March 30-April 2, 2012, New York, NY. For more information, visit 2012 IACP Annual Conference
Archive for March, 2012
With more than 37 years of restaurant industry experience, Alan Palmieri brings a successful professional track recordÂ to the team at Marlowâ€™s Tavern. Palmieri joins the partnership of John C. Metz Jr., Dick Rivera, Tom DiGiorgio and Hank Clark for the next phase of Marlowâ€™s Tavern development in the Atlanta market.
Prior to becoming a partner in Marlowâ€™s Tavern, Palmieri served as the executive vice president of operations in the Specialty Restaurant Group of Darden Restaurants, Inc., a position he held for 13 years. Throughout his career, Palmieri has been known as a hands-on operational leader who is responsible for profitable sales growth, strategic turnarounds, aggressive expansion and team building.
Palmieriâ€™s career originally began in the mid-1970s at Norman Brinkerâ€™s Steak and Ale restaurant in Pittsburgh, Pa., working his way up the ladder by holding such positions as vice president of training, vice president of research and development and vice president of purchasing, eventually serving as president of Bay Street Seafood Restaurants. Later he held positions with Boston Chicken, eventually becomingÂ president and chief executive officer of a 110-unit Boston Market franchise in southern California.
By Christy Simo
Owned by Molly Gunn and her husband and chef Nick Rutherford, The Porter Beer Bar, which opened in September 2008, has received nationwide accolades for its craft beer selection and food. Nestled in the heart of Little Five Points in Atlanta, the restaurant was one of the first on the craft beer scene and features more than 30 beers on draft and 400 bottled beers.
A native Atlantan, Molly grew up in the Toco Hills area of town. She met Delia Champion, well-known as the founder of The Flying Biscuit, and the two later opened Deliaâ€™s Chicken Sausage Stand in East Atlanta in 2011, a quick-serve concept serving small-batch sausages and patties using Springer Mountain Farm chicken and spices sourced from South Georgia.
Restaurant Informer talked with Molly Gunn about opening her own restaurant and working with her husband, beer trends, and what itâ€™s like to run two restaurant concepts. Here areÂ highlights from that conversation.
RI: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be in the restaurant industry.
MG: My family took a trip to Italy when I was 16, and I simply fell in love with food there. I had never really shown an interest in it, but when I came back, I was interested in cooking, I was interested in restaurants, and I thought I wanted to be a restaurant critic. That sounded like the most fun. So I started working in restaurants to learn more about how they operated and what would be the most fair way to write reviews. And, of course, I fell in love with it and realized I didnâ€™t want to be on the outside of it, I wanted to be in the middle of it. So one of my first restaurant jobs was bussing tables at Babetteâ€™s CafÃ© on Highland Avenue. I just fell in love with it.
RI: What was it specifically that made you say, I donâ€™t want to be a food critic, I want to be a part of the industry itself?
MG: I loved the mild chaos and the fact that you were always fighting the mild chaos.Â I loved interacting with people. That was so much fun. And my interest in food continued. Eventually, as I moved up the ranks, the business side of it was interesting for me as well. I was very lucky in that I was one of those people who was interested in the right thing at the right time. Itâ€™s hard to run a business if youâ€™re not interested in business.
RI: Tell us a little bit about your experience at Seegerâ€™s.
MG: I was one of the captains on the floor â€” essentially a highly glorified server. Thatâ€™s where I met my husband, Nick, whoâ€™s chef at The Porter. That was a fascinating experience, because itâ€™s the highest level of fine dining. Youâ€™re dealing with people who are from all over the world. For some of those people, they have so much money that this meal, it doesnâ€™t mean anything to them. And then thereâ€™s other people for which this is the most special occasion â€“ theyâ€™ve saved up all year or for several years just to come and dine at Seegerâ€™s. So it was always a delicate balance, of feeling out your guests and trying to understand how comfortable they were with the formality. If they werenâ€™t comfortable with the formality, I would try to be more casual and warm people up to it. It was a challenge. There were definitely people who expected very traditional French service, in which you barely talk to the guests at all, but most Southerners want a warm and friendly presence to reassure them that theyâ€™re not ordering poorly or theyâ€™re not making a bad wine decision or whatever it may be. I mostly filled that capacity there, in trying to make what could be a cold experience a warmer one.
