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Perhaps more than any stretch of pavement in the city, the expanse of Ponce de Leon Avenue between Mary Mac’s Tea Room and the Majestic Diner possesses the historic charm, the culinary creativity, and the total weirdness that makes Atlanta, well, Atlanta. Our ode to Ponce.
Without dishwashers, restaurants simply couldn’t operate. Bacchanalia pastry chef Carla Tomasko thinks it might even be the most vital position in the professional kitchen.
Anne Quatrano boldly moved Bacchanalia to a relatively unknown industrial area on the Westside in 1999. Now, she’s done it again, designing a stand-alone building to house her flagship and its adjoining cafe, Star Provisions, just one mile away, in another offbeat location.
While OpenTable may have created the online restaurant reservations market in July 1998, some Atlanta restaurant operators are pulling away, seeking the advantages of newer companies that have tweaked the model.
At 58, she's at an age when many of us would start slowing down. Instead, Quatrano owns and runs Star Provisions and its sandwich shop; Floataway Cafe; and W.H. Stiles Fish Camp. “There is a lot of overthinking of food now, and I’m not interested in that.”
“You must embrace change to be a really good chef or restaurateur,” says the Bacchanalia chef. “You have to be flexible, and then you also have to always be positive that the change is going to be better than it was before.”
Parking in Atlanta can be a nightmare, especially when all you want is a bite to eat. So we've rounded up where you can park for free. No, not complementary valet and no, not in the occasional open space found on a side street after rounding the block three times. These are free lots next to the restaurant itself.
Atlanta is a city that looks outward far more than inward, or even nearby. Outward, say, to the Lower East Side (the General Muir’s pastrami), or to China (Gu’s Dumplings), or to France (Bread & Butterfly’s tender, airy omelets). With the glorious exception of Ryan Smith at Staplehouse, I didn’t find a posse of young, or youngish, chefs all cooking as much for each other as for the public. The priority in Atlanta is less innovation based on local ingredients, as at Staplehouse, than finding a formula that works and then pumping out food to fit it. This makes for generous, untweezed food. But it also means food that, once successful, can become rote.