffee and fresh pastries, as well as wine, pasta, and sauces. The cafe features a view of the glassed-in pasta room and provides additional space for hosting private dinners and events such as wine tastings.
Directed by Winslade and implemented by executive chef Giancarlo Ruiz—who spent 16 years in Florence, Italy—the main menu will focus on pasta but also include a selection of antipasti, salads, entrees, and pizza. Expect Cavatelli al Sugò D’agnello with lamb sugo and Strozzapreti with vegan kale pesto. Entrees include Veal Milanese Coda alla Vaccinara (braised oxtail with a red wine tomato sauce) and Red Snapper Acqua Pazza. Winslade will be making thin-crust pizza and focaccia in a fully electric, high-temperature oven (up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit).
When they launch later this year, lunch and brunch will highlight healthier items and smaller portions of heavier dishes.
“We want to appeal to the light, bright side of food,” Winslade says.
This may be especially appropriate for rooftop dining in what Winslade refers to as a “gardenesque” setting. The covered space will be open for lounging late night, too.
Michael Davis (Mission + Market) is curating the beverage program, designing vibrant cocktails and modern interpretations of Italian classics. The wine list will focus heavily on Italian varietals, and select bottled beers will be available, too.
When homegrown Kirkwood breakfast spot Le Petit Marche closed in March, Atlantans were aghast. But hope was quickly restored when chef Anthony Sanders, co-owner of Atlanta Breakfast Club, purchased the restaurant, promising to keep it intact. This month, Sanders plans to reopen Le Petit Marche with the same quaint decor and a similar menu. However, the new Le Petit Marche will offer table service rather than counter service.
“I was the consultant on Le Petit Marche 14 years ago, and before it closed, [previous owner Marchet Sparks] sent me an email saying she wasn’t going to continue with the business but that it’d be a great place for Atlanta Breakfast Club,” Sanders says. “She loves Kirkwood. She wanted to make sure no one had to change their routine and would still be able to get breakfast and lunch there seven days a week.”
Rather than convert the Le Petit Marche space to an Atlanta Breakfast Club, Sanders decided “the best thing would be to show respect to [Sparks] and her family by keeping it the same,” he says. “I love the decor. It’s perfect. It’s New Orleans meets the South of France meets Atlanta meets Afrogenius.”
The menu will continue to reflect guest favorites, such as oatmeal, French toast sandwiches, panini, and soup; but Sanders says he’ll offer a fresher approach to the salads and beverage menu. Nitro coffee may soon be an option, in addition to libations like mimosas and bellinis.
Breakfast will continue to be available all day, and Sanders may even extend the operating hours to 6 or 7 p.m., depending on demand.
The words “cult following” often bring to mind thoughts of Star Trek, Arrested Development, or even In-N-Out burgers. But fast-casual salad chain Sweetgreen, too, has a dedicated fanbase—a group likely celebrating and eagerly anticipating its Southern arrival. With more than 120 locations across the United States, Sweetgreen is finally here in Georgia. Its Ponce City Market location soft opens this Friday and Saturday (June 4 and 5), with the official grand opening on June 8 (more on that below). Additional locations are planned for Colony Square and Lenox Square.
“We’ve been excited about Atlanta and drawn to this community for quite some time, and we’re thrilled to be joining the Ponce City Market neighborhood,” says Nicolas Jammet, Sweetgreen cofounder and chief concept officer. “Between the award-winning culinary scene, vibrant arts and entertainment districts, and strong community culture that permeates through the city, Atlanta felt like the next natural home for Sweetgreen.”
Sweetgreen’s menu includes a build-your-own option with bases such as warm quinoa, shredded kale, baby spinach, and arugula. Toppings include seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and proteins such as roasted shrimp and hard-boiled eggs. Pre-designed salads and bowls include kale Caesar and roasted tomato harvest with blacked chicken, goat cheese, basil, roasted almonds, shredded kale, warm wild rice, and balsamic vinaigrette. The Atlanta locations will be home to an exclusive item: a blackened catfish bowl with baby spinach, warm wild rice, shredded cabbage, raw carrots, red onions, basil, spicy sunflower seeds, and a Green Goddess ranch dressing.
