Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Babalu Tapas & Tacos to Open First Atlanta Location in Early Summer

For more information:
Morgan Lanier or Olivia Tuttle
Melissa Libby & Associates

New Midtown Restaurant Offers Melodic Mix of Latin-Inspired Cuisine and Sharing-Style Fun

ATLANTA (April 26, 2017) – Babalu Tapas & Tacos announces the opening of its first Atlanta restaurant in the 33 Peachtree Place mixed-use development in Midtown this summer. Named after the signature song of Desi Arnaz’s character Ricky Ricardo in the television comedy series I Love Lucy, Babalu offers a sharing-style dining experience featuring made-from-scratch, Latin-inspired dishes with Southern touches. The Jackson, Mississippi-founded restaurant company with local offices in Roswell, Georgia already has six existing locations throughout the Southeast and plans to open its doors in June at 33 Peachtree Place at the corner of West Peachtree Street and Peachtree Place next to the newly opened Dancing Goats Coffee Bar.

“Our new Midtown restaurant is completely unique to Atlanta; in fact no two Babalus are alike. Our whole brand is founded on providing guests something better and different. It’s in our design, our feel, our people and definitely our food and guest experience,” says Stan Stout, Chief Operating Officer of Eat Here Brands. “Our chefs draw inspiration from locally sourced ingredients for our made-from-scratch dishes and handcrafted cocktails. ”

Guests can look forward to a wide selection of starters, soups and salads, chef-inspired small plates, tacos, sandwiches, sides to share and desserts. Examples of menu items include:

·         Signature guacamole made tableside with Hass avocado, sun-dried tomato, red and green onion, kosher salt, cilantro and lime juice, served with house chips
·         Pan Roasted Redfish: Rösti potatoes, smoked corn pico de gallo, red chili butter sauce
·         De Pato Taco: Duck confit, avocado mousse, yellow onions, cotija cheese, lime vinaigrette & cilantro
·         Creole Shrimp & Grits: Gulf shrimp, garlic, herb Creole sauce, mushrooms, cilantro, Coldwater Creek grits, grilled country bread

Margaritas, sangria, signature cocktails and a curated tequila selection accompany local craft beers and wines by the glass and bottle to complement the shareable menu, which is designed to inspire conversation, encourage camaraderie and promote good times.

The Atlanta restaurant’s 5,200-square-foot space will feature chef’s table seating as well as a large outdoor dining patio with an indoor/outdoor bar. Appealing to the urban lifestyle and eclectic nature of Midtown’s residents and visitors, Babalu takes pride in the restaurants’ communities and offers a dining experience intended to bring people together.

About Babalu
Babalu Tapas & Tacos is a fun, one-of-a-kind, sharing-style dining experience. Founded in 2010, in Jackson, Mississippi, the restaurant has quickly taken the Southeast by storm. The Latin-inspired dishes -- each with a unique Southern flair -- are sure to bring people together. Babalu is proud to use hyper-local produce and products for its made-from-scratch dishes and handcrafted cocktails. Babalu is a wholly owned subsidiary of Eat Here Brands. For more information, visit Follow Babalu on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for additional updates.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Taco Mac Brings More Brews and Buffalo Wings to the Sunny South: New Location Opening in McDonough

For more information:
Morgan Lanier or Olivia Tuttle
Melissa Libby & Associates
Iconic Brand Introduces State-of-the-Art Restaurant Prototype

ATLANTA (April 25, 2017) – Known for providing best-in-class wings, the most craft on draft and the best sports-watching environment, Taco Mac is now bringing a new freestanding restaurant to the South Point Shopping Center in McDonough, Georgia, this May. The McDonough location is a brand new prototype and is the first new Taco Mac location to open in two years.

“We are very excited to bring Taco Mac’s seamless blend of family-friendly dining and favorite neighborhood sports bar with 120 taps and 72 HDTVs to McDonough,” says CEO Greg Lippert. “We’ve listened to our guests and are now offering more food, beverage and event options than ever before. We’re excited to launch our new, state-of-the-art restaurant prototype that showcases Taco Mac as a leader in craft on draft and the best place to watch all sports.”

