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Anthony Spina departs Nina & Rafi’s culinary team

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Margherita in Detroit pie at Nina & Rafi

Courtesy of Mia Yakel

Anthony Spina, who became famous for his square Grandma Pie at O4W Pizza (now in Duluth), says the pizza at Nina & Rafi—the popular BeltLine restaurant he opened last year with business partner Billy Streck—is no longer his own. In a statement, he says he has “been forced out of the creative process in the kitchen” and says he “no longer stand[s] behind the quality of the product at Nina & Rafi.”

Although he could not share explicit details, citing legal constraints, Spina says he was told his services at Nina & Rafi were “no longer needed,” although he will maintain a 30 percent ownership stake in the company.

“That food is not something I would consider my food anymore,” he says. “I’m not involved whatsoever in the food in the kitchen.”

However, Nina & Rafi owner Streck—who also owns Atwoods Pizza Café and Cypress Street Pint & Plate—says Atlantans should not worry about their favorite items disappearing from the Nina & Rafi menu. “We’re continuing to offer the same menu of pizzas the restaurant has become known for, with a few fun new additions we’ll announce soon,” he said in a statement.

The full statements from both parties are below.

“Anthony Spina is out at Nina & Rafi.

I regret to inform my loyal supporters and all that enjoy my pizza, that my pizza is no longer available at Nina & Rafi.

While I continue to hold ownership in the company, I have been forced out of the creative process in the kitchen and told that my services are no longer needed.

With that being said, I no longer stand behind the quality of the product at Nina & Rafi.

So, for now if you would like to continue to eat the pizza that so many have grown to love, as always you can order from O4W Pizza in Duluth.

I am so excited to announce that my pizza will be arriving in [Virginia-Highland] in the next couple months, with the opening of Pizza By The Slice. Also keep your eye out for the O4W Pizza truck coming soon.

Thanks for all the pizza love and the continued support.” —Anthony Spina

“We wish Anthony nothing but the best. We’re continuing to offer the same menu of pizzas the restaurant has become known for, with a few fun new additions we’ll announce soon. Our team is so grateful for the warm reception Atlanta has given Nina & Rafi, and we can’t wait to serve the neighborhood for years to come.

The guest experience, beverage program, and ingredients and quality of Nina & Rafi’s dishes remain the same. We’re always working to innovate and improve, and we’ll be putting an Italian Grinder Sandwich on the menu alongside a fun local collaboration we’ll share details on soon.” —Billy Streck

The announcement comes as Spina prepares to open a new restaurant, Pizza By the Slice, in Virginia-Highland, as well as a roving pizza truck. Located in the space formerly home to Goin’ Coastal, Pizza By the Slice is slated to open this winter. Spina describes it as a “real, up North-style pizza place” with counter service, a glassed-in pizza display, and cold submarine sandwiches.

There will be 15 pizzas sold—of course—by the slice, as well as the full pie, including a variety of styles Spina is known for: Detroit, Sicilian, and thin crust. Yes, fans, this includes the Grandma Pie. Expect pepperoni rolls, garlic knots, simple salads, beer, and wine. The subs will be similar to the cold options on the O4W Pizza menu—think tuna, turkey and provolone, and ham and salami.

The space is designed for takeout but will feature some tables inside, as well as small café seating out front. It will be open for lunch and dinner, as well as late night Thursday through Saturday.

Spina’s pizza truck will start serving the West End the first week in December. Eventually, it will rove around, announcing its location on social media. It will serve only Detroit-style slices and pies with a few toppings available.

Anthony Spina pizza truck
Anthony Spina’s pizza truck

Photograph courtesy of Anthony Spina

As for Spina’s mainstay, O4W, a new pizza display replaces the bar, and cheesesteaks will be added to the menu in the next couple of weeks.

This story was updated on November 21 with additional quotes from Billy Streck.

Where to order to-go Thanksgiving dinner staples in Atlanta in 2020

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Castellucci Hospitality Group Thanksgiving spread

Courtesy of Castellucci Hospitality Group

The Covid-19 pandemic has upended so many parts of life—and Thanksgiving traditions are no different. Perhaps you usually travel but aim to avoid airport crowds, or maybe you love to host but can’t risk exposure. Whether you’ll be celebrating with your extended family or anticipate downing turkey while wearing pajamas, Thanksgiving is yours for the planning.

Check out the to-go offerings from these local spots. We can’t promise your family won’t break into a political brawl, but we can help you end the evening full and happy—just the way it should be.