Many ingredients will be sourced locally from purveyors like Allison’s Honey (wildflower honey), Calyroad Creamery (chèvre), Alon’s Bakery (rosemary focaccia), and Genuine Georgia (yellow peaches). Local artists affiliated with TILA Studios—a Black female visual arts incubator—were commissioned to decorate the Ponce City Market location.
To celebrate the grand opening on June 8, numerous promotions are planned, including free delivery for the first two weeks for mobile app orders. Hardcore fans who are among the first 50 in line on the 8th will receive a Nourish Botanica floral bouquet. The company will also contribute to Project South in support of Black Lives Matter.
Correction 6/8/21: The original headline of this story described Sweetgreen as an L.A. salad chain. While the company is currently based in the Los Angeles area, it was founded in Washington, D.C.
The Westside Works Culinary Academy—which provides free culinary training to west side residents in hopes of creating employment opportunities—is expanding. In the past, Westside Works employed select graduates at West Nest, a Mercedes-Benz Stadium food stall on the 300 level. Starting tomorrow, West Nest will have second location at section 115, with a portion of the proceeds from both stalls benefiting the training program.
The Westside Works graduates who work at West Nest implement menu changes, cook, and manage the food stalls. This year, the menus feature maple buffalo wings, a country-fried chicken sandwich with jalapeno-apple slaw and bacon jam on brioche, and straight-cut natural fries with house-made dipping sauce.
“People come into the program with little expectations about their skill set, and graduate with the most passion I’ve ever seen,” says Latisha Rodgers, culinary instructor and program operating manager for Westside Works. “I’m giving these people hope that they can come into this industry and be successful.”
In the past couple of years, the program was shortened from eight weeks to six, yet graduates still achieve their food management certification and learn knife skills, protein fabrication (such as how to break down a 22-pound Atlantic salmon), baking, culinary math, and more.
Despite program pauses due to the pandemic, from late 2019 to December 2020 Westside Works graduated 23 students and achieved 100 percent placement in places like the Pig and the Pearl, JCT Kitchen, and Proof of the Pudding. Approximately half of the graduates go on to work at West Nest or Westside Works’ “fan-friendly” food truck at Mercedes-Benz. Wages start at $13.50 per hour.
Westside Works has other tracks for those who aren’t culinarians. Nearly 500 west side residents worked on the construction of the stadium, and more than 800 are employed in some function of it.
For more information, visit westsideworks.org, or support the nonprofit by visiting West Nest at the next Atlanta Falcons or Atlanta United game.
If you’ve been to the Westside recently, you likely noticed the L-shaped building rising at the corner of 14th Street and Howell Mill Road. This is the Interlock, a two-phase, work-live-play creation boasting a boutique hotel, techy, interactive golf, and soon, a lot of food options. The first tenants just opened, with many more planned for the future.
“The goal is to create a walkable, mixed-use environment, says Justin Latone, who oversees the Interlock leasing for developer S.J. Collins. (If you’re wondering, S.J. Collins also developed Chamblee’s Peachtree Station shopping center and the North Decatur Square shopping center.) “Jamestown’s redevelopment of the Westside Provisions District was the catalyst to everything we’re seeing in West Midtown now. This area is unique and authentic and has expanded rapidly.”
He says the Interlock is designed to complement existing hospitality options in the areas, as well as provide day-to-day necessities that don’t currently exist in the area, such as a grocery store and a bank, both of which are planned for the Interlock in the future.
