Pacci sets a sharp pace its first year


ATL Food Chatter: February 22, 2010
(To receive the Chatter and other culinary tidbits directly in your inbox, sign up for our weekly dining newsletter)

Marc Taft, the general manager behind Pacci, is feeling good about the Hotel Palomar restaurant’s first year: The cooking of its chef, Keira Moritz, won national acclaim from Esquire magazine, and Taft says the restaurant’s first quarter of 2010 has exceeded his revenue projections.
One factor in Pacci’s success, says Taft, was attracting diners outside of Midtown. When he first came to Atlanta, he was told that the people in Buckhead never left Buckhead to dine; now he says that he has many Buckhead residents as steady customers.

Another key was that he and his team listened to customers throughout their inaugural year and made changes that allowed Pacci to compete better in Atlanta’s marketplace. “The neighborhood dictated the direction of our business, so we became less of a fine dining restaurant and more of a neighborhood spot that offered great food.” He took away the white tablecloths and other “stuffier” elements but kept the high levels of service and cuisine. Taft, who came to Atlanta from the Hotel Palomar in Arlington, Virginia, where he managed its restaurant, Domaso Trattoria Moderna, has been an executive chef, general manager and director of operations for hospitality industry icons like Brinker International and Carlson Hospitality.

Taft is looking forward to Pacci’s second year: For one thing, the hotel’s occupancy rate is up, according to Taft. He is also looking forward to increasing its group meeting business and getting more involved in the Atlanta restaurant community’s activities and charitable endeavors.
The Chicago restaurants have been removed from the Concentrics Hospitality web site, because, according to Hanna Huffines, Concentric’s director of PR and marketing, their contract with the Wit hotel was terminated.

Wolf Mountain Vineyards
, the North Georgia winery, recently brought home a Gold medal and two Silver medals from January’s 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Austell. Look for Fado Wine Bar to open at 3565 Austell Road this spring.
Buckhead. The AJC is reporting that Davio’s, a Boston-based restaurant group featuring higher-end Italian concepts, is opening their first Georgia location in Phipps Plaza this fall.

College Park. Cliff Bostock visited Bole, a new Ethiopian restaurant that has opened at 1640 Virginia Avenue.

Conyers. Thai Palace & Sushi Bar has relocated to 968 Main Street and added sushi to its name and menu.
Downtown. The rumored name of the Edgewood Avenue spot from the Top Flr folks is 3rd Flr.

Duluth. Kessler is reporting that the Metro area’s first Whataburger location is opening at 378 Norcross Road.
Johns Creeks. Sazon Grill, featuring Peruvian and Cuban cuisine, has opened at 10970 State Bridge Road.

. Foodie Buddha reports that Crazy Cuban, a sandwich shop, is opening next month at 290 14th Street.

West End.  Space Atlanta—a neighborhood spot with a full menu, a bar and lounge—has opened at 1310 White Street.
Westside. Yeah! Burger is the name of Shaun Doty’s burger joint slated to open this April at White Provisions.

Question of the Week
: What arts institution is rumored to be soliciting bids to operate its restaurant?
P.S. The answer to last week’s QOTW—What intown neighborhood is getting a popsicle shop this spring?—is Poncy Highlands. King of Pop is slated to open at 1079 North Avenue, the corner of North Avenue and North Highland in March.