Five openings for the fall

ATL Food Chatter: September 13, 2011
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Here is a preview of the five coolest new restaurants that should help make Atlanta’s fall dining scene hot:

The Lawrence
Patrick La Bouff, operator/owner of the successful pop-up dining experience Dinner Party Atlanta, and Darren Carr, co-owner of Top Flr and the Sound Table, have a Midtown brick-and-mortar project slated to open by the middle of October in the former Cuerno/Lupe space at 905 Juniper Street. According to LaBouff, The Lawrence—named for St. Lawrence, the patron saint of chefs—will feature classic French cuisine with a Southeastern Asian twist. Shane Devereux, who also oversees the kitchens of Top Flr and Sound Table, has crafted the menu, but the chef who will be executing the menu onsite has yet to be announced. The space will feature a sleek design by Atlanta-based Tim Nichols of NO Architects.

Southern Art and Bourbon Bar

Art Smith—restaurateur, cookbook author and former personal chef to Oprah Winfrey—is opening his first Southeastern restaurant on October 10 in Buckhead’s Intercontinental Hotel. The menu of Southern Art will include an artisan ham-and-charcuterie bar and a vintage “pie table” showcasing an array of Southern desserts. Dishes like fried chicken with sour cream waffles, braised pork shoulder with green tomato chow chow, and spit-roasted half-chicken with greens reflect Smith’s Southern childhood. The chef overseeing day-to-day operations (Smith also has a hand in restaurants in Chicago, Washington D.C., and Palo Alto) has yet to be announced. Dallas-based design firm Vivian-Nichols is designing the space, which will include artwork suspended over the dining room. The Bourbon Bar fittingly replaces the cognac-themed XO Bar off the lobby across from the restaurant.

Alma Cucina
Fifth Group Restaurant’s modern Mexican restaurant is scheduled to open Downtown the first week of December. Chef Chad Clevenger, who has worked under Mark Miller at Coyote Cafe and with chefs like Chicago’s Rick Bayless, is crafting a menu that will not only draw upon his expertise with Mexican cuisine but will also feature strong Latin American and Southwestern influences. The interior by ai3 and Peace Design (the photo above is a rendering) will create a whole new energy in the former IL Mulino space.

Tomo Buckhead
While technically not new, Tomohiro Naito’s relocation of his lauded Vinings restaurant to Buckhead’s 3630 Peachtree Road development has Atlanta sushi fans buzzing. Naito brings imaginative flair to modern Japanese cuisine by injecting elements French and Italian elements into the menu. Atlanta based Tony Akly (FAB) designed the Vinings space and is overseeing the Buckhead location as well.

The restaurant has been in the works for over a year, but it looks like New York-based One Group will finally open its take on a steakhouse as part of the 12th & Midtown development this November. The 12,000 square-foot space located at 1075 Peachtree Street will feature two concepts in a bi-level configuration: a steakhouse and STK OUT, a casual take-out spot that will feature burgers made from the same beef served in the steakhouse. Manhattan-based design firm icrave (Spice Market Atlanta) is the project’s architect.

A few others to keep an eye out for: Connecticut-based Barcelona Wine Bar in Inman Park (we could use more forward-thinking wine bars in this town, let’s hope they set up); Takorea, Korean tacos on Juniper Street from Tomas Lee of Hankook Taqueria and Ocean Prime, seafood and steaks from an upscale chain in Buckhead’s former Sambuca space.

The AJC’s Buzz Blog reported that Todd Richards, the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead Cafe Chef and former Iron Chef America contestant will appear on “The Today Show” on September 29.

Eater Atlanta noted that Councilmember Kwanza Hall’s food truck ordinance was passed unanimously by the Atlanta City Council on Tuesday,September 6th.

In the new Zagat Fast Food Survey Chick-Fil-A is number 1. The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that the Atlanta-based chain is the No. 1 rated large fast food chain in terms of food, facilities and service ratings. Zagat’s annual National Fast Food Restaurant Survey covered 103 chains and was voted on by 6,064 diners.

Flip Burger Boutique’s toppings like the Swiss cheese foam earned it a spot on a “Big Bad Burger” list that Food & Wine restaurant editor Kate Krader wrote for Eatocracy.

Tomorrow’s News Today is reporting that Roswell-based Cloud 9 Frozen Yogurt and Cupcakes will open its second store soon in the Lenox Mall food court. Initially, only cupcakes will be on this store’s menu. In related news, ToNeTo also reports that the Buckhead store of local fro yo shop, Three on a Tree, has closed.

Decatur. Eater Atlanta notes that no.246 is now taking reservations. Call 678-399-8246.

. Der Biergarten is one the “10 Great Places to Dig in at a Beer Garden” according to USA Today. The feature’s writer, Kaitlyn Goalen, national editor of, says, “It’s super German. It feels like you just walked into a place in Munich.”

Hank Reid, the former owner of Trinity Bistro in Snellville, Georgia, has been appointed as executive chef at Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint.

September 8 marked the beginning of the Greenmarket at Peachtree Center. Fresh produce, fruit ,cheese and seasonal items will be sold from noon until 3pm every Thursday in the courtyard at Peachtree Center.

Little 5 Points. The Wrecking Bar is now serving Sunday Brunch from noon until 3pm.

Marietta. Creative Loafing is reporting that Red Hare Brewing Company has opened at 1998 Delk Industrial Boulevard. The brewery will feature tastings on Friday and Saturdays.

Question of the Week: Name the second of Atlanta’s Top Chef contestants to be immortalized as a cartoon (Eli Kirshtein was the first).

PS . The answer to last week’s QOT—Question of the Week: Name the two restaurants in the metro area that cook with Acunto ovens imported from Naples—is Antico Pizza Napoletana and Decatur’s new Sapori di Napoli. (Commentor AshleyH_8 called that one last week.) 

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