Castellucci Hospitality Group (Cooks & Soldiers, the Iberian Pig, Bar Mercado, and Recess)
What you can get: Developed from the family recipes of chefs across the restaurant group, the Thanksgiving options include Green Circle free-range turkey, traditional sides and pies, plus wine party boxes and bottles.
Don’t miss: A la carte ordering, so you can design the spread that’s right for you
Order by: November 22

CRU Food & Wine Bar
What you can get: With locations at Avalon and the Battery, Cru makes suburban Thanksgiving dinner pick-up easy. Enjoy butternut squash bisque or Caesar salad, roasted turkey breast with all the fixings, and choice of dessert. Three courses for two people costs $80. The price for four people is $150.
Don’t miss: The Gala apple and pecan bread pudding—it’s dessert and stuffing in one.
Order by: November 24

Delbar’s Mediterranean Thanksgiving spread

Courtesy of Delbar

Delbar
What you can get: This new Inman Park spot is serving a Mediterranean feast for 10, including spiced leg of lamb, taftoon bread, torshi (pickled vegetables), sabzi polo with tahdig, zhough, dill labneh, and a sabzi plate with mint, tarragon, feta, radish, and walnuts.
Don’t miss: The leg of lamb—it’s roasted for four hours and weighs about 10 pounds.
Order by: November 24

Fox Bros Bar-B-Q
What you can get: Nearly anything you want! Fox Bros has full dinner packages and a la carte proteins (ham, turkey, and beef brisket), sides, and desserts. The meals feed 4 to 10 people, and cost $150 to $250, depending on the package.
Don’t miss: Fox Bros is known for its smoked meats and poultry, but the desserts will surprise you. Dr. Pepper chocolate cake and seasonal cookie and bar platters offer something different to complement the pies we know you’ll already have.
Order by: November 20

Gunshow
What you can get: Thanksgiving Gunshow-style means Top Chef Kevin Gillespie’s unique take on traditions. Expect a meal for two with braised pork shank, French onion spaetzle, German potato salad, kohlrabi, apple streusel, and more. The cost is $75.
Don’t miss: Cocktail kits for making seasonal tonic, “Woodsman sours,” and more. Don’t want to do the work? Order King Harvest Punch, made with apple, parsnip, fennel, Aquavit, vodka, Schwarztee (tea), and lemon bitters.
Order by: November 22

Le Bilboquet
What you can get: This French restaurant will offer a three-course meal for $75 per person. Choose from jumbo lump crab salad or venison terrine, Tasmanian trout or Cajun chicken, and crème brulee or pumpkin cheese cake, among other options.
Don’t miss: Curry cauliflower steak for vegetarians
Order by: November 19 

Lyla Lila
What you can get: This Southern European restaurant is offering a unique package for eight. Get a whole smoked Pennsylvania Amish turkey, fall salad, baked rigatoni, bourbon sweet potato casserole, and more for $250.
Don’t miss: Pumpkin budino with amaretti crumble and Chantilly cream for an elevated take on the classic pie
Order by: November 20 

Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails
What you can get: For true Southern Thanksgiving, Milton’s executive chef Derek Dollar is preparing a 12-14-pound apple-brined and smoked turkey with sage-corn spoonbread and Madeira gravy for $99. Add on mashed potatoes, mac ‘n cheese, cheddar grits, Kentuckyaki Brussels sprouts, and green beans for an additional $76.
Don’t miss: The smoked gouda in the mac ‘n’ cheese
Order by: November 20

Moe’s Original BBQ
What you can get: In order to get you exactly what you want, Moe’s is going the a la carte route this turkey day. Choose from pans of cornbread dressing, sweet potato casserole, collard greens, and mac ‘n’ cheese, among other comfort foods.
Don’t miss: Smoked meats sold by the pound. Can’t decide what to order? Get a pound of each and you’ll have leftovers for days.
Order by: November 24

Seed Kitchen & Bar
What you can get: Put all your focus on making the perfect bird. Seed has the rest covered—even the gravy. Sides and pies for eight cost $199. Get ready to impress your guests with roasted carrots, fingerling potatoes, cornbread stuffing, and Ellijay apple streusel pie.
Don’t miss: Seed’s sommeliers are available to create personalized wine packages to pair with your meal.
Order by: November 22

Ray’s Restaurants
What you can get: For $200, you can order starters like smoked chicken salad and jumbo shrimp cocktail, entrees such as honey-glazed salmon and pepper-crusted New York roast, and sides likes sweet potato souffle. There’s pumpkin pie and apple-cinnamon cobbler to top it off.
Don’t miss: Contactless, curbside pickup
Order by: November 23

Revival
What you can get: Start with adult beverages like hot mulled cider and autumn sangria for $35 for four. Add a whole smoked turkey, mac ‘n’ cheese, old-fashioned squash casserole, and pumpkin bread pudding, made to feed four and sold a la carte.
Don’t miss: Spice up the expected with Cheerwine-glazed hams ($115 each)
Order by: November 22

