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Archive for April, 2016

Gainesville Spring Chicken Festival

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

April 30, 2016, Gainesville, GA. For more information, visit Spring Chicken Festival

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Inman Park Spring Festival

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

April 30-May 1, 2016, Inman Park, Atlanta, GA. For more information, visit Inman Park Festival

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On the Menu: Georgia-Grown Oysters

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

By Christy Simo

Here in Georgia, you can find a local version of pretty much anything – peaches, tomatoes, pork, you Georgia oystersname it. But one thing you likely won’t find on the menu is Georgia-grown oysters.

That could be changing very soon thanks to the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service. Using a new method to set the oyster larvae – called spat – researchers have developed a way to grow oysters individually rather than the way wild oysters typically grow along Georgia’s coast now, in clumps.

What does that mean for restaurants?

The first batch of locally grown Georgia oysters could be available to put on the menu by this winter. And while Georgia’s wild oyster clumps vary in size, are difficult to separate and have shells that are hard and brittle, this new crop of single oysters are ideal to serve raw on the half-shell.

“There’s a lot of interest in being able to eat something that’s local, being able to support that,” says Tom Bliss, director of the extension service’s shellfish research lab. “We definitely are seeing that with the interest in oysters, and we get calls from restaurants and other people wanting to know where they can find Georgia oysters.”

Just as wine picks up qualities from the earth its vines grow in, the flavor of an oyster is due in part to the water they live in. Georgia’s oysters tend to be salty with a hint of lemongrass.

“They’re pretty mellow,” says Dave Snyder, owner and executive chef of Halyards and Tramici on St. Simons Island, about Georgia oysters. “They’re not as briny as a West Coast or North oyster, but they have a great salinity to them. They’re good.”

Some 300,000 to 600,000 spat were initially provided by the extension service’s hatchery to local oystermen to grow the first batch for harvest. By 2018, the hatchery anticipates it will be producing between 5 million and 6 million spat annually – about $1.6 million worth.

The single oysters are expected to sell anywhere from 35 cents to $1 per oyster.

“I could sell that all day long,” Snyder says. “If I get Kumamotos or something like that, that’s the going rate. If I get a Belon from France, you’re paying $2 apiece. There’s nothing comparable when you have something coming out of the ocean that’s only one or two days old. … That’s worth paying for.”

Photograph by Dylan Wilson

 

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TAP Announces New Chef Tyler Williams

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Tyler WilliamsTAP named Tyler Williams as the gastropub’s new chef.

After graduating from the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon, Williams returned to the Midwest where he worked at Homaru Cantu’s Moto, Graham Elliot, and Gemini Bistro.  He was later brought on as Anne Quatrano’s Sous Chef at Bacchanalia which soon to led to his appointment as Executive Chef at Abattoir. It was there that he was applauded as Atlanta’s 2012 Rising Star Chef and Eater’s Chef of the Year – an accolade he was awarded for two consecutive years, the second during his time at Woodfire Grill. Following Woodfire, Williams became known for a unique series of pop ups and avant garde dinners throughout Atlanta. More recently, he created Byhand, a neopolitan pizza concept coupled with an organic farm in Lake Burton.

Williams has big plans for Tap and his menu will debut later this Summer.

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28th Annual Atlanta Taste of the Nation

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

April 28, 2016, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, GA. For more information, visit Atlanta Taste of the Nation

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Meet Chef Thomas McKeown

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

By Eric J. Karell, CEC, CCA, AAC

Thomas McKeownChef Thomas McKeown has been a popular and respected member of Atlantas downtown restaurant scene, first at The Ellis Hotel and now at The Hyatt Regency, where he oversees the kitchens of Polaris, Sway, Twenty-Two Storys and Market, as well as the hotels in-room dining, special events and banquet operations.

Chef McKeown is passionate about local food and emphasizes the sustainable and local sourcing of his cuisine, a product of his upbringing in Ireland.

Growing up in Ireland gave me a different opinion of cooking,he says. I think back to my mother going to the butcher daily to buy our meat for dinner that night [and] picking up fresh bread and milk.

