Spiller Park Coffee has quietly started selling bagels on Fridays and Sundays. As it turns out, this is not just an attempt at a new menu item, but a taste test for a bagel shop and delicatessen called Dear Friend, Bagels. Spiller Park owner and operator Dale Donchey makes all the bagels himself, and plans to open Dear Friend early next year as a way to explore his Jewish heritage through food.
“I’m an explorer who wants to feed people. There needs to be a Southern Jewish voice to the food that’s created here,” he says. “New York and Montreal shouldn’t be the only two voices represented.”
He uses fresh milled rye and whole wheat in his bagel dough, and malt and honey when he boils them. The result is what he believes is the perfect ratio of chew versus crust. He’ll sell these at Dear Friend in flavors like everything, salt, cinnamon and sugar, and poppy with sumac, along with sandwiches piled high with corned beef, egg salad, and whitefish salad. Traditional Jewish foods like matzo ball soup, knishes, latkes, and challah will be served. Spiller Park baker Caroline Martin will make babka, black and white cookies, and other pastries popular at New York delis.
“For me, the delicatessen is the Jewish experience. Comfort food is what got us through a long history of hard times,” Donchey says.
Dear Friend will serve breakfast and lunch via counter service. There will be egg creams, celery soda, and house-roasted Intelligentsia coffee, but no alcohol (at least at the beginning).
Donchey is still searching for Dear Friend’s forever home. He’s considering Ponce City Market, where Spiller Park currently has a location, as well as on Mitchell Street Downtown. Until then, you’ll find him—and his bagels—at Spiller Park. 675 Ponce de Leon Avenue Northeast and 2929 North Druid Hills Road
When the pandemic took hold last spring and forced people indoors, many turned to Netflix and the can’t-look-away disaster that was Tiger King. Then came the home bakers, touting sourdough starters all over Instagram. Others learned to knit, fighting the quarantine boredom weaving scarf after colorful scarf. Now, nearly 11 months in, Atlantans are turning to chocolate—colorful, sprinkle-clad hot chocolate bombs in particular.
These delicate circular chocolate creations break open when covered with hot milk, revealing marshmallows and other surprises. They come decorated in a multitude of designs and flavors (think dark chocolate, white chocolate, mint, or raspberry), and provide a bit of the newness and delight we crave after being cooped up for so long.
While Trader Joe’s and select chain stores have picked up on the trend, many hot chocolate bombs are being produced by local cottage bakers and self-taught Atlantans.
“I originally bought molds to make them for holiday gifts for teachers and friends. People started asking where I got them and it spiraled so quickly from there,” says Jaime Schwartz, who sells hot chocolate bombs decorated for every occasion. “Since most social gatherings are outside this winter, it makes it fun and adds a little something special.”
Need something extra to brighten your day? Check out the chocolate bombs from these local makers.
Ash Sweet Creations
Plan a hot chocolate party for the whole family with Ash Sweet Creations’ four-pack of hot chocolate bombs. For $25 you get white and dark bombs with drizzled chocolate designs topped with sparkly sprinkles and candy pearls. Delivery costs $5 inside the Perimeter, or you can pick up the treats in Buckhead. Be sure to order at least a week in advance—demand is, well, hot, right now. Check it out on Instagram @ashsweetcreations.
A Cacao Affair
Karl Vivier has owned this artisan Marietta chocolate shop for eight years and now sells hot chocolate bombs with a marble facade in pumpkin and peppermint varieties. Sold in packs of two for $4.95, they can be ordered online and picked up in store or delivered throughout the metro area. Don’t forget to look around—the chocolate high heels, handbags, and footballs might just catch your eye. On Instagram: @acacaoaffair.
Need a caffeine boost? Casabella’s chocolate bombs contain coffee creamer in four different flavors: vanilla caramel, original, French vanilla, and hazelnut. Instead of hot milk, pour hot coffee over them for a unique drink. Each box of four costs $9.95 and can be purchased at the brick-and-mortar store in East Cobb across from the Avenue. Heart-shaped hot chocolate bombs in flavors like red velvet, caramel apple cider, vanilla chai, and white chocolate matcha are available tor $6.95 each. On Instagram: @casabellaeastcobb.
Order at least a week in advance and get custom designed hot chocolate bombs with your choice of milk, white, or dark chocolate shells for $3-$6, depending on the size. Each includes miniature marshmallows and hot chocolate mix, but peppermint, crushed cookies, and even Pop Rocks can be added upon request. Schwartz sells through Facebook and email and decorates the bombs based on the occasion. Have a child who likes glitter? Schwartz has two girls, so she certainly knows how to make the bombs sparkle. Pickup in Dunwoody.
