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Atlanta chefs/restaurants receive recognition and more news

Chef Linton Hopkins wins Innovator award from GRA.

Chef Linton Hopkins wins Innovator award from GRA.

Several Atlanta chefs and restaurants have received local and national recognition lately. Congratulations to the following for their achievements:

  • Chef Linton Hopkins, owner of Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch Public House, recently received the 2012 Innovator Award from the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA). According to the GRA’s award criteria, recipients must “demonstrate exemplary talent” and be “a visionary leader in foodservice.”
  • Chef Ria Pell, owner of Ria’s Bluebird and Sauced, competed on a recent episode of the Food Network show “Chopped.” After three courses of transforming unusual ingredients into dishes (like hot dog buns into shortbread cookies), Pell claimed the title of “Chopped Champion” and took home the $10,000 prize. She plans to use the cash to visit family in Denmark.
  • Dante Stephensen, owner of Dante’s Down the Hatch, was recently inducted into the Atlanta Hospitality Hall of Fame for his role in establishing Atlanta as a prominent destination for meetings and tourism.
  • The Zagat Survey, a rating system using diner surveys, named Bacchanalia Atlanta’s top restaurant for the 18th year in a row. The restaurant earned a score of 29 on a 30-point scale. Bacchanalia serves a five-course prix-fixe menu Monday-Saturday evenings.
  • OpenTable, an online source for restaurant reservations and reviews, recently released a list of the 100 best restaurants serving American cuisine in the U.S. The results were compiled from over five millions reviews for over 15,000 restaurants. Three Atlanta-area restaurants were included in this list: Aria, Canoe and Milton’s Cuisine and Cocktails.

In other news:

  • Dante’s Down the Hatch, Atlanta’s iconic fondue restaurant and jazz club, recently confirmed that it will be closing its doors. Last summer owner Dante Stephensen protested a high Fulton County property tax bill based on the restaurant’s prime Peachtree Road location.
  • Seven Lamps, which will serve lunch, dinner and a late-night menu, will open in the Shops Around Lenox next month. Chef Drew Van Leuvan, formerly at One Midtown Kitchen, will create seasonal menus with oysters, handmade pastas, artisan cheeses, and both small and large plates. The beverage program, run by Arianne Fielder, most recently at Southern Art & Bourbon Bar, will include cocktails, craft beers, and boutique and value-driven wines. Batdorf & Bronson coffee and Intelligentsia teas will also be available. 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 2 a.m. daily. 3400 Around Lenox Road, Atlanta.
  • Mi Cocina, the Texas-based Tex-Mex restaurant, recently opened in the 12th & Midtown development. This 250-seat restaurant will serve lunch and dinner daily with items like homemade salsa, brisket tacos, brunch egg-stuffed quesadillas and other traditional Tex-Mex favorites. 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. 1080 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-872-8801. $-$$.
  • The Lawrence, which opened in Midtown earlier this year, recently announced that Jonathan St. Hilaire will replace Shane Devereux as chef. St. Hilaire is well known in Atlanta as a pastry chef and owner of the now defunct Bakeshop. Late last spring, he partnered with the Tappan Street Group, which owns Taco Mac, to open St. Hilaire Bakeshop, a wholesale-only location. The shop provided all breads for the Taco Mac locations in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. St. Hilaire also partnered with Trader Joe’s to prepare about 20 different baked goods to be sold under the Trader Joe’s label throughout the Southeast. Additionally, he has experience in the kitchens of Canoe, The Four Seasons Hotel and Woodfire Grill. Classically trained at the French Culinary Institute, St. Hilaire will return to savory cooking for the first time in a decade with his post at The Lawrence. 5-10 p.m. nightly. 905 Juniper St., Atlanta. 404-961-7177. $-$$.

Upcoming events:

Thomas Keller book signing

Thomas Keller will make only one stop in Atlanta on his book tour for his fifth book, “Bouchon Bakery,” which is a collection of American and French pastry recipes. Aria will host chefs Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel, head pastry chef for Keller’s restaurants, for a meet-and-greet and book signing on Monday, Dec. 3. Aria’s pastry chef Kathryn King will join chef Rouxel in making pastries to accompany mimosas and coffee for guests. Copies of the book will be available for $50. Tickets to one of the thirty-minute sessions can be purchased online for $35. 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Dec. 3.

Southern Comfort Relief Dinner

New-York-born owners of 101 Concepts restaurant group will host a multi-course dinner on Dec. 5 to benefit disaster relief organizations in New York. The dinner will be held in conjunction with the reopening of Food 101, which has recently undergone a major facelift. For tickets, call 404-497-9700. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5. $125.

Sweet Auburn Bread Co. book signing

Chef Sonya Jones of the Sweet Auburn Bread Co. will discuss and sign her new book “Sweet Auburn Desserts” on Dec. 8 at the Barnes & Noble at Emory. The cookbook includes recipes for the sweet potato cheesecake that attracted the attention of Bill Clinton, blackberry jam jellyroll cake, peanut butter pound cake and more. 2-3 p.m. Dec. 8.

–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog

9 comments Add your comment


November 27th, 2012
9:58 am

Went to Holeman and Finch last week and it is absolutely overrated. The drinks are not worth $15-20/piece and all of the food was oversalted and overbuttered.


November 27th, 2012
10:41 am

Overbuttered??? That’s like saying there was too much bacon.


November 27th, 2012
11:01 am

I’ve never had a bad time at Holeman & Finch. I live just up the street and go there a couple times a month. Consistently good. If you want health food, I’m sure there is a salad bar somewhere for you.


November 27th, 2012
12:27 pm

Yeah well what do you say about the overpriced drinks? And if you go there a couple times a month, with all that salt and butter and high prices, I’d say YOU probably need to visit the salad bar.

Sheriff John Brown

November 27th, 2012
2:18 pm

JK, when might we expect a review of Mi Cocina? Be very interested to see you opinion


November 27th, 2012
2:42 pm



November 27th, 2012
3:52 pm

Jop: overpriced drinks? Not really. Well-made drinks using top-quality ingredients are priced consistently with other venues. And I’m very fit and healthy, but thanks for your concern. ;-)

[...] Atlanta chefs/restaurants receive recognition and more news [...]


November 28th, 2012
8:28 am

I watched Chopped last week for the first time ever, just to see Ria bring it – and she was so genuine and nice and I couldn’t have been happier for her! BTW – there’s NOTHING wrong with being known for great pancakes, girl – we all appreciate it! ;)