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Ammazza Pizzeria & Restaurant Opens in Decatur

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

AmmazzaAmmazza, the Atlanta-based pizzeria and restaurant, opened a Decatur location on November 13. Ammazza’s Decatur restaurant will offer an expanded dinner menu of reimagined staples in the Italian style. Guests can expect antipasto, pasta and pizza, alongside a forthcoming beverage program of craft cocktails, beer and small production wines. Lunch is to follow in early 2019.

Helming the kitchen will be Executive Chef Sean Dwyer. The menu will showcase seasonal, made-from-scratch pizza featuring cured meats from local charcuterie The Spotted Trotter, coupled with housemade mozzarella, dough and sauces. Rotating seasonal insalatas, pastas and dolces for dessert will round out the food selection. Ammazza also offers vegan pizza, topped with housemade cashew cheese.

Design features of the 2,500-square-foot space include intimate seating areas, expansive windows, copper light fixtures and a bar designed to showcase the restaurant’s drink program. Ammazza’s two Acunto pizza ovens are imported from Italy and custom-plated with square brass tiles. Antique brick and red steel-beamed columns add industrial touches to the otherwise contemporary space, which is grounded in a blue stained concrete floor and deep black color palette.

Also unique to the Decatur space are viewing windows into the dough and pasta room, where the Ammazza team will showcase pasta-making and the process behind their dough made from Caputo 00 flour. Flanking the building, a large, hand painted Ammazza mural leads to a spacious outdoor patio behind the restaurant with umbrella seating and rows of tables.

Ammazza’s Decatur restaurant follows their original location in Atlanta’s Edgewood neighborhood, which is slated to reopen this winter following a closure for renovations. The pizzeria and restaurant is from Owner Hugh Connerty. At the restaurant’s new Decatur location, Daniel Bridges will serve as General Manager alongside Operations Director Nick Reeves and Executive Chef Sean Dwyer.


Atlanta Restaurants Post Increased Sales for Q3

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

Atlanta Q3 2018 restaurant sales volume increased .44% vs. Q3 2017 according to Netfinancials, Inc. For the quarter ended September 2018 positive sales trends were reported at 53% of the 104 independent Atlanta restaurants surveyed. Year-to-date 2018 sales were up .88% over 2017 while 58% of restaurants reported positive year-to-date sales.

National Trends
In its survey of national restaurant sales TDn2K’s Black Box Intelligence, a restaurant sales
and traffic-tracking company, reported national restaurant Q3 2018 revenues increased by 1.2%. This was the fifth straight quarter of positive sales. Nationally restaurant traffic continued its downward trend declining -1.3% in Q3.

Lori Johnson, NetFinancials president states that, “Q3 2018 was the fifth straight positive comp sales quarter for established Atlanta restaurants. It was however a mixed bag of results with just over half of restaurants showing an increase. This is also the first time Atlanta growth has been below the National data since Q3 2015 with operators continuing to see increased competition with the addition of new seats in the market.

Carl Muth of FoodService Resource Associates LLC who tracks restaurant activity in Georgia estimates that 655 new restaurants opened in Metro Atlanta during the twelve months ended September 30, 2018, a 11% increase over the twelve months ended September 30, 2017.

Atlanta’s local economy continues to show signs of expansion. Metro Atlanta unemployment declined in August 2018 to 3.6% from 4.7% in August 2017 while the metro area added 53,700 jobs over the last twelve months. During that period Atlanta food services added nearly ten thousand new jobs as a result of new locations opened during that time.

The Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau notes that Atlanta’s visitor traffic was about even with prior year with gains in August due to major concerts and conventions offset by a decrease in September due to 2017 hurricane evacuees and sporting events.

The Sample
The 104 non-franchise restaurants were drawn from the metro Atlanta market. Total survey sales volume was $248 million for year-to-date 2018. The survey includes restaurants in Atlanta’s fast-casual, casual and fine-dining segments open at least 21 months.


Biltong Bar’s Second Location Now Open in Buckhead

Thursday, November 29th, 2018
Biltong Bar

Photo by Kamil Lee.

True Story Brands, the South African hospitality group, has officially opened the second location of their beef jerky and booze concept in the heart of Buckhead. As the first of its kind in the world, Biltong Bar is now open at The Shops Buckhead Atlanta and features organic, house-cured beef jerky, South African street fare, and an elevated beverage program.