Little Jars Bakeshop
Started by an 11-year-old, Little Jars sells ornate hot chocolate bombs for $4-$6. Order three to five days in advance and get flavors like strawberry, s’mores, Bailey’s, Grand Marnier, peppermint, caramel, and toffee. Custom designs are available—there’s even a heart-shaped bomb for Valentine’s Day. Pickup in Decatur or get it delivered for a fee. On Instagram: @littlejarsbakeshop.
Parul Benders makes white and milk chocolate bombs with a minimum of 48 hours notice. Purchasing for a holiday? Get your order in a week in advance to ensure products are in stock. Each hot chocolate bomb costs $4. On Instagram: @paruls_desserts.
Remember Jonathan St. Hilaire? He served as executive pastry chef at Woodfire Grill, owned Bakeshop in Midtown, and worked at the Lawrence, then moved out of state for nearly 10 years. Now he’s back as director of operations for Big Table Restaurants, the company that owns Hobnob, Lazy Llama Cantina, and a new, upscale concept called Cattle Shed Wine & Steak Bar, set to open in May at Halcyon in Forsyth County.
“I’ve spent 30 years in the restaurant business. This role is a wonderful challenge and opportunity for me,” he says.
He’s hired Colin McGowan (Colletta, Kimball House, Bacchanalia) to lead the kitchen, serving seasonal, chef-driven steaks, along with cheeses and charcuterie. The premium cuts of meat will come from Stone Mountain Cattle Co. and include ribeye, filet, and spinalis. Chicken, gnocchi, a burger, and trout will be available, too. Seasonal sides may include roasted root vegetables, creamed Brussels sprouts, confit fingerling potatoes, roasted mushrooms, and potato gratin, while starters include roasted bone marrow, scallop crudo, mussels, crab cakes, beef tartare, kale Caesar salad, and foie gras terrine.
The lunch menu will be a consolidated version of the dinner offerings, with the addition of open-faced sandwiches, French dip, and a fried oyster Panzanella salad. Weekend brunch will be served, as well. St. Hilaire says he’ll be assisting with the pastries a bit—think warm chocolate truffle cake, brown butter fruit tart, and butterscotch pot de creme.
“Sure, I miss baking sometimes, but at this point in my career, I get more enjoyment out of building teams, finding talent and giving them the opportunities I got, and seeing how they grow,” he says.
Wine will play as much a role in Cattle Shed as steak. Compiled by a Master Sommelier, the list features 150 bottles with 30 wines offered by the glass. Options will rotate seasonally, including both New and Old-World styles. Build-your-own cheese and charcuterie plates are designed to complement the wine.
With beverage manner Shannon Adams leading the charge, the indoor-outdoor bar will also serve a selection of sangrias, beer, frosé, and craft cocktails, including at least one infused with wine. The space is designed to be cozy with a rice purple and brass color scheme, numerous banquettes, and big windows that look out onto the open-air, wraparound patio.
“There’s a lightness, a freshness, to it,” St. Hilaire says.
The Kimpton Sylvan Hotel is opening in Buckhead (374 East Paces Ferry Road) with 217 rooms and a mid-century modern design. But when it comes to their restaurant, the boutique brand is forgoing the usual burgers and overpriced cocktails for three gourmet concepts helmed by executive chef Brandon Chavannes.
“We offer three different experiences based on the mood of someone in the community on any particular night,” says Chavannes, who brings experience from St. Cecilia and King + Duke, as well as John Dory in New York City.
The first of these experiences, the Betty, opens February 10. Inspired by old-school supper clubs, it is designed with dark surfaces, polished wood, leather, and velvet elements. “It feels like you’re in a time warp,” Chavannes says.
Serving continental cuisine alongside classic cocktails highlighting brown spirits, the Betty will seat 175 people and feature a 1,100-square-foot patio. Come March, it will serve brunch, too.
In the spring, the garden-esque Willow Bar and rooftop lounge St. Julep will open. Willow will serve shareable, plant-based snacks like smoked shiitakes with green tomato and walnuts, jerk cauliflower with tamarind, fried chicken, artisanal cheeses, and charcuterie. Nine stories up, St. Julep will serve gin & tonics, margaritas, highballs, and boozy soft-serve ice cream while DJs spins live sets.
Chavannes shares more about the new restaurants and bars below.
