City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Front Burner: The word of the week is “opening”

Note: Today we begin a weekly feature — a roundup of restaurant news and doings around greater Atlanta. Do you have any tips? Then please email me at and I will be your friend forever.

niko3I don’t know if this is a sign the recession is over, but for the first time in recent memory the week’s news seems to be filled with restaurant openings, not closings. Tops on the list? Bistro Niko, the first major Atlanta offering from the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group since Kyma in 2001 (concessions in Philips Arena and a Chops/Lobster Bar spinoff in Florida notwithstanding).It officially opens on the 5th.

niko2In design and menu, Bistro Niko evokes a Parisian belle époque brasserie. Look for a friendly menu of French classics, such as tarte flambée, quiche, tournedos au poivre and frites cooked in duck fat. With Bistro Niko right across the street from the Intercontinental’s Au Pied de Cochon, we can expect a cross-Peachtree Gallic showdown.

May the best tarte au citron win.

In other news:

  • Pure Taqueria in Inman Park has opened in the former location of Usher’s defunct franchise of the Grape. That makes three locations (including the original in Alpharetta and one in Woodstock) for the local franchise.
  • The Painted Table Cafe has opened in Grant Park in the shuttered Zocalo space, serving breakfast and lunch. Thrillist is reporting the chef signs each plate with chocolate syrup or balsamic glaze. Um, fun.
  • I see from poking around the Atlanta Cuisine forums that chef Paul Albrecht (formerly of Pano’s and…) and his son, Patrick, have jumped into the groovy burger biz with The Burger Club, scheduled to open this Wednesday.
  • Blissful Glutton is chasing down the story about the two Cuban restaurants slated to open soon on Buford Highway that lay claim to the Little Havana mantle.
  • Chow Down Atlanta is reporting on a couple of interesting new spots in the Assi Plaza food court in Suwanee. She sounds most excited about the hand-pulled noodles at China House, but the tornado potatoes at Fusion YoriJori Burger are what catch my eye. Tornado potatoes are, apparently, a street-food rage in Seoul. Look at this picture, taken alongside a bulgogi burger: Don’t you want one? Like, now?

Chloe Morris, Chow Down Atlanta

Credit: Chloe Morris, Chow Down Atlanta

9 comments Add your comment


November 2nd, 2009
8:24 pm

As far as the Havana mantle is concerned, for me it’s up for the taking. I was raised in Miami and have yet to find decent Cuban food here INCLUDING Havana which is mediocre at best. Bottom line in the four years I have lived here, I have learned if I want decent Cuban food I have to cook it myself. PLEASE open something like a Casa Larios or Latin American Cafeteria here AS SOON AS POSSIBLE thank you


November 2nd, 2009
8:40 pm

I’ve spoken with several Cuban friends that have said the same thing as BlondeHoney about the dearth of good Cuban food in Atlanta. I’d eaten at Havana Sandwich Shop enough to know with certainty that I just didn’t get what everyone was on about (don’t get me wrong – I wish them both the best of luck and will definitely try them).

BTW, the Bulgogi burger at Assi Plaza is really tasty and the cha chiang mein at China House is shaping up to be some of the best in the city – even if they don’t use the dried shrimp in the sauce.

tami h.

November 2nd, 2009
8:55 pm

Went to both Painted Table and PURE this weekend. Impressed with both and extra impressed with them being open only days. Nothing re-inventing the wheel at PTC. Solid breakfast lunch choices. I did have a very interesting soup with red quinoa and chorizo – I’ll be trying to make it for the blog :)

At PURE, I ate one of my favorite things of the year so far: a crab cake (all crab and well prepared) perched atop a chopped salad of red onion/celery/peppers/jalapeno/tomatillo. Incredible flavors and contrast in texture.

So glad you’re back :)

- t*


November 2nd, 2009
8:59 pm

Have any of you tried Mojitos in downtown Norcross or Palomilla in Peachtree Corner? My Cuban mother-in-law enjoys them both and she, too, is quite particular.


November 2nd, 2009
10:18 pm

@Colly, thanks for the tip I will defintely try them out…since your Cubana mother-in-law likes them then they are worth investigating :)

Victoria Elder

November 3rd, 2009
1:55 pm

Blonde Honey, give the new spot in Smyrna, Mojo Grill, a shot. Its on South Cobb Dr just north of Concord next to a Chick Filet. The owners are Cubans from Miami. Went Friday and really loved their Cuban Sandwich – even better than the ones I used to drive to to pick up at Kool Korners! Havana is a weak substitute.


November 3rd, 2009
4:28 pm

Another vote for Palomilla’s in Peachtree Corners (on Spalding). Walk in on Friday or Saturday nights and the patrons seem to be overwhelmingly Cuban (that sounds weird, but you know what I mean)- I think it is a good thing – and we always make new friends at nearby tables when dining there on the weekends). We have been there 5 or 6 times and I have dined alone there as many times as well and am always treated very warmly by the staff (and since I order the lechon asadso every time now – I love it that much – I am asked if that is what I want as soon as I sit down). I have only been to Miami once, but the food rivals what I had there.

Phillip Ahn

November 4th, 2009
8:51 am

Hello, John
Thank you for your detail observation at Assi Food Court.
Hi, this is Phillip Ahn, Project Manager for Assi Plaza at Suwanee and Duluth.
Just want to point out that China House and Yorijori Burger is at Assi Plaza Duluth on the 1630 Pleasant Hill Rd. Duluth.
I do not want view to visit wrong stire if they have interest to visit stores…

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