Miso’s Guy Wong on his new project


ATL Food Chatter: November 8, 2011

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Guy Wong, owner of Miso Izakaya and voted Chef of the Year this week by Eater Atlanta, promises to bring some exciting new flavors to Atlanta’s dining scene with his recently announced partnership with Mike Blum, the creator of the Asian stir-fry concept, The Real Chow Baby. Wong and Blum’s project, slated to open on the Westside next spring, is Yum Bunz, a fast-casual concept that will specialize in Chinese steamed bread buns that Wong will develop for the menu.

Wong, who was born in Atlanta to Chinese parents and has studied at the Tsuji Culinary Institute in Osaka, opened Miso, one of Atlanta’s first Japanese style pubs, in February 2009. After an uneven beginning, he has made Miso into one of the city’s hottest spots and earned critical acclaim for his steamed bun selections.

Q: How did you get involved with the project? Are you a consultant or a partner?
GW: This was a concept that I wanted to do for a long time. Mike Blum was a regular guest at Miso Izakaya. We started talking about the concept of his Yum Bunz and how the steam buns I was doing on my menu were very similar. Yum Bunz will feature an enclosed steam bun called baozi. At MI I serve steam buns that are called gua bao, which is an open faced bun. It was only natural that we would become partners.

Q: What menu items did you contribute and where did the inspiration for them come from?
GW: My role is to help with the menu development of the buns. My inspiration comes from my background, which is Chinese. In Chinese culture, baozi is very popular. We are also using Wow Bao of Chicago as a business model for inspiration.

Q: Are there other locations for the concept under consideration?
GW: We want to focus on this location first and to do it right.

Q: Will you continue to operate Miso and what are your future plans for it?
GW: I will continue to work on the line at MI. My plan and goal is to continue to give Old Fourth Ward a restaurant that it can be proud of. I don’t ever see MI just settling; everyday we come in expecting to be better.

Governor Nathan Deal, the Georgia Food Bank Association, Share Our Strength and a diverse group of corporate, nonprofit and government leaders will kick off the Feeding for a Promising Future—No Kid Hungry Campaign at Feldwood Elementary School, in College Park at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, November 16. The campaign aims to end childhood hunger in Georgia by using proven strategies to increase the number of Georgia children who eat meals through federally funded programs including summer meals, after school meals programs, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Mary S. Moore, owner and founder of The Cook’s Warehouse, was named president of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, an invitational organization of women leaders in food, beverage and hospitality whose mission is education, advocacy and philanthropy. Les Dames held its annual meeting in Atlanta last weekend.

Anne Quatrano and Kevin Outzs were featured in an Eatocracy piece on the whole animal tradition in Muslim culture and its impact on America’s culinary scene.

Buckhead. Latitude opened last Friday. The sleek Buckhead bistro is helmed by former Ecco top toque, Micah Willix.

Decatur. Riffing off the popularity of CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), The Bakery at Cakes & Ale is now offering a CSB (Community Supported Bread) program. Members pick up their bread boxes each Saturday morning, and subscriptions, at which boxes are priced $25 to $35 for a variety of breads and perhaps some pastries, are available for monthly or quarterly membership.

Downtown. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Waffle House is planning to develop a “showcase” restaurant near Centennial Olympic Park. The forty-three-seat project will be located at the corner of Andrew Young International Boulevard and Centennial Olympic Park Drive and is slated to be open by spring 2012.

Sister Louisa’s Church of The Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium was named the winner of the Atlanta Downtown Design Excellence Award for Restaurant and Bar at the annual Downtown Development Day last week.

Look for The Park Life restaurant, from the owner of Downtown’s Sidebar, to open at 150 Walton by spring 2012 across from Centennial Olympic Park.

East Atlanta. Blue Frog Cantina has closed.

Marietta. Seed Kitchen & Bar, former Bluepointe chef Doug Turbush’s modern American cuisine resto, opened Monday, November 7th at 1311 Johnson Ferry Road. Seed is open for dinner only seven days a week but plans to open for weekday lunch and weekend brunch before January.

Midtown. Kessler first reported that MF Sushibar decided to close last week. After an eleven-year run, the Kinjo brothers said that the deteriorating conditions along Ponce de Leon were in part to blame.

CL’s Besha Rodell noted that George Brooks, a sous chef at Rathbun’s, will helm the kitchen at forthcoming The Lawrence (in the old Cuerno space on Juniper) under executive chef Shane Devereaux, who also oversees menus at Top Flr and Sound Table.

The Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta is featuring “Piggies and Pinots” from 5 to 7 p.m. everyday in November in the Park 75 Lounge. The fare includes gourmet, house-made pigs in a blanket made of pork and veal and served with Park 75’s signature spicy mustard.

Westside. Creative Loafing reports that opening chef Patrick Bell is leaving West Egg. Brian Frohne, formerly of Chateau Elan (and Nashville), will replace Bell.

Question of the Week : What local food and wine industry leader was named on of rising young leaders of Atlanta by a leading business publication?

PS: The answer to last week’s QOTW—What intown ATL resto’s fried chicken was on the Best Fried Chicken in the U.S. list published by a national food publication?—was Mary Mac’s, included in Food & Wine’s roundup.

Do you have restaurant openings, closings, or other news to share? Email James Oxendine at atldiningchatter@gmail.com