RI: What was behind your decision to open The Porter Beer Bar?
MG: I had wanted to open a restaurant for years. Once I got into the restaurant industry, that was my dream and my goal. I looked at all different kinds of concepts. I wasnâ€™t married to any one particular kind of idea at the time. I knew I wanted to be intown; I didnâ€™t want to open a restaurant in a strip mall, and I knew I didnâ€™t want to open a 300-seat restaurant or anything massive. I wanted to open the kind of restaurantâ€”which I think everybody doesâ€”that they want to go to. If youâ€™re going to spend 90 percent of your life there, it might as well be something you like.
Nick and I had bought a house in Inman Park in 2006, so we lived in the neighborhood and had always been casually looking for spaces. I went through a period of time where I had investors â€¦ it kind of all fell through. And we had walked past this space a number of times. It had originally been a Bridgetown Grill, then it had been a breakfast restaurant. We ate there twice and knew that it was not going to be there long. Nobody is awake in Little Five Points until about 3 in the afternoon anyway. Breakfast is not the concept that weâ€™re strong on.
So we walked by and thought this would be a really cool space. We called the broker and looked at it, and just fell in love with it. Itâ€™s a very quirky space. Itâ€™s an old building. It was all the things that we loved, and we knew we could try to make it our baby. Despite working in fine dining and wine mostly, we both always drank really good beer. The Brick Store was our favorite place to hang out. We didnâ€™t live in Decatur, but on our days off that was our place to go.
Spending time in Little Five Points before we signed the lease, we said, letâ€™s eat at every single restaurant in Little Five Points. Hanging out at The Vortex, we noticed that they sold a decent amount of Delirium Tremens. Thatâ€™s what gave us the idea that maybe Little Five Points was ready for some good beer. So we were at the very beginning of the trend. When we opened, it was the Brick Store and us, and that was it. Now thereâ€™s beer bars everywhere, which is so great. So we got very lucky in that we were kind of in the beginning of that. And the Brick Store has always been helpful to us, very friendly competition. Theyâ€™ve always been wonderful.
RI: What is it like partnering and working with your husband?
MG: Itâ€™s definitely a challenge in some aspects. In other aspects itâ€™s the easiest thing in the world. It would be hard to partner with anybody else. He works incredibly hard. I never have to worry about how hard he works. And thatâ€™s really the difference between an employee and a partner â€” you know they are working just as hard as you to pull this concept off. And when youâ€™re married, itâ€™s all kind of assumed. So in some ways it helps make it work out.
We complement each other really well. He knows my weaknesses. If you donâ€™t see me write something down when you ask me to do it, itâ€™s not going to occur. Iâ€™m very disorganized in my head, so I compensate highly on the outside to remain organized. And heâ€™s very organized in his head, but he doesnâ€™t love to manage people. So Iâ€™m the person who does the sit down with the employees and handles all that stuff, which is not his favorite thing. We balance each other out.
RI: Have you seen any new trends in the beer industry? What are you seeing now?
MG: In the beer industry specifically, I think that as the beer industry develops this wider base â€¦ weâ€™re going through another growth phase right now. Itâ€™s rare these days that I meet people who have not tried craft beer. Intown I see that weâ€™re going through this growth and most people are very interested in learning and exploring. As this younger generation of beer drinkers gets a little bit older, I think weâ€™ll see more interest in vintage beer. Because when I go to Europe, when I go to Belgium, thatâ€™s what I see these bars have figured out that sets them apart from each other, being able to age beer properly and keeping it in the right conditions. It almost becomes like wine at that point. Itâ€™s tricky to know what beers will age, and you have to try them periodically. And itâ€™s a huge capital investment. So that will be what ends up separating the â€œI feel like carrying craft beer todayâ€ type bars and then the serious beer bars.
RI: What are some of your best-selling beers?
