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Archive for January, 2010

Robust growth forecast for Georgia restaurants in 2010

AJC Staff

AJC Staff

The National Restaurant Association is forecasting substantial growth in Georgia restaurants — both in terms of restaurant sales and job growth.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle has the story here.

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Front Burner: News You Can Eat

Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!Rare Soul Tapas has reopened after a fire closed it more than a year ago. Lorenzo Wyche’s atmospheric restaurant/lounge serves creative takes on Southern dishes in a small plates format. Think Cajun-fried Cornish hen, Buffalo-style chicken livers and “forever braised” baby back ribs.

Wyche has put his popular Westside breakfast joint – Social House — up for sale. According to a report from the Shumacher Group, a restaurant real estate broker, the “absentee owner does not run shifts while growing late night life management, consulting firm and new hotel venture.”

In other restaurant news:

  • Crazy Cuban is slated to open at 290 14th St. in February. This should be of particular interest to fans of the late, lamented Kool Korners a block away in Home Park. No word on whether this restaurant is any relation to Crazy Cuban in Marietta, but I’ve got a call out to the contact listed on the report.
  • Yoforia will open a new location of its fro-yo franchise at 1410 Dresden Drive in …

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New Blogroll

logoPlease check out my new blogroll listed on the right side of this page. I think it’s now the best and most thorough collection of blogs related to dining, cooking and drinking in the metro Atlanta area.

I was really happy to get such a great response from local bloggers when I put the call out for links. Among the many interesting ones are:

  • Doing Laundry and Other Tasty Bites — a local woman cooks through Thomas Keller’s cookbooks.
  • Cured Meats — a fascinating and instructive blog about making charcuterie at home.
  • Datelicious — restaurant reviews from a dater’s perspective.
  • Sous Vide Geek — experiments with a home sous vide set.
  • Young & Hungry — a blog written by two college friends, one of whom lives in Atlanta and the other in Dallas.

You’ll find links to these blogs and many others in the blogroll.

Please take a look through them and tell me which ones jump out at you.

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Would you go to a restaurant that doesn’t accept credit cards?

4519336529When Ria Pell opened Sauced restaurant recently, she decided to gamble on a now-unusual business practice: the restaurant will not accept credit cards.

Pell has installed an ATM on the premises so that guests who find themselves stuck without enough green stuff after dinner can withdraw the needed cash.

“It’s an interesting way not to have Visa suck you dry,” Pell told me of her decision. By not having to pay credit card processing fees, Pell says she can pass the savings on to customers and keep her prices lower.

She got the idea when she was visiting restaurants in New York and noticed that the practice was becoming more commonplace there.

Here in Atlanta you might find cash-only policies at breakfast spots, such as Thumbs Up Diner. But most customers have the $10 in their wallets to front a breakfast tab. As far as I know, there aren’t any other places that serve full dinners and refuse to take plastic.

Pell says the policy is an experiment for now and will change it …

Continue reading Would you go to a restaurant that doesn’t accept credit cards? »

First Look: Sauced

look_09_3For the past 14 years, Ria Pell has had her eye on the building on the corner of Edgewood and Waddell Streets in Inman Park. With its jauntily angled plate windows and geometric midcentury modern lines, it looked just a bit — if you squint — like a vintage piano store or maybe the Jetsons’ rec room.

About a year ago she took the lease over from its former tenant, 11:11 Teahouse, and on Christmas night opened Sauced restaurant as a gift to all the retro design buffs in the city.

look_09_2The Look: With its glossy black naugahyde booths and incandescent light emanating from vintage lamps, Sauced gives off a vibe that at once brings to mind Graceland, that gloriously divey tavern your friend took you to in Philadelphia, and the best finished basement on the street you grew up on.

“It was a ton of hands-on work with carpenters and metal workers,” says Pell of the build out. Woodworkers recycled the bar top from the building’s roof rafters, and the warm wooden paneling — so in line with the …

Continue reading First Look: Sauced »

The German Bakery in Decatur to close tomorrow

300_02After 48 years of supplying Decatur with coffee cakes, strudel, breads, kuchen and iconic gingerbread men, the German Bakery will close up shop tomorrow.

