FOOD FOR THOUGHT | March-April 2018

food for thought pizza

TOP PHOTO: The mushroom pizza at Genuine Pizza, new to Phipps Plaza. It comes with porcini and cremini mushrooms and Taleggio and fontina cheeses. Photo by David Danzig. 

We bring word of biscuits in the ’burbs, a taste of Spain in Inman Park, a new South City Kitchen in Alpharetta and much more.

THIS EDITION of our bimonthly Food for Thought catches you up on projects linked (or unlinked) to chefs Linton Hopkins, Bill Greenwood, Richard Blais and Floridian Michael Schwartz, along with hot chicken news and a Garden & Gun club.

Well done

 One choice of many at Maple Street Biscuit Co., open now in Woodstock and coming soon to Alpharetta. Photo: David Danzig

One choice of many at Maple Street Biscuit Co., open now in Woodstock and coming soon to Alpharetta. Photo: David Danzig

Brunch-crazed suburbanites will rejoice at the arrival of Maple Street Biscuit Co. in Woodstock (now open) and Alpharetta (coming soon).

The fast-casual recipe is simple: Make fresh, cathead-size biscuits and fill them with pecan-smoked bacon, fried chicken, sausage gravy, goat cheese (any or all); serve with sides; brew strong, delicious Red Leaf coffee; and serve from early morning through mid-afternoon.

Already a phenomenon in parts of Florida, look for a Maple Street Biscuit on a street near you soon. …


Star chef Linton Hopkins has finally opened C. Ellet’s Steak House at The Battery Atlanta at SunTrust Park. It’s named for his great-grandfather, Charles Ellet Jr., a Union solider during the Civil War and a bridge-building engineer. As Food for Thought reported last year, C. Ellet’s had been slotted for a May 2017 opening.

The James Beard Award-winning Hopkins and wife Gina previously teamed on Restaurant Eugene, Holeman and Finch, Longleaf and H&F Burger. Their C. Ellet’s  is a 6,500-sq. ft. room that seats up to 200. The dining room feels like it was plucked from New Orleans’ Garden District, with an elegant design that evokes a genteel but informal Southern atmosphere, a spot for an intimate bite or a rousing party. Steaks are the stars here, and Hopkins did his research, sourcing bovines from farms in eight states, and offering a premier seafood program with cold and hot options.

 At C. Ellet’s: White Oak Pastures steak tartar with fried capers and bone marrow. Photo: David Danzig

At C. Ellet’s: White Oak Pastures steak tartar with fried capers and bone marrow. Photo: David Danzig

Baseball season opens March 29, so you still have a few non-baseball days — and those out-of-town-game days — to get your steak on. Plus, the Battery is open 365 days a year. …


After a misfire with the Cockentrice, Krog Street Market has welcomed Bar Mercado, a concept that that fits the Inman Park neighborhood the way a fancy hat fits a matador. The space, inspired by Madrid’s Mercado de San Miguel, gets a handsome reboot with a menu of cured meats, cheeses and tapas from multiple regions of Spain. Hipster craft cocktails and Spanish wines keep the casual fiesta going beyond the comida. …


Florida-based celebrity chef Michael Schwartz — a restaurateur, James Beard award-winner and author — expands his empire to Phipps Plaza with Genuine Pizza, a super-approachable Italian joint with gourmet Neapolitan-style pies and toppings like short ribs and gruyere, meatballs with peppers and onions, slow-roasted pork and fig, and rock shrimp with fresh manchego cheese. With the most expensive item on the menu only  $21, it’s very un-Buckhead, price-wise.



 Look for Hattie B’s Hot Chicken to set up shop soon near Little Five Points. Photo: David Danzig

Look for Hattie B’s Hot Chicken to set up shop soon near Little Five Points. Photo: David Danzig

Opening day appears imminent for the long-awaited Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, the Nashville phenom that teased Atlantans last year with brief, impact-making appearances at summer and fall festivals.