Rocket Farms Restaurants (No. 246, JCT Kitchen, Superica)
What you can get: Pick up pastry chef Chrysta Poulos’s buttermilk-honey rolls ($14/dozen) and a variety of pies, and bake them at home. They’ll come to the table steaming, and your guests will think you spent hours in the kitchen.
Don’t miss: Beetlecat’s famous coconut pie will earn you major bragging rights.
Order by: November 23

South City Kitchen
What you can get: Take and bake meals feed four people and include salad, turkey breast or braised boneless short ribs, and corn muffins with whipped butter and apple butter, and chocolate pecan or pumpkin caramel custard pie. Sides like mashed Red Bliss potatoes and green beans are available for an additional cost.
Don’t miss: Low-country tablescape magnolia centerpieces brighten up any holiday table.
Order by: November 18 for the tablescape or November 21 for food only

Souper Jenny
What you can get: Place your order for herb- and maple-crusted turkey breast, smoked on a Big Green Egg. There will also be gluten-free apple, pecan, and cornbread stuffing; sourdough stuffing with everything bagel spice; and crispy, roasted Brussels sprouts with maple-mustard glaze. Everything is sold a la carte, and there’s a $60 minimum.
Don’t miss: The soups, of course! Mix it up with chicken and white bean chili or paleo beef and butternut chili. For more traditional options, go with the roasted pumpkin-butternut squash soup, or mushroom soup with sherry and crispy shallots.
Order by: November 21

Sweet Auburn BBQ
What you can get: Choices abound at Sweet Auburn BBQ. Get a whole, smoked, antibiotic- and hormone-free turkey, or a full meal with 2 ¼ pounds of sliced turkey breast, plus two sides, biscuits or cornbread, and cranberry sauce. Sides vary from Asian papaya slaw and Jamaican jerk collards to bourbon baked beans and stone ground cheddar grits.
Don’t miss: The Red Bliss potato salad, which merges a Thanksgiving tradition with a barbecue staple.
Order by: November 22

Find “Shroom Brews” and “Radiant Lattes” at Eleven TLC, coming to Ponce City Market

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Eleven TLC promises “lattes with benefits” at its new Ponce City Market stall.

Courtesy of Charles Harris

Are Shroom Brews and Radiant Lattes (made with collagen, ashwagandha, and vanilla) the next big thing? Around Thanksgiving time, just when you’re beginning to feel run down or overwhelmed with all the cooking and cleaning, Eleven TLC will open at Ponce City Market’s food hall, offering tinctures, “lattes with benefits,” effervescent teas, and vegan soft serve designed with wellness in mind. [Update 1/12/21: After a brief delay, Eleven TLC opened on January 11.] Located across from Batter cookie dough, Eleven TLC will use organic, naturally harvested ingredients, such as bee pollen, ginger, and tumeric.

“These ingredients have been around for thousands of years,” says Hea Won Chun Harris, who co-founded Eleven with her husband, Charles Harris. “As people stopped living off the land, these ingredients became less important. We’re taking these gifts from Mother Nature and putting them back into the beverages we’re making.”

TLC stands for teas, lattes, and caffeine. However, Eleven TLC’s beverages don’t actually include caffeine—although you can add espresso or matcha as a “topper” to most drinks. The Harrises came up with the concept for Eleven after Hea Won’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Her sister, an internist, worked to find alternative therapies to support her mother, and saw benefits.

“This is a lifestyle; it’s something we identify with so much,” Harris says. “What you put in the body effects weight management, how you feel emotionally, how you focus, and so much more.”

Organic matcha

Courtesy of Charles Harris

The duo hired mixologists and medical practitioners to design drinks that are both tasty and healthy. They contain ingredients like bee pollen (an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immune booster), collagen (for improved skin and hair, and reduced joint pain), and ashwagandha (for managing depression and anxiety).

Lattes are dairy-free, made with a choice of almond, oat, or macadamia “milk.” They come shaken over ice but can be ordered hot as well. There’s a Shroom Brew with chaga, reishi, lion’s mane, and ashwagandha, and a Pink Drink with berry root, cinnamon, and strawberry.

Effervescent adaptogenic teas

Courtesy of Charles Harris

The EAs, or Effervescent Adaptogenic teas, are sparkling beverages, but, Harris points out, are not kombucha. The drinks are low in sugar and each was designed to have its own dominant color to indicate its primary benefit, from energy (ginger/orange) to calm (lavender). The Detox tea (yellow/green) is made with cucumber, coconut water, dandelion root, milt thistle, and cilantro. The Focus (deep purple) is made with black tea, blueberries, gotu kola, guarana, and lion’s mane.

For something a bit more familiar, there’s sparkling matcha lemonade on the menu and a strawberry balsamic shrub.

Harris describes the vegan soft serve as “just something extra and fun” to round out the menu. It comes in two flavors: vanilla bean with collagen and matcha.

