Friday, October 30, 2009

Uncle Julio's coming to Sandy Springs!

The first Uncle Julio's Fine Mexican Food Restaurant opened in Dallas, Texas in November 1986. Uncle Julio's popularity grew rapidly, and with it came an instant craze for a drink Uncle Julio's named The Swirl, which is a frozen concoction of layered margarita and home-made sangria. Uncle Julio's has grown to fourteen restaurants located in Texas, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.

Uncle Julio's is committed to providing only the freshest and highest quality Border Style Mexican Food. With distinctive Hacienda decorating style, we created a unique restaurant concept around original recipes that demand only the freshest ingredients tailored after Uncle Julio's family tastes. Beyond tacos, enchiladas and tamales, Uncle Julio's specializes in marinated and mesquite grilled beef and chicken fajitas, ribs, quail, frog legs, and jumbo shrimp.

Uncle Julio's 15th location will be opening at "Perimeter Town Center" on the corner of Hammond Drive and Peachtree Dunwoody Road in Sandy Springs. Other restaurant concepts in the development include Figo, Dressed, and Rising Roll Gourmet.

Information gathered from:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wonderful World Burgers & More now open in Emory Village

Often burger joints are blasé and trite, but Steven Chan’s, owner of Tin Drum Asia Café, latest venture, Wonderful World Burgers & More, sit on no such grill.

Across the street from Doc Chey’s Noodle House and a few steps from Rise-N-Dine in Emory Village, Wonderful World revolves around slider-size burgers in addition to daily specials.

“I just want this place to be a very simple neighborhood restaurant where people can enjoy inexpensive food,” Chan said.

The restaurant emulates the Varsity in that you order at the counter and wait for your number to be called. On the other hand, the food here is much more serious.

Chan’s signature Wonderful Burger, the patty never frozen and the bread homemade, is a testament to simplistic excellence. A well-seared hand-patted quarter-pounder, a BBQ pickle just sour enough before being offensive, a grilled buttery bun and a house sauce with just enough punch without masking the meat, gave this burger everything an excellent traditional burger needs without becoming avant-garde.

Wonderful World is no one-dish-wonder either. Chan’s fries, made from Yukon potatoes and finished with sprinkles of dill and cracked salt, took me completely by surprise. The fries themselves were not salty, so the alternating moods between salty and non-salty bites thanks to the cracked salt worked well. The two garnishes of dill and salt gave the fries an almost French-onion dip appeal, making the addition of ketchup completely unnecessary.

Not to be outdone by the fries are the tempura-battered onion rings, which were sweet, peppery, crisp and not nearly as greasy as most are. On the downside, saltiness in general is dangerously close to being Wonderful World’s Achilles’ heel. Chan’s hotdog drizzled with teriyaki sauce and mayonnaise and topped with seaweed best exemplifies the salty flaw. Visually suspicious to say the least, the teri-mayo hotdog was as salty as it was surprisingly tasty, making it difficult to say which trait was more dominant.

Chan’s goal to create a comfortable neighborhood restaurant is clear in the daily specials. Comforting, warm and downright tasty, Thursday’s Chinese braised pork shoulder with a soy-honey sauce reflected well-executed Asian flair despite being a tinge salty. Friday’s curry-battered fried chicken wings with Thai sticky rice and salsa were overall tender and juicy. Beyond my wrestling with a batch of improperly cooked sticky rice, the salsa-rice combination proved fairly uninteresting.

For those looking for healthier alternatives, the verdict is mixed. The chop-chop salad, the only salad on the menu, was a sad story. The ginger-sesame dressing, equally uninspiring and stereotypical as found in many Japanese restaurants, made what could have been a refreshing salad of crisp romaine, boring. But the veggie burger was a remarkable creation and would have pleased even the most carnivorous of appetites. The light avocado spread on the bottom bun pulled spicy punches, while the burger made of mushrooms, carrots, taro roots, green beans, onions and sesame seeds came together so seamlessly it was impossible to identify its makeup, much less be offended.

The décor and atmosphere of the restaurant paid further homage to Wonderful World’s simplicity. Three long, wooden tables accessorized with tall wooden bar stools gave the restaurant comforting communal vibes. Further wood-paneling on the walls, from which no posters or signs hang, grounded the décor in both classy and country roots.

Finally, plain light bulbs dangled from the ceiling to complete a style which could be called country minimalism.

As for service, food was literally hot off the grill and always arrived in a timely manner.

Eight dishes and $24 later, I found myself somehow falling for this burger joint, which has taken everyday items and made them noteworthy. Chan has not reinvented American classics, but has glorified them in their traditional form. And at a restaurant where entrees are $3.75 and below, Wonderful World has great potential to be not

Originally Posted on October 5, 2009
By Evan Mah,

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thumbs Up Diner opens in Roswell

Thumbs Up Diner has finally joined the Roswell community with the addition of their 5th location in Georgia. Located at 1140 Alpharetta Street, this location will continue to serve breakfast throughout the day with whole wheat biscuits and homemade berry preserves, stone-ground grits and "the Heap" of fried potatoes.

