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Archive for March, 2013

Paper Plane Takes Off


For gosh sakes, don’t call it a speakeasy. Paper Plane partner/barman, Paul Calvert, would not approve.

But the new spot, hidden away behind a black door in the back of the recently opened Decatur location of Victory Sandwich Bar, sure feels like a sub rosa den of drink.

Paper Plane opens for business tonight. Last night, a claustrophobic soft opening had groups of young revelers partying loud, proud and cheek-by-jowl in the cozy, dimly lit space.

A sneak peek at the drink menu reveals some 16 wines by the glass and bottle, 15 bottled craft beers, and around a dozen cocktail creations by Calvert.

The appropriately christened Biggie Snugs ($8) is a wickedly refreshing concoction mixed with Johnny Drum 86 bourbon, Byrrh, lemon, ginger, honey, Bitter Truth Creole bitters and soda.

In the kitchen, Melissa Allen and Josh Sample are cooking up a short list of “fine foods” presented as medium-sized plates that recall the “modular” cocktail-friendly offerings at Sound Table.

On the …

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Modern Restaurant and Bar remains closed due to “unforeseen circumstances”

Courtesy of Tommorow's News Today

Courtesy of Tommorow's News Today

A few weeks ago, Tomorrow’s News Today first reported that management of Modern Restaurant and Bar in Buckhead posted a mysterious sign on their door stating that “Due to unforeseen circumstances, Modern will be closed through Sunday night. We will reopen Monday, March 18th.” Yet here we are today, nearly into April, and the doors remain shut.

A call into the restaurant gives a similar message as the sign, adding that they are working on “improvements to our menu, staff, and service” until they re-open. The exact causes for the closure remain unconfirmed, all signs point towards a drastic re-organization within the still-new restaurant.

It seems that not only has Modern parted ways with its PR firm, Vigor Marketing, and the current word on the street is that both Executive Chef Mark Alba and the general manager are no longer on staff. Nothing has yet been confirmed as to whether Alba is in fact gone from the kitchen of Modern, or the …

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Restaurant inspections, Sushi Huku

The health score at a Japanese restaurant in Sandy Spring took a big hit during a recent routine inspection.

Numerous code violations regarding food storage, broken and dirty equipment and unmarked containers of food dropped the score by 30 points. Sushi Huku, 6300 Powers Ferry Road, earned a 61/U.

According to the report, a bag of onions was in an outside storage area where chemicals are also kept. Fish and scallops were stored under beef and chicken in the freezer and a cooler. A case of drinks was left on the kitchen floor. Unmarked food containers were found in all the coolers and freezers.

The restaurant also needs cleaning and repair work in the kitchen, according to the inspector.

Duck tape was used to repair gaskets on the reach-in coolers, and one of the coolers had heavy debris on its gaskets. The three-compartment leak had a major leak in the pipes. The sushi bar had debris on the floor and under the equipment. And debris and mold were found inside the ice …

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Vino Venue restaurant review, Dunwoody



You’re out for a nice meal and plan to order wine but are vacillating between a few choices. What are your options? Consult the sommelier? Rely on your waiter, who may or may not be familiar with the wine list? Whip out your smart phone to consult your wine app? Or simply take a blind stab?

Before you plop down $40-plus on a bottle of wine, you might ask for a taste of your top choice. Many restaurants will offer a small sample of one of the selections they sell by the glass. Yet, I know some who would prefer to take a chance on the wine rather than risk abusing the restaurant’s hospitality.Jenny-Turknett-Review

Wine vending machines, known as Enomatics, were made for these folks. As wine bars continue to debut around town, many are incorporating such dispensers. The machines allow customers to purchase tastes, half and whole glasses at will. Budding oenophiles can explore and compare different varietals, blends, growing regions and both old and new world wines.

Vino Venue — a restaurant, …

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Bite Bistro & Bar restaurant review, Alpharetta



When Leif Johnson moved to Atlanta six years ago, packing up his life as a winery chef in Napa Valley, he hadn’t planned on settling in Alpharetta.

In fact, when Johnson was on the hunt for an intimate space to set up a chef-driven contemporary bistro after running a catering business in Dunwoody for a few years, he combed trendier Buckhead and Midtown, but never found the right fit. Little did he suspect it would be at a former strip-mall cafe in Alpharetta where he’d make his mark in the South.

Opened in early 2011, Bite began as a tiny lunch-centric spot with dinner service Thursdays through Saturdays and a very tight menu of mostly sandwiches, flatbreads and salads.

AJC Dining Team member Jon Watson writes about popular eats.

AJC Dining Team member Jon Watson writes about popular eats.