Shroom Brew latte

Courtesy of Charles Harris

Waffle burgers, waffle salads, even a waffle filet are coming to the Works next summer

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The Waffle Experience Atlanta
At The Waffle Experience, the namesake is used as everything, including burger buns

Courtesy of the Waffle Experience

Where chef Michael Donoho grew up in Alaska, only 78 people lived in the surrounding 600 square miles. Since products were scarce, he learned to get creative to avoid waste.

“We’d load pancakes with berries, nuts, sauteed clams, ground beef, pork, or bacon,” he says.

This idea would reappear throughout his culinary career, starting at the Nikko Hotel in Beverly Hills. Working under Master Chef Russell Scott, Donoho began infusing nori, sesame, and wasabi into leftover waffle batter to create Japanese-inspired dishes—like broken nori waffle with fried prawns. Scott loved the idea and encouraged Donoho to keep it going.

After continuing the idea in various forms at other restaurants, in 2014, he decided it was time to make it his primary focus. With Partner and Chief Operating Officer David Isbell, he opened the first Waffle Experience near Sacramento. After handing out 12,000 waffle samples at the California state fair, they were set.

People lined up for Donoho’s take on sweet and savory waffles. There are traditional dessert waffles with bananas and Nutella, but there are also waffle sandwiches, waffle burgers, and waffle salads, made with a savory herb dough, similar to focaccia.

“People think we’re unique enough to give it a try but not so outrageous that they’d avoid us,” Donoho says.

He has since franchised the business and is moving its headquarters to Atlanta. The first East Coast location opens in June 2021 at the Works on Chattahoochee Avenue. It’ll be a 2,200-square-foot, full-service restaurant with a 50-seat patio.

Bacon and egg waffle

Courtesy of the Waffle Experience

Everything is made fresh, using local ingredients whenever possible. Salads come with waffle breadsticks, waffle croutons, or on an olive-infused waffle. The Babe Colossal Burger incorporates bacon crumbles in the waffle’s dough. The Pig Latin carnitas’ waffle is infused with jalapenos. The avocado “toast” is made with feta.

A first for the Waffle Experience, the Atlanta location will serve dinner, in addition to breakfast and lunch. The menu may include gumbo, ribs, oysters, and barbecue brisket—all incorporating a yeast waffle. Donoho envisions an airline breast, thigh, and leg, stacked high with carrots, thyme, and lemon jus, atop an herb waffle with apple compote stuffed inside.

“Back in the day, they’d put a piece of toast underneath a rare steak to keep the plate from looking too messy,” he says. “We’ll do that with a lardon- and blue cheese-stuffed herb waffle, under a seared filet, green fried tomato, peach demi-glace, and charred peaches.”

In addition to fair trade coffee, mimosas, and Bloody Marys, the Atlanta location of the Waffle Experience will serve beer, wine, and cocktails. Approximately half of the beer list will be from Scofflaw, since they have a brewery is onsite. The rest will be local to Georgia. Cocktails such as a tequila sunrise, rum runners, and boozy iced teas will be made with wine-based spirits.

Donoho says the restaurant will have a “farm industrial look” with brick, raw ceilings, reclaimed wood, and galvanized metal. “We want it to be comfortable, warm, and inviting—not too pretentious,” he says.

There’s an open kitchen and a glass wall that allows customers to watch production, too.

What is the future of Atlanta’s food halls?

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What is the future of Atlanta's food halls?
Ponce City Market’s Central Food Hall has adopted numerous COVID-19 precautions.

Photograph by Martha Williams

Over the past five years, food halls have become integral to the city’s dining scene, a place where a group of noncommittal eaters easily can gather regardless of where they fall on the picky-to-adventurous spectrum. At Ponce City Market, your options include tonkotsu ramen, a smoked-tofu Cubano, and bucatini carbonara. At Krog Street Market, you can graze on Zhong-style dumplings, a classic burger stack, or grilled-pork banh mi. At Marietta Square Market, you might vacillate between a Maine lobster roll, wood-fired Neapolitan pizza, and half-rack of baby back ribs. No reservation necessary.

Of course, when the pandemic hit, food halls were forced to rethink, at least temporarily, the viability of eating communally and congregating indoors. The transition to takeout hasn’t been easy. Even though each stall prepares food in a way that’s meant to be transported—typically, only from counter to food-court table—that hasn’t necessarily translated to brisk to-go business.

“These markets weren’t made for takeout,” says Grand Champion BBQ co-owner Robert Owens, who has a stall at Marietta Square Market in addition to four free-standing locations. “Marietta Square Market is more of a social hangout—not as much a place you think to pick up from.”

Owens started offering delivery via Postmates in April to help boost revenue. But the Marietta Square Market location, which only had been open about a year when the entire 18,500-square-foot facility temporarily closed for dine-in during the beginning of the pandemic, has seen the biggest decrease in sales of all his locations. “It gets a little better every week, but business is still way down, especially compared to what it was last summer,” he says.