Where did the name “Betty” come from? Buckhead is stuffed full of these masculine steakhouses: Hal’s, Chops, Bones. We thought it was a rebuff to the norm to give our space a feminine name.
Where do you get your inspirations for the Betty? A lot of it is inspired by supper clubs of the ’40s and ’50s. I’m inspired by the food of yesteryear in classic cuisine. We want to incorporate modern technique and take advantage of the great farms around here.
We pay homage to the items that have fallen out of style that everyone really loves. Shrimp cocktail is a great example. It’s not the coolest dish on the face of the earth but people like it. [Think about] beef stroganoff and cream of mushroom soup. These don’t have the glamour anymore, but with a little history and creativity, we can give them a facelift, so they feel new and exciting again while still having the nostalgia and comfort.
How will you make these items unique again? Take shrimp cocktail for instance. The reimagining is done in the presentation. The shrimp, cocktail sauce, and cracker elements are still there. We use fermented limes with warmer Indian style spices to create the base of cocktail sauce with tomato and horseradish sauce. We pair the cracker with avocado, lime, and aioli.
It’s presented with midcentury design: straight lines, attention to detail, very precise, and sharp. Instead of the shrimp hanging out of martini glass like candy cane, we lay it belly down on plate, presented head on. Cocktail sauce becomes the glue to glue the shrimp to the plate and adhere wispy, thin crackers to the back of the shrimp. We end up with three straight lines of shrimp and diamond shape crackers meticulously placed and cleaned.
What else is on the menu at the Betty? The raw bar has six or seven offerings. We’ll have seafood towers, plus celery ceviche for vegetarians. The steak tartare is presented in marrow bone with aioli made of smoked bone marrow, served with pickled mustard seed and toasted brioche. Beef cheek stroganoff comes on potato gnocchi with slivers of kumquat. The bouillabaisse is made with shellfish stock fortified for three to four days. It’s the food you see at cocktail parties that’s never as good as you want it to be, but this time, it is as good.
How will you avoid falling into the trap of being a stereotypical hotel restaurant? We make sure the soul and honesty of the food is always present. We’re not trying to cook for all people. We want the hotel to have its own identity.
I don’t see a burger on the menu. What will you have for hotel guests who just want some comfort after a long day? We do have a hotel menu to accommodate that type of thing. Julep on the roof will be geared to more casual food. Willow Bar will have falafel burger with pickled vegetables.
Willow is so landscaped and lush and beautiful. If I didn’t work here, that’s where I’d want to live. With St. Julep, it’s all about the ambiance. The view from the roof is amazing.
I want to do a soft-serve machine because no one has soft serve in this neighborhood. If I’m sitting on the roof in 90 degrees, baking in the sun, I want some soft serve and I might want to put some tequila on it.
How do you keep the concepts from overlapping? Having a clear vision of their identities. For Willow, I think about a picnic on the English countryside meets a Kentucky Derby party. I think about what I’d want to eat in either situation. It didn’t start off as plant-based concept but started to feel too expected. We’ll have a celariac pastrami sandwich and salad-y plates but not leafy, like smoked shitake mushrooms with tomatoes, walnuts, and crème fraiche. Instead of fries, there will be crispy breadfruit with aioli instead of ketchup.
St. Julep is a mishmash of my guilty pleasures as a chef: tater tots, burgers, and corndogs inspired from Korean corn dogs—yeasted dough rolled in French fries. I love eating dry fried eggplant from Jia and Tasty China. I’m going to do that with tater tots instead of eggplant.
We’ll have vanilla black pepper soft serve ice cream sandwiches with snickerdoodle cookies and cinnamon toast crunch pieces on outside. It’s playful food. We’re not taking ourselves too seriously.
Come May, the Politan Row food at Colony Square will open as part of North American Properties’ $400 million redevelopment of the mixed-use property in Midtown. Chef Shaun Doty (Bantam & Biddy) will be one of its first tenants with the launch of Federal Burger, an extension of his now-defunct bistro, the Federal. Other food stalls will include Bun Mi Grill, a Vietnamese spot with a location in Buckhead, and YOM, a health food concept focused on bowls, smoothies, and juices.
Politan Row operates food halls in Chicago; Miami; Houston; Jackson, Mississippi; and New Orleans; including the famed St. Roch Market. Its Colony Square hall will be its largest yet with space for 11 food and beverage stalls, plus a central bar and shared indoor and outdoor seating.
“I’ve been an admirer of Politan Row—especially St. Roch—for a while. They’re really seasoned operators,” Doty says. “I’ve always lived in Midtown. With that location, it’s kind of a home run.”
