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Friday, November 12, 2010

Gravy Train: Wine Club, BBQ and Fried Chicken

Sophies Uptown
Woodfire Grill sous chef E.J. Hodgkinson has been promoted to chef de cuisine. Executive Chef Kevin Gillespie says he credits Hodgkinson with holding down the fort at the busy restaurant while Gillespie has been busy with traveling and other obligations resulting from his Top Chef success. Hodgkinson has been with Woodfire Grill since he arrived on the Atlanta scene in 2008.

Sophie’s Uptown, a bakery and sandwich shop with a charitable twist, is now open on Pharr Road in Buckhead. Owner David York (a former restaurateur and founder of Barking Hound Village) named the cafe after his Spaniel mix, Sophie, and will donate 25% of profits to pet rescue organizations. Pastry chefs Patrick Dineen and Annemarie Pizzi will serve up made-from-scratch cakes, homemade ice creams and sorbets, coffee drinks and the location will soon add soups and sandwiches to the menu.

This week Concentrics Restaurants (the group presiding over ONE. Midtown Kitchen, Two Urban Licks, Parish and TAP, among others) announced the launch of the Concentrics Wine Club. The free club will host tasting events, alert members of discounted wine prices, allow access to expert sommeliers for wine advisory and even help execute at-home tasting parties for members. The program is backed by beverage experts Todd Rushing, Ian Mendelsohn and Justin Amick. Email Concentrics to get on the members list.

Moe’s Original Bar Be Que is taking over the 14th Street space that belonged to the legendary Kool Korners. The restaurant has plans to open in January 2011 and will serve ‘Bama-style’ BBQ, which from what I can gather just means that the founders are from Alabama. Moe’s is a national chain and Atlanta will be the 17th location. Moe’s opened their first restaurant in 2004 - well into the Moe’s Southwest Grill era (in 2004 Moe’s Southwest Grill had 100 locations). Seems the boys from Bama could have picked a name that would cause less confusion.

Bartender Tristan Andersen of Shorty’s Pizza in Toco Hills tweeted this week that he’s moving on to work at the highly anticipated Local Three, which - he says - will be opening in just three weeks.

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt opened last Friday at Tuxedo Festival in Buckhead. You can’t turn a corner in this city without bumping into yet another yogurt shop.

Atlanta-based Mrs. Winners filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week. This follows the shuttering of several locations around town and three years of declining profits. The company plans to restructure and hopes to develop a more sustainable growth model.

Speaking of chicken, the always-popular Chick-fil-A Cow Calendar is back in stores. This year’s theme is The Cows of Reality TV. The Limited Time Only Peppermint Chocolate Chip milkshake is also back to provide a 930 calorie dose of holiday cheer.

We’re still waiting to sink our teeth into a juicy YEAH! Burger in the Highlands. The new location, which was slated to open on November 11, is now projecting a November 15 opening.

It’s Beaujolais Nouveau season and local restaurants are gearing up to receive their share. A number of local restaurants and wine shops are hosting events to celebrate the once-a-year shipment, including the Atlanta Chapter of the French American Chamber of Commerce who will host their 24th Annual Beaujolais Nouveau Festival at Au Pied de Cochon.

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