Here’s what to expect and when:
Puttshack The first Interlock business to open, Puttshack is an indoor, interactive entertainment zone complete with a restaurant and bar. Confused? Think mini golf, but all grown up. The neon-lit space accepts reservations for golf games, but walking in spontaneously is okay, too. Fill up on crispy popcorn cauliflower, wood-fired Thai octopus, and hatch chile cheeseburgers. Wash it down with a Porn Star martini (yes, that’s really the name), made with Absolut Vanilla vodka, passionfruit liqueur, vanilla syrup, lime juice, rose, and passion fruit smoke, or opt for the less provocative-sounding spiced pineapple mezcal margarita.
Bellyard Now open, boutique hotel Bellyard has 161 rooms, including suites—each with luxurious amenities such as Japanese soaking tubs and foldable writers’ desks. Guests have 24-hour access to a fitness center with Peloton bikes. The hotel will have numerous public spaces, too. There will be 7,000 square feet of event place (inside and out), a 160-seat American tavern called Drawbar, and fresh coffee and pastries from a Saint Germain French Bakery outpost. (More on both of these below.)
Drawbar Serving breakfast, dinner, and late-night drinks—including 250 spirits—Drawbar boasts an open-air terrace with skyline views. Expect bar-centric snacks and craft tavern fare, plus beer, wine, and cocktails. Dishes include Coca-Cola short ribs toast, tomato and ricotta Johnny cakes, and a garden frittata.
Saint Germain French Bakery Founded by Decatur native Heather Jourdan-Gassin, Saint Germain French Bakery opened in Ponce City Market’s Central Food Hall in 2016. When it opens in June, the Westside patisserie will feature a coffee and tea bar, as well the croissants, chocolates, and macarons the brand has become known for. There will be 30 types of freshly baked French pastries like opera cake, eclairs, fruit tarts, Napoleon, and lemon meringue, plus 18 flavors of gluten-free macarons (including strawberry basil and mango mimosa). For lunch, there will be croque monsieur, quiches, grilled sandwiches, and soups. A wine and champagne list will focus on French, organic, and women-owned vineyards.
Velvet Taco A funky taco shop with locations in Texas, North Carolina, and Illinois, as well as here in Buckhead, Velvet Taco features a casual, colorful atmosphere with counter service. The menu lists more than 20 unique options including a chicken and waffle taco served in a waffle shell. Other items are more traditional, like grilled flank steak and shrimp tacos. The tortillas are hand-made, sauces are mixed in house, and the brisket is slow-roasted for more than 18 hours. There’s a weekly taco special, and red velvet cake for dessert. Look for the Interlock location to open in June with a walk-up window, a covered patio, and a mural paying a tribute to the historic Interlock train system.
Holiday Bar Establishment co-owner David Reed is opening this bright-and-airy drinking hole across from the Westside Provisions District with his business partner Ryan Covert. Tentatively scheduled for a July launch, Holiday Bar will feature high-top seating, firepits, and fairy lights strung across the space. Primarily an outdoor venue, Holiday will focus on cocktails. The beverage menu is still in the works but may be divided into Old Timey, Negronis, Tiki, Spritzers, and ‘80s/’90s. Everything will be served to-go, as the Holiday space is only 850 square feet and the Interlock has an open-container policy. Not up for alcohol? Holiday will have its own brand of coffee used in espresso drinks (as well as coffee cocktails).
Cathy’s Gourmet Ice Cream Sandwiches Cleveland, Ohio-based Cathy’s serves design-your-own ice cream sandwiches on cookies and churros. Cookie dough, ice cream scoops, and milkshakes are on the menu, too. When Cathy’s opens in the Interlock in July, patrons can choose from seven types of cookies including snickerdoodle and chocolate brownie, 15 flavors of ice cream (coffee ‘n’ cream, anyone?), and 10 toppings, such as toffee and Fruity Pebbles. Sugar rush make you crash? Coffee is available, too.