Hattie’s will take over an old laundromat near Little Five Points, serving hot chicken in six spice levels, ranging from “Southern” (no heat) to “shut the cluck up” (burn notice). …


The legendary Woody’s CheeseSteaks adds a second location near the East Andrews Entertainment district in Buckhead. The chopped steak/onion/Cheez Whiz creations are a 40-plus-year tradition at the original intown location on Monroe Drive. The Buckhead spot will feature an expanded menu, says owner Steven Renner, who took over Woody’s in 2010. …


Fans of Southern style magazine Garden & Gun likely will enjoy a brick-and-mortar experience due in spring. The Charleston-based operation plans to open Garden & Gun Club at The Battery Atlanta. Despite the “club” in its name, no membership will be required. Garden & Gun will pour cocktails and serve lunch and dinner. …


Fifth Group Restaurant’s footprint grows with South City Kitchen Avalon in the Alpharetta dining/retail development. The fourth South City Kitchen serves its sophisticated, seasonal, Southern food at breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, and at weekend brunch. Fifth Group also plans to take over the former BrickTop’s space at Peachtree Street and Piedmont Avenue in Buckhead.



 Bill Greenwood and his wife, Rita, in an undated photo.

Bill Greenwood and his wife, Rita, in an undated photo.

Roswell lost Greenwoods on Green Street and Swallow at the Hollow at year’s end, leaving a comfort-food void in the neighborhood. Greenwoods had served stick-to-the-ribs Southern classics since 1986; Swallow at the Hollow had smoked ’que since 1999. Bill Greenwood, the man behind both spots, decided to retire. …


Flip Burger Boutique in Buckhead, originally one of three Flip gourmet burger locations in the city, has shut down its fryers. Only the Howell Mill Road restaurant remains. The buzz about the boutique eateries, the brainchild of “Top Chef” master Richard Blais, had been eroding since Blais left Atlanta to pursue projects elsewhere. …


Finally, the last cow has left Cowtippers, the iconic Midtown spot that had served steaks near Piedmont Park for more than 20 years. News of a January closing prompted a community outcry and a stay of execution. That lasted only until mid-February.


Food for Thought, Encore Atlanta’s bimonthly dining column, keeps you up to date on openings, closings and what chefs are up to in one of three categories — well done (reasons for praise), simmering (what’s in the works) and toast (what’s closed, etc.). Tips? Please email


13 GA semifinalists for 2018 James Beard Awards

james beard awards

The James Beard Foundation has named the 2018 semifinalists for its annual awards honoring excellence in cuisine, culinary writing and culinary education in the United States. The awards, established in 1990, often are called “the Oscars of food.”

Finalists will be announced March 14 in Philadelphia; winners will be announced May 7 in Chicago. The Georgian nominees — most are in the metro Atlanta area — are as follows:

National awards

OUTSTANDING BAKER: Sarah O’Brien of Atlanta’s Little Tart Bakeshop (two locations plus farmers markets).


OUTSTANDING BAR PROGRAM: Decatur’s Kimball House.

OUTSTANDING WINE PROGRAM: Miller Union in West Midtown.

OUTSTANDING CHEF: Hugh Acheson of Five & Ten in Athens.

OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR: Steve Palmer of The Indigo Road group (Oak Steakhouse in Alpharetta, O-Ku sushi in West Midtown, Colletta Italian Food & Wine at Avalon in Alpharetta, and Donetto in West Midtown).

RISING STAR CHEF OF THE YEAR (2): Parnass Savang of Atlanta’s Talat Market, Thai pop-up in Candler Park, and Brian So of Spring in Marietta.

Regional awards

james beard

BEST CHEF: SOUTHEAST (6): Atsushi Hayakawa of Sushi House Hayakawa on Buford Highway, Ryan Smith of Staplehouse (returning nominee) in Atlanta; Matthew Raiford of The Farmer & The Larder in Brunswick; Meherwan Irani of Chai Pani (Indian) in Decatur; Rui Liu of Masterpiece (Sichuan Chinese) in Duluth; and Mashama Bailey of The Grey in Savannah. Miller Union’s Steven Satterfield won Best Chef: Southeast in 2017 and can’t be nominated again for five years.