What is the future of Atlanta's food halls?
Fred’s Meat & Bread at KSM.

Photograph by Martha Williams

“People are in their homes, tightening down and trying to get through this,” says Todd Ginsberg, who co-owns Fred’s Meat & Bread and Yalla stalls at Krog Street Market, as well as stand-alone restaurants the General Muir at Emory Point and Wood’s Chapel BBQ in Summerhill. “We run on such tight margins. A lot of restaurants are not going to make it.”

Ginsberg speaks from experience. His mini–food hall at Tech Square, the Canteen, which housed second locations of Fred’s and Yalla, closed in March due to stay-at-home orders and never reopened. “The consistent business there was from students, faculty, and nearby businesses,” he says. “When everyone went remote, we looked to assistance from our landlord.” When that assistance didn’t materialize, Ginsberg and his partners shuttered the Canteen.

At Krog Street Market, Ginsberg’s two stalls have seen a 70 percent decline in business compared to prepandemic, he says. “Krog had called to us because it was off the BeltLine—a place for people to walk around, shop, grab lunch and a beer in an air-conditioned space,” Ginsberg says. “A lot of those things were affected by COVID-19.” Despite the loss of walk-up customers at Krog, Ginsberg says he’s fortunate that online ordering, takeout, and delivery have kept Fred’s and Yalla afloat.

What is the future of Atlanta's food halls?
Salatim Bowl and a hibiscus soda from Yalla at Krog Street Market.

Photograph by Martha Williams

Asana Partners, which owns Krog Street Market, declined an interview request. Ed Lee, a principal at Capital Properties Group and partner in Marietta Square Market, says the food hall, which closed for a couple months, offered rent assistance to its vendors. “The landlord has been a help,” says Owens, who also was able to get a PPP loan for Grand Champion BBQ. “I have enough faith that we’ll find a solution to this.” Jamestown, the real estate and investment firm that launched Ponce City Market, offered its vendors resources to set up mobile ordering and contactless payment options and to increase social media reach. Jamestown also offered financial assistance to businesses on an as-needed basis. “Some is rent abatement, some is rent deferral, some is a loan to help people change their spaces while waiting on PPP dollars,” Jamestown president Michael Phillips says. By the time Ponce City Market’s food hall reopened to customers in late May, Jamestown had increased outdoor seating options and equipped many of its stalls with acrylic shields.

“Every day is a struggle,” says Tal Baum, owner of Bellina Alimentari at Ponce City Market. “But Jamestown has been an amazing partner through all of this.”

Baum says she’s seen a major decrease in foot traffic at Ponce City Market, yet she says sales at Bellina are slightly higher than at her non–food hall restaurants, Rina (located in a commercial strip across the BeltLine from PCM) and Aziza (in Westside Provisions District).

What is the future of Atlanta's food halls?
Business at Ponce City Market’s food hall is slowly but steadily picking back up.

Photograph by Martha Williams

To cut labor costs at his Ponce City Market restaurant, El Super Pan, Hector Santiago trimmed his number of menu items by 40 percent. He says the cost of personal protective equipment and disposable containers and utensils has further cut into El Super Pan’s profits, at a time when revenue has been down 20 to 50 percent compared to before the pandemic.

But business at Ponce City Market is slowly picking up. “For us, being in a food hall helps,” Santiago says. “Ponce is a very popular place, and even when there is not a lot of [foot] traffic, there is more traffic than elsewhere.”

What is the future of Atlanta's food halls?
Hector Santiago at his Ponce City Market restaurant, El Super Pan. “For us, being in a food hall helps,” he says.

Photograph by Martha Williams

Santiago also owns a second El Super Pan location at the Battery (where business is down 50 percent) and El Burro Pollo in the new Collective food hall at Coda in Tech Square. The stall had only been open for a few weeks when it closed at the end of March. Coda and Santiago are planning to host Thursday pop-ups throughout the fall to bring customers back to the area. “We’re just trying to survive,” Santiago says.

Will food halls fully rebound? Andrew Zimmern, host of Bizarre Foods and What’s Eating America, and Robert Montwaid, of the Gansevoort Market food court in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, are betting on a full recovery. Their 22,000-square-foot Chattahoochee Food Works debuts this fall in northwest Atlanta, with the first nine of an eventual 31 stalls set to open soon, including vendors specializing in South African street food, Lebanese barbecue, and homestyle Thai. Zimmern said in an August interview that the food hall concept has taken on new urgency: “The events of the last six months have underscored the necessity to provide low-barrier entry to business for food entrepreneurs.”