MG: We have a lot of regular hopheads, so we sell a lot of Bellâ€™s Two Hearted Ale. Bellâ€™s Brewery is going through an expansion right now, so they keep running out of it. But any hoppy beer sells well. In the winter, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout is amazing for us, as well as La Chouffe from Belgium. In the summer people love wheat beers, Weihenstephan does great. How can you not like it? They claim to be the oldest brewery in the world.
We have so many great local breweries now. I guess that would be the one trend beyond the vintage beer. Thereâ€™s so many people who want to open their own breweries, so weâ€™re seeing this huge upsurge in people contract brewing, meaning that they have their own recipes and they want to make their own beer, but they donâ€™t own a brewery â€“ thatâ€™s very expensive. So theyâ€™re going to other breweries that are not working at full capacity and saying, â€œhey, would you make this beer for me?â€ Thatâ€™s how Wild Heaven [in Decatur] is made. And thatâ€™s how Terrapin got their start. They contract brewed out of a place. Thatâ€™s how a lot of great breweries get their start. I think thereâ€™s a lot of people right now trying to do that, and it will be interesting to see who survives and who doesnâ€™t. I donâ€™t think the market can support that many kinds of contract brews. But maybe theyâ€™ll all flourish and be fantastic.
Itâ€™s really expensive [to invest in a brewery]. But thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m excited to see people like Jailhouse and Red Hare, places with physical locations start to pop up.Â I think weâ€™ll see that in the next couple of years, then the market will correct itself. There will be a bubble.
RI: Why did you decide to open a second concept with Delia Champion, especially so close on the heels of The Porter opening?
MG: Deliaâ€™s a long-term friend and mentor. I met her while we were both consulting on a restaurant in Midtown. Or re-met her, rather. I grew up eating at The Flying Biscuit, and so I had always sort of known her. I was that annoying kid with all the questions about food and how she made whatever. Iâ€™m sure she rolled her eyes at me, but I had no idea.
So we reconnected when we were both consulting on a restaurant in midtown, trying to help somebody out who had never run a restaurant before. Then I came and worked for her while she was starting to franchise with Raving Brands. I got a lot of great experience out of that. So when Delia said â€œI want to open a concept around my chicken sausage.â€ I said, â€œI love your chicken sausage. Iâ€™d love to help you.â€
Once again, Delia and I balance each other really well. Sheâ€™s got a lot of characteristics like my husband Nick â€“ very organized in the head. And she loves the kitchen and the food. And thatâ€™s great, because I love to handle the people and the front of the house. Itâ€™s definitely a simpler concept in some ways. But you always delude yourself when you tell yourself that running a restaurant is going to be easy. It doesnâ€™t involve an inventory of 500 beers like The Porter, but thereâ€™s still a lot of moving parts. We still roll out specials and all kinds of things going on. And we still want to do a food truck. Itâ€™s kind of gotten farther away as you get bogged down in the details of running another concept.
So I signed on because as Delia puts it, â€œLife is too short not to have fun.â€ It was a way for us to hang out and have more fun together, running another restaurant.
RI: Whatâ€™s it like running two restaurants?
MG: It was definitely a challenge when Deliaâ€™s opened, because The Porter had been open for two and a half years and it was great, I had a great team in place, everything was going smooth. And the new one is like a baby. You canâ€™t just leave it alone, itâ€™s going to swallow something.
So I was definitely over there way more when it first opened, which was challenging, because at The Porter, people expected to see me there every day; a lot of my regulars were like, where are you? And my staff felt disconnected. Eventually Delia and I worked out our places. When I turned to Delia to say, â€œHey do you need me?â€ she was like, â€œNo I got it!â€ So sheâ€™s over there definitely way more than I am, and Iâ€™m happily back at The Porter. But it was a great lesson to learn. Iâ€™m really great at opening restaurants. I got to open the first 10 Flying Biscuit franchises, which was awesome.
RI: Why did you choose the location for Deliaâ€™s?
MG: We felt like there was so much fast food on Moreland. We wanted a location with visibility, but we also felt that it was the right size. Itâ€™s very hard to find small spaces in Atlanta. Thatâ€™s why we have so many big restaurants in Atlanta; people want big restaurants. We wanted to bring something that was healthy and fresh and put it on the same row with the fast-food restaurants and see how far we could go with that. We also loved that community. East Atlanta Village is like Little Five Points’ younger brother. I felt the connection with it, and I think Delia did, too.
