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Archive for February, 2008

Rita Restaurant Corp. Purchases Don Pablo’s and Hops Restaurants

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Rita Restaurant Corp. has purchased 41 Don Pablo’s restaurants in 15 states and seven Hops restaurants in four states from Avado Brands Inc. of Madison, Georgia

Rita Restaurant Corp. is a newly formed corporation owned by funds and accounts managed or advised by DDJ Capital Management LLC. The company will remain in Madison under a new management structure. David Barr will lead the company as chairman of the board, Paul Seidman will serve as chief operating officer, and Kurt Schnaubelt as chief financial officer.

Rita Restaurant Corp. purchased the restaurants from Avado Brands as part of Avado’s Chapter 11, Section 363 auction. Financial advisor Lane, Berry & Co. International LLC of Boston assisted with the transaction, which was finalized on February 27.

More information on the restaurants can be found at and


16th annual Dining Out for Life

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Dining out on Wednesday, April 23, 2008 at any of nearly 200 participating restaurants will help Open Hand continue to provide home-delivered meals and nutrition services to senior citizens and individuals with chronic and debilitating diseases.

For the entire day during the 16th annual Dining Out for Life, participating restaurants in the Atlanta metro area will donate a minimum of 20 percent of food and beverage sales to Open Hand. Last year’s event raised a record $210,000; Open Hand is hoping to surpass the $250,000 mark in 2008.

Participating restaurants include popular hot spots, longtime favorites and casual eateries in neighborhoods throughout metro Atlanta. For a list of participating restaurants and their locations click HERE.

Commemorating its 20th year of serving the Atlanta metro area, Open Hand has grown from a grassroots organization operating from a church kitchen into one of the largest providers of home-delivered meals in the United States. Open Hand is the only community-based nonprofit organization providing Comprehensive Nutrition Care, an innovative program that combines healthy, home-delivered meals with nutrition education, counseling, and therapy for homebound senior citizens and individuals struggling with a chronic, critical or terminal illness. For more information call 404-419-3333 or visit


(L-R) Front: Co-chairs of the 2008 Dining Out for Life are Kevin Rathbun, chef/owner of Rathbun’s, Kevin Rathbun Steak and Krog Bar; Robby Kukler, a founding partner of Fifth Group Restaurants; and Linton Hopkins, chef/owner of Restaurant Eugene. Rear: Ron Wolf, executive director of the Georgia Restaurant Association; and Tom Murphy, founder and president of Murphy’s restaurant.

Photo Credit: Tim Wilkerson


Georgia Organics Annual Conference

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

February 28- March 1, 2008 in Dalton, GA. For more information, visit


Taste of Athens

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

February 24, 2008 at the Classic Center, For more information, visit


Good Times among the Vines

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery in Dahlonega, Georgia, is introducing a new selection of Sunday events through May that feature their family of handcrafted, award winning wines and quality cuisine to match.

In April guests can enjoy the sounds of live bluegrass amidst the mountain beauty of the vineyard. The month of May is a catch with sample fresh seasonal seafood paired with uniquely blended white wines during Wolf Mountain’s 4th Annual White Wine and Seafood Festival. May 11 is dedicated to mothers as the vineyard brings forth a special Mother’s Day brunch.

Wolf Mountain’s philosophy of winemaking is more European than Californian, incorporating French oak aging with an emphasis on blending grape varietals to achieve more complexity. Wolf Mountain wines are produced at the 1800-foot elevation of the Dahlonega Plateau.

For more information please visit or to make a reservation call 706-867-9862.


Southeastern Hospitality Career Fair

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

February 22, 2008 Georgia World Congress Center. For more information, visit


River Room Celebrates a New Menu and an Anniversary

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

pjoerahme07web.jpgExecutive Chef Joseph Rahme and General Manager is Bill Goodroe recently updated the lunch and dinner menus at River Room in north Buckhead. The new menu was inspired by restaurant guests and will include great customer favorites along with new dishes. Guests may view the complete lunch and dinner menus at

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, River Room restaurant and tavern offers a menu of New American cuisine with European and seasonal influences. The fine dining establishment features a tavern, martini lounge, indoor and outdoor patio areas, and private dining space for social and corporate events.


