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Paces 88 at St. Regis goes casual


Paces 88 American Bistro — the luxuriously appointed dining room in the St. Regis Hotel — bucked the trend away from fine dining when it opened in April 2009 with a high-ticket gourmet menu. Dishes such as the $35 roasted Carolina Squab with hedgehog mushrooms and caramelized pear caught the attention of Esquire Magazine’s roving restaurant-goer John Mariani, who proclaimed it one of the 20 best new restaurants in America. He praised the melding of “French-American and southern culinary traditions into seamless cuisine that befits both the hotel’s deluxe trappings and Atlanta’s eminence as a southern city.”

Hold that pigeon.

On Monday the hotel’s general manager, Simon Rusconi, announced that the restaurant will take a turn for the casual beginning March 1. “We’re taking it in a lighter direction, with sandwiches and salads at lunch and dinner,” he said. “We’ll also have a big sharing section on the menu. People love to share these days.”

Executive chef Mark Alba, who will stay in his role, developed the new, Houston’s-style bar-and-grill menu. Cobb salad, club sandwiches and burgers keep company with Thai beef noodle salad, salmon flatbread and fried calamari. Guests who still want a more formal dining experience will be able to order from a trim list of entrees — none surpassing $30 in price. Right up there is the $30 “luxury burger” with foie gras and prosciutto.

“A lot of guests come in around 10 p.m. and want a really good burger,” said Rusconi.

Without ever claiming that the current menu — with its $42 rib eye steak — priced itself out of reach for many diners, Rusconi did point to popular success elsewhere in the hotel. The bar and adjacent wine room (with its sci-fi display of recumbent wine bottles behind glass walls) has become popular with locals who come in the late afternoon for drinks and light fare. This happy-hour crowd spills out onto the patio, which will also undergo a bit of a makeover with new new umbrellas and furnishings. Rusconi hopes the patio will channel some of that vivacious bar energy into the more staid Paces 88.

“We think the new menu will reflect that patio experience and the outdoors,” he said.

13 comments Add your comment


February 23rd, 2010
10:02 am

From the photo, the interior looks very pretty, but it also seems like the kind of interior that suits an expensive fine dining menu and not so much a Houstons-style bar and grill one. I wonder if they’ll be redecorating.


February 23rd, 2010
2:15 pm

i guess have to dust off my dickie’s.


February 23rd, 2010
4:22 pm

Isn’t this move coming about because of the return of Buckhead Life’s Panos And Pauls to the St Regis later this spring. Can you really can’t have two upscale dining spots in the same place? They will end up missing out on marketshare leaving P88 the same way. When you add P&P’s to P88 they will both benefit.


February 23rd, 2010
4:26 pm

I guess being so uppity doesn’t keep the lights on. Huh!

david waterman

February 23rd, 2010
6:07 pm

It is sad to see one of the world’s top sommelier’s reduced to luxury bar food. I just do not get this move at all. I have never been to Paces 88, but I did not find the menu prices offensive, especially for a St Regis hotel. Business owners have no patience, and thus the menu change, which will offset their money losses. I hope one day this changes. I have been meaning to go for their wine list, and figured I would end up eating there as well. I am not against good bar food at all, but I think there is a place for it. Not the St Regis….


February 23rd, 2010
6:42 pm

Bravo! Very smart move. Congrats. Young, old, rich, poor…we’re all downsizing in our spending habits.

Now we need more southern restaurants w/ southern menus!


February 23rd, 2010
7:30 pm

foie gras – how inhumane


February 23rd, 2010
8:15 pm

burger at the bar is one of the best in town…
great meat is what brings the cougs in for a meal…
good move P88


February 23rd, 2010
8:17 pm

Either they’re dumbing down the menu for the local yocals, or the overdressed Buckhead housewives continue the non-eating trend.

To MrHughes

February 23rd, 2010
8:30 pm

Just to confirm, the restaurant that used to be Pano’s and Paul’s does not exist. It stopped existing in 1998 when Chef Paul left. True, BLRG will open up a restaurant (probably “Pano’s”) but who knows for sure?

Good luck to their $40 veal chop…I remember it was very popular in 1981.

One More Blog Needed...Really?

February 23rd, 2010
8:35 pm

Check out all these ATL Food Blogs to the right of this posting (as of right now). How many of these bloggers praised Paces 88 when it opened? Just goes to show you the public will always vote with their wallets and not really put too much ’stock’ in food critics.


February 24th, 2010
11:01 am

David Waterman you are a jackass…You think the food menu is too costly yet your bragging about the somm and the wine list??? So you can afford that huh?

Lubee fois gras is not inhumane it is the way the world works…now go eat your hummus.

John Kessler

February 24th, 2010
5:53 pm

“what brings the cougs in for a meal…”