Slater Hospitality Rooftop Opening before year’s end, the yet-unnamed Slater Hospitality rooftop includes a 13,000-square-foot restaurant and bar (think of their restaurant Nine Mile Station atop Ponce City Market), private event space, and a second bar with garden seating and firepits. Instead of boardwalk-style games, the roof at the Interlock will have a wading pool and cabanas, so guests can get their sun on.
TruFusion In time for the winter holidays, exercise brand TruFusion is opening a gym on the Westside. Expect yoga, barre, circuit, HIIT, and Pilates, including numerous heated classes. TruFusion currently has locations across the country.
Kinjo Room & La Lau MF Sushi’s Alex Kinjo is looking to open a 20-seat, a la carte sushi restaurant called Kinjo Room next year. He’s also opening a more casual Vietnamese spot called La Lau. Expect a takeout window for grabbing Vietnamese coffee and banh mi on-the-go.
Pour Taproom This popular, self-service, wine-and-beer bar on the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail is bringing its variable-size pours to the Westside. Expect it to open before Thanksgiving.
Other tenants Additional Phase 1 and 2 plans include Resident Home furnishings, a Georgia Tech incubator, WeWork, Stream Realty, Chase Bank, S.J. Collins, Lovesac Furniture, and Publix.
Owner and chef Thip Athakhanh opened Snackboxe Bistro in Doraville in 2018. After a short-lived location in the Battery (thanks, Covid-19), Snackboxe is expanding again—this time to Duluth, where Athakhanh says most of her customers live. Occupying a corner spot just off the highway (1960 Day Drive Northwest), Snackboxe Duluth, set to open in early September, will be a similar size to the Doraville location with the addition of a patio and a full bar.
Likewise, the menu will offer Doraville favorites like laap, lemongrass ribs, crispy pork belly, seen savanh (sweet and savory fried beef jerky), and nam khao (crispy coconut rice salad with fermented pork or tofu in a lettuce wrap). However, the menu will be streamlined to accommodate the limited kitchen space. Nevertheless, Athakhanh will introduce about 10 new items focused on Laotian barbecue comforts.
“Laos always smells like garlic and lemongrass with cooking in the streets,” Athakhanh says. “This is adventurous, jungle-type food.”
Expect skewers with prawns, squid, chicken livers and gizzards that can be self-grilled on the patio. Though fans will have to go to Doraville for the Snackboxe noodle soups, Duluth will have one noodle dish called khao piek sen. Athakhanh describes it as a chicken noodle soup with house-made tapioca noodles, a staple in Laos. The beverage menu will feature Thai iced tea and coffee, as well as Laos-inspired cocktails, such as a Mekong, a Laotian version of a Michelada with tamarind powder and chile powder on the rim.
The space will be more fun and formal than the original, designed for date night or hosting out-of-town guests. It will have a lot of wood and greenery, including banana plants. There will be art on the walls and a garden outside.
“We want it to feel more like a home, like you’re in Luang Prabang, Laos,” Athakhanh says.
The past few weeks have brought a flurry of announcements from some of the most popular pitmasters in Atlanta and the Southeast. Celebrity pitmaster Rodney Scott is bringing his popular ‘cue to Atlanta, while local mainstays like Fox Bros. are expanding even further into the city. The timing couldn’t be better, with summer right around the corner and family and friends finally dining together as Covid-19 vaccination rates continue to climb.
“Barbecue brings people together just like all soul food,” says Todd Richards, chef and co-owner of Lake & Oak BBQ. “I always say that it’s impossible to be mad at someone across the table while you’re eating a delicious meal.”
Black pitmasters, too, are finally getting more credit for their culinary expertise.
“Back in the day, you had the Black man in the kitchen or in the pit, but the white man who owned the restaurant was labeled the pitmaster, and the black man was labeled nothing,” says pitmaster Bryan Furman, who is opening his own restaurant next year. “To me, barbecue has always been hot. It’s just starting to get the attention [it deserves].”