The first location for Henry County, the new McDonough restaurant is just under 6,300 square feet and located at South Point Exit 218, GA Hwy 20, in an upscale retail and dining destination in one of the nation’s fastest growing counties. The industrial chic-inspired design includes features that reflect the brand’s roots – sports and beer – and include elements like an exterior wall made from beer kegs, reclaimed barn wood finishes and a state-of-the-art audio and visual system that includes Harmon Cardon speakers, 12” Sunfire subwoofers, 72 HDTVs and a video wall.

Guests can look forward to special events for both Brewniversity members and McDonough neighbors leading up to the opening. The new Taco Mac location will also work closely with local brewery partners for a planned series of local beer events and special tappings within the first few weeks of opening.

Founded in Atlanta in 1979 as a Buffalo wings restaurant, Taco Mac has grown to 30 locations in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. While that flavorful wing is still the thing, and one of the key reasons guests keep coming back for more, the entire restaurant team has elevated listening to guests to an art form, continually refreshing their successful model and introducing new food, beverage and event offerings.

About Taco Mac
An Atlanta institution since 1979, Taco Mac offers over 100 beers on draft, the Southeast’s Original Buffalo wings and 50+ HD TVs for enjoying all your favorite sporting events. Started by two friends from Buffalo, New York, Taco Mac now has 30 locations across Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. Taco Mac is one of many portfolio companies owned by Dallas-based CIC Partners. For more information, visit


Friday, April 21, 2017

Sublime Doughnuts Keeps Atlanta Cool with Custom Ice Cream Flavors

For more information:
Morgan Lanier or Olivia Tuttle
Melissa Libby & Associates

City’s Home for Chef-Crafted Doughnuts Serves Up Delicious, Frozen Treats

ATLANTA (April 21, 2017) – With winter finally in the rearview mirror, Atlantans are once again embracing the tastes and traditions that come with warmer temperatures. Sublime Doughnuts keeps fans cool by offering high-quality, handcrafted ice cream scoops at both locations.
The Atlanta bakeshop beloved for its fun, funky doughnuts is also the city’s premier spot for delicious homemade ice cream. And each scoop is imbued with the same passion and flair for imaginative flavors that have made Sublime the sweetheart of the metro area’s confectionary scene. Sublime’s ice cream boasts inventive takes on classic tastes, and chef-driven offerings inspired by popular cookies, candy bars and other well-known treats.

“Making ice cream is very different from making doughnuts,” Sublime founder Kamal Grant says. “But they’re both delicious, and they both make people happy, and that’s what it’s all about for us. Our goal is always the same: to provide our guests with flavors, textures and quality they can’t get anywhere else.”

Sublime offers a regular roster of tried-and-true favorites including vanilla bean, mega chocolate, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, strawberry rosé, peach Riesling, Reese’s peanut butter, white chocolate Oreo and limoncello. In addition, the bakeshop features a rotating selection of flavors that includes chocolate chip mint, coffee, strawberry cheesecake, orange dream, Heath bar, butter pecan, red velvet, Nestle, Butterfinger, Kit Kat, birthday cake and salted caramel.

About Sublime Doughnuts:

Sublime Doughnuts has been bringing chef-inspired sweets and treats to Atlanta since 2008. With hand-pressed, gourmet coffee, homemade ice cream and over 30 varieties of doughnuts, Sublime proves that they don’t take the cake--they take the dough. In addition to their flagship store in West Midtown, Sublime has expanded to North Druid Hills and plans to open two locations in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2017. For more information, visit

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Budding Atlanta Entrepreneur John Martin Becomes First-Ever Sweet Charlie’s Franchisee

For more information:
 Morgan Lanier or Olivia Tuttle
Melissa Libby & Associates

Budding Atlanta Entrepreneur John Martin Becomes
First-Ever Sweet Charlie’s Franchisee
Martin Bringing Rolled Ice Cream Concept to Buckhead Later This Spring

ATLANTA (April 20, 2017) – Virginia-Highland resident and 2012 University of Georgia graduate John Martin is seeing his entrepreneurial dreams come true as the first-ever franchisee of Sweet Charlie’s. The Philadelphia-based rolled ice cream and yogurt phenomenon has been attracting blocks-long lines since debuting its made-to-order frozen treat in 2016. Martin is bringing the first Sweet Charlie’s location to Atlanta with a late spring opening in Buckhead, next to Superica.