Zimmern and Montwaid point out that, as they await an economic rebound from the pandemic, the flexible nature of a food hall allows reconfiguration for challenging times, with indoor and outdoor seating more spread out now—and, when the pandemic finally recedes, more packed-in later. (There are similar, adaptable plans for the revamped Colony Square food hall in Midtown, set to open next year with digital ordering, contactless pickup, and movable seating.)

“The great thing about the space and site is we could probably seat 1,000 people—the market is bordered on three sides with outside space,” Montwaid said in August. “We’ll be able to open safely and keep social distancing in place.”

This article appears in our November 2020 issue.

The Chastain takes over the old Horseradish Grill space with a former Atlas chef at the helm

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Cinnamon rolls

Courtesy of the Chastain

After 26 years in Chastain Park, Horseradish Grill closed in February. But come late October/early November, the former country store will be occupied again, this time under the leadership of executive chef and operating partner Christopher Grossman. Called the Chastain for its park-side location (4320 Powers Ferry Road Northwest), it will serve a seasonal menu of ”reinvented” New American classics.

Grossman—who previously worked at Atlas at the St. Regis Atlanta, Aria, and Thomas Keller’s the French Laundry—says he’ll serve “elevated comfort food for everyday dining.” The Chastain will serve dinner nightly, and eventually lunch and brunch. Locals can also stop in for a coffee, pastry, or light breakfast to-go in the mornings.

“There are so many people always out exercising—we want to be of service to the community,” Grossman says.

He and his business partner, Andy Heyman worked to keep the timeless feel of the restaurant with a neutral color palette and large windows that bring the outside in. The patios seat nearly as many people as the dining room (140), and the space features an active garden that attracted Grossman to the job.

We spoke to him to learn more.

Executive chef and operating partner Christopher Grossman

Courtesy of Michael Thompson

When and why did you leave Atlas?
I didn’t feel like I was done at Atlas. [But] with a location like this, it almost felt like destiny. When [my wife and I] moved to Atlanta, we lived in Sandy Springs, and I was working at Aria. I began driving by Chastain [Park] every day and walking the park for exercise. For some reason, we never came in [Horseradish Grill].

Andy Heyman, of ASH Ventures, knew me from Atlas. He asked what it would take for me to leave. My response was a garden. [When I walked into Horseradish Grill], I had goosebumps. I didn’t realize this gem was right here in the city. It had that innate charm, the history, the bones, and the garden out back. I knew this was where I was meant to be.

How will the Chastain be similar to Atlas?
It’s more locally focused than Atlas but with that same level of execution and respect for the ingredients. My inspiration comes from produce from local farmers. We’ll source some ingredients from the on-site garden, but it’s not big enough for everything.

What’s on the menu?
There will be about 20 menu items, including fresh-made pastas, risottos, salads, soups, and vegetables. Dishes will go from small to large, including something for the table or to feed a family of four. [Dishes might include] cornmeal tempura okra, charred broccoli salad, glazed turnips with toasted peanuts and pesto made from turnip greens, and pepper steak with chevre and fresh herbs. 

What about for breakfast?
Avocado toast, maybe a build-your-own breakfast sandwich and sheep’s milk yogurt. Christian Castillo is in charge bread production, morning pastries, and dessert. He’ll make croissants and naturally fermented breads. For me, a restaurant starts with bread and butter. It’ll be baked fresh every day. It should get the same attention as everything else on the menu.

Tell me about your coffee program.
I am a coffee snob. I drink way too much of coffee. One of the best coffees I’ve had in Atlanta is with Brash. They are doing with coffee what we are doing with vegetables as far as sourcing. I’m very excited to partner with them. We’ll have drip coffee, tea, lattes, cappuccino, and espresso.

What’s on the bar menu?
I want to source really good spirits and reinvent the classics with them. Juan Cortes is the lead beverage manager. He’ll do spins on the Old Fashioned and the Daisy. We want a well-stocked wine program with about 30 wines by the glass. Beer will be local—New Realm, Creature Comforts.

What have you done to renovate the space?
We wanted to save as much of the charm of the building as we can. The fireplace stones were repurposed into garden beds. The chimney that has been on this property since the ‘30s is now the foundation for the vegetables we’re growing.

The whole space is lighter and brighter. The Old Oak Terrace serves as an extension of the dining room with tablecloths. The patio you see when you first walk in from the parking lot has a more casual bistro feel with umbrellas and wood tables. It’s come as you are.

The bar is marble and U-shaped. We doubled the seating around it, focused around an arched window.

Are you concerned about opening a new restaurant during a pandemic?
Yeah. You want to be open for the community, but you want to keep everyone safe. We will be social distancing the tables. We’re trying to expand outdoor seating as much as we can. I want people to feel comfortable.

