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As the craft cocktail movement has taken off, so-called “zero-proof” cocktails have evolved from slapped-together afterthoughts to well-considered compositions. While most modern-day cocktail barkeeps have the tools, know-how, and creativity to prepare an interesting, nonalcoholic drink on the fly, more establishments are choosing to invest time in developing zero-proof recipes and are dedicating sections of their menu to them.
Looking beyond such fanfare as the opening of Tiny Lou’s and the rise of fast-casual everything, what else happened in the food world this year—and what does it say about Atlanta? We received a few snubs on the national stage, which might suggest that our dining scene is faltering. It could also be that we’re currently stewing on our most promising culinary ideas and talent.
In this era of hyperlocalism and regional pride, the popularity of French cuisine has been on the decline. But there is hope. In Atlanta, a comeback has arrived inside the recently transformed Hotel Clermont and directly above the lovably grungy Clermont Lounge. Yes, the French resurgence has materialized above a strip club.
The newly renovated rooms at the Hotel Clermont occupy the sweet spot for those who want a playfully retro atmosphere but not at the expense of creature comforts. Now the real question: When will it open?
Claudia Martinez, formerly of Atlas, Umi, and Restaurant Eugene, will lead the dessert program for the Clermont Hotel, including restaurant Tiny Lou's. The pastry menu is inspired by the history and folklore of the Clermont and includes an "Ode to Blondie."
“[Tiny Lou] was a dancer at the hotel’s Gypsy Room, which was there before the Clermont Lounge, in the 1950s,” says chef Jeb Aldrich. “According to Atlanta folklore, she was notorious for being ‘the girl who refused to dance with Hitler.’”