Martin became enamored with rolled ice cream last year after seeing it in action during a summer vacation. He is so confident in all that the untapped food opportunity has to offer Atlanta, that he recently departed his career as a project manager for one of the country’s leading fabricators of structural steel.

“Sometimes in life, you just need to take a leap of faith and follow your passion,” says Martin. “I’ve seen how people respond to the rolled ice cream concept, and I want to be the person to bring this new dessert experience to Buckhead.”

Martin’s goals for the city’s first Sweet Charlie’s location are simple. Says Martin: “We want to take the art of making rolled ice cream, with its unique brand of crowd-pleasing modern American showmanship, and create a one-of-a-kind, delicious dessert for all ages.”

Sweet Charlie’s is the brainchild of 19-year-old entrepreneur Kyle Billig, who after watching a video about the overseas trend of Thai-inspired rolled ice cream, teamed up with his older brother Jacob and figured out a way to duplicate and Americanize the delicious treat.

The Billig family was so impressed with Martin’s pitch to bring the interactive ice cream experience to the city of Atlanta, they awarded him the first Sweet Charlie’s franchise opportunity.

Martin’s Sweet Charlie’s location will feature a garage-style roll up window for warm breezy days and a vacation vibe filled with good music, smiling faces, quick service and lots of delicious rolled ice cream and yogurt options for hot, hungry Atlantans.

An Atlanta food aficionado and major Ford Fry fan, Martin was excited to find a retail space adjacent to Fry’s popular Tex-Mex concept. “Proximity to Ford’s second Superica location is one of the first things that drew me to Buckhead Court,” says Martin. “I love that the Atlanta food scene is always on the forefront of up-and-coming national restaurant trends, and my hope is that Sweet Charlie’s will be no exception.”

Opening in late spring, Sweet Charlie’s will be located at 3872 Roswell Road in the Buckhead Court shopping center. For more information, visit
About Sweet Charlie’s
Sweet Charlie’s combines the art of making ice cream rolls with modern American showmanship to create a one of a kind experience for all ages. Each ice cream or frozen yogurt is made to order on a super cold surface that is below 20 degrees. Because the surface is so cold, very small ice crystals form quickly. These ice crystals create the freshest, most delicious end product. The unique process eliminates the need to add stabilizers, emulsifiers and preservatives. The best part is… it tastes delicious! Visit us at


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Marlow’s Tavern Springs Forward with New Crop of Cocktails and Dishes

For more information:
Morgan Lanier or Olivia Tuttle
Melissa Libby & Associates

Farm to Fork Approach Adds Fresh Items to Menu at Atlanta’s Favorite Tavern

ATLANTA (April 18, 2017) – Nothing says spring like freshly harvested garden vegetables. Marlow’s Tavern is welcoming the spring season with new features on both the food and drink menus beginning April 18. Marlow’s Tavern executive chef, CEO and co-founder John C. Metz and his research and development director Ben Krawiecki have been listening to their local food sources and experimenting in the kitchen to bring the new palate- and wallet-pleasing plates to the menu.

“Georgia has become famous for its rainbow trout. We’ll be pairing it with cauliflower, green beans, shiitake mushrooms, tofu, poke and charred scallions. Our pan-roasted version is incredibly light, a perfect complement to a warm spring or summer day,” says Metz.

Of course, what would spring be without something sumptuous to sip? Thanks to Rick Blumberg, manager of adult beverages for Marlow’s Tavern, guests can taste fresh cocktail concoctions.

“Our guests have always raved about our mojitos,” Blumberg says. “For the spring, we’ve added a blackberry mojito to the menu, combining mint with berry syrup. I have a feeling it’s going to become a tavern favorite.”

