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Re-review: Empire State South’s surprising next chapter

It’s been eight years since celebrity chef Hugh Acheson opened Empire State South and challenged Atlanta’s notion that Southern food is something preciously preserved in the past. But a lot can change in eight years. Empire State South’s next chapter, under newly installed executive chef Adam Waller, marks a deliberate return to the basics.

Here’s the menu for Bar Americano, a new Italian restaurant from the Mercury/Pinewood team

The team behind the Mercury in Ponce City Market and the Pinewood in Decatur are taking over the space formerly home to East Andrews Café & Bar in the old Andrews Entertainment District, and are hoping to revitalize the area with a more sophisticated, yet casual Italian-American restaurant called Bar Americano.

STG Trattoria

Luxury dining is a given in Buckhead, where you can't throw a Bentley hood ornament without hitting an expense-account steakhouse, a mall or hotel that houses white-tablecloth heavyweights, or one of Pano Karatassos's 1990s holdouts still serving Southwestern Caesars or seafood Newburg (looking at you, Nava and Atlanta Fish Market).

But what about quality midscale options—the casual haunts that won't decimate your credit line, where you can linger

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