“I hate to be leaving, but there’s really not much I can do,” said owner Gary Welshons, when reached by telephone. “It’s been a rough couple of years.”

This small bakery, which occupies a standalone building on a side street off Lawrenceville Highway is one of the last spots in town that still has the feeling of a old-time town bakery.

Many times, my wife and I tried unsuccessfully to corral our kids through Home Depot next door. Eventually, one of us would get the bright idea to gather up our bored, unruly progeny and walk through the parking lot to the German Bakery so the other could shop for paint in peace. The cookies and gingerbread men were a definite bonus.

If you want one last taste, go tomorrow before 5 p.m.

(2914 White Boulevard, Decatur, 404-296-4336)

(Thanks to reader Julie for the …

Continue reading The German Bakery in Decatur to close tomorrow »

Critic-Turned-Cook makes first-round casting call for “Master Chef”

Credit: Leslie Kelly via Serious Eats

Credit: Leslie Kelly via Serious Eats

As most of you probably already know, FOX Television is conducting a series of casting calls for Gordon Ramsey’s latest reality cooking show, “Master Chef,” including one tomorrow at the Viking Cooking School in Brookwood Hills between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

This time around, Ramsey is saving his spittle-propelled invective for amateur cooks who think they have what it takes.

As Buzzin’ Brett noted:

The show, already a hit in the U.K. and Australia, is billed as an opportunity for “wannabe chefs who simply cook as a hobby and have absolutely no experience in the food industry” to face Ramsay’s culinary wringer. Those who make it to prime time “will be put through the paces with various challenges as they compete head-to-head to create delicious dishes, ” a statement from Fox said. “The series will serve as a unique platform for people from all walks of life who want to follow their dream of working as a professional chef. These …

Continue reading Critic-Turned-Cook makes first-round casting call for “Master Chef” »

Charred brussels sprouts

Credit: www.fleetwoodfernandez.comCredit: www.fleetwoodfernandez.com

I just got back from a big family event in Los Angeles. When I was there, my sibs and I went out one evening for dinner at Gjelina — a really boisterous, fun, Cal-Italian restaurant in Venice. (Thanks so much for the recommendation, Leslie. It was perfect!)

The restaurant definitely set off my, um, bouchedag radar at first — it was so loud in the front room around the centerpiece wood-burning oven, and the clientele was young and chic. But we ended up at great table in the lounge where conversation was easy. Our waiter may have looked like the pre-Twitter Ashton Kutcher, but he was thoughtful and hugely attentive.

The food — small plates mostly — was across-the-board great. Clean, fresh, interesting and lively. Highlights included a salad with Little Gem persimmon, pomegranate, shaved radish, garlic chips and Point Reyes blue cheese as well as thin-crusted pizza topped with shaved asparagus, shallot confit, truffled Sottocenere cheese and …

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Finding restaurant health inspection reports online

Courtesy of Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness

Courtesy of Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness

Once a week I get an email from the DeKalb County Board of Health with a list of the restaurants that failed their most recent health inspections. PDFs of that week’s unsatisfactory reports — usually no more than 4 or 5 — are attached, and they sometimes make for queasy reading. Failing restaurants have to clean up their acts for the follow-up report, or they risk being shut down.

More than occasionally, the affected restaurants are ones that I’ve visited, so I appreciate reading the reports. I’m less concerned if, say, the violations concern pots in the hand-washing sink or poorly labeled cleaning supplies than if they mention rodent infestation or foods stored at unsafe temperatures.

If a restaurant does fail its health inspection, I will not write about it or recommend it until it passes the subsequent inspection within the next couple of weeks.

All metro counties post health inspections in one form or another …

Continue reading Finding restaurant health inspection reports online »

Buying Airline Meals

I was recently on a long evening flight and had to buy something to eat from the food cart. I’m not sure why the Delta Travel Treats snack box appealed, but it did. The shrink-wrapped box promised dried fruit, chips, cheese, crackers and salami. This was the “salami.” I couldn’t touch it — it looked too much like pet treats — though my sister enjoyed it later. Have you ordered food on a flight? Anything good?

Posted via web from ajcfoodandmore’s posterous

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