First look: Bully Boy brings global coastal fare to Old Fourth Ward

Two Urban Licks’s Michael Bertozzi shares his inspiration behind the menu

 

Bully Boy Old Fourth Ward
Inside Bully Boy

Photograph by Heidi Geldhauser

Two Urban Licks executive chef Michael Bertozzi’s next project is just around the corner. Bully Boy, the newest venture from Concentrics Restaurants (which owns Two Urban Licks, along with Parish, Molly B’s, and Tap) will be a celebration of coastal fare with global influences beyond just seafood. Scheduled to open this month, the restaurant will occupy the space left by now-shuttered ramen spot Nexto, which was also a Concentrics property.

“This is a concept that [Concentrics owner] Bob [Amick] and I have been talking about for over a year,” says Bertozzi. “We wanted to do something that was coastal, but not 100 percent seafood.”

Bully Boy Old Fourth Ward
Inside Bully Boy

Photograph by Heidi Geldhauser

Bully Boy Old Fourth Ward
Inside Bully Boy

Photograph by Heidi Geldhauser

Bertozzi shares that his inspiration came from growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, and spending the summers in Lima, Peru, where his dad is from. That background combined with Amick’s time at Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket led to a menu that celebrates the ingredients of the east coast—both land and sea—with a global influence.

The name “Bully Boy” had been earmarked by Amick, as it was the name of his parents’ favorite New York City restaurant in the late ‘60s, now closed.

“We wanted to play with a lot of different ingredients to reflect my time growing up in South America,” Bertozzi says. “There’s a large Asian influence, especially Japanese, in Peru, and I wanted to see how I could meld those two cuisines together. Growing up in Lima and watching my aunt cook was one of the things that drove me to be a chef.”

Bully Boy Old Fourth Ward
Peruvian ceviche

Photograph by Heidi Geldhauser

Bully Boy Old Fourth Ward
Radishes with cultured butter and beluga caviar

Photograph by Heidi Geldhauser

A central component of the concept is to bring shareable meals back to the table. Bertozzi mentions that in Peru and across the world, “we often serve several plates at once for everyone to share and have a communal meal.” He misses that opportunity to pick and choose what you eat from the table, and wants to encourage Bully Boy diners to order multiple dishes to try at once to experience all of the flavors.

“Growing up sharing multiple plates was very present in my house. It’s present across the South too—things are served ‘family-style.’ It would always amaze me as a chef that once you got into restaurants, everybody had their own plates or entrees,” says Bertozzi.

Options will include pork riblets, fried oyster sliders, blue crab rice, a Nantucket Bay scallop roll with Thai green chili slaw, and Peruvian ceviche. Bertozzi is partnering up with Milledgeville’s Comfort Farms, which supports veterans with PTSD, to make a rabbit sausage patty melt topped with onions, pickles, Dijon, and Cabot cheddar, served on brioche with fries. (The riblets, with black pepper caramel, lime, and cilantro, will be sourced from Comfort Farms as well.)

Bully Boy Old Fourth Ward
Pork riblets

Photograph by Heidi Geldhauser

Bully Boy Old Fourth Ward
Smoked bluefish pate

Photograph by Heidi Geldhauser

There will also be what Bertozzi calls a “feast for the table”—a whole pork shoulder accompanied with a dozen oysters for multiple people to share. It comes accompanied by homemade kimchi and Chinese tortillas (a flaky cross between a flour and corn tortilla with butter in between the layers).

“The whole driving force behind this is we wanted everything to be shareable,” he says. “Down to even the cocktails, like our punch bowl. We’ve tried to keep every single dish, aside from the large format dishes, under $20 so people don’t break the bank when ordering everything.” The dishes will be coursed out in pairs and delivered to your table as they come out of the kitchen.

Bully Boy Old Fourth Ward

Photograph by Heidi Geldhauser

Advanced Sommelier Justin Amick, of Painted Hospitality, will be lead the cocktail, wine and craft beer program. “We’re taking a global approach to the cocktail menu as well,” says Bertozzi. They will incorporate kombucha and Asian tea flavors into the craft cocktails. One specific drink he says he’s looking forward to is a no-sugar-added Old Fashioned, which uses rye with saffron and burnt cherry bitters. “It’s not overly sweet,” he says.

The space will seat up to 100 diners right by the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail. Bertozzi wanted to make the space brighter and more lively, with more artwork on the walls to match the clean aesthetic of the food and cocktails. “There will be a lot of cool blues and natural wood color in the space, even down to the natural white plates,” says Bertozzi.

Bully Boy Old Fourth Ward
Inside Bully Boy

Photograph by Heidi Geldhauser

Bully Boy Old Fourth Ward
Inside Bully Boy

Photograph by Heidi Geldhauser

While at the helm of Bully Boy’s kitchen, chef Bertozzi will still remain the executive chef of Two Urban Licks, as well as the culinary director for Concentrics Restaurants.

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