This year, the Hyatt Regency Atlanta will host ChefConnect: Atlanta March 13-15, a national ACF event series that features educational seminars from fermentation to French pastry techniques, along with a chance to network with fellow chefs from across the country. As Executive Chef of the host hotel, Chef McKeown is excited to be helping put on the event.

Thomas began his culinary career at the prominent Limerick Golf Club and trained at the Limerick Institute of Technology. In 2003, he moved to the United States, where he completed his masters degree in Food Service Education from Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island and later served as sous chef at the exclusive Somerset Club in Boston before heading to Georgia.

Chef McKeown has experience with the culinary education systems in Europe and the U.S., and hes noticed one key difference.

A lot of training in Europe is still done on the job with a flex of on-the-job training and in the classroom, with on-the-job training being the biggest focus,he says. When I first came to America 13 years ago, it was so fast paced and people were busy.

For Chef McKeown, learning from other chefs while on the job continues to influence his own career.

I think back on my time training in Ireland very fondly, but some of my most influential chefs were definitely when I came to America,he says. I have had the pleasure to work with some amazing chefs over the years.

He learned a lot from Kevin Duffy and George Opalenick at Johnson & Wales, and he notes that during his time at the Somerset Club he worked with ACF team manager Joseph Leonardi, who he calls outstanding.

Working along Chef Leonardi helped drive me to strive for perfection at all times,he says. His commitment to the craft and art of this industry would inspire anyone.

Two people in particular changed my mindset on food, and that was Corey Moser from Natural Born Tillers and Will Harris from White Oak Pastures,he adds. Both of these farmers inspire me to be a better chef on a regular basis. Their passion for what they grow and how they grow it is so pure.

When asked about which American and Atlanta Chefs he admires, Chef Thomas names several well-respected chefs.

The dining and food scene in America has changed, and chefs in Europe are now looking up to U.S. chefs like Thomas Keller, Sean Brock and David Chang. I look at the local food scene and think that the most honest and interesting food is being made by the chefs who are using the most seasonal and pure food they can find,he says. I look at chefs like Nick Melvin, Joey War, Kevin Gillespie they are all showcasing great food. These chefs are pushing locally grown foods and serving it in unique ways with many different experiences. You look at Gunshow and how chefs are talking to the guests about the dishes they make, or Venkmans where Nick Melvins love for food and music come together.

Thomasapproach to food must be working. In 2013 he was named Executive Chef of the Year by Hyatt Hotels and is a member of their Sustainable and Responsible Eating Team, an initiative that promotes serving local, healthy and responsibly raised ingredients in all of the Hyatts dining experiences.

What is his advice for those wanting to become a chef?

Continue to have passion and drive throughout your career. When you love what you do, it will show in every dish that is produced,he says. When you are driven, you will strive to be the best and push yourself to continue to grow.

Learn from everyone you meet, from chefs with more experience to cooks who are new to the industry,he adds. We all come from many different experiences and cultures, but food brings us together.

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Atwood’s Pizza Opens in Midtown

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Encompassing two staples in a diet, pizza and coffee, Atlanta is now home to Atwoods Pizza Café, a new pizzeria with a craft coffee program. Located at the base of The Biltmore, Atwoods Pizza Café makes its debut at the end of April and offers dine in, grab-and-go and delivery for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, beginning at 7 a.m. on weekdays. Plus, patrons can order online via their mobile devices.

Lively music plays as guests gather with friends or their laptops along refinished-pine communal tables inside and on the petite outside patio. The 56-seat setting features exposed brick walls, rustic wood features, brushed-steel elements and artwork—graphic column wraps and wall stencils designed by local artist Brian Holt. The tongue-in-cheek and thought-provoking designs in the main restaurant and bathrooms include 1960’s model Twiggy being handed a slice of pizza, text from “Caddyshack” and “The Big Lebowski,” and quotes from authors, artists and models, such as Edie Sedgwick, Hunter S. Thompson, Jim Morrison and Jack Kerouac.

“We were inspired to offer the neighborhood something it didn’t have already—Atwoods Pizza Café is a fun spot that supplies delicious slices and craft coffee within walking distance from all of the offices and residences in Midtown,” says Co-Owner Bill Streck, who came up with the name Atwoods, which is a throwback to when West Peachtree Street was called Atwood Street around 1895. Streck also co-owns Cypress Street Pint and Plate and GRAIN, both located only a couple blocks away from the new locale.