Formerly a long standing institution on W. Ponce de Leon Ave in Decatur (remember the front and back dining rooms?), Thumbs Up Diner relocated to downtown Atlanta on Edgewood Avenue in the Historic Fourth Ward, just three blocks east of Boulevard Ave and adjacent to the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic District. Now almost a decade later with three more locations opened, Thumbs Up continues to set the standards in breakfast and beyond.

Why do people continue to flock to Thumbs Up? Here are a couple of reasons: they feature 100% pure Vermont Maple Syrup; all of their salmon, Italian sausage, turkey and chicken is smoked in-house; all of their orange juice and grapefruit juice is 100% fresh squeezed; their jams, multi-grain buscuits and stone ground grits are all homemade. The omelets are fluffy but with backbone, cooked to order; the heaping slices of French toast will change your view of religion and possibly politics. Lunch is also worthy, whether you opt for eggs and bacon, a stuffed spud or a chopped salad.

Information gathered from:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bento Sushi-To-Go opens in One Buckhead Plaza

Bento Sushi-To-Go recently opened next to Nava and Chops on the corner of Peachtree Road and W Paces Ferry. Offering a wide array of sushi rolls, salads, and appetizers, Bento prides itself on providing fresh fish and good service at very reasonable prices (average ticket price of $9.00).

What is "Bento"?
Bento is a single-portion takeout meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables as a side dish. Most of our meals have all of that rolled into on sushi roll. We have embraced that concept to provide our customers with high quality "sushi to go" at affordable prices. But if you'd rather eat in, you are more than welcome to.

Come In
Our restaurants provide a nice break for those who come in. The contemporary decor, the high energy music, and the quality Asian/fusion cuisine will reinvigorate all your senses.

Our Food
We make our non-traditional Asian/Fusion cuisine fresh every day. We know the importance of fresh seafood, crisp vegetables and food that is prepared with high-end quality in mind. Ranging from sushi rolls to healthy salads and appetizers, our delights are geared for both dine-in and on-the-go clientele.

Originally Posted October 11, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Burger Club opening in Vinings Jubilee

The Burger Club will soon take over the former Atlanta Bread Company building in Vinings Jubilee. This will be the latest of Chef Paul's restaurants, the existing concepts being Social Vinings and Paul's Restaurant

The Concept:
A fancy burger joint that serves a variety of creative burgers, hot dogs/homemade sausages, salads, and sharing appetizers. This restaurant would be family oriented with a heavy emphasis on children’s activities. At night guests can enjoy a full sleek bar boasting burger friendly martinis.

The Look:
A hip bar with plasma tv’s, booths, draft beer and some lounge seating where one can enjoy smaller versions of our burgers as bar snacks. Artist renditions of the burger would cover most the restaurant, wether abstract, traditional, photographs, or murals. Contemporary lighting and pendants would make the bar and booths glow, while maintaining a level of casual but hip. The patio would contain an outdoor bar plus community type seating for larger parties or families. This all while maintaining the small town neighborhood restaurant feel.

The Menu:
The menu, even though centered around burgers, would be up to the standards of Chef Paul and Great Food Group Inc. We will have full menu of milkshakes including, Rum, pineapple & vanilla ice cream, Creme de Menthe & white chocolate and vodka raspberry. The traditional milkshakes and root beer floats will also be featured for the kids. Our menu would also feature a variety of kosher hot dogs and homemade sausages, with homemade relishes and mustards. We will concentrate heavily on the youth of Vinings with children’s coloring contests, toys with every meal, children’s birthday parties with burger buffets and ice cream cakes, and a tile coloring contest. Children would paint their idea of the perfect burger on construction tiles which would be used to cover the walls in the restaurant. The winner would win a free party and would help place their tile in the restaurant.

Take Out:
As with every great American burger joint, we will have curbside take out.

Hours of Operation:
We will be open 7 days a week, lunch and dinner, including all day Sundays.

Originally posted September 30, 2009
by Great Food Group, Inc.

Publik Social House opening next to The Fox Theatre

Publik Social House sits right at the corner of Peachtree and North Ave. As the restaurant is directly next to the Fox Theatre, across from Gary Mennie’s Livingston, and near quite a number of other eateries, it might seem a less than ideal. Normally, I’m really apprehensive when ownership takes one concept, uproots it, and then comes back with something totally different. On the surface, it would appear that the owners of Publik, who previously operated Bazzaar out of the same space, did just that. However, such isn’t exactly the reality. Open just a handful of weeks, it was high time I had some food there and check out this renovated lounge. Though parking can be somewhat problematic, the location should flourish as a restaurant. With all the foot traffic for shows, eating is much more of a priority than partying on that block.

Originally Posted October 7, 2009

BOCADO opening in Midtown West

Bocado is slated to open “early October” (um, isn’t that like, now?) on the Westside, across the street from Octane. Owner Brian Lewis has hired chef Todd Ginsberg for the eatery’s kitchen, and the digs are sure to be groovy, from the hot design group ai3 (fast taking over the restaurant design realm once dominated by Bill Johnson — Flip, 4th& Swift, Aja and Holeman & Finch are all in the creative group’s repertoire).