Additional new seasonal menu items include:

  • Tavern Salad: Shaved fennel, radish, spiced seeds, citrus dressing
  • Tuna Nicoise Salad: Large-sliced tuna saku, arugula, roasted tomatoes, green beans, fingerling potatoes, Kalamata olives, sliced egg, chopped parsley, potato sticks, lemonette dressing
  • Grilled Chicken Stack: Herb-marinated chicken, served with roasted fingerling potatoes, rosemary, thyme, blistered grape tomatoes, artichokes, baby arugula, green beans lemonette, parslied olive oil
  • Black and Blue Steak: Grilled beef tenderloin, Field greens, pickled red onion, tomato carpaccio, crumbled gorgonzola, sliced scallions, gorgonzola dressing
  • Fried Banana Split: Phyllo-wrapped banana, panko crusted, vanilla ice cream, chocolate, strawberry & caramel sauces with salted caramel whipped cream

Other additions to the cocktail menu include:

·         Pom Collins – Tito’s, PAMA Liqueur, house sour mix, simple syrup, mint leaf, pomegranate seeds
·         Southern Charmer – Old Forester, Domaine De Canton, peach, lavender, lemon bitters

Blumberg has also added new wines and beers to their well-stocked portfolio. “Imagine sipping on a glass of Conundrum White Blend or Belleruche Rose with one of the specials our kitchen team has whipped up. I’d say that’s a rather perfect way to spend an afternoon or evening.”

For more information on the new menus, visit

About Marlow’s Tavern
Marlow’s Tavern was established in November of 2004 with the opening of its first location in Alpharetta, Ga., and has continued to grow over the years, adding several Atlanta-area and Florida taverns. In 2013, Nation’s Restaurant News named Marlow’s Tavern one of its “NRN 50 Breakout Brands” for the year. The neighborhood restaurant concept is open for lunch and dinner daily, offering guests classic American tavern fare with an upscale twist. For more information and location addresses, visit  

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Federal Lets Patrons Steak Claims Early on 50-Day Dry-Aged Manhattan Strip

For more information:
 Morgan Lanier or Olivia Tuttle
Melissa Libby & Associates

Rare Treat Will Delight Connoisseur Carnivores

ATLANTA (April 14, 2017) – Acclaimed Atlanta chefs Shaun Doty and Lance Gummere have a tender spot for their carnivore customers. That’s why the two, who recently opened The Federal in Midtown with a selection of steakhouse traditions on the menu, are working with Buckhead Beef to dry age their 16 oz. certified black Angus steaks for an unheard-of 50 days.

Now available, the Crescent Avenue restaurant offers guests an opportunity to taste this 50-day dry-aged Manhattan strip steak ($68) on their next dinner visit. The Manhattan is a premium lean cut known for its marbling, tenderness and flavor. Quantities are extremely limited.

When dry aging, beef is placed in a carefully controlled environment that offers cool temperatures and relatively high humidity. This process breaks down enzymes while allowing excess moisture to evaporate, which results in very concentrated and complex flavors.  

“Most restaurants dry age their beef for an average of 28 days,” says Doty. “Our 50-day dry-aged steaks are going to have even more intense flavor, making it a meal to remember and a rare treat for steak connoisseurs.”

The Federal is located at 1050 Crescent Avenue between 11th and 12th Streets and serves weekday breakfast and lunch, dinner Tuesday through Saturday and brunch Saturday-Sunday.  Reservations may be made via OpenTable. Two-hour validated parking is available next to the restaurant in the 1010 Midtown Parking deck, and additional paid parking is on Crescent Avenue. Valet parking is offered at the corner of 11th and Crescent Avenue Thursday through Saturday. For additional information, call 404-343-3857 or visit Follow The Federal on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for further updates.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Taste of Atlanta on the Move as the City’s Must-Do Food Fest Turns Sweet 16

For more information:
Morgan Lanier or Olivia Tuttle
Melissa Libby & Associates

Taste of Atlanta On The Move As The City’s Must-DO
Food Fest Turns Sweet 16
Historic Fourth Ward Park New Home for Oct. 20-22, 2017 Festival

ATLANTA (April 13, 2017) - Taste of Atlanta, the city’s premier bites and bevs fest, celebrates its Sweet 16 anniversary this October 20-22, with a brand-new home in one of the city’s hottest neighborhoods. This year’s festival kicks off at Historic Fourth Ward Park with a “Sweet 16” soiree hosted by Jonathan and Justin Fox of Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q on Friday, October 20. The good times roll through the weekend with even more food, wine, craft beer and cocktails from a who’s who of the city’s most buzzworthy restaurants.