The Atwoods Pizza Café menu focuses on their cooked-to-order pizzas – hand-friendly, but featuring a thin crust with a developed crumb, nice chew and slight char, as well as soup, salads, sandwiches and subs. Up to 12 pies at a time are baked in an Italian Pavesi Oven with live fire that heats to temperatures of 700 to 800 degrees. The rotating floor’s uniform heat distribution creates a consistent baking quality that delivers a perfectly cooked pizza. Choose from house-designed pizzas like the meat-lovers’ Sho Me Your Roni (pepperoni, fennel sausage, fior di latte, mozzarella, oregano and romano) and vegetarian Googootz (grilled zucchini, fior di latte, mozzarella, ricotta cream, garlic confit, lemon, mint and olive oil), or build your own with both traditional and unique toppings, such as rapini, Calabrian chilies, Brussels sprouts and preserved lemon.

“We are not trying to reinvent the wheel. We’re reaching back to Italian traditions and also complimenting those traditions with what Americans truly love in pizza and have developed what we believe will be a mash up of New York style and Neapolitan pizza. Our pizza is made from both Italian flour and the finest domestic wheat flours used by artisan bakers,” adds Phillip.

For breakfast, Atwoods Pizza Café’s bites include bread-pudding French toast with Savannah bourbon syrup, a buttermilk-fried chicken biscuit with sweet-pepper jelly, fontina cheese and a fried egg, and four different varieties of a breakfast sandwich. What’s more, every effort is made to source local ingredients, including honey from Hometown Honey in Kennesaw and grass-fed-cow yogurt from Atlanta Fresh Yogurt, which will be in the Parfection that comes with house-made granola and fresh berries.

The coffee bar serves Jittery Joe’s fresh-daily beans brewed to order in an Italian La Cimbali espresso machine. In addition to the usual suspects like cappuccinos and lattes, coffee buffs will enjoy options like drip-pour coffee and house-made syrups, such as lemon basil, dulce de leche and cardamom honey and bay leaf.

Elevating the typical pizzeria’s beverage options, the menu also incorporates four craft beers on draft (such as Abita Amber and Boulevard Single Wide), a handful of canned tallboys (such as Blue Moon and Red Stripe) and three red and white wines by glass and bottle. Plus, Atwoods Pizza Café serves hand-crafted Boylan Soda in flavors like orange, black cherry and ginger ale.

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Aria to Reopen in May After Extensive Renovation

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

On May 2, Aria will open with a fresh look after completion of an extensive renovation.

Chef-owner Gerry Klaskala will still be in the kitchen. “The redesign is an opportunity for us to reintroduce Aria,” explains Klaskala. “When we opened in 2000, our guests wore coats and ties and came in for a special occasion. These days, dining out is a part of our daily routine and restaurants can be the family table, the business desk or just a place to unwind. We’re reacting to that, providing somewhere new for our existing guests to enjoy and reaching out to a younger diner. What once was conservative will now be more playful.”

Stacey Kirby of Atlanta’s Seiber Design is overseeing the redesign of the restaurant. Kirby describes warm gray walls, bright canary yellow drapes and glowing backlit custom mirrors, along with new leather banquettes. There’s an oversized antique mirror in the upstairs dining room and white oak tabletops along the banquettes in the main dining room.

Aria’s bar area will be opened up with seating for casual diners (no reservations required), spotlighted by a new signature white marble bar top along a rich walnut bar display to highlight an array of premium and small batch liquors.

“We’re taking away the formality and bringing more radiance and texture into the space,” explains Kirby. “We want the room to artfully complement and reflect the artistry of Gerry’s menu.”

While the building’s exterior will retain its trademark white hue, new black accents will be added to the door and windows. A new Aria sign has also been commissioned for installation out front.

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Dining Out for Life-A Benefit for Open Hand

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

April 27, 2016, Atlanta, GA. For more information, visit Dining Out for Life

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Taste of Marietta

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

April 24, 2016, Marietta Square, Marietta, GA. For more information visit Taste of Marietta

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