After co-founding YEAH! Burger with Erik Maier more than 10 years ago, Doty—who is no longer involved in the restaurant—says it’s time to revisit burgers. “You can take the ingredients, the nostalgia, the design, and repackage it for a new generation,” he says.
The Federal Burger menu will be simple: composed burgers made with White Oak Pastures beef, Sweet Grass Dairy cheese, and Root Baking Co. buns. Fries will be Belgian-style, with poutine available. Seasonal sides may include fava beans or watermelon salad. There will also be an organic chicken burger and a “Not So Impossible” burger made from a handful of vegetables.
“The Federal was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my career, combined with sourcing really phenomenal beef,” Doty says. “It was not going to work [during] the pandemic, but it lives on in spirit through Federal Burger.”
As such, Doty will be hosting monthly steak dinners with signature items from the Federal in Politan Row.
“We’ve spent 10 months in hibernation. I’m chomping at the bit to do something,” he says.
Countering all that meat, certified personal trainer Rob Green is opening YOM’s first brick-and-mortar location with mostly vegan dishes inspired by his Native American roots. Expect juices, salads, and avocado toast with smoked salmon, capers, and lemon zest. There’s even “vegan junk food,” like macaroni and cheese.
Meanwhile, Bun Mi Grill will serve seasonal Pho and a variety of banh mi, including one with truffle pate.
If love has no boundaries, Valentine’s Day dinner shouldn’t be any different. With new Covid-19 variant cases on the rise, we’re showing our love by staying in this February 14. Here are our top picks for Valentine’s Day dinner—or dessert—to go.
Canoe What you’ll love: While you can’t take home Canoe’s scenic riverside views, you can make it an elaborate evening at home with a four-course menu including a dozen poached Georgia shrimp and crisped romaine wedge salad with cherry tomato, bacon and blue cheese vinaigrette—and that’s just to start. Choose from beef tenderloin or fresh Atlantic salmon with potato parmesan gratin, French beans and roasted root vegetables, and finish with a flourless chocolate cake with raspberry coulis and Chantilly cream. Each order includes assorted chocolate truffles. Cost: $150 for two people Order by: February 12 at 5 p.m. Pick up curbside February 13 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 4199 Paces Ferry Road southeast, 770-432-2663
Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q What you’ll love: Forget oysters and truffles—for some, the real aphrodisiac is meat.
Choose from chopped beef brisket, spareribs, pulled pork, and quartered smoked chicken. It comes with one pint each of spicy green beans, cole slaw, and mac ‘n’ cheese, and six mini jalapeno cornbread muffins with honey butter. Cool those tastebuds with two chocolate mousse tarts with chocolate covered strawberries. Cost: $50-$68 depending on the meat selected Order by: Feb. 11 at 5 p.m. Pickup instructions (curbside, delivery): Packages can be ordered hot and ready to eat, or cold with reheating instructions. Pick-up is at the Fox Bros. Catering Commissary 134 Ottley Drive, email@example.com
Lyla Lila What you’ll love: Nothing bonds a couple together like cooking. Lyla Lila owner/chef Craig Richards is offering two meal kits with all the ingredients and instructions needed to prepare his Wagyu beef & black truffle ravioli or cacio e pepe. He says it’s foolproof. Cost: $28 for Wagyu beef and black truffle or $21 for cacio e pepe Order by: Valentine’s night for curbside pickup 693 Peachtree Street Northeast, 404-963-2637
Lazy Betty What you’ll love: Lazy Betty’s esteemed tasting menu is available to-go, featuring biscuits, rare diver scallop, celery root tortellini, dry aged duck, petit fours, and more. Make the evening even more memorable by adding on caviar or prosecco, or gift your loved one six handcrafted gourmet dark chocolates in flavors like vanilla chai and peach bourbon. Cost: $25 per chocolate box, $95 per person for dinner Order by: February 12 for the chocolate boxes and February 14 for the meal. Chocolate boxes can be picked up February 10-14 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. 1530 Dekalb Avenue Northeast, 404-975-3692
The Optimist What you’ll love: Pretend you’re on the Cape with two lobster rolls, a side of smoked fish fried rice, Old Bay chips, and key lime pie from Ford Fry’s award-winning seafood spot. It’s the next best thing to vacation. Cost: $72 Order by: February 14 914 Howell Mill Road, 404-477-6260