Other categories include best new restaurant; outstanding pastry chef; outstanding restaurant; outstanding service; outstanding wine, beer or spirits professional; and best chefs in the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, New York City, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southwest and West regions.

Another semifinalist of interest to metro Atlanta/Georgia foodies is Duane Nutter, formerly of One Flew South and now with Southern National in Mobile, Ala., for best new restaurant.

For a complete list of the 2018 James Beard semifinalists, go HERE.


It’s a wrap: 36,000+ attend 2018 AJFF

death in the terminal

TOP PHOTO: Death in the Terminal, which looks at a 2015 terrorist attack at an Israeli bus station and its aftermath, won the Documentary and Human Rights jury prizes.


THE 2018 ATLANTA JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL — 23 days long, with more than 190 screenings at seven venues — attracted more than 36,000 moviegoers, according to festival organizers. Closing night at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, featuring the Southeast premiere of writer-director Pablo Solarz’ The Last Suit, attracted a record-setting crowd of more than 1,600.

As usual, a number of awards were handed out, too. The winners:

NARRATIVE JURY PRIZE (for a feature-length fiction film): The Testament, director Amichai Greenberg’s 2018 story about an uncompromising Holocaust researcher who uncovers a long-buried secret about his family history.

DOCUMENTARY JURY PRIZE (for a feature-length nonfiction film): Death in the Terminal, Israeli directors Tali Shemesh and Asaf Sudry’s 2017 look at a 2015 terrorist attack at an Israeli bus station, and the paranoia-fueled confusion that followed.

 “On My Way Out: The Secret Life of Nani and Popi,” from Canada.

“On My Way Out: The Secret Life of Nani and Popi,” from Canada.

SHORTS JURY PRIZE (run time of 40 minutes or less): On My Way Out: The Secret Life of Nani and Popi, Canadian directors Brandon and Skyler Gross’ 2017 piece about an ostensibly happy couple marking six decades of marriage and uncovering a painful truth.

EMERGING FILMMAKER JURY PRIZE: Winter Hunt, German filmmaker Astrid Schult’s 2017 psychological thriller about a young woman who seeks reprisal against a suspected ex-Nazi.

BUILDING BRIDGES JURY PRIZE (fosters understanding among communities of diverse religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds): Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds: The Conductor Zubin Mehta, German director Bettina Ehrhardt’s profile of the India-born maestro most often associated with the Israeli Philharmonic.

HUMAN RIGHTS JURY PRIZE: Death in the Terminal, again.

 “The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm,” from American director Amy Schatz.

“The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm,” from American director Amy Schatz.

AUDIENCE AWARD FOR BEST NARRATIVE: The Last Suit, a 2017 film about a cantankerous, aging Jewish tailor who leaves his life in Argentina for a journey back in time and halfway around the world to find the man who saved him from death at Auschwitz.

AUDIENCE AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY: Itzhak, director Alison Chemick’s 2017 impressionist, fly-on-the-wall portrait of Itzhak Perlman, the Iraeli-born master violinist.

AUDIENCE AWARD FOR BEST SHORT: The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm, American director Amy Schatz’s 19-minute piece from 2017, about a young boy’s tender questions, his great-grandfather’s tattooed arm and the intimate, emotional conversation about tragedy and perseverance that ensues.


Hot For Your Home: 2018's Most Inspirational Interior Trends

The thrilling sequence of fashion weeks has got us planning outfits for months to come, but have you thought about what you’re going to style your home in 2018? If you have a love for fashion or an interest in interiors, here are some of 2018’s most inspirational trends to try at home.


