Q&A with Abattoir’s Tyler Williams


ATL Food Chatter: January 3, 2012

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Last month, it was announced that Tyler Williams has replaced Joshua Hopkins as the new executive chef at Abattoir, Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison’s meat-centric Westside restaurant. Williams is a thirty-two-year-old native of Okemos, Michigan, who received his culinary education at the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon, where his culinary career started at one of the Rose City’s top spots. Williams moved to Atlanta in 2010 to work at Bacchanalia, where he served as sous chef until his appointment to Abattoir.

Q: Where did you work prior to joining Anne and Clifford’s talented team?
TW: Some of my professional culinary highlights before I began working with Anne and Clifford include my time as a “menu” chef at Genoa in Portland. As a menu chef, I was one of three chefs who rotated leadership on the menu, two weeks at a time. I then moved to Chicago and spent about four years there, where I worked at Graham Elliot and served as chef de tournant [the cook in the kitchen who provides help to all the different cooks rather than having a specific job] followed by chef de cuisine at Gemini Bistro. In 2010, I moved to Atlanta and graciously accepted the opportunity to work at Bacchanalia.

Q: What are your immediate plans for Abattoir and what will you do differently from Chef Hopkins?
TW: I’ve been working with chef Hopkins for almost a month to transition the kitchen and menu. I plan to inject some of my own personality into the menu and stay true to the restaurant’s sustainable cooking approach and “chophouse” cuisine.

Q: How would you describe your culinary style?
TW: My style is as a little whimsical, but grounded in flavor and technique. At Bacchanalia, I gained incredible exposure to Anne’s specific cooking style and high standards. I’m looking forward to opening up Abattoir’s menu to my own techniques while remaining grounded in the restaurant’s classic framework.

Q: Who has been your biggest influence from a culinary standpoint?
TW: Working with Graham Elliot was a phenomenal experience. His “bistronomic” cooking style is a solid backdrop for my new role at Abattoir.

Q: What are some of your favorite restaurants in Atlanta ?
TW: My all-time favorite is Peter Cheng Cuisine. A few others I have to mention are Floataway Cafe, Pura Vida, and Cakes & Ale. I have a taste for adventurous foods and frequent some of the great ethnic restaurants on and off Buford Highway.

The 2nd annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is set for the weekend of May 10-13, 2012. Tickets go on sale February 14.

The D in Decatur may soon stand for delicious. Decatur has been nominated as one of 10 cities to be voted “The Tastiest Town in The South” by Southern Living magazine. The winner will be picked via an online poll that began December 23.

Kevin Gillespie was recently named one the 30 Under 30 top food and wine professionals in the country by Forbes magazine.

Alpharetta. M Chocolat, an artisan chocolate shop and gourmet food counter, has opened at 3960 Old Milton Parkway.

Buckhead. What Now Atlanta first reported that casual Italian spot Baroni, owned by the same crew that operates Midtown’s Baronda and Publik, is morphing into Fig Jam Kitchen Bar, featuring American style cuisine along with some international flavors.

After 41 years Pearson’s Wine of Atlanta has closed. Creative Loafing reports that the retirement of the owners, Walter and Dorothy Eisenberg, was cited as the primary reason for the shuttering of one of Atlanta’s institutions.

East Paces Tavern, featuring Mexican and Southern California cuisine, is taking over the former Abbadabbas shoe store space at 322 East Paces Ferry Road, according to What Now Atlanta, which cites a filed city construction permit.

Little 5 Points. Billy Holcomb of RestaurantsATL first tweeted that The Porter Beer Bar is expanding, doubling its bar area and adding additional tables

Midtown. Empire State South made Food & Wine editor Kate Krader’s Favorite Breakfast Spots off the Year based on her experience with the build your own sandwich biscuit filled with fried chicken and pimento cheese.

Also regarding ESS, on January 22 the restaurant will host a sous chef’s dinner, a six-course benefit affair for Wholesome Wave Georgia. Wholesome Wave is a national movement that fosters strong linkages between local agriculture and under-served communities. For example, in Georgia they do so by doubling the value of food stamps at farmers markets.
Old Fourth Ward. Creative Loafing reports that hipster haven Sound Table has expanded. The formerly vacant space adjacent to the resto/ lounge is now Space2, a venue for music, dancing and “general mayhem.”

Roswell. Wokstar, a Tennessee-based fast casual Asian restaurant group, has opened a store at 10930 Crabapple Road.

Sandy Springs. Smash Burger has opened its fifrth metro Atlanta store at 6080 Roswell Road.

Smyrna. The Smyrna Patch is reporting that Dos Amigos Cantina, an upscale Mexican resto from the Great Food Group (owners of Social Vinings and Paul’s), is slated to open this month at 2590 Spring Road in the former Folks spot.

Southwest Atlanta. Wine Styles on Cascade Road has closed after a five-year run.

Westside. On January 7, Hop City Craft Beer & Wine will expand its growler station to sixty taps, the most in the Southeast, according to an industry publication. In addition, Hop City is planning an expansion into Birmingham by late March. Hop City is rated the eighth best beer retailer in America and number twelve in the world by Ratebeer.com, an independent site for craft beer enthusiasts.

Question of the Week : What four-star Atlanta hotel is seeking a local chef to helm its new restaurant concept?

PS. The answer to the week’s QOTW—What was the first resto slated to go into the space most recently occupied by the former Saskatoon at 360 Pharr Road?—is Tibs Grill, an upscale concept from Popeye’s that never opened (hat tip to Tomorrow New’s Today).

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