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Pancakes at Bread & Butterfly

Brunch in Atlanta is better than ever

We've always had the General Muir for bagels and lox and One Eared Stag for biscuits drenched in sausage gravy. Now, let's add these four stars to our brunch rotation.
Brezza Cucina

Review: With two chefs in charge, can Brezza Cucina find its way?

With a menu of standards that doesn’t vary much, execution needs to be consistent. But keeping track at Brezza was like watching a slide show where pictures go in and out of focus and pass by too fast.

Wesley True, formerly of the Spence, replaces Adam Evans at the Optimist

Rocket Farms Restaurants and chef/restaurateur Ford Fry announced today that Wesley True is replacing Adam Evans as executive chef at the Optimist. True worked at Danube and Aquavit in New York City, and most recently the Spence; Evans, who has led the Optimist since its opening in 2012, announced his departure last month and has yet to reveal his future plans.

Ford Fry names his first Houston restaurant State of Grace

With Mex-Tex spot the El Felix now open at Avalon, Ford Fry is moving on to his next projects. Superica, another Mex-Tex restaurant, is slated to open in late January in Krog Street Market, and he’s just announced the name of his first Houston restaurant: State of Grace. He’s also busy planning the “little sister” restaurant to the Optimist, slated to open at 280 Elizabeth Street next summer.

Garnish & Gather reveals chef series lineup

Garnish & Gather, a local company that creates weekly ready-to-cook meals (similar to Blue Apron and Peach Dish), has announced its chef lineup for the rest of 2014. Garnish & Gather packages ingredients for any of five different recipes a week, but once a month, it features a special recipe created by one of Atlanta’s top chefs.

What’s happening at this year’s Taste of Atlanta

Taste of Atlanta is only a couple of weeks away. This year’s food fest, held October 25 through 27 at Tech Square, features samples from more than ninety local restaurants, four stages of cooking demonstrations, a barcraft competition, and a “Taste Revival” kickoff event hosted by Ron Eyester of Rosebud, the Family Dog, and Timone’s.

Taria Camerino talks new pastries, Sweet Genius, and the future of Sugar-Coated Radical

Taria Camerino, creative director for the pastry programs of Ford Fry’s restaurants and founder of the now-shuttered Sugar-Coated Radical, doesn’t believe in desserts simply tasting good: Instead, she says dining is about the experience. She feels she has “an obligation” to move people, and has been studying diners at No. 246, JCT Kitchen and the Optimist to figure out how to best “engage” them, then rework the dessert menus to better reflect her discoveries. Below, she divulges the sweet details and shares her plans to re-open Sugar-Coated Radical in 2014.

The Optimist

Ford Fry has a knack for creating likable, trend-driven restaurants that I've found capable but overly safe. His first, JCT Kitchen & Bar in the Westside Urban Market development, opened in 2007. Its tame versions of shrimp and grits, chicken and dumplings, and deviled eggs draped with ham helped usher in the era of that now-cliched genre, Southern farm-to-table, but they lack gutsy soul.

No. 246—Fry’s snazzy Decatur venture with executive chef Drew Belline—launched mid-2011 when fresh hot spots were a rarity amid the draggy economy. It satisfies its nightly crowds with busy pastas, Neapolitan-style pizzas charred in a wood-burning oven, and other Italian comforts. There, too, I hanker for more gusto, for more reach and spark to the cooking.

JCT Kitchen & Bar

Wishful thinking goes a long way toward explaining why too many Atlantans, some of them respected colleagues of mine, speak of JCT Kitchen & Bar as if it were a dyed-in-the-wool Southern restaurant, the deluxe meat-and-three of their dreams.

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