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Friday, July 12, 2013

Quick Bites: Chef Hector Santiago heads to Abattoir, Roots Juices, Chick-a-Biddy open, and more

Roots Juices is now open at Shops Around Lenox
  • Photo courtesy of Roots Juices
  • Roots Juices is now open at Shops Around Lenox

Celebrated Atlanta culinarian and "Top Chef" alum Hector Santiago - who was unexpectedly ousted from his 12-year post at Poncey-Highland's Pura Vida when the landlord opted not to renew the lease last December - has assumed the new role of executive chef at Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison's offal-themed Westside restaurant, Abattoir (1170 Howell Mill Road). Details and new menu info as they arise.

Roots Juices (3400 Shops Around Lenox, Suite 202-A) is open at last at Shops Around Lenox (look for the patio with orange chairs next to Bhojanic; the signage is still to come). This healthy concept shop offers enhanced H2Os, hydraulic cold-pressed juices, booster shots, healthful cocktail mixers, and cleansing kits for $3-$9 per bottle.

In case you missed it, Shaun Doty and Lance Gummere's tongue-in-cheek new chicken restaurant, Chick-a-Biddy (264 19th St.), opened yesterday in Atlantic Station. It's serving up fast-casual pastured poultry in the form of creative dishes like Ity Biddies (small plates), Big Ol' Biddies (larger entrees), and Green Biddies (salads), as well as gluten-free and vegetarian options.

In the wake of a minor kitchen fire on July 4, Inman Park fine dining restaurant Rathbun's (112 Krog St.) was slated to reopen on July 15, however, logistics with the fire marshall have pushed the reopening to an indefinite date. We'll post details as they become available. In case you missed it, the restaurant closed for repairs last week following a blaze that is believed to have originated in the kitchen ventilation system. The renovations include a new bar top, curtains, light fixtures, and kitchen ceiling, as well as a fresh coat of paint.

East Atlanta Village banh mi shop We Suki Suki (479-B Flat Shoals Ave.) has recently started selling the products of Far East Dogs, which takes over the space on the first and last Fridays of every month. The gourmet sausages, toppings, and sauces are hand-crafted from fresh, local ingredients and feature Asian-inspired flavors.

There's a new dinner party club in town. Salted Honey - newly created by Graces's Goodness chef Brittany Grace Shiver and local pastry chef Sarah Dodge - is an itinerant series of suppers hosted at locations around the city starting Sunday, July 14. This inaugural dinner - for which all 35 seats have, sadly, already been sold - will also feature bartenders Michelle Bird, of Leon's Full Service, and Kelly Thorn, of Empire State South, and will be held at Crack in the Sidewalk Farmlet owners Chris and Isai Cooper's farm at 561 McWilliams Road. The recurring dinners will be held every other Sunday at always-changing locations throughout the metro area.

The Steady Hand Pour House crew has assumed its new role overseeing the coffee program at the Bakery at Cakes & Ale (151 Sycamore St.). Their gourmet drinks, which pair nicely with the treats of new pastry chef David Garcia, are served in to-go cups designed by all-star Atlanta graphic designer Alvin Diec. And according to Eater, chef David Sweeney is expanding the lunchtime offerings as well as developing a new menu of small plates for the dinner crowd, which will debut August 1, along with a fresh lineup of cocktails from bar manager Jordan Smelt.

Atlanta magazine got some scoop on Stem Wine Bar (1311 Johnson Ferry Road) - the forthcoming wine spot from Seed Kitchen & Bar chef/owner Doug Turbush - which is slated to open in August. The space, conceived by ai3, is designed to mimic the style of New York speakeasies. In this case, that means it will have no identifying signage; just the emblem of a corkscrew on the door. Patrons can expect both domestic and European wine selections from sommelier Jason Raymond, cocktails by bar manager Chris McNeill, and eats such as chorizo-stuffed and bacon-wrapped medjool dates and a duck confit salad with roasted grapes created by Turbush in tandem with chef de cuisine (and The Sound Table alum) Brendan Keenan.

The JW Marriott Atlanta Buckhead (3300 Lenox Road) has a new executive chef in Robert Mitchell. A veteran of the luxury hotel brand, the chef led the Marriott's New Orleans location to win numerous accolades under his culinary leadership. His new position in Buckhead includes overseeing the menus at in-house restaurants Nox Creek Lounge, Nox Cafe, and Nox Creek Southern Grill.

Portico, the Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant at the Perimeter's new-ish Le Meridien Hotel (111 Perimeter Center West), is now open. Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and cocktails well into the evening, the concept features multiple rows of communal tables and an equally streamlined bar, which are surrounded on three sides by banks of tall glass windows and illuminated by dozens of solitary light bulbs overhead. The long-awaited sister restaurant to the adjacent and equally swank Longitude 84 bar serves simple, globally-influenced, and locally sourced dishes like lemongrass-infused lobster bisque, steamed mussels, and seared scallops by executive chef Brian Lee.

Richard Blais's forthcoming San Diego restaurant has a name. Dubbed Juniper & Ivy (2228 Kettner Blvd.) for the streets that border the building's early-20th century warehouse location in Little Italy, the Johnson Studio-designed eatery will command the star chef's attention about half of the year, and is slated to open in December 2013.

James Beard Award-winning chef Hugh Acheson's acclaimed Five & Ten restaurant in Athens, has opened in its new location in the former Hawthorne House at 1073 Milledge Ave. after closing its original, Five Points location on June 30. Its hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for coffee and tartines, then 5 p.m.-10 p.m. for dinner.

In other Athens news, Farm 255 will close its doors on Fri., July 19 after an eight-year run. With Chef Whitney Otawka at the helm, the Athens institution became a leader in farm-to-table cuisine and responsible ingredient sourcing. Otawka is now working on a new project with fellow Athens heavyweight Hugh Acheson. Details as they arise.

Taste of Atlanta, "the food lover's food experience" taking place at Tech Square (5th St.) October 25-27, has a newly overhauled website. Visit for an easy-to-navigate overview of event programming, participating restaurants, community partners, schedules, food blogs, social media links, ticketing information, and more.

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