Here’s where you can get your fix of pork and ribs in the next couple years:
Bryan Furman BBQ
The pitmaster behind the beloved B’s Cracklin’ BBQ—which we named the best barbecue in Atlanta before it burned down in 2019—Bryan Furman knows a thing or two about smoking meat. The 2019 James Beard semifinalist is currently Chef in Residence at Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, where he’s focusing on barbecue wood selection and heritage hog cooking. He’s also set to mentor aspiring pitmasters as part of Kingsford Charcoal’s Preserve the Pit initiative. But Atlantans may be most interested in his 2022 plans: launching his first barbecue joint under his own name. (He’s also opening a satellite location inside State Farm Arena in the fall.)
Located at 2102 Bolton Road in Riverside, across from the old B’s Cracklin’ space, Bryan Furman BBQ will feature his signature recipes for meats and sides. These include brisket, ribs, chicken, collard greens, baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad, Carolina hash and rice, and banana pudding. The menu will be limited to approximately 15 items, including vegan options. Furman will be smoking North Carolina hogs front and center with both indoor and outdoor seating. His old, destroyed smoker from B’s Cracklin’ will be on display, as well as photos of Black pitmasters of yesteryear. His new smokehouse will be brick and fireproof (just in case). He’s also partnering with Samara Davis, director of the Black Bourbon Society, to create cocktails with Maker’s Mark.
The second location of Georgia-meets-Texas barbecue joint DAS BBQ opened at 350 Memorial Drive last month with seven smoked meats and seven sides. (The beef brisket and spicy Mexican-style creamed corn take center stage.) Beer, wine, and liquor are available, too.
The nearly 200-seat restaurant offers ample outdoor space around the smoke house. In addition to general meat-smoking presentations, hands-on pitmaster classes are in the works.
Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q
Pitmasters Jonathan and Justin Fox are expanding their award-winning barbecue with two new locations. The first—located at the Works on the Westside—is slated to open this summer. The 9,300-square-foot space will feature a to-go window and grab-and-go offerings, as well as indoor and outdoor seating. The menu will be a mix of fan favorites from the original Fox Bros. on DeKalb Avenue, along with new appetizers and sandwiches.
Inspired by the Texas icehouses of their childhood, Fox Bros. Brookhaven will bring the barbecue back to the area it all began: the brothers’ Brookhaven backyard. Located in the Brookhaven Station development at Brookhaven Drive and Peachtree Road, it will offer a menu of Tex-Mex barbecue favorites, alongside some of the Foxes’ traditional smoked meats. The space will have an open-air feel with ample outdoor seating and a pickup window.
Lake & Oak BBQ
Chefs Todd Richards and Josh Lee opened the first Lake & Oak BBQ between the East Lake and Oakhurst neighborhoods in July 2020. Later this year, they’ll open another Lake & Oak location—this one in the Lee + White complex in West End. A much larger, custom-built space, the new restaurant will feature a patio facing the BeltLine.
Here, Richards and Lee will continue to cook Southern barbecue over white oak and pecan woods and charcoal using a Big Green Egg. The menu will be expanded to include sides from Richards’ recent cookbook and more of Lee’s family recipes. Favorites from the original location will remain and may include collard fried rice, cabbage slaw, Brussels sprouts, and of course, smoked macaroni and cheese.
Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ
Located in the historic MET development in Adair Park (680 Murphy Avenue Southwest), Rodney Scott’s BBQ will be the city’s first by this celebrity pitmaster, complementing locations in Charleston and Birmingham. The 4,000-square-foot space will have a disco ball, patio, and most important, Rodney’s Sauce—a mixture of vinegar, cayenne, and black pepper.
The Eastern South Carolina-inspired menu will feature ribs, pulled pork, turkey, wings, and more, all cooked over hardwood coals. (The whole hog barbecue cooks for more than 12 hours.) Expect a menu similar to that at other Rodney Scott BBQ locations, with the addition of a new salad and a chicken burger.
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