Bacchanalia What you’ll love: Don your finest attire—or stay in pajamas, your choice—as you feast on Bacchanalia’s four-course Valentine’s menu from the safety of your home. The meal includes lobster bisque and lobster salad, choice of thyme-cured beef tenderloin or steelhead trout with preserved Meyer lemon, and Brussels sprouts with roasted Jerusalem artichokes. For dessert, enjoy coeur de neufchatel, dried fruit, Marcona almonds, honey, a baguette, a chocolate hazelnut heart tart, and strawberry-rose macarons. Cost: $180 Order by: February 11 at 5 p.m. Pick up between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on February 13. 1460 Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard Northwest, 404-365-0410
Little Tart Bakeshop What you’ll love: Great for a gift as well as a shared dessert, Little Tart’s Valentine’s boxes contain six raspberry rose-topped grapefruit sables and six pistachio-, safflower-, and sumac-topped orange sables. Cost: $32 Order by: February 6 for pickup at the Grant Park location 437 Memorial Drive Northeast, 404-348-4797
La Tavola Trattoria What you’ll love: This Virginia-Highland mainstay is celebrating love February 12-14 with a la carte specials to go. These include seafood sausagefregola with fennel and Castelvetrano olives, seafood risotto with parsnip, bay scallops, and lemon, and chocolate-filled cannoli crostata with morello cherries and cream cheese mascarpone filling. Cost: Seafood sausage $17, seafood risotto $26 Order by: February 14 992 Virginia Avenue Northeast, 404-873-5430
Seed Kitchen & Bar What you’ll love: Three courses of sophisticated Southern cuisine for two, including your choice of white corn grit fritters or roasted butternut squash soup to start. Entrees include slow braised lamb shank, Maple Leaf Farms duck breast, filet mignon, tuna steak au poivre, and butter poached Maine lobster. End the meal with a sweet s’mores tart, red velvet cake, or apple buckle. Charcuterie and cheese may be added to any meal. Cost: $99-$129 Order by: February 12 1311 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta, 678-214-6888
Storico Fresco What you’ll love: Carbs and hearts—what could be better? Storico Fresco will offer its signature heart-shaped, ricotta, grana, nutmeg, beet-infused filled pasta February 8 to February 14. Prefer to cook at home? Buy the noodles at the retail counter now through February 14. Cost: $24 prepared or $18 per pound for the dry noodles Order by: February 14 3167 Peachtree Road Northeast, 404-500-2181
Banshee What you’ll love: This East Atlanta hotspot run by Ford Fry alums may not be able to bring its edgy vibe into your home—but it can tantalize your tastebuds. Banshee is offering a special Valentine’s entree for two: a whole roasted rack of lamb served with mint chimichurri, patatas bravas, kalamata olives, and pine nuts. It comes with a salad of roasted winter vegetables, citrus chermoula, pomegranates, and feta, too. Cost: $55 Order by: February 14 1271 Glenwood Avenue Southeast, 470-428-2034
Local Three What you’ll love: Get the family involved and make your significant other breakfast in bed with this kit from Local Three. It includes pastries, eggs, pancake batter, chocolate-covered strawberries, melon salad, Bloody Mary mix, and more. Cost: $124.93 for four to six people. Order by: February 11 at 5 p.m. for pickup February 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 3290 Northside Parkway Northwest, 404-968-2700
ATL Boards What you’ll love: Great for children and adults alike, these Valentine’s Day candy charcuterie boards feature your favorite sweet treats in an attractive display. Cost: $45-$128 Order by: February 11 for two-day shipping via FedEx atlboards.com
Bocado What you’ll love: It’s an opportunity to enjoy Bocado’s finer fare before the restaurant closes in search of a new location. Nosh on kale salad with pecans, flax seed, parmesan and buttermilk dressing, culotte steak with roasted fingerling potatoes, shiitake and oyster mushrooms, and salsa verde; and dark chocolate pot de creme. It comes with bread, too. Cost: $35 per person. Prosecco available for $23 per bottle. Order by: February 12, pick up curbside February 14 from noon to 4 p.m. 887 Howell Mill Road Northwest, 404-815-1399
Holmes Slice What you’ll love: What’s a better way to show your love than a heart-shaped pizza with two of your favorite toppings? Luna Nuda prosecco and select house wines will be half-price. Cost: $18 Order by: February 14 for pickup inside Halcyon Market Hall or curbside 6330 Halcyon Way, Alpharetta, 404-920-8626
The team behind Victory Sandwich Bar, V.C.C. coffee, Little Trouble, and LLoyd’s is opening a counter-service restaurant near SweetWater Brewing and East Pole Coffee. Located in Indie Studios off Ottley Drive, the still-to-be-named spot will be a mix of Victory and V.C.C., focusing on lunch, says Victory Brands partner Ian Jones.