RI: Why is living nearby and being a part of the same community as your restaurant important?
MG: Itâ€™s incredibly important. When we first opened, it was during the gas crisis. So I literally knocked on my neighbors’ doors and said, â€œYou canâ€™t drive anywhere, you might as well come get a beer at my bar.â€ And they did. When we had the ice storm last year, it was one of our busiest weeks on record, because people could walk to The Porter. Itâ€™s important for the community to have places you can walk to, to be a truly vibrant, intown community. It makes it safer when people are walking everywhere.
When I go to Little Five Points’ business association meetings or Inman Parkâ€™s neighborhood meetings, itâ€™s easy for people to voice concerns about whatever is going on in Little Five Points, and Iâ€™m here. Iâ€™m reachable. Iâ€™m not living in Alpharetta and commuting in. Weâ€™ve had all sorts of issues at The Porter when Iâ€™ve been at home and gotten a phone call in the middle of the night, that the alarm is going off and they donâ€™t know how to turn it off or whatever it may have been. Just being there is incredibly important. Then also being able to support the community. When The Porter donates money to Horizon Theatre or Inman Park Security Patrol, itâ€™s not only helping the businesses, but helping the community that I live in. Itâ€™s very cyclical.
RI: Who is the most influential person to you in the restaurant world?
MG: Thatâ€™s a tough one. I have to mention Delia. Delia was the one who really pushed me to open The Porter. And she was the one who said, â€œYou have enough money to do it, go do it! Stop waiting. Quit standing on your toes and just go do it.â€ I also had a great mentor in Boston, Christopher Myers who ran a bunch of restaurants with a chef named Michael Schlow. And he also had an unbelievable amount of confidence in me. I served as his personal assistant for a while, and I was a manager at one of his restaurants. And he was like, â€œThe second you have that money, if you turn around and open that restaurant, youâ€™ll be fine.â€ The confidence that my mentors have had in me has been incredible and very humbling.
RI: What are your favorite restaurants in Georgia outside of the ones youâ€™ve worked at?
MG: Thatâ€™s so hard. Living in Inman Park, we are blessed to have lots of good restaurants. I would be lying if I didnâ€™t say I spent a lot of time at Sotto Sotto. I also love Rathbun Steak. Itâ€™s definitely special occasion, that place. In terms of casual restaurants, I love Farm Burger in Decatur. I still love the Brick Store. I love their new concept, Leonâ€™s. They did a great job with that, making it kind of similar, but kind of different. And yeah, on my day off, I still spend it at the Brick Store.
RI: How has it been different working at someone elseâ€™s restaurant versus owning your own?
MG: I think itâ€™s very easy in your head when you work for somebody else to say, â€œOh, I wouldnâ€™t do it that way. I would do it so much better.â€ I think thatâ€™s always what drove me to open my own place, to see how others would manage somebody. And then in my head, I would think, â€œI would have been nicer.â€ Or â€œI would have handled that totally differently. I would have listened to the staff.â€
So it was very humbling when I did open to say, â€œOh, now I understand why that manager acted that way or why he had that rule.â€ But I do think itâ€™s easy to say that and not understand how hard it is to run a restaurant.Â In working for someone else, you can say, â€œWell, I donâ€™t want to do it that way,â€ as opposed to when youâ€™re working for yourself, itâ€™s only you who sets the standards. Iâ€™m lucky in that my husband and I both push each other. I push him to be a better manager, which he doesnâ€™t love to do. And he pushes me to be more organized.
RI: What is your philosophy about managing people, then?
MG: My philosophy is definitely do unto others as you would have them do to you, as well as walk the walk, donâ€™t just talk the talk. I think those are the two guiding factors. When I opened my restaurant, it was definitely one of my goals to be one of those places that people consider one of the best places to work at. So every year onÂ our anniversary, we try to add a benefit, something that helps our employees improve their quality of life.