Aix and Tin Tin will close, to be replaced by a more pandemic-friendly restaurant

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Grain bowl with roasted vegetables and miso, topped with grilled chicken

Provencal-inspired restaurant Aix and its adjacent wine bar Tin Tin will close after service on Saturday. In their place, executive chef and partner Nick Leahy is creating what he hopes will be a neighborhood restaurant and bar, called Nick’s Westside. Featuring a new menu of locally sourced dishes, the new restaurant opens Tuesday, October 13 at 956 Brady Avenue Northwest.

“The Aix menu wasn’t really conducive to takeout, and high-end niche fine dining wasn’t what the public was craving,” Leahy explains. “I made a more approachable, broad-appealed menu and got really nice response.”

Inspired by a need to support those who work for him, as well as farmers and purveyors, Leahy turned his focus to expanding his new menu into a new direction for the restaurant as a whole.

“This year has given a large dose of perspective. The most important thing about what we’re doing here is not a specific concept, but the people involved,” he says.

At Nick’s he’ll offer dine-in, takeout, and delivery of burgers, salads, snacks, and mains, including fried Springer Mountain Farms chicken, a blackened shrimp roll, and a grain bowl. Appetizers reflect Leahy’s history cooking small plates—he previously served as executive chef at Saltyard. Expect salmon poke tostadas, mushroom empanadas, and pork belly bao. Much of the produce used will come from the restaurant’s new garden.

Tomato and Vidalia gazpacho

Courtesy of Nick's Westside

Pastas, such as this one with pan-roasted clams, saffron, and bouillabaisse, are made fresh daily.

Courtesy of Nick's Westside

But Nothing is Lost cocktail featuring sage- and rosemary-infused gin, Dolin Blanc, pear, and lime.

Courtesy of Nick's Westside

Beverage director Matt Gibbons streamlined the wine list from Aix days and compiled a beer list that’s 100 percent local. Cocktails feature the herbs in season. The “But Nothing is Lost” cocktail features sage and rosemary-infused gin, and “Nothing Lasts” highlights peach-infused vodka with aperol, coconut milk, and lemon.

Bottled and canned beer and wine will be available to-go, along with cocktail kits designed for assembly at home.

Guest can dine in the socially distanced garden courtyard or on the patio, which now features hopscotch and tic-tac-toe. Indoor seating is available as well.

Check out the full menu below. (Tap to enlarge.)

Asian seafood restaurant Girl Diver opens soon in Reynoldstown

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Signage at Girl Diver

Courtesy of Richard Tang

Chef Richard Tang, owner of Char Korean in Inman Park, is opening an Asian seafood spot called Girl Diver in Reynoldstown in early October. Located in the Madison Yards development (955 Memorial Drive), Girl Diver has Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai roots.

“My dad is Chinese; my mom is Vietnamese. Girl Diver is based on the food I grew up eating,” Tang says. “It’s comfort food to me, and what’s more American than a blend?”

Spicy crawfish

Courtesy of Richard Tang

Mike Yang, former director of culinary arts for Char, was originally slated to lead the kitchen. But when family issues took him away from the project, Tang brought in Karl Gorline—previously of Watershed on Peachtree—as chef de cuisine. He’ll carry out the menus Tang wrote.

These include crawfish, crab legs, and king crab by the pound, as well as shaking beef, thit kho (slow-braised pork belly), shrimp papaya salad, mussels in green curry, and Fisherman’s Egg made with Asian flavors. Hot and sour soup, fried egg rolls, vegetarian dumplings, and lobster mac ‘n’ cheese will be available, too.

Garlic butter cheese bread

Courtesy of Richard Tang

Green curry mussels

Courtesy of Richard Tang

“It all depends on people’s [preferred] flavor profile and what they really want,” Tang says.

Cam Burke, formerly of Foxtrot Liquor Bar, will lead the bar program, serving craft cocktails, Sapporo on tap, and 10 other bottled or canned beers. Expect wines by the glass, as well as the bottle.

When it opens, Girl Diver will only serve dinner—including curbside takeout and delivery options. Later, brunch and lunch service will be added.

The space, which features both indoor and outdoor seating, is designed to reflect the work of well-known Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. The name Girl Diver, too, alludes to his work and the ancient tradition of pearl-collecting deep-sea divers in Asia.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tang says all restaurant staff will wear face coverings, and the space will be sprayed weekly with an electrostatic solution that kills bacteria. Tang says the air filtration system will utilize ozone filters to purify the air.

Chicken curry

Courtesy of Richard Tang

Spicy crab legs

Courtesy of Richard Tang

5 places in metro Atlanta to pick up Rosh Hashanah dinner

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Where to get Rosh Hashanah dinner in Atlanta
Brisket at Local Three

Photograph courtesy of Local Three

2020 hasn’t exactly earned itself the best reputation. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, offers a chance for followers to reset and start anew—and it’s only four days away. If you haven’t started planning your Rosh Hashanah dinner yet, don’t fret. These local restaurants are offering all the basics to-go. 

