An update on much-anticipated Miller Union

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ATL Food Chatter: August 3, 2009
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Ever since John Kessler’s scoop announcement in spring that two highly regarded Atlanta restaurant stalwarts—Steven Satterfield, executive sous chef of Watershed and Sotto Sotto general manager Neal McCarthy—were teaming up to open a westside venture to be called Miller Union, anticipation has been building throughout Atlanta’s food community. Here a few additional morsels from the two owners to nibble on until this fall’s planned opening.

First, the restaurant, whose name is a historical reference to the nineteenth century Miller Union Stockyards that once occupied the building, will be under construction soon at 999 Brady Avenue, on the corner of Tenth and Brady near Howell Mill Road. The 3,000-square foot, 70-seat, ai3-designed industrial space will be transformed into several interconnected dining areas—including a patio facing Tenth Street, a private dining area, and a wine room with a design motive described as “rustic/modern style.” Think oil can light fixtures and textured wallpaper with steel framed window walls.

Satterfield is further honing his skills by conducting a couple of stages (culinary apprenticeships) this summer at national powerhouses Le Bernardin and Chez Panisse. He promises that Miller Union’s menu will feature southern ingredients prepared in a California style—simple and with a strong focus on local and regional products. It will reflect the honest style of cooking that he perfected during his ten years at Watershed, where he was influenced not only by Scott Peacock‘s cooking but other culinary icons such as Chez Panisse’s Alice Waters.

While continuing his responsibilities at Sotto Sotto and Fritti, McCarthy is busy vetting potential staffers who will reflect his strong commitment to personal service. He’s also compiling a wine list that will emphasize American vintages, including some biodynamic and organic offerings, as well as a few Georgia wines. He has already hired someone to helm the bar (who he prefers to not yet name) who is busy working on creating artisan cocktails to match the restaurant’s cuisine.

So, Atlanta: Get ready for what sounds like an exciting and well conceived project, in a slightly off-the-beaten-track location, from two of Atlanta’s most passionate and skilled culinary stars. And stay tuned for further details.

NEWS and NOTES:

Alpharetta. Look for The Tamale Factory to open at 5950 North Point Parkway this fall.

Buckhead. The latest from the Buckhead Life camp is that Bistro Niko (yes, this name is now official) has hired an “exciting” sous chef from New York’s famed La Grenouille.

Locas Grill and Pub, an Athens, Georgia-based sports bar franchise located at 3167 Peachtree Road, has had a change in ownership and is now Buckhead Bar and Grill.

Besha Rodell reported on Omnivore that H & F Bakery, the outstanding bakery from Linton Hopkins team, has closed its doors to its retail customers due to lack of sales volume.

Decatur. According to New York magazine’s Grub Street blog, Cakes and Ale has been named one of “The Top 10 Best New Restaurants in America” by Bon Appetit magazine in the issue due on the newsstands August 11th.

East Atlanta. Chazz Southern Cooking, with a weekend brunch featuring chicken and waffles, has opened at 517 Flatshoals Avenue.

Westside. Abattoir will next host Atlanta Community Food Bank’s monthly Supper Club on Tuesday, August 11.

Rumor has it that West Egg Cafe, the popular breakfast/sandwich/bake goods spot, will be moving to the adjacent White Provisions building this fall.

Question of the Week: What classic Atlanta watering hole will be celebrating its fifty-third anniversary in August?

PS.  The answer to last week’s QOTW—What Buckhead Italian restaurant is changing their menu to Mediterranean at the end of this month?—is Lola (shout-out to Broderick, who answered correctly on last week’s post). Lola actually made the switch last Thursday, and the difference is mostly with portion sizes: Small plates are now the emphasis, with pastas still available. The restaurant remains open for lunch and dinner.

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