Chick-fil-A Hosted Spirit Day for Local Paralyzed Teen

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

In January a Chick-fil-A restaurant on Moore Road hosted a Spirit Day for Brice Croxton and his fellow eighth grade football teammates from North Gwinnett Recreational Center.  Following that event, Brice’s team went on to win the Chick-fil-A Recreational Bowl Game. On February 2, and the restaurant hosted another Spirit Day – this time to help ease the Croxtons’ pain following a skiing accident in Colorado on January 4 that left Brice paralyzed.

Brice, a 13-year-old student at Lanier Middle School, suffered a broken spine and 10 fractured ribs in a skiing accident leaving him paralyzed from the sternum down. On Spirit Day the restaurant donated 20 percent of its sales and has placed a collection jar on the front counter to help pay some of Brice’s medical bills.


Chick-fil-A staff enjoyed working hard for the Brice Croxton Spirit Day.


Aqua Blue Introduces Fresh Look & New GM

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Aqua Blue Restaurant & Bar in Roswell has an updated décor and added Brian Longacre as the new general manager. The restaurant’s owners, John C. Metz Jr., Tom DiGiorgio, Richard E. Rivera and Hank Clark, brought the restaurant up to date with some subtle changes while still maintaining much of the original design.

Before joining the team at Aqua Blue, Longacre was the service manager at Ray’s in the City in Atlanta. Prior to this, he was responsible for two openings of the Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse concept with Rare Hospitality. Longacre also has a strong background in country club foodservice, having managed Congress Lake Country Club in Ohio, and Olde Towne Athletic Club, The Georgian Club and Brookstone Golf & Country Club here in Georgia.

After six years in business, the restaurant is now sporting a refreshed look, compliments of Thomas DiGiorgio and DK Group. One of the most prominent changes is the patio which has been completely redone with a newly painted floor and contemporary furniture.

The restaurant’s front room, formerly a sushi bar, now has a richer, warmer ambience created by removing the white tiles that formerly adorned the walls and replacing them with a deep blue hue. The space is also now a private event room that does not require a rental fee and accommodates up to 30 guests. Winemaker dinners are a new feature of this room, in addition to private functions and corporate dining.


Ted’s Nebraska Grill Opens in Omaha

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Turner Named an ‘Admiral’ In Nebraska

In celebration of the grand opening of the Ted’s Nebraska Grill in Omaha, Nebraska, Ted Turner was named an “Admiral” in The Great Navy of the State of Nebraska. Presenting the honor to Turner was Nebraska Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy. The Great Navy of the State of Nebraska is a grand tradition. It began in 1930 when Governor Charles W. Bryan went on vacation and Lieutenant Governor T. W. Metcalfe took over the affairs of state. Acting Governor Metcalf wanted to do something to honor his friends, so he created The Great Navy of the State of Nebraska, and appointed his friends as Admirals. Since then, Nebraska Admiralships have been bestowed on many notable Nebraskans and others who have contributed to the state, promoted the good life in Nebraska, and warranted recognition by the Governor. Turner Enterprises owns five ranches in Nebraska, representing 425,221 acres, and raises over 21,000 head of bison in the state. 

Ted’s Nebraska Grill Opens in Omaha 


Ted Turner, Nebraska Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy and other dignitaries from across the state turned out to celebrate the grand opening. The restaurant, formerly a Ted’s Montana Grill, has a new name to reflect Turner’s deep connection to Nebraska and the company’s commitment to using local companies, farmers and other suppliers whenever possible. In addition, the beef and bison served at Ted’s Nebraska Grill will be Nebraska-raised, including beef exclusively provided by the world-famous Omaha Steaks.Cutting the ceremonial ribbon at the restaurant’s opening were (from left) TNG Proprietor Scott Hamilton; Todd Simon and Bruce Simon, owners of Omaha Steaks; Nebraska Lt. Governor Rick Sheehy; Ted Turner; George McKerrow, TNG president and CEO; David Brown, president and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce; and Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey. The restaurant is located at 13615 California St. in Omaha.

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