Checking in with 4th & Swift’s Jay Swift


ATL Food Chatter: December 13, 2011
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Jay Swift’s restaurant, 4th & Swift, has not only survived for over three years in the emerging Old Fourth Ward during a down economy but has thrived to the point that Swift is planning to invest in some physical improvements and add to the food offerings in 2012, including a bar menu that will offer three seasonally revolving small plates.

Q: It seems like 2011 was pretty good for you. What are some of the things you are planning for 2012?
JS: We are doing an event to recognize and show our gratitude to [Atlanta business consultant] Allen Jones on January 29. Guest chefs will include Steven Satterfield, Chris Hall, Todd Ginsberg, and Brian Lewis. The proceeds from the dinner will go to Allen’s favorite charity, Feed My Lambs.

We are planning on improving our patio with some sort of enclosure. In addition to the new bar menu, we are starting a to-go lunch program and adding a blog to our website to include food and drink recipes, photography, and such.

Q: Allen Jones sounds like a very interesting individual. Can you elaborate on how he assisted you?
JS: Allen guides people through the process of moving from experienced operator to entrepreneur—starting with the writing of a complete business plan, concept description, to demographics and site location, and financial forecasts. He is amazingly fluent in all things business. He also has an extensive “Rolodex” of other tried and true contacts in real estate, insurance, government and banking as well. He is a one-stop shop for people trying to open a business or get financing for one. He also prepares you to go in front of investors or a loan officer. I started seeing Allen in 2004 and I met with him last week. He is in my top three most trusted mentors. He is also a very kind and generous human.

Q: What will be on your new bar menu?
JS: We want to give people a new way to experience more of our flavors, especially in our bar. So, as of February 1, our bar guests can order a taste sampler of any three small plate items off our seasonal or daily menus, on one plate for $18.

Q: I understand your son has a new title. What will be his role in 2012?
JS: Jeb has been a sous chef here since 2009. His creativity and passion has taken our food to a new level since then and has earned him a promotion to chef de cuisine.

Q: In the three years you have been in the O4W, what are some of the changes you have noticed, and what developments are you most looking forward to?
JS: Well obviously the (now underway) development of City Hall East into Ponce City Market by Jamestown is huge. We are thrilled about it and already have a great relationship with our new neighbors. Their sales and leasing office is going in first, right across the street. We couldn’t be happier.
Historic 4th Ward Park is now almost complete next door and it looks great. We anticipate afternoon Frisbee breaks over there by next spring at latest.
Interestingly, now that Jamestown has closed on their deal there are already other things in the pipeline here in the OFW that were languishing until very recently. I keep hearing, more than ever, about people being interested in this or that piece of property. You can anticipate things looking very different around here in no time at all.

Q: Are there any plans for a new Jay Swift project in the next couple of years?
JS: I have a few interesting concepts that I have been thinking about, and I would love to grow. One way is through the to-go lunch program I mentioned. We can see that growing quickly. As far as new restaurants go, we are very invested emotionally in the OFW and in-town Atlanta in general, and are keeping our eyes and ears open for the right opportunity. Right now, we spend almost all our time and energy right here at 4th & Swift. And it’s been worth it.

Holeman & Finch, Leon’s Full Service and The Sound Table were cited among America’s 50 Best Bars by Food & Wine magazine.

The latest food truck to arrive in the city is Nana G’s Chik N Waffles. Thrillist notes that the family-run operation uses natural ingredients from local farms to create a number of combinations of sweet and savory treat.

Chef Mark Alba, formerly of Paces 88 at the St Regis Atlanta, has created reMARKable meals, an in-home culinary concept featuring a variety of services to clients seeking options for entertaining and weeknight dining.

Star chef Hugh Acheson is offering to shave his trademark unibrow for charity. Wholesome Wave, an organization that brings locally grown fruits and veggies to the nation’s poorest neighborhoods, has set up Hugh’s Eyebrow Challenge. If the charity can raise $100,000 by March 1, Acheson will dispense with the “monobrow.”

Brookhaven. Savi Urban Market’s second location at 1388 Dresden Drive is now open.

Buckhead. What Now Atlanta is reporting that Ichiban Steak & Sushi has filed for a permit to open its third Metro Atlanta location at 1740 Cheshire Bridge Road.

Enrico Liberato, formerly of Fritti, Antico Pizza, and Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria, has opened his very own pizzeria at 30 Pharr Road , according to Tomorrow’s News Today. The name of the Naples born Liberato’s entrepreneurial venture, Fuoco di Napoli, means “Fire of Naples” and all of the pizzas will be prepared in the traditional Neapolitan method.

Cheshire Bridge. Woodfire Grill was cited as having one of best beer menus in America by Esquire magazine.

Decatur. No. 246 has added a weekend brunch menu featuring three Italian-inspired dishes from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m

Midtown. The Midtown Patch notes that an eatery called Campagnolo has filed an alcohol license application with the city of Atlanta to operate at 980 Piedmont Avenue, the site of several failed restos like Nonna Mia.

Sandy Springs. The AJC is reporting that Las Vegas-based Nothing Bundt Cakes opened its 42nd store at 5975 Roswell Road.

Question of the Week : What former Atlanta star chef is now headlining a Greenville, South Carolina resto?

PS . The answer to last week’s QOTW—What metro area package store registered $1,000 in beer sales in 45 minutes last Sunday, the first day of legal Sunday beer sales in its jurisdiction?—is Decatur’s Ale Yeah, according to CBS Atlanta 46.

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