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Lola Bellini Bar to close

AJC Staff

AJC Staff

Here to Serve Restaurants is pulling the plug on Lola Bellini Bar — its Italian spot in Buckhead’s Terminus building — after New Year’s Eve. The restaurant opened in 2007 with a bounteous display of antipasti, a rolling gelato cart and a variety of champagne cocktails.

But Here to Serve isn’t giving up the space. After a quick changeover, it will reopen in early January as Cantina Taqueria & Tequila Bar. Look for margaritas and the kind of absorption foods that go with: guacamole, cheese dip and posole stew. The restaurant will also issue a 5-pound burrito challenge. If you can eat the chihuahua-sized tube, it’s on the house. You can supply your own inappropriate-for-a-food-blog jokes.

This is the latest example of an interesting trend. Restaurateurs are no longer simply closing shop when a place fails to keep its business. Instead, they’re swapping out concepts. Riccardo Ullio also went the taco route earlier this year and turned his stylish Midtown Spanish venture, Cuerno, in Lupe Taqueria. Then Rick Chey announced he was transforming Grant Park’s once-popular Stella into another outpost of Doc Chey’s Noodle House.

Here to Serve, which is owned by Tom Catherall, runs many popular local watering holes and restaurants, such as Twist, Shout and Goldfish.

16 comments Add your comment

curious

December 9th, 2009
8:18 am

maybe adam will come back to atlanta to destroy that burrito.

Foodie

December 9th, 2009
9:19 am

I mean, like oh! my Gawd-food is so important too me. I know, right?

Chip Shoulder

December 9th, 2009
9:21 am

As if Catherall’s culinary mastery and incredible dexterity wasn’t already writ large on this city’s restaurant landscape, you drop this knowledge on us John. It boggles the mind: in the space of only a couple of weeks, this spot will go from serving Atlanta’s finest Italian food to Atlanta’s – nay, the South’s – best, most deeply authentic Mexican food. What an amazing feat and testament to a fearless culinary master!

M. Johnson

December 9th, 2009
9:51 am

I really like Stella and frequent it often. I’m bummed about the change. As for the Bellini Bar, I had doubts about that idea lasting when they first opened. The new tequila and guacamole concept doesn’t sound much better, especially in that location.

As always, time will tell.

Coming from a Mexicano

December 9th, 2009
10:20 am

“Cantina Taqueria & Tequila Bar!” Wow they really did their R&D when it came to naming this joint. It sounds like the first cheesy restaurant one sees immediately after getting off the cruise ship and is full of nothing but ignorant tourists that are in for the “real deal”. Do these people know what the name means. Its like calling an Irish pub “Pub Chips & Pint Bar”. The words cantina, tequila, and bar all imply the same thing – the there is alcohol!!!Does anyone else agree with me?

Don’t get me started on the establishment itself. How many more authentic wanna-be taquerias does Atlanta need. El Taco, Lupe Taqueria, Tin Lizzy’s, Pure Taqueria…come on? Americans just don’t get it. Its not about the kobe beef with the japaneño creme fraiche $5 tacos that are the size of my palm (I have a small hand by the way). I’m not praising the other Tex-Mex garbage that’s out there either because it’s more dangerous to eat there than unfiltered water in Mexico – El Azteca on Ponce – need i say more. It’s supposed to be about making simple tacos that are so delicious that you have to lick the grease of your forearm as it runs down because you don’t want to put the taco down to wipe it off. I eat better tacos at any streetside vendor in Mexico City than any culinary master will ever make.

"Shakes Head"

December 9th, 2009
10:24 am

I agree with you Mexicano!

Mike

December 9th, 2009
10:27 am

Is “Chip” Tom Catherall himself, channeling Seeger? Or Paul Luna?

Somehow I think that the best, most deeply authentic Mexican food is in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant on Buford Highway, made by and for actual Mexicans.

I always pass on going to any of the restaurants at Terminus because it’s difficult to get into coming from the south up Peachtree. Awful traffic helped push out Houlihan’s, Kudzu Cafe, and Chima down the street – at least Terminus has ample parking.

The other dining options didn’t appeal to me that much either – the AJC review of Aquaknox made it sound like Le Bernardin with a haughty attitude, and Bricktops shouts “nobody knows our owners used to be with Houstons” the way a draq queen would shout “nobody knows I’m gay.”

John Kessler

December 9th, 2009
11:36 am

I’m looking for “Taco Cantina” to make a perfect pair. Still, I want to see someone eat that burrito. Kind of…

gtrgrl

December 9th, 2009
12:28 pm

In response to ‘Coming from a Mexicano’ — don’t worry, it’s not just your language that gets butchered. My biggest pet peeve is Chai Tea. Chai already means tea! It’s like saying Tea Tea! ARGH!!!!

On a food note, JK – i love your blogs!! The 30 in 30 was so great! =) Thanks!

Coming from a Mexicano

December 9th, 2009
1:52 pm

All this talk of mexican food made me hungry so i decided to try something new so i can butcher it. I just had lunch at Nueva Luna or Luna Nueva in L5P and it wasn’t bad at all. First of all there were Mexicans eating there and repeat customers for that matter. Second, they had Mexican music playing, not salsa. So walking in i was feeling good. Then i ate the Mexico City style barbacoa and the chilaquiles. Both were very good. The chilaquiles were a bit americanized, but were good.

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John Kessler

December 9th, 2009
3:37 pm

Thanks, gtrgrl!

Westside Resident

December 9th, 2009
4:41 pm

Why is it that every time JK has a post about a tacqueria, someone feels the need to tell us how it isn’t “authentic” as though that somehow makes it not enjoyable? I love tacos. I enjoy paying four or five dollars for a unique and fancy taco, and I fully realize its not what I would get for seventy-five cents from a street vendor in Mexico City. You know what though? I. DONT. CARE. Clearly a market exists for this type of food that needs filling, so who cares if its authentic as long as it tastes good?

AJ

December 10th, 2009
5:26 pm

Westside Resident – COULDN’T AGREE WITH YOU MORE. If the food is good, that’s all I care about. If I want authentic, I’ll go to that country :-)

AtlantaDiner

December 11th, 2009
4:29 pm

Wasn’t Cantina Laredo planning on coming to that development? Sounds like they must have pulled out of that deal as I cannot imagine the developer or Cantina Laredo being happy with two similar restaurants with similar names. At least it isn’t a “burger bar” concept.

Mark Jeoff

January 21st, 2010
9:11 pm

I recently ate at Cantina and was shocked by the quality of food. I’m used to the bland contemporary attempts to produce authentic mexican cuisine, but this is truly delicious. I would definitely reccomend this hot spot to any foodie like myself.