Understated Industrial

After hitting the headlines a few years ago, the industrial trend is back with a bang in 2018.

This time around, adopt an understated, muted approach. Think stripped back brickwork and rustic beams paired with oversized bulbs with exposed filaments and sleek metal chairs. Keep the palette neutral with shades of white, beige and gray, and add splashes of vibrancy with houseplants.

This trend works for almost any room in the house and you can modify it to suit your individual taste. It’s a great look to work with if you’re planning to create a cool home office, a minimalist boudoir or an effortlessly trendy kitchen.

Color blocking

Color blocking is a trend we often see on the catwalks. This year, take inspiration from spring/summer lookbooks and channel this vibe in your home. Color blocking is a fantastic way to embrace and use color without going overboard, and it can produce incredibly chic looks. Opt for brighter, bolder shades in living rooms and kitchens and muted tones in bedrooms and bathrooms. Gray and yellow work brilliantly in reception rooms while pastels are an ideal choice for the bedroom. Look out for colored accessories to add splashes of intrigue to plain walls and choose shades that complement each other. You don’t have to spend a fortune overhauling an entire room to emanate Instagram images or glossy magazine shots. Browse gift cards online to save you money at home stores and look for affordable versions of popular designer accessories like candle holders, plant pots, and rugs. It’s also worth checking out vintage markets and auction sites. It is possible to create a very stylish look on a budget.

Colored kitchens

If you’re a fan of crisp, clean white cabinets, worktops and walls, look away now! 2018 is the year of the colored kitchen, and we’re not just talking beige or dove gray. This is a time to be audacious. Opt for violet, blue or green or go for a touch of opulence with colored marble tops. If you’re afraid of color or you’re not keen on redesigning the entire kitchen, it is possible to update the look of the room without splashing the cash or taking on a huge amount of work. Adding a bold shade to one wall can create a statement or you could lift muted walls with distinctive accessories. Learning to accessorize is a simple and affordable way of keeping up with the trends and ensuring your home always looks the part.

kitchen ideas fashionado


Pink was a big deal on the spring/summer catwalks in 2017, and this year, it’s making waves in the world of interior design. Bolder, brighter pinks were all the rage last year, and this season, it’s the turn of subtle, blush shades. Blush pink works perfectly with gray and white, and it’s an ideal choice for living spaces, bedrooms and modern home offices. Team pretty pink walls with rose gold or bronze accessories and add greenery to complete the look. Keep the flooring light and embrace natural materials, such as cotton and wood. This trend is perfect as we move into slightly warmer climes and the days start to get longer and lighter.


Modern florals

Florals make the cut every year, but this is such a diverse trend.

One year, we could be talking moody winter florals while the next we’re taking inspiration for our wallpaper from our grandma’s favorite knits.

For 2018, there’s a nod to old school, traditional florals, so don’t rush to cover up paper you assumed was dated just yet. Opt for a statement wall for a trendy living room or embrace a chintz-inspired vibe with printed linen, curtains and cushions in the bedroom.

This year’s palette is a little more adventurous than in years gone by, so look for patterns that feature pops of turquoise, yellow, pink or green.

Bringing the outside in

Many of us are taking more interest in the planet and the natural environment that surrounds our homes, and this is an interest that is reflected in interior trends. Maximize natural light, opt for natural materials and look to combine indoor and outdoor living. Make the most of views out onto gardens or parks, angle furniture towards windows and sliding doors and keep the decor light and fresh. You can channel this vibe in most rooms in your home, but perhaps the best place to bring the outside in is the kitchen, especially if your room backs onto an outdoor area. If you’ve got space, you could create a stunning seating area overlooking the yard using rattan sofas, bamboo rugs, towering plants and cotton-covered cushions. If it’s not quite warm enough for drinks with the doors open yet, you can add a cozy feel with oversized standing lanterns and throws draped over the backs of chairs. This trend is ideally suited to large, spacious homes, but it’s also a brilliant option for smaller spaces. With light walls and flooring, you can really open up the room and make it look a lot larger than it is. Hanging mirrors is another easy way to lighten up a bijou pad.

modern bedroom

There’s a constant buzz surrounding new season fashion trends, but have you thought about the kinds of styles and themes you’re going to embrace in your home in the coming months? Like fashion, interior looks come and go in the blink of an eye, but there’s always a diverse range of trends to choose from, so you’re bound to find something you like. If you’re on the lookout for ways to update and refresh your interiors without breaking the bank or devoting every spare minute to painting and decorating, hopefully, this guide has given you some inspiration.


