When Rina opens in the Ford Factory Lofts (699 Ponce de Leon Avenue Northeast) on Monday, it will bring a slice of Israeli beach life to the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail. Created by Bellina Alimentari, Aziza, and Falafel Nation owner Tal Baum, Rina is designed to share Baum’s favorite parts of Israeli food and culture with Atlantans.
Named for both Baum’s grandmother and the Israeli word for happiness, Rina is a shipudia (skewer house). Under the guidance of Oliva Restaurant Group executive chef Brandon Hughes, chef de cuisine Daniel Chance—formerly of Watchman’s—is grilling meat, seafood, and vegetables and serving them on platters and in pitas. Baum recommends starting each meal at Rina with a selection of mezze (small dishes), such as labneh cheese with zaatar and confit garlic, Israeli salad, tahini and roasted beet salad, sumac and onion slaw, and roasted carrots.
“It’s such a colorful and vibrant part of the meal,” she says.
Then, diners can order entrees like beef kabob, chicken shawarma, and lamb sliders served in pita with tahini and salsa. The Jaffa fish is fried in falafel batter, and the falafel and hummus are similar to those served at Falafel Nation, but different in their presentation and toppings.
Demario Wallace of Aziza is leading the bar program, featuring cocktails named after Baum’s favorite beaches in Tel Aviv. “The drinks will reflect the vibe and atmosphere of each beach,” she says.
There will be five cocktails and two frozen drinks, all on tap. This includes a take on a pina colada made with rum, coconut, lime, pineapple, and anisette. Boozy milkshakes—including one made with with Turkish coffee and another with honey and Tahini—will be available, too. Expect Israeli beer and wine in addition to some local offerings.
In contrast with Aziza, which Baum describes as dark and sophisticated, Rina is airy, bright, colorful, and casual. “People will notice the difference the minute they walk in,” she says.
There are high ceilings, windows overlooking the BeltLine, and a 20-seat patio that opens in the spring. There will even be a to-go window. Rina has space for 65 guests and is walk-in only.