Brian Lewis further discusses STG Trattoria


ATL Food Chatter: January 10, 2012

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Last week Brian Lewis, owner of Westside hotspot Bocado, announced that he is opening his second restaurant, STG Trattoria, in Buckhead in March. The biggest details, kept artfully under wraps, were the hiring of his dream team: Joshua Hopkins, who recently departed Abattoir, and Adam Waller, former Sotto Sotto sous chef.

STG Trattoria is slated to open in March at Buckhead Plaza, 102 West Paces Ferry Road, across the street from the new Pano’s. The 3,500-square-foot neighborhood spot, designed by ai3, will seat one hundred inside and forty on the patio. Chef Hopkins’s menu will feature wood-fired pizzas but include other creative Italian fare like pastas and charcuterie as well. In a telephone interview, the erudite Lewis shared some of the project’s other details:

Q: What inspired you to create the STG Trattoria concept. Will it be an Italian-themed Bocado?
BL: When we were looking to expand, we looked at the New York market to gauge trends. We noticed that people wanted comfortable, chef-driven and budget-conscious menus. The Bocado model was useful because it had all of those characteristics. So I’d say that we are taking the techniques and passion of Bocado and introducing it into Buckhead.

Q: With your success on the Westside, why did you choose Buckhead for your second project?
BL: It is a very mature market and, after looking at the market data, we felt that it was underserved in the type of casual dining that we are creating at STG.

Q: How did you recruit Joshua Hopkins and Adam Waller to the project and how were you able to maintain the confidentiality that surrounded the planning and recruitment?
BL: They both wanted to connect to projects that are soulful and authentic and STG Trattoria fit that bill. In Joshua’s case, he wanted to finish his duties Abattoir without any complications and be classy about it. Adam felt that STG was a better fit for him than Escorpion.

Q: Describe some of the key elements of the menu and how they incorporate the central theme of an authentic trattoria?
BL: I went to New York and trained at Keste, one of New York’s best pizzerias, where I learned the techniques of authentic pizza making. Joshua of course brings great skill to the art of making charcuterie. And Adam is bringing all of the years of experience leading the kitchen at Sotto Sotto.

Q: Your brother, James Lewis, who owns Bettola, an Italian restaurant in Birmingham that specializes in pizza and pastas, was recently named one of the best new chefs in the country by Food & Wine magazine. Did he have some input into the concept and will we be seeing him anytime soon at STG?
BL: He will do some dinners with us and possibly collaborate on some dishes.

Atlanta Business Chronicle reported on two businessmen have started a Southern whiskey brand called American Spirit Whisky. The clear distilled whiskey is being served in local restos like Holeman & Finch.

Ron Eyester, chef and owner of Rosebud and the Family Dog, will cook at the James Beard House on February 16. His menu’s theme will be the celebration of the anniversary of the Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 16th, 1964.

Time magazine’s columnist Josh Ozersky has proclaimed metro Atlanta based Waffle House the “Great American Restaurant” in an online column. Ozesky notes proletarian nature of the Waffle House experience as the basis of his proclamation. reports that Halperns’ Purveyors of Steak and Seafood has become the first Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Chain of Custody certified seafood distributor in Atlanta. The MSC Chain of Custody certification that assures chefs and customers that the seafood can be traced back to a fishery that is certified in sustainability practices.

Cheshire Bridge. Woodfire Grill’s bar manager, Blake Morley, was featured on Eatocracy’s 5@5 column discussing “5 ways to break out of your cocktail comfort zone.”

Decatur. No. 246 has adjusted the availability of its chef’s counter seating by opening the hours to any time of the evening Monday through Thursday. The restaurant will still maintain the 6:30 or 9:30 slot options for weekend nights.

Downtown. O’Terrill’s Irish Pub has closed after 7 years.

Kirkwood. What Now Atlanta is reporting that The Pullman (to open at 1992 Hosea Williams Jr. Drive ) tweeted its launch date as January 13. on Friday, January 13th.

Midtown. In response to a tweet by the AJC Food and More team, the Four Seasons noted that its restaurant, Park 75, is undergoing a “simple refresh” and will reopen tomorrow, January 11.

What Now Atlanta is reporting that the Georgian Terrace Hotel has filed a permit with the city of Atlanta for a “yet to be named” bar concept focused on interpretations of classic cocktails, artisan beers and other unusual finds, along with a “modern snack bar” that is slated to open by late spring. Seiber Design, Inc. is the project’s architect.

After a four-year run, Straights, entertainer Chris “Ludacris” Bridges’ Asian fusion spot, has closed. Various media, including the AJC, have quoted a release from Bridges implying that he is closing his Midtown spot to concentrate on his new resto, Chicken N Beer, at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.

Reynoldstown. Joseph Ward, former sous chef at Woodfire Grill, is now the executive chef at H. Harper Station.

Sandy Springs. Billy Holcomb of RestaurantsATL tweeted the coming-soon sign in front of Ariana Afghan Cuisine at 5785 Roswell Rd, across from Ruth’s Chris.

Southwest Atlanta. Jackson, Mississippi soul food fave The Big Apple Inn will open an Atlanta spot at Ralph Abernathy Boulevard in March. Look for pig ear sandwiches and an array of tamales on its menu.

Vinings. The Grape in Vinings Crossings shopping center has closed.

Question of the Week: What Hooters-like chain will be opening their first Georgia location in Buckhead this summer?

PS . The answer to last week’s QOTW—What four-star Atlanta hotel is seeking a local chef to helm its new restaurant concept?—is the St. Regis, which will soon announce a local chef for the space originally slated to house the “new” Panos, according to Curbed.

Do you have restaurant openings, closings, or other news to share? Email James Oxendine at