“To celebrate our 16th year, we’re thrilled to bring Taste of Atlanta to Historic Fourth Ward Park in one of the city’s favorite neighborhoods,” says festival founder Dale DeSena. “The move pairs the city’s must-do food fest with the ease of walking and biking on Atlanta’s BeltLine, and provides a spacious new permanent home for Taste of Atlanta. As always, we want Atlanta’s best chefs and their fans to be in the center of the action.”

The 16th annual Taste of Atlanta will feature more than 200 nibbles, noms, sips and samples from the city’s neighborhood favorites alongside today’s hottest, most creative restaurants. Atlanta eateries already confirmed to be a part of Taste of Atlanta’s sweet 16 include Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, 1Kept, Woody’s Cheesesteaks and Livingston Restaurant + Bar.

In addition to Saturday and Sunday’s food adventures filled with soul-satisfying samples, festivalgoers can upgrade to a VIP Grand Tasting Experience to access exclusive bites and beverages. This popular ticket option sells out every year, so tasters are encouraged to purchase their VIP passes early. Chef demonstrations, interactive panel conversations, music and more round out the schedule for a weekend full of food and fun.

Hometown chefs the Fox Bros. are looking forward to hosting Friday night’s Sweet 16 Kick-Off Party and bringing some top-notch chefs with them. “Taste of Atlanta is one of our favorite yearly events,” say Jonathan and Justin Fox. “It’s a great display of the amazing and varied food landscape that this city has to offer. We are very honored to serve as hosts of the Taste of Atlanta Kick-Off Party on October 20. We are looking forward to putting together an all-star line-up of Atlanta chefs and making this the party of the year.”

Says DeSena: “As the city’s most affordable, chef-driven food fest, we’re proud to continue Taste of Atlanta’s tradition of introducing passionate festival attendees to the city’s newest trendsetting chefs along with enduring fan favorites. We always have something new to experience each year, and we’re looking forward to attendees exploring them in a beautiful new location this year.”

To keep up with Taste of Atlanta updates and be among the first to know when tickets go on sale, check out the official festival website at, sign up for the fun, foodie Bite of News newsletter and follow Taste of Atlanta on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For sponsorship information, please email Dale DeSena at


Excitement Whirls as The Vortex Celebrates 25 Years in Atlanta

For more information:
Morgan Lanier or Olivia Tuttle
Melissa Libby & Associates

Commemorative T-Shirts, Pint Glasses, Special Elvis Burger-Inspired Beer and More
Available April 17-23

ATLANTA (April 13, 2017) – The Vortex, Atlanta’s longtime champion of quality burgers, turns 25 years old this month. To celebrate the iconic institution, popular for its beer, booze and ridiculously indulgent bar food, the co-founding siblings, Michael, Suzanne and Hank Benoit are hosting a weeklong party April 17–23, giving away gift bags, pint glasses and more (while supplies last) at both the Midtown (878 Peachtree Street NE) and Little 5 Points (438 Moreland Avenue NE) locations. The Vortex team also collaborated with Red Brick Brewing Company for the occasion to craft a limited edition peanut butter, bacon and banana imperial stout inspired by their one and only Fat Elvis burger. A peanut butter porter, also by Red Brick, will replace the imperial stout when supplies run out. 

Celebratory specials and happenings not to be missed include:
·         April 15: Starting on Saturday, a team of graffiti artists from Mutiny Artwrx will begin painting a commemorative 25th anniversary mural of The Vortex on the Little 5 Points Package Store
·         April 17: Vortex Radio Podcast - Stroll-down-memory-lane with Vortex owners Michael, Suzanne, Hank and guest interviewer Lucky Yates of Dad’s Garage Theatre and “Archer” fame 
·         April 17 – 19: Dine and Give Back – The Vortex will be donating 5% of sales during this time to benefit The Giving Kitchen, an organization that provides emergency assistance grants to Atlanta area restaurant workers facing unanticipated hardship (up to $2,500)
·         April 17 - 20: Classic Coronary Burger Special – available as a lunch special for dine-in guests (1-4 p.m.) for the ridiculously low price of $4.20 (regularly priced $12.50)
·         April 17 – 23: Limited Edition 25th Anniversary t-shirts available for purchase
·         April 20: On the restaurant’s official anniversary, guests will receive a unique gift bag with various items like a Vortex-branded shirt, 25th anniversary buttons, stickers and more
·         April 20 – 23: Guests who order the Limited Edition Fat Elvis Imperial Stout, or any Laughing Skull draft, receive a custom “beer can-style” pint glass to take home

For those unable to attend the weeklong festivities, mark your calendars and tune into Travel Channel to catch The Vortex on the “Stack Attack” episode of “Food Paradise,” airing on April 30 at 8 p.m.

