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Monday, March 4, 2013

Quick Bites: Chai Pani Decatur and the Argosy open, several new restos in the works, and more

The rendering for Portico, the restaurant planned for the Perimeter's Le Méridien hotel
  • Courtesy of Le Méridien hotel
  • The rendering for Portico, the restaurant planned for the Perimeter's Le Méridien hotel

The Peasant Group's Maureen Kalmanson is on a roll, planning yet another Midtown resto for the former Mint3 Thai & Sushi digs on 10th Street near Peachtree. The eatery is named Henry's, for one of her dogs (we're hoping that means a pup-friendly patio is on the horizon). Henry's liquor license is still in the works, so an opening date has yet to be set.

Chef Chris Hall, partner at Muss & Turner's and Local Three, also has a new restaurant in the works, his third in Atlanta. More details as they arise.

Chai Pani Decatur opened for business last Friday in the former Watershed space at 406 West Ponce de Leon Ave. The adorably rehabbed gas station has been revived with vibrant murals and the same street-food-inspired Indian cuisine that's been all the rage in Asheville, N.C., since 2009. Expect chaat, Indian street sandwiches, "uttapam" crepes and traditional "thali" entrees.

After months of anticipation, The Argosy also made its public debut last Friday. The multi-level gastropub in East Atlanta Village is the latest venture from the MJQ/Book House Pub crew. Inside, expect murals, nautical references, and rustic, vintage flourishes catering to the gamut of hipsters, foodies, and craft beer lovers. We'll drink to that.

Marlow's Tavern alum Scott Weaver will be the chef at Shaun Doty's forthcoming restaurant Chick-a-Biddy. Doty's second concept focused on sustainable chicken, Chick-a-Biddy is slated to open in Atlantic Station in April.

Last week, amid a flurry of media speculation - and a Twitter war with a local blogger to boot - we learned that chef Ron Eyester, aka the Angry Chef, has two new restaurants in the works: a diner concept in the former Fox Sports Grill location in Atlantic Station, and a Morningside pizza joint in the space that most recently housed Waffold. Eyster's diner concept, Diner, will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner and feature a menu of "diner classics," Atlanta magazine reports. Meanwhile, Timone's in Morningside will focus on pizza and Italian-inspired appetizers, plus a few sandwiches and locally sourced pastas.

Article 14, the posh Peachtree and 14th restaurant established in honor of Atlanta's most memorable attorneys, is already known for its lengthy and impressive list of quality bourbons. Now, the Midtown bar and bistro has debuted its own signature spirit, Article 14 Bourbon, which will be celebrated at a VIP party on Wed., March 6.

Capitalizing on the no-smoking trend that seems to be sweeping Atlanta's restaurants as of late, Manuel's Tavern will become smoke-free by 2014. Hours of operation are also changing (see why here), and the prices will take a small hike due to the rising cost of ingredients, taxes, and regulations, as well as owner Brian Maloof's desire to give his employees better benefits.

Stillhouse, a gastropub hawking moonshine-like spirits, will open on East Andrews Drive in March. The "moonshine" will be aged in oak barrels and available to patrons in the form of creative cocktails or infused varieties served straight up, and the eats (enjoy full dinner service on weeknights) will be prepared by chef Jeffrey McGarr.

Jennifer Zyman, a.k.a. "The Blissful Glutton," has returned to the CL fold after a short hiatus to focus on her growing family. She was previously a frequent contributor to our pages before becoming the founding editor of Eater Atlanta when it launched in July 2011. Her new CL column, Glutton at Large, will appear weekly, with colorful commentary on restaurants around the metro area.

Since Mihoko Obunai signed on as executive chef, French-Japanese bakery Joli Kobe has changed its name, rebranding its Sandy Springs locale as Joli Kobe Kitchen. The Midtown offshoot is now known as Joli Kobe Cafe. Obunai has added several interesting new items to the menu, like house-smoked Georgia trout, Pine Street Market charcuteries and pickled local vegetables.

The Perimeter's swanky new Le Meridien hotel may have opened Feb. 21 - complete with a spacious Longitude 84 lobby bar showing off $20 million renovations to the former W Atlanta - Perimeter - but another new restaurant is on the way. Called Portico, it will come from celebu-chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten this spring. Constructed on an open terrace, the restaurant will play to the Southern tradition of open-air dining, but will feature sophisticated, big-city eats.

Buckhead Restaurant Week is coming! Held March 9-17 at a variety of restaurants around Buckhead - from casual to high-end - the event will offer prix-fixe, specially-created meals that ring up at $15, $25 or $35 apiece (excluding alcohol, tax and gratuity). This is also the first time brunch items have been available at the event, now in its fourth year. Call ahead for reservations, and get the full list of participating restaurants (from FLIP Burger to F&B) at brwatlanta.com.

One of this month's sweetest perks is a limited-production St. Patrick's Day-themed treat: Atlanta-based SweetWater Brewing Company has teamed up with Smallcakes to create a "Porter Me Up" chocolate-and-beer cupcake available through March 17 for just $3 each.

Lilburn's Three Blind Mice rolled out a sparkling new cocktail menu last weekend, with fresh libations such as the Azalea, an updated take on the Arnold Palmer featuring Rishi hibiscus tea, lemonade, and Absolut wild tea vodka. If you're driving back to the city on 78 and somehow not sated, then swing by Decatur's The Pinewood Tippling Room to try the new late-night menu, available Friday and Saturday. It includes the drinkery's popular comfort foods, like the fried bologna sandwich, funnel cake, and grit tots.

On-fire chef Ford Fry is celebrating his recent appearance at the James Beard House by bringing the dishes his culinary team served in NYC to the tables of his Atlanta restaurants today through March 10. Visit The Optimist, JCT Kitchen & Bar and No. 246 to enjoy the critic-wowing menu items. Hungry yet? JCT's dish is "cold-fried" chicken torchon with field pea salad, crispy chicken skins and pickles, with fatback pralines for dessert. No. 246 is serving Meyer lemon cappelletti with Georgia ricotta, young artichokes, spring carrots and English peas, with peaches and cream for dessert. And finally, The Optimist will dish up roasted black bass with buttery razor clams, grilled baby leeks and smoked bone-marrow broth, with a key lime milk fudge for dessert.

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