BRUNCH OPTIONS MULTIPLY IN DECATUR, BUCKHEAD, THE OLD FOURTH WARD AND KROG STREET MARKET
THIS MONTH we dig right into the Well Done category to share the news that several perennial dinner favorites are sowing seeds of content with brunch programs.
- Twain’s, the Decatur brewpub and billiards parlor, invites a midday crowd (11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday) with a menu that incorporates Asian grilled veggie skewers, chocolate chip pancakes, pimiento cheese grits and grilled Gruyere cheese sandwiches.
Ticonderoga Club at Krog Street Market joins the brunch bunch (11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday) with such dishes as Yoga Pants (mixed fruit and yogurt); Pearl’s Flitters (spicy dough stuffed with chorizo, avocado and refried beans); and a “Yankee” bacon-egg-cheese sandwich on a kaiser roll.
- Portofino, the Italian-American bistro in Buckhead, marks 15 years in business with a Sunday brunch (11:30-2 p.m.) that features such upscale twists as shrimp and polenta drizzled with maple syrup and currants; shredded short rib sandwiches; and eggs Benedict with duck breast fillets.
- Staplehouse in the Old Fourth Ward is suspending Sunday dinner service in favor of brunch (noon-5 p.m.) featuring beef-fat-fried potatoes, beef tenderloin with foie gras, and smoked trout.
The Boston-based fast-food chain Wahlburgers, popularized on reality TV thanks to co-owners Mark and Donnie Wahlberg, plans to open six shops around Atlanta and Savannah as part of a national expansion campaign. Exact date and location details are pending.
Rising Son, a no-nonsense source for country-style breakfast and “meat-and-three” dinners, is open in the Avondale Estates space vacated by the short-lived Bishop bistro. It features locally sourced meats, grains and veggies as well as farm-fresh juice, small-batch sodas and herbal supplements.
By summer, a new array of pizzerias will be rolling in dough if their expansion plans come together. The Ohio-based East of Chicago franchise has announced plans to open in the Sweet Auburn District’s Pencil Factory complex. Ammazza, an Old Fourth Ward staple, is opening a scaled-down version of its flagship in what was Decatur’s Twisted Soul.
Midtown’s historic Biltmore Hotel is now home to a tourist-friendly pizza venture called Atwoods. And Buckhead’s Lenox Square is prepping for the debut of a build-your-own franchise called Rise Pies.
Metro foodies should take note of local chefs’ love for all things green.
Herban Fix, a short stroll from the Fox Theatre on Peachtree Street, insists that strictly vegan dishes can be life-sustaining and lip-smackingly good. Driven by pan-Asian spices and preparation methods, the menu includes sweet pea ravioli with mushrooms; stuffed lemongrass tofu; and (faux chicken) soy kebabs.
Acclaimed chef and entrepreneur Linton Hopkins adds another branch to his empire with In the Garden, the fine-dining supplement to the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s massive modernization project. Plans call for much of the produce to be grown on-site. Linton’s Cafe at the Garden will be recycled into office space. There, diners have savored the beef bourguignon, shrimp with polenta, and macerated strawberry French toast.
Several prominent restaurants have been torched with failing grades on health inspections. It’s not uncommon for dining spots to have to rescue their reputations from the fire occasionally, but the onus is also on consumers, who should be as interested in how their food is stored and prepared as they are in service, menu selection and pricing.
Hal’s the Steakhouse on Old Ivy Road, a Buckhead hub for power meals and deals, had its 20-year reputation scorched for numerous infractions: slimy ice machines; lack of hand soap and paper towels for cooks and servers; live insects in the kitchen; improper refrigeration of meats; ice storage in the hand-washing station; food stored in ice used for drinks; and leaving food items improperly exposed.
A routine inspection at Thumbs Up Diner in East Point, one of six outposts in the breakfast/brunch chain, was cited for employees’ failing to wash their hands; chemicals being stored next to water glasses and canned goods; raw fish stored at unsafe temperatures and near produce; and raw meat thawing in uncovered basins.
Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles, the iconic Midtown soul food bistro, was cited for 15 violations, all issues that can contribute to food-borne illnesses.
Food inspections are conducted regularly; most results are readily available online and restaurants are required to post the latest inspection in a public spot on-site.
This is Encore Atlanta’s second dining column. We’ll do our best to keep you up to date on openings, closings, what chefs are up to and who’s on the move in one of three categories — well done (reasons for praise), simmering (what’s in the works) and toast (what’s closed, who’s moving). Please let us know what you think by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.