The Vortex was born when the Benoit siblings moved to Atlanta from Southern California and asked themselves what would be more fun than looking for jobs. “We decided we really enjoyed hanging out in bars. We pooled our savings and opened the first Vortex location at the corner of West Peachtree and 11th Street in Midtown,” says Michael Benoit. “We knew nothing about owning or running a restaurant, so we adopted a ‘learn as you burn’ philosophy.”

For the first five years, the siblings filled every role in the restaurant, from serving and bartending to janitorial duties and even cooking, in a pinch. That hands-on approach gave them lots of quality time with customers – mostly awesome, and some much less so. 

“As we had occasional run-ins with people who displayed entitled attitudes, looked down on servers and were really not any fun at all, we began drafting our company policies,” Benoit says. “Over the 25 years, those ‘House Rules’ have grown from a single paragraph on our menu to filling the entire front and back covers.”

While most customers find great humor in the policies, they take The Vortex menu, which consists of heavyweight burgers like the Zombie Apocalypse or Classic Coronary, and significant sandwiches such as the Hot Southern Mess or Grilled Cheesy MoFo, seriously.

“In the early days, we sat down with any purveyor who would see us, sampling tons and tons of meat,” Benoit says. “In the end, our decisions were not based on cost but on what we thought tasted best. Our proprietary burger blend was and still is made specifically for us.”

In July 1996, the Benoits expanded their eclectic empire to Little Five Points on Moreland Avenue and created an Atlanta landmark with the restaurant’s 20-foot high “Laughing Skull” façade. A little over a year later, The Vortex’s original Midtown location moved to its current home on Peachtree Street. Both locations feature eclectic décor and a fun, lively atmosphere in keeping with the family-owned, independent vibe the three siblings have firmly established. 

“Our entire business plan was based around having fun, and that’s what we’re doing,” says Benoit. “We have built a loyal fan base over the years that has allowed us to grow our business, and we do what we do for them. There’s a lot of love in these 25 years.”

Where do they go from here? Benoit says they are continually asked about franchising or opening restaurants in other cities. “We didn’t open to become bar moguls,” he says. “The last thing we want to do is create more work for ourselves.”

About The Vortex
Serving burgers and booze since 1992, The Vortex has earned its reputation as the godfather of all Atlanta burger joints. It has been honored with numerous “best burger” awards from local and national publications, as well as accolades for “best beer selection,” “best neighborhood bar” and “best bar food.” The extensive selection of beer and booze, along with its lively, non-conformist, no-bull attitude and ridiculously indulgent bar food are key reasons The Vortex is a perennial “reader poll” favorite.  Both the Little 5 Points and Midtown locations are restricted to customers 21 and over only and adhere to “official idiot-free zone” policies. The eclectic bar is also the home of Vortex Radio, a podcast (available on iTunes) that features one-of-a-kind discussions about bar culture, food, nightlife and entertainment. For more information, visit


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Kevin Gillespie Opens Communion Cantina on Cinco de Mayo

For more information:
Morgan Lanier or Olivia Tuttle
Melissa Libby & Associates

Kevin Gillespie gives Communion a mexican twist:
communion cantina opens on CINCO DE MAYO

ATLANTA (April 12, 2017) – Just in time for a Cinco de Mayo celebration, Atlanta chef, restaurateur, speaker and cookbook author Kevin Gillespie is opening Communion Cantina, a Mexican-inspired beer garden and eatery behind his popular Revival restaurant in Decatur on Friday, May 5. In what is expected to be an annual change, this year the backyard bar will serve tacos, West Coast, Mexican, domestic and local beers and yes, margaritas.

“Opening a new restaurant every year is not an option for us but by changing Communion every season we can keep being creative and trying new things,” says Gillespie. “Next year it might be a Greek tavern!”