“Our team is proud to provide such a unique dining experience in Buckhead,” says Justin Anthony, owner of True Story Brands. “Not only are we excited to introduce Buckhead to beef jerky and booze, but we’re also looking forward to providing those familiar with the brand elevated offerings at our new location, including lounge seating with interactive games, late night hours, and an overall expanded menu.”

Industry veteran, chef Matt Weinstein, heads up the kitchen as the Executive Chef of Biltong Bar – Buckhead, joining an executive team including Beverage Director Sean Gleason. Gleason develops the restaurant’s hand-crafted cocktail program, providing contemporary craft cocktail concoctions that utilize seasonal ingredients and exceptional spirits.

Weinstein has built upon Biltong Bar’s namesake, biltong, which is also known as all-natural dry, aged beef jerky, to offer new menu selections including the BB Burger, Tandoori Chicken Wings, Hot Chicken Sammie and Smoked Peri-Peri Trout.

The 6,500 square-foot restaurant has taken shape through the aesthetic inspiration of Anthony’s wife and interior designer, Kelly Wolf-Anthony of Wolf Design Group. The space features a 30-seat bar which extends the entirety of the restaurant, a robust dining room characterized by dark woods and leather accents and a dedicated lounge for guests to enjoy interactive games while dining.

True Story Brands encompasses several South African inspired restaurant concepts in Atlanta, with a focus on sharing the lifestyle and experience of South Africa through each of its ventures. In addition to Biltong Bar, the group includes 10 Degrees South which features traditional South African cuisine, Yebo Beach Haus which completely transforms, and Cape Dutch which offers South African steakhouse cuisine.


Citizen Supply at Ponce City Market Announces Upcoming Addition of In-Store Eatery

Thursday, November 29th, 2018
Likewise Citizen Supply

Photo courtesy of Jamestown.

This winter, Citizen Supply will debut Likewise Eatery and Bar, a weekend flea market pop-up, an in-store greenhouse and more. Located on the second floor at Ponce City Market, Citizen Supply is a reimagined take on a curated and artisan marketplace that first opened at the mixed-use community hub in November 2015. The market is known for its selection of quality handmade items and small-batch goods from local and national makers.

Likewise will be housed in the center of Citizen Supply’s 12,000-square-foot, gallery-like space. The one-of-a-kind concept will serve as an elevated and approachable hang-out, where patrons can dine and drink while perusing the shop’s rotating collection of makerspaces that include apparel offerings, home goods and handmade items from over 160 artists and brands, such as Richer Poorer, In God We Must, KMM & Co., Apolis, Brick and Mortar and more.

At the forthcoming restaurant and bar, guests and shoppers will enjoy a beverage program of classic and creative craft cocktails from beverage director Ben Richardson, such as Cats and Dogs, a fizzy libation of vodka, Aperitivo, grapefruit and soda; Eastwood, which features bourbon, vermouth, sherry and amaro; and Mojo, an aged rum cocktail with sparkling brachetto, fresh lime and mint. Chef Jason Jimenez of Kitchen Six and Homespun is behind Likewise’s first food menu, which will feature seasonally driven snacks, light bites and shareable plates. A go-to gathering place, the intimate space is designed by Grace-Made’s Savannah Metcalf and will offer a plush, 25-seat communal lounge area to accompany its expansive open bar that accommodates an additional 20 guests.


Firebirds Wood Fired Grill to Open in Peachtree Corners

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, a classic American restaurant and steakhouse serving hand-cut aged steaks, fresh seafood, chicken and ribs, will open its second metro Atlanta location in early January at Peachtree Town Center, across from The Forum on Peachtree Parkway at the corner of Medlock Bridge Road, near Sprouts.

The 6,500-square-foot restaurant will seat 232 guests and showcase Firebirds’ new design concept. The Peachtree Corners location will feature this trending and modern design which provides a more open and inviting floor plan, enabling every guest a view of Firebirds’ signature exhibition kitchen, stone fireplace and award-winning FIREBAR.

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill is a twist on the traditional grill featuring a classic American menu in a fire-centric atmosphere. Signature menu items include hand-cut, aged steaks and fresh seafood hand-fileted in-house and seared over locally sourced hickory, oak or pecan wood in Firebirds’ scratch kitchen and exposed wood-fired grill. The open décor incorporates wood-fired themes and entertaining spaces, such as the outdoor patio and FIREBAR.


