Friday, April 6, 2012

Gravy Train: Blais to star in "Life After Top Chef," STG Trattoria opens

Posted By on Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 10:00 AM

The Optimist
  • The very nautical Optimist logo is revealed
In order to suck every possible dollar out of a single idea, Bravo is launching a new "Top Chef" spin-off called "Life After Top Chef." Atlanta's own "Top Chef" alum, Richard Blais, will be one of the featured chefs. We'll peek into the life of Blais and also Jen Carroll, Fabio Viviani and Spike Mendelsohn as they "reach milestones in their personal lives and culinary careers." Aw.

STG Trattoria, the new concept from the Bocado folks, opened for dinner this week. Through Sunday, they'll serve only dinner, and then beginning on Tuesday they'll add lunch as well. Located in Buckhead next to the St. Regis, STG's menu focuses on Neapolitan style pizza. Of course, they've got those fancy ovens shipped from Naples (who doesn't these days?!). Email for reservations.

This week we learned that Adam Evans will serve as the executive chef at Ford Fry's new Westside seafood spot, The Optimist (slated to open in May). Evans' history in Atlanta includes serving as the chef de cuisine at Craftbar Atlanta and JCT. Kitchen & Bar. As executive chef, Evans plans to put a strong focus on sustainable seafood.

Thrillist checks out Happy Belly, a new food truck that has a Big Green Egg on board. The truck serves organic, all-natural, gourmet street food - and they even have specialty options like a Paleo plate. Many of their meat and veggie dishes can be ordered as a sandwich or over greens.

I caught up with Patric Bell to get the skinny on his new consulting gig with Fifth Ivory. Bell says he's helping the fairly new Midtown restaurant develop an ingredient-focused menu that will change throughout the year. They'll put a modern twist on Southern classics and bring in local, high-quality ingredients for dishes like braised short ribs, fried chicken, and re-imagined deviled eggs. Once the menu is established, the bar will follow suit - infusing retro Rat Pack cocktails (they are a piano bar, after all) with seasonal flavors.

Gino's NY Pizza, which currently has one location in Norcross, is moving on intown with a new location on Cheshire Bridge Road. They'll take over the recently shuttered Franco's space and open at the beginning of May. The owners of Gino's are straight outta New York, where one of their grandmother's even owned a pizzeria.

Legends Restaurant and Lounge is in the final stages of remodeling the downtown space that used to be Django Jypsi Kitchen & Soloon. Legends will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the downstairs lounge will have live entertainment. Singer Danny Boy is a partner in the project, and has posted a behind-the-scenes tour of the remodel on YouTube.

Tomorrow's News Today reports that Uncle Maddio's is opening a Buckhead location in Powers Ferry Square. Uncle Maddio's "thing" is that you get to design your own pizza, picking toppings as you cruise down the line. If it sounds a bit like a build-your-own-burrito model, that's because it's founded by the minds behind Moe's.

Since the main reason I attend baseball games is to stuff my face with ballpark food, I was very excited to hear that this season Aramark is debuting new gourmet nachos. There will be different nacho flavors at each park across the country. Braves fans can feast on Chili Cheese Pico Nachos (house made chili, shredded cheddar and Jack cheese, pico, jalapeños, sour cream, cilantro, and green onion) or Sweet and Sour BBQ Carnita Nachos (house smoked pork, sweet and sour barbecue sauce, barbecue beans, shredded cheddar, green onion, bread, and butter pickles).

Eater says RED at Philips Arena will open on April 21 - just in time for UFC fans to enjoy the Buckhead Life Group concept that evening.

On the Epicurious blog, Hugh Acheson digs into some old school community cookbooks to take a look at how Southern cooking has changed over the years. In particular, Acheson looks for evidence of when our cooking habits shifted from a focus on simple, homemade goodness to a race for the fastest, most convenient path to the dinner table.

LivingSocial has launched Takeout and Delivery, a new online ordering portal for restaurants. There are a whole bunch of Atlanta options available - but many of them are takeout only.

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