"A Viewing of Subconsciousness" by Todd Alexander

The Art Institute of Atlanta is proud to have on display in the Janet Day Gallery, artist Todd Alexander's newest show “A Viewing of Subconsciousness.” This bold, large scale exhibition of mixed-media paintings brings forth a profound impact to the viewer.

Todd Alexander, formerly from Atlanta, is a working artist who is armed with imagery, technique, talent and emotion inspired by all walks of life. Born into a family of artists, at a young age Todd experimented with watercolor and oil mediums, as well as hand-thrown pottery. He then pursued scientific and medical illustration at the University of Georgia, working afterward to produce anatomically driven creations for the medical industry. Todd’s creativity has evolved as he re-entered the studio, again picking up once familiar paints and exploring alternative ways to express himself and his subjects.

Through charcoal, paint and collage, Todd allows no boundaries. For him, it’s not about the finished product as much as the journey of discovering emotions and sharing them. His most recent productions evoke the state of balance towards which he strives, using mixed-media of paper, canvas and other elements to align reality with interpretation of dimension. Multiple layers of epoxy, gel medium, and paint allow for a new, and at times unexpected, lens for the viewer to look through and more actively participate with the image.

The works found herein distill universal emotions. Subjects take the viewer to different planes in a view of the subconsciousness - inviting curiosity and contemplation. Collectively they deliver new levels of validation and self-awareness.

The exhibition runs January 22nd- March 2nd. The opening is Thursday, Feb. 8th from 7:00- 10PM - RSVP to There will be an artist’s lecture in the gallery on March 1st 12-2:00pm. The Art Institute/ Janet Day Gallery is located at 6600 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd 100 Embassy Row, Atlanta, GA 30328.



Alvin Ailey


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs Feb. 14-18 at the Fox Theatre. Tickets HERE or at 855.285.8499. 

“ALMOST SPIRITUAL.” That’s how Robert Battle describes Atlanta’s passion for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

 “The black experience,” says Ailey artistic director Robert Battle, “is not a one-note samba.” Photo: Andrew Eccles

“The black experience,” says Ailey artistic director Robert Battle, “is not a one-note samba.” Photo: Andrew Eccles

“The love and electricity we feel every time we’re there is the kind of excitement and commitment that’s usually reserved for pop culture — like for rock stars,” says Battle, artistic director of the nation’s pre-eminent modern dance company.

This visit the 32-member company — in which no one is a star but everyone dances like one — brings 13 pieces for six performances. You’d need to attend four of the six to see them all. What you can count on is plenty of powerful, athletic dance and Revelations as the finale. The spirit-rousing, visually stunning piece created by founder Alvin Ailey dates to 1960.

Revelations is a light in a dark place,” Battle says from New York. “As we look at this world and our country, Revelations gives us a sense that tomorrow the sun will shine.”

Battle, on the job since 2011, is the third artistic director in Ailey’s 60-year history. He was chosen by his predecessor, Judith Jamison, just as she was chosen by Ailey himself. Battle’s Mass, created in 2004 for the Juilliard School, is new this year to Ailey dancers.

He was inspired to create it after seeing a choral performance of Verdi’s Requiem at Carnegie Hall. “I found myself inspired by the sort of pageantry of a chorus of a hundred people, even how they entered in a somber way and the precise way they organized themselves on the risers, the juxtaposition of it all.

