Ford Fry on Killer Tomato Festival and No. 246

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ATL Food Chatter: July 5, 2011
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What do you get when you combine some of the South’s top chefs, mixologists, and farmers; the peak of growing season; and good music, all in one location for a good cause? The third annual Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival, which will be held July 17 from 1–5 p.m. at Westside Urban Market. The annual fundraiser for Georgia Organics has morphed into an experience unlike any of the ATL’s growing number of food events. The combination of the creative uses of tomatoes, boisterous crowds spurred on by some rocking bands like the Plasmatics and high-profile judges—including Andrew Knowlton of Bon Appetit, Food & Wine restaurant editor Kate Krader, and ATL’s dynamic dietician, Carolyn O’Neil—produce a unique alchemy that made the Killer Tomato Festival a must-attend.

Top Tomato Ford Fry, the event’s founder, shares details on this year’s Killer Tomato event as well as a glimpse into his forthcoming Decatur restaurant, No. 246.

Q: How will this year’s Killer Tomato Festival differ from last year’s?
FF: Well, to start—at least 2,000 more pounds of tomatoes! We have ten additional restaurants and five or six more mixologists participating. With this, we are expanding over the bridge between Westside Urban Market and White Provisions.

Q: What was the inspiration behind the Festival?
FF: The inspiration began when I noticed the abundance of tomatoes our local farmers have during peak tomato season. Also, I’ve always wanted to hold a super-crazy-fun food festival on our property. And [naming the event after the film] Attack of the Killer Tomatoes film felt like the perfect platform.

Q: Can you give us an update on no.246?
FF: No. 246 is on track to open on Tuesday, July 12. We’ve been “tempering” our Acunto Napoli wood burning pizza oven, preserving lemons, and eating a lot of pasta.

Q: How is the menu evolving?
FF: The menu is ready to go. We’ve got our local forager on the hunt for mushrooms and Drew is trying not to get stung by our honey bees [and is] hard at work.

[Fry sent a copy of the working opening menu, which is divided into Toasts, Meat & Cheese, Flour & Water (pizzas and pastas), appetizers, and entrees. Many of the dishes—charred octopus with potato and celery, roasted chicken with hen-of-the-wood mushrooms and roasted young carrots, garganelli with rabbit ragu—bring to mind Floataway Cafe, where chef de cuisine Drew Belline worked previously, with a bit more of a specific Italian focus.]
 
Q: Is there a food truck in your plans?
FF: I am thinking about a food truck equipped with wood-cooking capabilities. It’s not a “for profit” idea, though: It would be for the use in a ministry, feeding those who need to be fed. I’d love to involve other restaurants if they would want to participate, or am happy to just include just my restaurants.

NEWS AND NOTES:

Former Pacci chef Keira Moritz is opening Steel Magnolias in Valdosta, Georgia, her hometown. The restaurant, slated to open this month, will feature “Urban Southern Cuisine.”

“Get Delicious Again! Atlanta’s Global Eateries,” featuring Jim Stacy visiting several of Atlanta’s international restaurants, will air Sunday, July 24th from 8-9pm on PBS 30. Creative Loafing notes that this is the sequel to “Get Delicious! Atlanta’s Hidden Treasures” that was broadcast in 2009.

The 3rd annual Taste and Tour of Cheshirebridge Road will be held July 20-21,2011. For further details, visit:

R. Thomas Deluxe Grill and World Peace Cafe were cited as two of Atlanta’s best healthy eating options in a recent Los Angeles Times article. The piece detailed a cross country jaunt by a vegan/ vegetarian couple who documented their various experiences in attempting to eat healthy along the journey from California to Florida and back. They expressed “surprise” at Atlanta’s offerings because they thought that it was solely “the land of deep-fat friers.”

Buckhead. Tomorrow’s News Today reports that The Local at Collier Road, featuring a tapas menu, will open at 1201 Collier Road by August.

Downtown. Pacific Rim, Raymond and Anna Hsu’s Peachtree Center Pan Asian restaurant, will be undergoing a major renovation soon, according to its web site.

East Atlanta. According to What Now Atlanta, N’Awlins Restaurant owner Franky Capobianco is planning on opening an Italian Bakery called Capobianco’s Italian Bakery and Market at 1267 Glenwood Avenue on August 1,. Capobianco describes his latest project as “an old-school meets new-school Italian haven for desserts, ices, all Italian specialties, wedding cakes, birthday cakes as well as meats, cheeses, olives and breads.”

Grant Park
. Look for Bar One, featuring tapas and live music, to open at 687 Memorial Drive, in the former Redfish space, this July.

Marietta. The Windy Hill Road location of Fatburger, the last remaining Georgia outlet, has closed.

Midtown
. The Atlanta Business Chronicle is reporting that long time Buckhead favorite Cafe Agora—which features Greek, Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine—will open a Midtown restaurant at 92 Peachtree Place. The 700-square-foot store will be part of the Atlanta History Center’s Margaret Mitchell House campus and is slated to open within the next 2 months.

Eater.com cited Escorpion as one of the “21 Places to Drink Mezcal Across the Country.” The article singled out these particular spots based on “their passion, expertise, and perhaps most of all, their efforts to use the spirit to craft clever and excellent cocktails.”

BarrelHouse—a gastropub developed by the owners of the Graveyard Tavern featuring a menu developed by former Parish chef Tim McGee—will open in the former St. Charles Deli space in Technology Square this July, according to a Georgia Tech press release.
 
Roswell. North of NOLA has closed; however, according to its Facebook page, a new concept will open in the space at 659 Atlanta Street on July 11.

Westside
. Beginning Monday, July 18, Abattoir will be open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. According to the press release, Abattoir will serve its regular dinner menu Sunday evening from 6 to 9 p.m. in addition to Monday through Saturday dinner service from 6 to 11 p.m.

Question of the Week: What recently closed Asian restaurant will be revived as a twice-a-month Buckhead dining experience this fall?

PS. The answer to last week’s QOTW—Name the new once-a-month food truck event coming to Midtown—is Street Food Happy Hour. It will held once a month in the parking lot of The Hub Atlanta, 1369 Spring Street, from 7 to 10 p.m on the fourth Wednesday of every month, beginning June 22.

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