For example, this year we rolled out a 401K plan for all employees, which was exciting, because a lot of places are not helping employees save for retirement. I would love to offer health insurance, but thereâ€™s also a fine line between being able to extend everything and not being able to afford it. I offer health insurance to all my managers, but the reality of offering it to all my staff is that The Porter would lose money every month until I have a trust fund (laughs).
Thatâ€™s not the way to run a business. So we try every year. We offer paid vacation to all of our employees, and that was something we rolled out our second year. We just want to keep improving. And weâ€™re very lucky in that way. Over 25 percent of our staff has been with us since we opened. I know that doesnâ€™t sound like a lot, but it actually is a lot of people.
When people donâ€™t change jobs, it makes my life easier, it makes their life easier. It means people are happier, thereâ€™s more stability. What do you do when you have somebody new? You have so many experienced people to train them. So for me it makes sense to make that the highest priority, to try and keep your staff in place.
Thatâ€™s not to say that if somebody is not working, theyâ€™re out the door. I hire very slowly and I fire very quickly. But once the right people are in place, it makes everybodyâ€™s job so easy.
RI: If you werenâ€™t in the restaurant industry, what do you think youâ€™d be doing?
MG: Now that I know how much I love business, I probably would be running some other kind of business. Something social with people. I got my degree in cultural anthropology. My parents said I had to have a backup plan. Iâ€™m not sure that they meant that (laughs). But some cultural anthropologists end up working in advertising and doing market research and things like that, so may be something like that.
RI: If you could decide your last meal, what would it be?
MG: Oh wow. My last meal would probably be champagne with caviar. And then I love crab legs or lobster with a great pale ale like Founders Pale Ale. You know, where you dip it in the butter sauce and youâ€™re eating it on newspaper. So caviar, crab legs, then something amazing and decadent for dessert. I love carrot cake and Cakes and Ale makes a great spice cake in their bakery. Something like that, with amazing coffee.
By David Pavesic, Ph.D., FMP
The â€œholy trinityâ€ of financial statements that every restaurateur must prepare each month is: I. the Statement of Income and Retained Earnings (aka Income Statement or Profit and Loss Statement, P&L); II. the Balance Sheet; and III. the Statement of Cash Flows. The most important of these is the P&L.
No business can be run without numbers. Numbers serve as a sort of thermometer that measures the health and well-being of the enterprise. Numbers are symbols, very much like words, with their own intrinsic simple meanings when they stand alone and far more complex and meaningful when in the context of pertinent other numbers.
There is nothing unique or unusual about the importance of knowing your numbers. However, the difference between well-managed companies and not-so-well-managed ones is the degree of attention they pay to their numbers.
If you do not produce regular monthly financial reports on your restaurant, you are flying blind. One critical mistake often made by new restaurant entrepreneurs is that they think they can save a few dollars by doing their own accounting and â€œget byâ€ without the expense of a professional accounting service.
However, like the saying, â€œThe individual who chooses to act as his or her own lawyer in a court case has a fool for a client,â€ so is the restaurateur who believes he does not need the services of a professional hospitality accountant to set up his business books. My personal experience in working with independent restaurant operators who choose to do their accounting â€œin-houseâ€ is that their accounting records and reports are marginally acceptable to the IRS for income tax purposes and woefully inadequate as financial management tools for evaluating the financial condition of their restaurant.
In one case, I worked with a financial institution when one of their loan customers stopped paying their business loan. I was asked to look into their situation to see if foreclosure could be avoided. The couple that built and operated this restaurant had collateralized their loan with their life savings and retirement funds. The first thing I asked to see were the financial statements for the last 12 months. When I reviewed them, I was unable to assess the financial condition of the restaurant because the statements were prepared using â€œcash accountingâ€ instead of â€œaccrual accounting.â€ The local public accountant they used was not familiar with hospitality accounting and the Uniform System of Accounts for Restaurants.
When I asked the accountant why he was not using accrual accounting, he replied that there were â€œtax advantagesâ€ in using cash accounting. Of course, that was a moot point since the business had never made a profit. But the biggest travesty of using the cash system was that it had hidden the fact that their costs were way out of line. In fact, a break-even analysis showed they were never going to be profitable.