Alon’s Bakery & Market
Choices are plentiful at Alon’s this year with offerings ranging from hand-chopped chicken liver and honey-glazed roasted carrots to sweet potato tzimmes with dried fruit and honey and an apple tart tatin. Orders must be placed by 5 p.m. on September 16 for pickup on September 18. 1394 N. Highland Avenue, 404-872-6000; 4505 Ashford Dunwoody Road, 678-397-1781. 

Breadwinner Cafe & Bakery
Whether you just want dessert or need the whole shebang, Breadwinner has you covered with a special a la carte menu for 3 to 12 people. Offerings include smoked salmon fillet, a grilled vegetable platter, roasted potatoes, and chocolate rugelach. Orders must be placed by noon on September 17. 220 Sandy Springs Circle, 404-843-0224; 5482 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, 404-999-2623.

Goldbergs Fine Foods
Offering free delivery, as well as curbside pickup, Goldbergs deli’s catering menu includes honey roasted turkey breast, brisket pierogies, chopped herring, sweet noodle kugel (casserole), honey cake, and so much more. Seven locations around Atlanta.

Local Three Kitchen & Bar
Feed your family of 4 to 6 with a complete dinner from Local Three for $124.93. Friday’s menu includes Angus brisket, matzo ball soup, apples with local honey, and more. Saturday’s feast features two Springer Mountain Farms chickens with herb gravy, baby spinach salad, challah, and flourless chocolate cake, among other items. 3290 Northside Parkway, 404-968-2700.

The Kosher Gourmet
Get your order in by 3 p.m. September 15 for your choice of four types of kugel, plus gefilte fish, stuffed cabbage rolls, and sweet and sour meatballs, and more. Most items are sold by the pound and can be picked up September 16-18. 2153 Briarcliff Road, 404-636-1114.

PS: Wondering where Jewish deli staple the General Muir is on this list? Restaurants whose Rosh Hashanah pre-order deadlines have passed were excluded.

New Grant Park bistro Woodward & Park serves everything from pierogi to okonomiyaki

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When Woodward & Park was first conceived by co-owners Amanda Feathers and James Brooks in 2018, the plan was to operate it as a fine dining restaurant with Robert Phalen (One Eared Stag) as executive chef. But as the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the hospitality industry, Phalen decided it’d be most prudent to focus on One Eared Stag. So, Feathers and Brooks approached chef Dan Brown—who they knew from his work consulting on the now-closed Barrelhouse—about leading the new restaurant—but with a slightly different focus.

Woodward & Park will open in Grant Park (519 Memorial Drive) on Friday as a neighborhood bistro in the Larkin on Memorial development. Previously of Torched Hop Brewing Co., 5Church, and the Porter Beer Bar, Brown has what he calls an “eclectic background.”

“I don’t cook one certain style of food,” he says. “I like a lot of Japanese, Korean, and South and Central American food. I bring everything together.”

Chef Dan Brown

Brown’s menu features about 12 items—including vegan and vegetarian offerings—all designed to travel, as the restaurant’s focus is currently takeout due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dinner offerings include a Korean pork Philly, steak frites, a pair of house-made pierogi, and Brown’s popular tempura avocado—a favorite from the now-defunct Stationside at Terminal West. Weekend specials—more targeted to dine-in customers—include mussels and local trout. Brown will be making dessert, too. Expect a chocolate-passion fruit trifle and a blondie banana pudding with burnt marshmallow fluff.

Burrata with herb oil, porcini, and benne crackers

Courtesy of Mia Yakel

Smoked half chicken with smashed fingerling potatoes, Qihe mushrooms, and chimichurri.

Courtesy of Mia Yakel

“I want to do interesting things that people aren’t 100 percent familiar with,” he says.

The restaurant is housed in a former warehouse with wood ceilings, so decor will feature custom wood-top tables and glazed concrete floors with some mosaic tiles mixed in. The backdrop of bar is large, antique mirror. There’s an open kitchen and a 16-seat patio. The dining room seats 65 at normal capacity, but about half the tables have been removed to ensure social distancing.

Inside Woodward & Park

Courtesy of Mia Yakel

Wine, beer, and cocktails will be available onsite, as well as for takeout. “We want people to come in here all the time without having to spend a ton of money,” Brown says, noting that he expects at least half of Woodward & Park’s business to come from to-go orders.

Both online and call-in orders will be accepted, and curbside pickup will be available. Delivery via Uber Eats and DoorDash will begin during the restaurant’s second week of service.

The okonomiyaki is an Osaka-style cabbage pancake with kimchi, bacon, kewpie, sweet soy, and bonito.

Courtesy of Mia Yakel

View the full menu below. (Tap to enlarge.)

Woodward & Park menu

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