Dining Atlanta: Week of December 19, 2011

By Eric Harvison

Dining Atlanta spotlights what is opening and closing around the city. Check in at the beginning of each week to find out what is changing in your neighborhood.

Click here to read earlier columns

Airport

In case air travel doesn’t already give you indigestion, THE VARSITY is among the list of restaurants receiving the tentative nod for new concession contracts at Harstfield-Jackson International Airport. Interestingly, SOUTH CITY KITCHEN and MANUEL’S TAVERN were among the unsuccessful applicants.

Barbecue seems to be among the secret ingredients to selection with contracts awarded to ROLLING BONES BBQ, SHANE’S RIB SHACK, and MICHON’S SMOKEHOUSE. Other local restaurants soon appearing on a concourse near you include VARASANO’S PIZZA, PASCHAL’S, THE REAL CHOW BABY, TWIST, and THE PECAN. Also selected were a host of the more traditional airport purveyors including (partial list) CARRABBA’S, PINKBERRY, CHIPOTLE, WILLY’S, QDOBA, BAJA FRESH, PAPPADEAUX SEAFOOD, EINSTEIN BROS BAGELS, GOLDBERG’S BAGEL CO, FATBURGER, FIVE GUYS BURGERS, LONGHORN, LA MADELINE, WIENERZ GRILL, JEKYLL ISLAND SEAFOOD CO, GOLD COAST DOGS, JERSEY MIKE’S SUBS, and DUNKIN’ DONUTS.

Avondale Estates

Recently rebranded HAIL MARY, the former JAMES JOYCE PUB has reverted back to previous JAMES JOYCE ownership of Denise Gerard and is currently operating under the name AVONDALE ARMS, although Gerard informs The Patch that the name is only temporary. The pub will ultimately adopt a name more closely aligned with Gerard’s other pub, THE BREWHOUSE CAFÉ in Little Five Points.

Brookhaven

Two new restaurant/pubs are under construction in the Town Brookhaven development — OLDE BLIND DOG PUB and THERE will open soon. Sembler president Jeff Fuqua told the Atlanta Business Chronicle that the development is still seeking a full-line Mexican restaurant, a gourmet burger place, an Italian concept and a fine Indian restaurant.

Buckhead

OLDE TOWNE TAVERN & GRILLE, with locations in Kennesaw, Lawrenceville and Suwanee will open early next year on Pharr Road in the former SASKATOON restaurant location. In addition to an excess of vowels, OLDE TOWNE looks to offer basic burgers, pizzas and salads with the addition of several wood grilled meats.

Decatur

CHIPOTLE opened a new location on Oxford Road adjacent to the Emory Campus.

Downtown

FRENCH AMERICAN BRASSERIE a.k.a. FAB quietly closed its doors on Saturday night. Reportedly owners Cindy Brown and Fabrice Vergez want to focus their efforts on their soon-to-open Buckhead restaurant F&B.

Midtown

A little more details revealed regarding CAMPIGNOLO, the restaurant coming to 980 Piedmont early next year. The cuisine will be Italian with Mediterranean influences, and the previous restaurant space has been expanded to incorporate additional seating. CAMPIGNOLO will be open for lunch and dinner and offer brunch on weekends. Believe this will be part of the Peasant Restaurant Group (in fact, CAMPIGNOLO translates to “peasant”), so perhaps they will bring the needed expertise to succeed in this long cursed venue.

TIERRA restaurant owners Ticha and Dan Krinsky have announced that they will close the Piedmont Road eatery early next year, ending 13 years in business. Last day of service will be Friday, February 17th. Dan Krinsky has already assumed a teaching position at Le Cordon Blue College of Culinary Arts and Ticha will hold down the operation for the final two months.

Morningside

BURGER TAP opened last Wednesday on North Highland in the onetime CARAMBA CAFÉ location. Burgers and beer.

Old 4th Ward

Reported that DANCING GOATS COFFEE is the first lease signed for the PONCE CITY MARKET (Sears Building) development.

Poncey Highland

The colorful KING OF POPS mural that graced the wall of the adjacent launderette at Buddy’s gas station was painted over on orders from “The Man.” If I follow the rationale, now that The King is no longer a tenant at that address the mural ran afoul of local sign ordinances.

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Eric Harvison’s Dining Notes began a few years ago as a sporadic e-mail exchange with a friend, sharing restaurant openings and trying to satisfy that vague urge to dine “somewhere new.” That friend started forwarding Eric’s messages to some of her friends, several of them food industry professionals. They in turn began passing along bits of restaurant news and gossip that they would come across. These exchanges became more frequent and took on a viral life of their own that has evolved into what you read today.

Aside from the occasional editorial comment, Eric won’t attempt to review these restaurants. There’s plenty of others better qualified, with much more refined palates — probably you. Rather, this is an attempt to help you keep up with the constantly changing Atlanta dining scene, for better or worse.

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