Q&A with Chris Hall of forthcoming Local Three

ATL Food Chatter: September 13, 2010
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At whiplash speed even for the restaurant world, word first spread in June that Joël was closing, and then it immediately became known that the restaurant space would be taken over by Todd Mussman and Ryan Turner of Muss & Turner’s. They have partnered with chef Chris Hall, whose resume also includes Fourth & Swift and Canoe and who will oversee the (epic) kitchen in the restaurant—due to open late October or early November—that the trio is calling Local Three. Hall tells us about the space overhaul and menu philosophy.

Q: How will the former Joël space be different and who was your architect?
CH: First, we’re not touching the kitchen. Anything we would even attempt would be like painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa and shift whatever culinary karma there is out there against us. I’m both awed and amazed to be cooking in this kitchen; it’s truly mind blowing.

We are changing almost every aspect of the front of the house, from where you enter, to how it looks and feels will be completely different. Ai3 is the architect and we’ve teamed up with local artist and woodworker, Tracy Hartley, who is doing tons of cool stuff in the space. It will be very fun, warm and casual. Everything in the space has a story and in some way is related to us and what we do. Lots of reclaimed and reused wood and metal. For example, our community table is made from a Krewe of Revelry Mardi Gras float that Tracy found in a scrap yard in Mobile.

As you may have seen on Facebook, there will be a couple Velvet Elvises in the space. It’s less about our love for The King (although we do love him and anyone who eats peanut butter, bacon, and banana sandwiches) and more about creating a fun and casual atmosphere. No one ever said great food had to be served in a stuffy, uptight place. That’s the essence of what we’re doing.

Q: What will be the main focus of your menu?
CH: We’re operating under one guiding principle: “You can’t argue with delicious.” That really sums up our culinary philosophy. It will of course be seasonal and we’ll keep it as local as we can—not exclusively, but we want to support farmers close to us when we can. Fresh is best. We’re not trying to do anything earth shattering or revolutionary, we just want to cook great food that people enjoy!

Q: What can we expect different from you compared to your cooking at Fourth & Swift?
CH: My cooking will certainly draw greatly on what we were doing at Fourth & Swift. There will be no boundaries here. Expect lots of playful dishes. Breakfast at night with house made bacon and eggs. Or “Mother and Child Reunion” which I’m playing with right now: Plow Point Farms chicken thighs with fried egg and heirloom tomatoes. We’re serious about our food, not ourselves. I want to cook great food in a casual atmosphere and make it affordable. Turner’s always wanted a duck fat fryer so we’re granting him his wish. I want the menu to change frequently and reflect not only the season but also our mood and whims in the kitchen. Expect to see new takes on classic dishes. Todd is going to head up a kick ass charcuterie program and I’m super excited about that. You’ll see composed dishes next to family style plates, foie gras next to duck fat fried onion rings. The basics remain the same – fresh, seasonal, local. After that, it’s a grand adventure.


The second annual Cheese Week at Star Provisions starts tomorrow. Cheese makers from all over the country will discuss their fine products and offer tastings. Tim Gaddis, Star’s tireless cheese monger, posts about it on his blog, and Jimmy over at Eat It Atlanta posted an at-a-glance flyer.

“The Next Food Network Star” finalist Herb Mesa has joined local brokerage firm We Sell Restaurants as Director of Consulting.

Alpharetta. The AJC has reported that Tracey Bloom, formerly of Table 1280 and Top Chef’s seventh season, is the new executive chef at Ray’s at Killer Creek in Alpharetta.

Buckhead. The Atlanta Business Chronicle is reporting that sommelier Harry Constantinescu is the new Wine Director for the St Regis Atlanta hotel (read halfway down the story).

Inman Park. Krog Bar celebrates its fifth birthday with party featuring wine, roasted pig and paella on Saturday, October 16.

Midtown. Abrigo, “a fusion of Mexican, Southwestern and Latin cuisine,” is slated to open soon in the former Mitra spot at 818 Juniper.

Old Fourth Ward
. What Now Atlanta is reporting that artist Grant Henry has leased the Dannerman’s Coffee spot at 466 Edgewood Avenue and will reopen it as Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium in the next few weeks.

Roswell. Look for The Roswell Tap at 1090 Alpharetta Street soon.

Sandy Springs. The Atlanta business Chronicle is reporting that Tin Can Fish House and Oyster Bar is slated to open September 23rd at 230 Hammond Drive.

Question of the Week: What intown restaurant is debuting a venison burger for Midtown Restaurant Week?

PS. The answer to last week’s QOTW- What downtown resto has just added a rooftop cigar bar featuring live music and small plates? – is Cafe Circa. The Reserve opened September 1.