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Looking back, a review of 2013

As the saying goes, you win some, and you lose some. This year we saw famed mixologists leave their longtime outposts, award-winning chefs open new “it” spots, and the restaurant community band together to help one of their own. As we welcome in the new year, we pause to take a look back at what happened in 2013.

Bid on a piece of Dante’s Down the Hatch today

Beginning at 9 this morning, Dante’s Down the Hatch owner Dante Stephensen will auction off 43 years of artifacts from one of the most eclectic array of collectibles to be found outside of a Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. From a Madame Tussauds wax figure of Albert Einstein and a 1933 vintage Rolls Royce to cases of martini glasses and a 1970 bottle of Taylor’s Vintage Port, it’s all got to go today. The building at 3380 Peachtree Road has a Halloween appointment with a wrecking ball. As Stephensen greeted old friends at the restaurant’s private auction preview party Friday night, the veteran Atlanta restaurateur was still trying to wrap his head around letting the place and his priceless array of antiques go.

In food news: What you missed last week

Fry's Tex-Mex restaurant to be called Superica
Ford Fry—the chef behind the Optimist, No. 246, King Duke, and more—has named his Krog Street Market Tex-Mex spot Superica, reports Eater Atlanta. The name came from the words "super taqueria." The restaurant will open by early 2014.

Fire at Vine & Tap
Fire broke out at Vine & Tap, the Buckhead wine bar and small plates restaurant by Ian Mendelsohn, this week. Because of that, the grand opening—which was originally set for July—has been pushed back to late September.

HD1 to become FLIP Burger
HD1, the Poncey-Highland hot dog spot by chef Richard Blais, is now closed. The restaurant is being retrofitted as a FLIP Burger Boutique—another Blais creation—and will reopen in eight to ten weeks, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The new FLIP location will feature a rooftop patio. Select HD1 hot dogs will be added to the menu.

Giovanni di Palma’s Caffé Gio opens
Antico Pizza Napoletana founder Giovanni di Palma made great strides toward the completion of Piazza San Gennaro, his planned Westside neighborhood, last week with the opening of Caffe Gio, a gelateria and Neapolitan café. Adjacent to Antico, Caffe Gio serves “traditional Neapolitan street food,” including panini, salads, and chicken soup, Eater Atlanta reports. The gelato (ten flavors) is imported from Italy.

Dante Stephensen plans to auction off pirate ship décor
Dante Stephensen, founder and namesake of iconic fondue and jazz spot Dante’s Down the Hatch, has announced plans to auction off the restaurant’s equipment and decorations, reports the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Dante’s closed late last month after the land was sold to Atlantic Realty Partners and Behringer Harvard, who plan to build an apartment tower. Stephensen’s auction will take place at the restaurant on September 21, starting at 9 a.m. The $95 entry price includes food, drink, and live jazz.

Taria Camerino starts work at Miso Izakaya
Pastry chef and Sugar-Coated Radical founder Taria Camerino recently left Rocket Farms Restaurants (Ford Fry’s empire) and has joined forces with Guy Wong at Miso Izakaya, Creative Loafing reports. She is working on a Japanese-inspired dessert menu and will be creating some items for Yum Bunz as well.

You can’t replace this: The musical legacy of Dante’s Down the Hatch

At one o’clock today, Atlanta city councilman Michael Julian Bond will honor Dante’s Down the Hatch owner Dante Stephensen at city hall with a City of Atlanta proclamation in honor of the restaurateur and jazz promoter’s “contributions to Atlanta’s cultural and business life.” Bond, a regular at the now-shuttered Buckhead nightspot, followed in the footsteps of his civil rights icon father Julian Bond, who was a regular at the original Dante’s Underground Atlanta location in the 1970s. “Dante’s was an Atlanta tradition,” explains Bond. “Locals and tourists alike flocked this unique establishment to experience a taste of the city in a communal fashion. This proclamation is our small gesture to Mr. Stephensen for four decades of service to Atlanta.”

Dante’s Deal on Hold

In November 2012, word got out that Dante Stephensen, owner of Dante’s Down the Hatch—an eclectic fondue restaurant and jazz club with a 43-year history—had agreed to sell Dante’s to Atlantic Realty Partners, who planned to tear down the building and replace it with a luxury apartment tower. Now, Stephensen says the deal is on hold and the Buckhead restaurant will not be closing March 31 as planned.

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