Whiskey Blue Unveils New Look, Now Open

Thursday, November 29th, 2018
Whiskey Blue

Photo by Jason Locklear of RSVP ATL.

Whiskey Blue, an award-winning rooftop bar located at the top of the W Atlanta – Buckhead, officially re-opened its doors after undergoing a complete renovation.

The remodeled bar features art installations, including a 66-foot long mural from local Atlanta artist Chris Veal, as well as an intricate lighting installation. Upgraded interior accents include sleek grey subway tile along with plush leather couches. The outdoor patio space offers a full-service bar and large, vibrant blue sectional seating areas made for enjoying the scenic skyline views of Atlanta.

Whiskey Blue is continuing their renowned beverage program, to not only include classic and house favorites that highlight fresh ingredients, but also serving up new cocktails including the Buckhead Spritz and Pomegranate Sour. Whiskey Blue will also offer signature small bites featuring an artisan cheese & local charcuterie board, grilled market vegetable flatbread and crispy duck tacos.


Brunch Bill Passed in Multiple Municipalities

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

On November 6 communities voted on if they would like to roll back current Sunday on-premise consumption sales hours from 12:30 p.m. to 11:00 a.m. Municipalities that already have Sunday sales needed to have a ballot referendum to make the change, and any communities that do not have Sunday sales were required to have two ballot referendums: 1) to vote Yes or No to implementing Sunday sales, and 2) to decide if their local time will be 11:00 a.m. or remain at 12:30 p.m.

The bill was passed in more than 45 municipalities, and results are not yet finalized for all municipalities voting.

Earlier Sunday Sales Referendum (“Brunch Bill”) Passed in the following municipalities:
Acworth, Alpharetta, Athens-Clarke County, Atlanta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Braselton, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Chatham County, Cherokee County, Clarkston, Cobb County, College Park, Decatur, DeKalb County, Douglasville, Dunwoody, Flowery Branch, Forsyth County, Gainesville, Greene County, Gwinnett County, Hall County, Hapeville, Holly Springs, Jackson County, Johns Creek, Kennesaw, Marietta, Milton, Oakwood, Paulding County, Peachtree Corners, Powder Springs, Richmond Hill, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Savannah, Senoia, Smyrna, South Fulton, Spalding County, Stone Mountain, Tucker, Tybee Island, Union City, Villa Rica, Woodstock

Final votes are still to be determined for the following municipalities:
Augusta-Richmond County, Brunswick, Columbia County, Columbus, Columbus-Muscogee County, Douglas County, Duluth, Fayetteville, Fulton County, Glynn County, Grovetown, Harlem, Hart County, Lanier County, Macon-Bibb County, Monroe County, Madison, Peachtree City, Perry, Statesboro, Walker County


Georgia ​Brunch Bill

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

Communities now have the ability to decide if they would like to roll back current Sunday on-premise consumption sales hours from 12:30 p.m. to 11:00 a.m. Any municipality that already has Sunday sales will need to have a ballot referendum to make the change, however, any communities that do not have Sunday sales will be required to have two ballot referendums: 1) to vote Yes or No to implementing Sunday sales, and 2) to decide if their local time will be 11:00 a.m. or remain at 12:30 p.m.

Spread awareness about voting YES on the Brunch Bill in November by adding content to your social media channels or newsletters. Use the hashtag #GABrunchBill. ​Use this site to register to vote, check your registration status, make changes to your registration record or apply for an absentee ballot.

RESTAURANTS: The GRA has created a toolkit for you to utilize in encouraging your patrons to vote YES. The toolkit contains social media sample posts, newsletter sample posts, graphics and more. Click to open the Brunch Bill Communications Toolkit.

Municipalities that passed an ordinance or resolution to include the Brunch Bill language on the November 6 General Election ballot:

​City of Acworth, City of Alpharetta, City of Atlanta, City of Austell, City of Braselton, City of Brookhaven, City of Brunswick, City of Columbus, City of Decatur, City of Douglasville, City of Duluth, City of Dunwoody, City of Fayetteville, City of Flowery Branch, City of Gainesville, City of Grovetown, City of Harlem, City of Holly Springs, City of Johns Creek, City of Kennesaw, City of Madison, City of Marietta, City of Milton, City of Oakwood, City of Peachtree City, City of Peachtree Corners, City of Powder Springs, City of Richmond Hill, City of Roswell, City of Sandy Springs, City of Savannah, City of Senoia, City of Smyrna, City of Statesboro, City of Tybee Island, City of Villa Rica, City of Woodstock, Athens-Clarke County, Augusta-Richmond County, Chatham County, Cherokee County, Cobb County, Columbia County, Columbus-Muscogee County, DeKalb County, Douglas County, Forsyth County, Fulton County, Glynn County, Gwinnett County, Hall County, Hart County, Lanier County, Macon-Bibb County, Monroe County, Paulding County, Walker County