As he quickly built a core of loyal patrons and cheerleaders over the next two years, it became clear Johnson needed to expand. What was supposed to be a weeks-long expansion into the neighboring space ballooned into months, but the new Bite …

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What’s New: Intermezzo, Amura, Mother, and more


Intermezzo moves

On Monday, European-style coffeehouse Cafe Intermezzo moved south on Peachtree, closing the long-running Brookwood location, which opened in 1987, and opening a new location at 11th & Peachtree in Midtown, next to the Loews Atlanta Hotel. 1065 Peachtree St. 404-355-0411,

Amura Buckhead

Amura Sushi & Steak Buckhead has been opening softly in the sprawling Terminus space once occupied by MF Sushi, and it will begin taking reservations on Open Table on April 1. Amura, which roughly translates to “Village of Love” in Japanese, also operates three Central Florida restaurants. 3280 Peachtree Road N.E.

Mother on Edgewood

Mother, a new bar/restaurant in the Sweet Auburn District, is set for a soft opening this week. The joint effort between Beep Beep Gallery in Atlanta and the Woods bar in Brooklyn is situated in a three-story 3,600-square-foot historic brownstone near the corner of Edgewood and Boulevard, across from Church and Cafe …

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Have Easter plans? Try these restaurants

Brunch with the bunny

If you haven’t made reservations for a special Easter meal this Sunday, there may still be time. Here are some restaurants around town that will be celebrating the holiday.

103 West

Brunch buffet with kid-friendly fare and live entertainment. Activities for the children include bunny visits and face painting. 10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. $62 adults, $24.50 ages 6-12, free for 5 and under. 404-233-5993.


Sunday brunch menu from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. 770-965-8100

Bantam & Biddy

Special Easter meal served alongside regular menu. 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. $20 Easter meal. 404-907-3469


Holiday brunch menu from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. 770-432-2663

Chicken & the Egg

Sunday brunch menu served from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 678-388-8813


Special brunch menu, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. 404-347-9555


Three-course brunch menu beginning at 10:30 a.m. $29.00, a la carte children’s menu will be available for $8.00 per item. 404-969-0700

Livingston Restaurant & Bar

Brunch buffet, $35 for adults, $15 for …

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Game-X pushes opening back to Friday

Legacy Property Group, the team behind STATS, Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria, and Der Biergarten are adding another new development in the downtown/Luckie-Marietta district, but this time the focus isn’t just on the food. Instead, Game-x is a 12,000 sq. ft oasis of state of the art gaming, with some craft beers, cocktails, and fast-casual dining thrown in.

Originally slated to open tomorrow, March 27th, Game-X recently announced they have to push the opening back to this Friday the 29th. As with any new construction, this can be subject to change, but you can keep up with it on their Facebook page.

Billing itself more as a “barcade”, Game-X plans to offer a more adult-oriented experience, rather than trying to appeal to parents as an arcade for their kids. One way they are doing this is with the prizes that gamers can redeem their tickets for. Instead of some neon purple panda bear or light up gumball machine that will land in storage after spending $200 in quarters to win them, …

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Georgia foods featured on Mantry



Back in February I wrote about food-of-the-month clubs as an idea for Valentine’s Day. Since then, I’ve learned about Mantry, another such club featuring artisan foods from around the country.

Subscriptions to Mantry (Modern Man’s Pantry) come with six full-size small-batch products selected by a guest curator.

March at Mantry brought six Georgia products curated by chef Hugh Acheson. The items included:

  • Georgia olive oil from Georgia Olive Farms in Lakeland
  • Raw honeycomb from Savannah Bee Co.
  • Sauce from Southern Soul BBQ out of St. Simon’s Island
  • Pecans from Pearson Farms in Crawford
  • Pork jerky from Stripling’s General Store in Cordele
  • Georgia “ice cream grits” from Nora Mill Granary in Helen

The shipment also comes with recipes for using the products, like Hugh Acheson’s recipe for shrimp and grits.

Subscriptions cost $75 per month, which includes shipping.

I’d say this isn’t just for the modern man.

–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog

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Ryan Hidinger talks about The Giving Kitchen and more

Ryan & Jen

Ryan & Jen

On New Year’s Eve 2012, when it was confirmed that chef Ryan Hidinger had stage IV gallbladder cancer that had spread to his liver and lungs, there was a palpable sense of disbelief and sorrow.

For years, Ryan and Jen Hidinger had been working hard on their dream restaurant, Staplehouse, while hosting a series of creative suppers at their home, called Prelude to Staplehouse, and building a network of loyal fans.

By December 2012, there was every indication Staplehouse would soon become a reality, with a location scouted and capital secured. Then, suddenly, it looked like Ryan’s diagnosis would delay and maybe even destroy all that.

But his family, friends, and the Atlanta restaurant community responded by creating Team Hidi, launching a series of events to help raise money to aid in Ryan’s cancer battle.

The good news is that Team Hidi has been a huge success. The bad news was contained in the latest Team Hidi Update Jen sent out last week:

Ryan has undergone (like …

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