“It’s Victory through the lens of a European cafe,” he says. “It’s a hair more polished than Victory. If Victory is skate-punk-garage-y, this is more Venice Beach.”
Opening mid-to-late 2021, the 1,000-square-foot space will have a few tables inside, but the outdoor space—a mix of partially covered cafe seating and open-air public space—will be the main attraction.
“There’s not a lot of point in opening something in an office district before people return to offices,” Jones says, referring to the later opening timeline.
The menu is still in the works but will likely feature select Victory sandwiches and V.C.C. biscuits. Radio Roasters will provide the coffee, and natural wine and local beer will be available. Expect cocktails, but maybe not Victory’s oh-so-popular Jack-and-Coke slushies. Jones is still determining whether there is space for a slushie machine.
Meanwhile, LLoyds becomes a pizza parlor
Originally described as an “unholy mix of Chili’s and Southern comfort food,” lounge-diner LLoyd’s has turned into a pizza parlor.
“We decided to simplify and specify,” Jones says. “LLoyd’s already looks like an awesome pizza parlor, and we freakin’ love pizza. Chef John Campbell worked at No. 246 and Brezza Cucina. He has a slice of pizza tattooed on his arm.”
Jones describes the pizza as “new New York style.” It’s made with nonbromated flour and cold-fermented dough, then topped with “schmancy cheese blend” and cooked in energy-efficient electric pizza ovens from Sweden. The result is crispy-bottomed pies ranging from “Just Cheese” to a supreme with pepperoni, sausage, onions, peppers, and mushrooms.
Some of LLoyd’s original appetizers remain on the menu, including spinach and artichoke dip and shrimp cocktail, while others have been replaced by “Pesto Pillows,” made with leftover dough, and “Pizza Fries” served with white and red sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. A rotating slice of the day is available, too.
LLoyd’s food and drinks are available to-go, but Jones stresses it’s best to experience them inside or on the patio. “It’s a vibe. You can come get a pitcher of beer and hang out,” he says.
Pinky Cole became a social media sensation for her plant-based burgers with creative “slutty” toppings and names, leading rise to a chain of local restaurants dubbed Slutty Vegan. Now, the 33-year-old is expanding her quickly growing empire (three Slutty Vegans and counting, not to mention the original food truck) with the opening of Bar Vegan, a beverage-focused restaurant and bar in Ponce City Market. Scheduled to open February 14, [Editor’s note: the opening was slightly delayed and will now open on February 28], Bar Vegan takes the bold, attention-grabbing, fun, and vegan facets of Cole’s original burger concept and applies them to the bar scene.
The result is what Bar Vegan CFO Aaron Mattison calls “bar theater.” That means being Instagrammable is a key focus of both the design and decor and the menu items offered.
“It’s creating fun, memorable experiences with every drink,” he says.
The “experience cocktails” are made tableside. Examples include the “Grady Baby,” which is served in an IV bag attached to an IV pole alongside a First Aid kit containing additional garnishes. Other drinks might come in a fire extinguisher, Ferris wheel, or a safe, complete with musical soundbites.
Lest you prefer something with less fancy showmanship, Bar Vegan will serve adapted versions of the margarita, cosmopolitan, old fashioned, lemon drop martini, Mai Tai, Tom Collins, and more. Each will be made with organic and fresh-squeezed juices. “Shaken Not Slurred” mocktails will be available, too.
Touted as a family-friendly establishment, Bar Vegan will serve dinner nightly, lunch at the bar, and brunch on Sundays. The menu is comprised of Slutty favorites, along with new sandwiches, salads, and tater tots. Mattison describes it simply as “really good bar food.”
“It’s our first stab at a seated experience. We’re excited about what it looks like and will see how it lands,” Mattison says.
Known for its work on the Garden Room at the St. Regis Atlanta, the Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry is redesigning the Mercury space to reflect the Slutty Vegan brand. It’s divided into a bar/lounge and dining room with a glass-enclosed private room and three “focal walls” created with photo opps in mind.
It’s an understatement to say that last year was rough, especially for the restaurant industry. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, many restaurants have been forced to rethink their business models—or have had close completely. Yet the industry has remained resilient and innovative, introducing new menus and options like curbside pickup, embracing delivery-only ghost kitchens, and expanding outdoor dining. And new restaurants are still opening, giving us new options to look forward to—whether you choose to dine in or out. Here are the most anticipated restaurants of 2021, in no particular order.