The Georgian Terrace Hotel Names Michael J. Kubik as Executive Chef

Monday, October 29th, 2018
Michael J. Kubik

Chef Michael J. Kubik. Photo by Henri Hollis.

The Georgian Terrace Hotel by Sotherly has appointed veteran Atlanta chef Michael J. Kubik as the historic Midtown Atlanta hotel’s new executive chef. Kubik oversees the seasonally focused, Southern-infused menu at the property’s iconic Livingston Restaurant + Bar, the bar menu at Edgar’s Proof & Provision as well as the catering and room service operations for the historic hotel.

“Michael’s deep knowledge of Atlanta’s hospitality industry and his passion for seasonal, locally sourced ingredients and premier guest service make him an ideal fit for our talented Georgian Terrace team,” says the director of hotel operations Guido Piccinni.

Kubik brings nearly 30 years of expertise as an executive chef to the hotel property. For 20 years as executive chef at Atlanta’s busy Westin Atlanta Airport hotel, he developed both menu and restaurant concepts and oversaw the hotel’s successful lobby bar and restaurant renovations twice during his tenure.

He’s also worked as executive chef at Hyatt Atlanta Midtown and as executive sous chef at Hilton Atlanta, where he directed the food operations of five restaurants, room service, catering and 144,000 square feet of meeting space. Also, he worked as a task force chef for Streamsong, opening the luxurious hotel and golf resort in Tampa, Fla. in 2013.

Now, Kubik is excited to uphold The Georgian Terrace Hotel’s historic traditions and focus on seasonal favorites and locally sourced ingredients.

“I’ve watched this city’s dining scene diversify and grow by leaps and bounds over the last two decades,” says Kubik. “It’s an honor to be a part of this property’s grand history while positioning us for the future with innovative Southern cuisine.”

When not in the kitchen, Kubik enjoys spending time with his five children, camping, hiking and trout fishing.


Lazy Betty to Open Brick-and-Mortar Restaurant

Thursday, October 25th, 2018
lazy betty

Restaurant Rendering by Praxis3

Lazy Betty, the forthcoming restaurant from Executive Chef Ron Hsu and Chef de Cuisine/Partner Aaron Phillips, will open its brick-and-mortar location at 1530 Dekalb Avenue NE in early 2019, in the space formerly occupied by Radial Cafe. The restaurant will offer both tasting menu and à la carte options, and menus will feature seasonal fare using modern culinary techniques.

An Atlanta native, Chef Ronald Hsu brings culinary chops from Michelin-starred Le Bernadin and Le Colonial, both internationally acclaimed NYC restaurants. He served as executive sous chef at Le Bernadin before taking an executive chef position at Le Colonial. He then returned to Le Bernadin as creative director. Hsu’s cooking showcases a variety of cuisines and techniques using the highest quality ingredients available. He is featured on Netflix’s new cooking series “The Final Table,” which premieres in November 2018.

Aaron Phillips serves as Chef de Cuisine/Partner at Lazy Betty and brings NYC culinary talent from his former position as sous chef at Le Bernadin, where he met Chef Hsu. He also cooked at NYC restaurants including the famed Bouley, Jean-Georges’ The Mark Restaurant, and the Four Seasons hotel, where he served as sous chef.

Chef Ron’s siblings, Howard and Anita Hsu, operate Sweet Auburn BBQ in Poncey-Highland and are also partners in Lazy Betty.

Local architecture firm Praxis3 is designing Lazy Betty with an industrial chic aesthetic. Natural light will illuminate soft, muted colors of the interior, which stand in contrast to exposed brick and concrete flooring. The intimate dining room will seat 28, and another 18 seats will be in a lounge area with chef’s counter. Lazy Betty will also open a large outdoor patio seating 25, to open next spring.

In anticipation of the opening, Lazy Betty hosted supper club dinners throughout the summer to offer guests a preview of the cuisine and experience.

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