Ginsberg is taking the menu in a different direction than I had originally thought: sandwiches and small plates sure to lure the Westside’s lunch crowd out of their offices and into the small space’s dining room. With a name like Bocado (which means “snack” or “mouthful” in Spanish), I was hoping the focus would be on real Spanish tapas.

Still, Ginsberg is a formidable chef, and promises to “blend familiar, fresh ingredients with a distinctive twist,” offering goodies such as sandwiches of roasted Thai cauliflower; local eggplant with cilantro and spicy mayo and roasted leg of lamb with fennel and red onion. Small plates include sautéed Point Judith squid with celery, mint and chili flakes and roasted baby beets with valbreso (yum!), olives, capers and Balsamic vinegar.

Lewis comes to Atlanta from Alabama, having owned now-closed Table in Birmingham. Bocado is located at 887 Howell Mill Road. For more information, call 404-815-1399.

Originally Posted October 7,2009
By blogs.ajc

Fuze Burger opening at Ponce de Leon Ave & Briarcliff Rd

265 Ponce De Leon Ave, Midtown
(404) 685-9988

Bringing different cultures together can be difficult, but when it works, it's a beautiful thing: just look at the Olympics, where athletes from every country come together under the banner of peace, understanding, and having sex with each other, except the shot-putters, who are just gross. Spanning cultures with burgers and bevs, Fuze.

Overtaking the former Thai Palate digs, Fuze mashes Asian and continental flavors to make dominant burgers and cocktails, served on both a small front patio and in a 65-seat dining room with hardwood floors, zigzagging red & white triangles on the ceiling, and a snake-like hanging 30' paper tube light which the staff calls "condomnation", aka, "not Vatican City". The chef's focus on distinctive ingredients and exotic aromas/flavors (curries, shallots, etc) comes from working in his family's NYC Chinese restaurant since age 16; never-frozen angus burgers include the Mexicana (w/ cheddar, guac, sour cream & jalapenos) and Kung Pow, heaped with red & green bell peps, onions, & spicy Asian sauce; non-angus burgers range from ground lamb (w/ ginger wine sauce, tomato tartare, dill) to turkey, wasabi-glazed Kobe, and pulled chicken, who's just glad he wasn't also choked.

For imbibables, you can build your own mojitos, Caipiroskas, and spiked lemonades with standard or flavored vodka, rum, or alternate spirits (Veev, PAMA, Canton); mixologist Jazmin Ho has also created a list of libations repping major ATL streets, such as the grape-Kool-Aid-like "Edgewood Avenue" w/ 3 Olives Grape, orange liqueur, cran & fresh lime juice, and the "Buford Highway", with Herradura, Thatcher's Organic Elderflower, Chambord, sour, and Thai chili slices, which is "violently shaken", as was every Minnesotan's hand on Jesse Ventura's road to governor.

Fuze also brings it with the beer selection, including drafts like PBR, Sweetwater I.P.A., and Rogue Chocolate Stout, plus 11 bottles like Sierra Nevada Kellerweis & Torpedo, Rogue Dead Guy, and McSorely's Irish Black -- a name suggesting two cultures coming together to make you text ex-girlfriends.

Originally Posted October 1, 2009
By Thrillist Atlanta

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bruegger’s Greco named Operator of the Year

James Greco, chief executive of Bruegger’s Bagels, was named Operator of the Year by Nation’s Restaurant News during the publication’s Golden Anniversary Celebration held here Monday.

Hundreds gathered at the Hilton Anatole hotel for the event, which was presented in conjunction with NRN’s 50th annual Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference.

Greco was selected for the honor by the readers of Nation’s Restaurant News from among this year’s six Golden Chain award winners. In addition to Greco, they were Chuck Fallon, president of Burger King North America; Phil Friedman, chairman and chief executive of McAlister’s Deli; Jeffrey Harvey, president and chief executive of Burgerville; Randy Kibler, president and chief executive of Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ’n Biscuits; and Cameron Mitchell, president and chief executive of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants.

Greco, who joined the then-struggling Bruegger’s in 2003, has been instrumental in guiding the evolution of the bagel chain. Under his leadership, Bruegger’s has grown to 290 units and now posts annual systemwide sales of $200 million. Greco has also overseen updates to the restaurants’ decor and the expansion of the menu to include house-made breads, sandwiches, and wraps.

“This is not so much a recognition of me, but of the 3,400 members of my team who work to create memorable guest experiences 600,000 times a week,” Greco said when he accepted his Golden Chain award.

When he was announced as Operator of the Year, Greco said he was surprised and noted how moved he was by a tribute to industry legend Norman Brinker earlier that evening.
“I hope some day that I can help others to further their careers in the same way he did,” Greco said.

Also at the event Monday night, Richard Melman, founder and chief executive of Chicago’s Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, was given NRN’s 2009 Pioneer Award. Melman’s trailblazing restaurant company, which has 78 restaurants representing more than 30 brands, has served as a model for numerous other multiconcept operators nationwide.

Originally Posted: October 5, 2000
By Christi Ravneberg