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.
The latest round of cutbacks at Creative Loafing has forced food editor and restaurant critic Besha Rodell out of a job. The AJC reports that CL editor Eric Celeste has asked Besha to continue to write for the struggling paper on a freelance basis. No word on whether she will accept his offer.
A new food truck will be trolling the streets and boulevards of town. ROUXD FOOD TRUCK will begin selling Jamaican/New Orleans cuisine beginning this week. Think Cajun shrimp pies.
YEAH BURGER! partner Shaun Doty acknowledges he is in negotiations to open a fast casual rotisserie chicken restaurant in Ansley Mall sometime this fall. Reportedly, the yet unnamed restaurant will also bring back the popular duck fat fries that were on the menu at SHAUN’S until its demise at the end of 2010.
Former CRAFT space in The Mansion on Peachtree will reopen as Texas-based DEL FRISCO’S GRILLE, featuring “prime steaks, fresh seafood, and twists on American comfort cuisine.” Opening planned for late 2012.
CHEYENNE GRILL in the Peachtree Battle shopping center is changing their name to the WHITEHALL TAVERN. Historical note — the original WHITEHALL TAVERN was founded in the 1830s in what would eventually become downtown Atlanta (at the corner of present-day Gordon and Lee Streets).
The ancient pecan tree that overlooked THE MARLAY HOUSE pub had to be taken down last week due to damage from an earlier lightning strike. The wood from the massive tree is being “tree-cycled” into several (5) banquet tables, benches and odd bits of furniture to be crafted by local woodworkers.
The space formerly occupied by CAKES & ALE on West Ponce de Leon at Ponce de Leon Place will reopen as THE PINEWOOD, serving “regional inspired cocktails and food.”
And speaking of CAKES & ALE, in their new location the restaurant has imported a new pastry chef. Eric Wolitzky has been brought in from BAKED in Brooklyn, NY. Also announced that they will begin Sunday brunch service effective April 15th.
REN’S DELI & GRILL on Broad Street closed last Friday. Better known as the longtime MICHAEL’S DELI, the space will reopen as a Northern Indian cafe, NAANSTOP EXPRESS INDIAN CUISINE — home of the Naanwich. The concept was first rolled out (pun intended) by owners Samir and Neal Idnani as an Indian food truck in Los Angeles, serving “homestyle Indian food with a steet food twist,” but the pair have decided to relocate to Atlanta and open a brick and mortar cafe, with hopes to open additional locations around the metro area.
Opening any day now near LUNACY BLACK MARKET on Mitchell Street, CHARLOT’S CREOLE CAFE. Gumbo, po’ boys, etc.
Now open, THE FIFTH IVORY PUBLIC HOUSE. “A southern version of an Irish Pub” merged with a 60s style piano bar, according to their website. 794 Juniper at 5th Street.
LA PIETRA CUCINA chef Bruce Logue has departed the restaurant. No news on where he’s headed, but last year it was rumored that he was looking to open his own restaurant somewhere in-town.
RA SUSHI has converted their upstairs overflow seating in to a separate bar, GEISHA LOUNGE (no relation to GEISHA HOUSE which closed in Atlantic Station recently).
TIN DRUM will open their third in-town location in Colony Square later this spring.
THE LAWRENCE had their soft opening over the weekend, and expect to receive their liquor license by tomorrow. 905 Juniper Street.
(This is apparently the hipster description for the area between downtown and North Avenue, now appearing in Yahoo! Maps)
Recently opened, METRO FUXON. Caribbean/West African cafe.
The guys from P’CHEEN in the Old 4th Ward are planning to turn their popular Monday night BBQ habit into a full time BBQ restaurant sometime this summer. BONE LICK BBQ, 1133 Huff Road near CORNER TAVERN.
New rooftop bar (three bars actually) and concert venue has opened inside the King Plow Arts Center, TERMINAL WEST.
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.