The primary purpose of monthly financial statements is not to serve as an IRS form to determine your tax liability. The purpose is to be able to assess the effectiveness of the ownerâ€™s decisions on the financial performance of their business. Every decision a restaurateur makes has financial implications. Adding or deleting a menu item, adding or eliminating an employee position, changing a menu price, giving an employee a raise, selecting a new vendor for your supplies, changing the portion size of an entrÃ©e and changing your hours of operation all have financial implications.
Your goals should be to increase sales, reduce costs and increase profit. These are the objectives for any decision you make for your business. The bottom line is that if you do not know your numbers, you do not know your business.
The first and most important point about numbers is that they must be accurate and collected in a timely manner. I was asked by a successful independent restaurant operator to assess his business and determine its value. I agreed to do so without any charge and asked him to provide me with the past 12 months of income statements and balance sheets.
I began to suspect something was awry when he asked me to â€œguessâ€ what his food cost was running and told me to guess â€œlow.â€ My response was â€œ27 percent?â€ He said it was 17 percent. No restaurant should run that low of a food cost because in order to do it, prices would be outrageous, the portions miniscule and the quality dubious. That was not the case with this restaurant.
When I looked over his accounting records, which he did himself with Quick BooksÂ©, I saw several glaring flaws in his accounting. Again, he was using cash accounting instead of accrual accounting, and he did not separate his beverage sales from his food sales in calculating his food and beverage cost percentages. When I examined the current assets section of his balance sheet and did not find an entry for food or beverage inventory, this told me he was not taking inventory each month and that the numbers he used for food and beverage cost on his income statement were likely the â€œpurchasesâ€ (invoice totals) for the month. The reason he came up with a food cost of 17 percent was because he was dividing food purchases by total sales when it should have been only food sales. In addition, the sales figure he used was â€œgross sales,â€ which included sales tax.
It seems that there are operators who are â€œnumbers peopleâ€ who enjoy analyzing financials, and then there are those who are not and are uncomfortable with numbers. Those who are not often defer collecting and recording numbers to someone else and do not really understand what the numbers are telling them. They may not even keep track of customer counts, sales or the preparing of reports. The latter are numbers that every restaurant manager, let alone owner, should check every single day.
Another very successful operator asked my advice because his business had almost been bankrupted by a trusted employee, and he did not want that to happen again. Again, this operator chose to keep his accounting in-house and not to use a professional hospitality accounting service. In addition, he was not comfortable with numbers and deferred to others who never took a month-end physical inventory and were using monthly purchases as food cost on the monthly statements. (A physical inventory means that you will count all food, beverages (alcoholic) and supplies on hand at the end of the month and extend the value of that inventory.)
The amount that is used for â€œfood costâ€ on your income statement must be â€œcost of food sold,â€ which must be calculated using the formula â€œBeginning Inventory plus Purchases minus Ending Inventory.â€ That calculation produces â€œcost of food consumed,â€ and the Uniform System of Accounts uses cost of food sold, which is cost of food consumed less employee meals, discounts and complimentary meals, food transfer to the bar and recorded waste.
My first recommendation was to take a monthly inventory and extend it. Despite my recommendations to get that information, his operations manager â€œslow-playedâ€ the process, and after three months I withdrew without ever getting an inventory value. The owner was not a numbers person and had delegated this important task to his operations manager. I knew that this was not a good situation and one that should not be permitted. It preyed on my mind so much that several months later I asked him if he ever got the inventory completed. They had not. I then told him that as long as he did not have a month-end inventory, he was vulnerable to the same fraud that had nearly bankrupted the company earlier.
The detail needed by an operator on their financial statements is far more detailed that that needed by the IRS to determine tax liability. I recommend that, at least initially, new restaurants should retain the services of a professional hospitality accounting firm to â€œset upâ€ their accounting records. The cost of this service is about 1 percent of your sales, and that is the best money you will ever spend.