“When they sang,” he says, “the juxtaposition was their voice, like a passport to the world that could travel freely.” The choir leader “was almost like the preacher figure or chosen one born out of the mass. I found myself thinking about it all — the individual, the group or huddled mass, the chosen one freeing himself from the group.”

You never know where you’ll find inspiration, he says.

 A scene from the Robert Battle-choreographed “Mass.” Top of page: “Twyla Tharp’s Golden Section.” Photos: Paul Kolnik

A scene from the Robert Battle-choreographed “Mass.” Top of page: “Twyla Tharp’s Golden Section.” Photos: Paul Kolnik

Battle’s choreography often features sharp, ritualistic movements and intricate patterns. He’s comfortable endorsing one phrase used to describe his style: rapid-fire movement. “My last name is Battle, and I think that says it all.”

As always, Ailey audiences can expect some social consciousness in the program. A highlight is likely to be Shelter, created in 1988 by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, founder and artistic director of Urban Bush Women, the Brooklyn- dance troupe whose works often illuminate the disenfranchised.

Ailey dancers first performed the 22-minute Shelter, described as a hard-hitting interpretation on homelessness, 25 years ago. This is its first revival in 15 years.

 Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s “Shelter.” Photo: Paul Kolnik

Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s “Shelter.” Photo: Paul Kolnik

One day in New York, Zollar says, she found herself stepping over a homeless person. “When it became normal and didn’t have any impact —when I stopped seeing it — that is when I thought we were losing portions of our humanity.”

Since the piece premiered, New York’s homeless population has tripled to 63,000, according to a recent NBC News estimate. Georgia has about 14,000 homeless people.

Battle sees Shelter’s relevance expanding. “I think we’re having to think about shelter and protection in larger ways. There’s a real fear out there of needing shelter from the very laws that are supposed to protect you.”

At least two other pieces in the lineup date to the 1980s, as well:

TWYLA THARP’S THE GOLDEN SECTION (1983). This 16-minute piece, set to a New Wave score by David Byrne, was the finale to Tharp’s The Catherine Wheel, an acclaimed 1981 project. Two years later, it became a stand-alone piece “celebrated for its expression of blissful joy.” In 2006, The New Yorker described Ailey’s re-staging as “daring, driving choreography with breathtaking leaps.”

STACK-UP  by Talley Beatty (1982). Beatty’s piece examines “an urban landscape and all the things that can happen within that context,” says Battle. More plot-driven than most Ailey pieces, it’s a colorful, energetic number of physical pyrotechnics done to a disco vibe from the Fearless Four, Grover Washington Jr. and Earth, Wind & Fire.

An Ailey performance promises a wide range of themes, moods and emotions. “The black experience,” Battle says, “is not a one-note samba.”


Wine Down at the Sixth Annual Uncorked Atlanta Wine Festival at Park Tavern

uncorked atlanta wine park tavern

Back for the sixth rendition, wine connoisseurs are invited to the Uncorked Atlanta Wine Festival at Park Tavern hosted by Atlanta Sport & Social Club on Saturday, February 3, 2018 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Overlooking the picturesque Midtown skyline and Piedmont Park, revelers can enjoy over 50 varieties of complimentary wine and craft beer tastings, including an extensive list of cabernets, chardonnays, merlots, Park Tavern’s handcrafted brews, and much more, while jiving to DJ performances and challenging each other to wine-themed trivia, blind taste testing and much more.  Hungry partygoers can also nosh on local favorites including burgers, bowls, tacos, salads, sandwiches, fresh sushi and more. In addition to tastings, music and more, attendees will receive an Uncorked Atlanta tasting glass as a souvenir.  

Tickets are available for ages 21 and up online for $42 and are $54 at the door. To purchase tickets or more information, visit Park Tavern 500 Tenth Street NE Atlanta, GA 30309 

For ages 21 and up. Tickets are available at

For more information, visit or call 404.249.0001.