Kinship Butcher & Sundry
Starting February 1, Virginia-Highland residents will be able to shop for meat, cheese, bread, and wine at a new neighborhood market. Located in a historic building along the intersection of North Highland and Virginia avenues, Kinship owners Myles Moody and Rachael Pack hope to bring old-time hospitality to the area. 1019 Virginia Avenue Northeast
Pizza By the Slice
It’s been more than four years since chef Anthony Spina’s O4W Pizza (and its beloved Grandma Pie) moved to Duluth. Now, after departing the kitchen at Nina & Rafi, Spina is going back to his New Jersey roots and opening a new ITP pizza spot. Pizza By the Slice in Virginia-Highland will serve a plethora of slices and pies, but will specialize in the square Sicilian-style. 1021 Virginia Avenue Northeast
Bar Vegan Slutty Vegan’s Pinky Cole is taking over the space formerly home to the Mercury on the second level of Ponce City Market. Though the space will be beverage-driven, it will also serve popular items from Slutty Vegan, in addition to vegan bar food. Its grand opening is set for Valentine’s Day. 675 Ponce de Leon Avenue Northeast
Holeman & Finch Public House (re-opening)
Longtime restaurateurs Linton and Gina Hopkins closed their flagship restaurant Holeman & Finch Public House—yes, the one that premiered the famous burger—in Brookwood in March 2020. It’s scheduled to reopen in May in Colony Square with a 1,100-square-foot patio, plus new lunch and coffee programs. 1201 Peachtree Street Northeast
The brick-and-mortar version of this Castellucci Hospitality Group sushi pop-up will launch as a reservation-only omakase spot mid-year on the Westside. Led by sushi chef Jordan Trent Harris, Mujo will serve seafood sourced from Japan, as well as dishes made with local and seasonal produce. For now, sushi lovers can continue ordering nigiri, rolls, and small plates—or omakase to go—from the pop-up, based out of Cooks & Soldiers. 691 14th Street Northwest
Chattahoochee Food Works
Curated by celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern and Gansevoort Market creator Robert Montwaid, Chattahoochee Food Works is a 25,000-square-foot food hall with a plethora of outdoor seating and 31 stalls. Highlights include Graffiti Breakfast, Taqueria La Luz, Pomodoro Bella, and Sakura Ramen Bar. Expect it to open by March. 1235 Chattahoochee Avenue Northwest
The Continent Chef Scotley Innis, of ghost kitchen Scotch Yard, is bringing his eclectic Afro-Caribbean fare to Buford Highway. Mike Haze, of the Red Phone Booth, will be slinging cocktails crafted with fresh produce and herbs, and there’s a cigar lounge, too. The Continent is all but ready to open—it just needs its liquor license. 4300 Buford Highway Northeast
The General Muir Sandy Springs
Chef Todd Ginsberg’s popular take on a Jewish deli, the General Muir, is expanding to the Perimeter. Located in the City Springs development, near the Select and Flower Child, the General Muir will serve an all-day menu of bagel sandwiches, platters, and meats, such as Ginsberg’s popular pastrami. One big difference from the Emory Point location is the Sandy Springs spot will offer the “Friday night” fried chicken every night of the week. Other dinner items include brisket with spaetzle, smoked butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, and prunes; and a spicy sea bass stew, inspired by Sephardic chraime (a Jewish fish dish). The restaurant is now open. 6405 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs
Georgia Boy and Southern Belle (re-opening)
Though it’s not their first launch, we have our eyes on Poncey-Highland sister spots Georgia Boy and Southern Belle. Chef/owner Joey Ward’s restaurants went on pandemic-related hiatus January 1st. Now, Ward says he’s targeting a mid-February or early March reopening for these highly acclaimed restaurants. 1043 Ponce de Leon Avenue Northeast
D Boca n Boca
Making the list for the second year in a row is owner/chef Helio Bernal’s authentic Mexican spot in Summerhill. Slated to open in March, D Boca N Boca will serve small plates inspired by the Yucatan and Veracruz regions. Don’t miss the house-made tortillas. 39 Georgia Avenue Southeast
Rumi’s Kitchen Colony Square
Ali Mesghali’s Persian palace is a favorite culinary hotspot in the ‘burbs. After expanding from Sandy Springs to Alpharetta’s Avalon in 2017, Mesghali decided to try his luck ITP. Rumi’s opens this spring in Midtown’s Colony Square, serving lamb kabobs and basmati rice in a high-end atmosphere. 1197 Peachtree Street Northeast
Whatever Gunter Seeger does
Internationally renowned for Seeger’s, his late 1990s namesake Buckhead restaurant, Michelin starred chef Gunter Seeger worked in New York for the past decade, but the Covid-19 pandemic brought his family back South. He told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in May that he plans to open a new concept that is a “multilevel experience” in the city. He’s still working out the details.
Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ
South Carolina pitmaster Rodney Scott is bringing his James Beard Award-winning cooking to West End. His namesake restaurant will serve pork, ribs, and chicken cooked over wood coals. It’s planned to open this summer in the MET development. 680 Murphy Avenue Southeast
The founders of robata grill Chirori and neighboring Japanese restaurant Wagaya are opening a new Japanese eatery in the Hanover West Peachtree building in February. With a name that means “tranquility,” Nagomiya will serve ramen, rice bowls, and sushi in a peaceful atmosphere complete with a small ginkgo tree garden. 1010 West Peachtree Street Northwest
Fresh off the success of Supremo Taco on Memorial Drive, Nhan Le (Octopus Bar, 8Arm) is opening a chicken joint called Pollo Supremo in East Atlanta in March. He and partner Duane Kulers will serve pollo asado along with a few sides, soup, and dessert. There will be a 40-seat patio and a drive-thru. Le is also working on a fish market called Fishmonger in Virginia-Highland. 792 Moreland Avenue Southeast
Richard Tang (Girl Diver, Char Korean Bar & Grill) is trying his hand at the bar scene with an old school arcade-themed spot on Georgia Avenue. Expect craft cocktails and Asian-inspired small plates, a rooftop patio with foosball and darts, and a bar-cade with Mortal Combat and virtual reality elements. Tang says he’s planning for a late spring or early summer opening. 63 Georgia Avenue
How Crispy Express
The Ticonderoga Club crew is opening a counter-service sandwich spot in Summerhill. Their goal: to serve “the perfect chicken sandwich.” No word yet on when it’ll launch, but look for pop-ups at Krog Street Market. 75 Georgia Avenue
First there was Italian market Storico Fresco in Buckhead. Then came Italian restaurant and bar Forza Storico on the Westside. Now, an Italian wine bar called Storico Vino is coming to Buckhead Village in mid-February. It replaces Corso Coffee and will offer charcuterie, sharable pastas, panini, and more. 3065 Peachtree Road Northwest
Big Boss Chinese
Guy Wong, of Ruby Chow’s fame, is set to open his long-rumored Big Boss Chinese restaurant in Midtown this year. The location is said to be his mother’s now-defunct Chinese Buddha on 10th Street but has not been confirmed.
At the end of 2020, chef Joey Ward made the tough decision to put his small plates spot Southern Belle and adjacent tasting menu restaurant Georgia Boy on hiatus while the Covid-19 pandemic surges and chilly winter temps continue. Now, just a week into the new year, Ward has partnered with PERC Coffee Roasters partner Alan Fischer to host the Savannah- and East Lake-based shop in his Poncey-Highland space.
Located in the Plaza on Ponce, the PERC pop-up will serve a stripped-down menu of food and beverages every Wednesday through Sunday this month.
“We’ve been teetering on the edge of opening a spot in the area and always thought Plaza on Ponce was really neat, but weren’t sure how it would work out for us,” Fischer says. “I thought it might be a good way for us to test it and help Joey offset some of the costs of rent.”
The PERC team is keeping the Southern Belle space as is, though they relocated some of the furniture to create a more direct path to the (coffee) bar. Business is limited to carry-out, but the patio is open.
Offerings include Brazil Legender espresso (milk, chocolatey, nutty) and Honduras brewed coffee (notes of strawberry and almond). Hot chocolate and mocha drinks are made with Athens-based Condor cacao. PERC signatures the Good Times Latte (lavender vanilla syrup, habanero sugar, espresso, and steamed milk) and the Bobby Jones (Coca-Cola, espresso, and lemon peel served over ice) will also be available. Though the pop-up will not offer PERC’s nitro cold brew, iced drinks will be sold upon request.
There are three pastries for pairing: a cinnamon roll, apple pop tart, and savory chickpea turnover. Expect granola, biscuits in gravy, pimento cheese sandwiches, and smoked beet sandwiches.
“We’re super excited to be there and incredibly grateful that we’re introduce people who haven’t been to Southern Belle before to the beautiful space,” Fischer says, adding that he’s hoping to test some other areas around the city with pop-ups as well.
“I love supporting and highlighting other local small businesses. I am excited to still have my second home (Southern Belle) hosting guests in some capacity,” Ward says.
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