The accounting firm will show you how to record your payments for supplies and payroll, and they can prepare your sales tax and payroll tax forms each quarter. Your in-house bookkeeper can assemble the data for their accountant and use QuickBooksÂ© to do that if you wish. If, after a year you believe that cost for such services and peace of mind is too much and you are a numbers person, you can consider doing everything in-house because you will have a template for what you need to do. One caveat is that â€œin-houseâ€ accounting is NOT the way to go if you are NOT a numbers person and the recommendation to do away with the outside accountant is adamantly supported by your in-house bookkeeper. You need to have a system of checks-and-balances when it comes to your financial records.
When you have mastered the numbers, you will no longer be reading them any more than you read words when reading a book. You will be reading meanings. Your eyes may be seeing numbers, but your mind will be reading food cost, market share, gross profits, prime costs, etc. All the things you are doing and planning will jump out at you, if you will only learn to read through the numbers.
Dr. David Pavesic is a former restaurateur who now teaches courses on restaurant cost control, financial management, and food production at the Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality at Georgia State University.
Cucina Asellina, a rustic Italian dining concept, has opened in Midtown’s â€œ12thÂ & Midtownâ€ development, offering a menu from Executive Chef Marco Porceddu and The ONE Group. Featuring simple Italian dishes, Cucina Asellina is located adjacent to the Loews Hotel and is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
Executive Chef Marco Porceddu,Â a native of Sardinia, Italy and well-known culinary veteran, created the menu, which features an array of signature dishes such as wild mushroom flatbread with fontina; old-fashioned square spaghetti with pomodora and fresh basil; and saffron strozzapreti pasta with shrimp, zucchini and brandy sauce. The bar offers a wide range of cocktail options. Lunch items are priced from $8 to $15 and dinner items from $12 to $30.
The restaurant’s design, fromÂ iCraveÂ Design Studios (W Midtown, STK Atlanta), mirrors sister venue Ristorante Asellina in New York City,Â with terra cotta walls, black metal lighting frames surrounding hightop tables, and an earthy polished concrete floor. There is seating for 70 guests indoors, with an outdoor patio offering additional seating for 20 in the warmer months.
Shaun Doty, co-owner and executive chef of Yeah! Burger, is in the process of signing a lease for a space in the Ansley Mall shopping center for his next restaurant. The restaurant is slated to open in September 2012 and will be a fast casual chicken concept that serves local free range and pastured poultry.
Bill Johnson of The Johnson Studio will design the restaurant space, which will be located near the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and Monroe Drive in Midtown Atlanta.
Doty is actively involved in Georgians for Pastured Poultry, an organization that seeks to inform consumers, businesses and government about the true costs of factory farming of meat chickens and the need to support and develop more humane and sustainable alternatives. Food traceability is very important to Doty, and he plans to ensure that guests at his restaurant know where their chicken was raised.
Latitude Food and Drink, owned by Chef Micah Willix, closed its doors on March 20, 2012, after just 131 days. The restaurant was located in Phipps Plaza in space formerly occupied by The Grape.
A press release issued by the restaurant said: â€œWhile Latitude has been grateful for the support of diners, neighbors and friends, the current economic environment and lower than anticipated sales have led ownership to make this unfortunate decision. Chef Micah Willix enjoyed the opportunity to expand his culinary boundaries with Latitudeâ€™s globally inspired cuisine and is currently looking for a new and exciting opportunity.â€
Prior to opening Latitude, Chef Willix was the executive chef for Ecco in Midtown.
Concentrics Restaurants has announced their partnership with FLIP burger boutique. Concentrics Restaurants will partner on operations, marketing, public relations and future expansion.
Chef Richard Blais is the Creative Director for FLIP burger boutique. Currently, Concentrics Restaurants is opening Chef Blaisâ€™ newest concept, The Spence, located in Midtown Atlanta, slated to open Spring 2012.
Concentrics Restaurants, founded in 2002 by Bob Amick and Todd Rushing, is an Atlanta-based restaurant operating group that owns, manages and develops concepts across the U.S., including cibo matto (Chicago), Luma on Park (Orlando) and Two Urban Licks (Atlanta).
FLIP is a modern hamburger boutique with three locations: FLIP Midtown Atlanta, FLIP Buckhead Atlanta and FLIP Birmingham.
March 17, 2012, FadÃ³ Irish Pub & Restaurant. For more information, visit St. Patrick’s Day Party