Formerly a German beer garden-inspired backyard, Communion reopens for the outdoor season as a casual Mexican cantina, serving five different varieties of tacos along with other Mexican staples such as chips and salsa, cheese dip and guacamole available for purchase from the backyard food truck. The bar sells beer and cocktails, including margaritas, sangria and frozen drinks like frosé and frozen mint juleps. The beer selection, both bottled and draft, features West Coast, domestic, local and Mexican brews.

“We have listened to our guests and are providing lighter, snackier food,” Gillespie adds. “It’ll be simple and traditional; pay for what you buy with cash or credit card.”

Guests are encouraged to follow Communion Cantina’s social media channels (Facebook, Instagram) for information on a chance to win free tacos for the year.

Communion Cantina opens Friday, May 5 at 4 p.m. behind Revival. Operating hours are Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. (with Dirty South Trivia starting at 8 p.m.), Friday from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 1 to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 9 p.m. Groups may reserve tables or the whole backyard for parties.

About Communion Cantina:
Communion Cantina is an extension of Revival, offering an outdoor gathering spot for imbibing and socializing in the backyard of chef Kevin Gillespie’s Decatur restaurant. Perfect for enjoying a pre- or post-dinner drink when dining at Revival or for laid-back afternoon revelry on the weekends, Communion Cantina serves beer and cocktails as well as a small menu of Mexican food truck snacks. Casual entertainment such as cornhole and other games is also provided free of charge, and reservations are not needed.

Revival and Communion Cantina are located at 129 Church Street in Decatur. For more information, call 470-225-6770 or visit


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Beni’s Cubano to Open in East Cobb this May

For more information:
Morgan Lanier
Olivia Tuttle
Melissa Libby & Associates

Casual Cuban without the Travel Expense Coming to The Avenue

ATLANTA (April 11, 2017) – The team behind Tin Lizzy’s Cantina, Gypsy Kitchen and The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill is offering an immersive dining experience in Cuban culture with the opening of Beni’s Cubano at 4475 Roswell Road in The Avenue East Cobb next month. Beni’s Cubano pairs authentic Cuban cuisine with fast and friendly service and is scheduled to land in Marietta in May.

“Beni’s Cubano is our way of exposing guests’ palates to the island of Cuba with authentic dishes and a genuine sense of hospitality. We want our guests to come back not just for the food, but also for the experience,” says executive chef Cesar Velazquez.

Featuring home-style Cuban cooking with a chef’s touch, the cuisine at Beni’s incorporates authentic recipes showcasing the robust, bold flavors of Cuba in every bite. Guests also will be able to sip on traditional cocktails or a Cuban coffee as they would in Havana.

The restaurant space is quaint and inviting, but the atmosphere reflects the festive Cuban culture. Beni’s décor features some traditional elements along with some unexpected surprises. As guests enter Beni’s, they will step back in time to the heydays of Santiago and Havana, captivated by Latin style and sounds both past and present.

“At Beni’s, we want to transport diners to a place that is charming, warm and inviting,” says Velazquez. “Our goal is to give guests the experience of authentic Cuban cuisine and culture so they genuinely feel well-traveled after a meal with us.”

For additional updates on Beni’s Cubano, follow the restaurant on Facebook.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Chef Marc Taft’s Eagerly Anticipated Brine Seafood Shack Opens April 13 at Avalon

For more information:
Morgan Lanier
Melissa Libby & Associates

Chef Marc Taft’s Eagerly Anticipated Brine Seafood Shack Opens April 13 at Avalon
Southern California-Inspired Eatery Features a Rooftop Tiki Bar,
Soft Serve Ice Cream and Walk-Up Window

ATLANTA (April 7, 2017) - After months of eager anticipation, diners will finally have a chance to sample the succulent seafood selections on the menu at executive chef and restaurateur Marc Taft’s latest, Brine Seafood Shack, opening April 13 at the super-hot Avalon retail complex in Alpharetta.

“When we looked at expanding outside the Perimeter, Avalon was a home run for us because it’s centrally located and such a great destination for shopping and dining,” says Taft. “The space is just a gorgeous jewel box.”

The menu, created by Taft and Brine chef de cuisine David Connolly, previously of Two Urban Licks and Tap in Atlanta and Michelin-starred Spiaggia in Chicago, includes dishes such as tuna poke with avocado, yuzu, soy and taro;  clam rolls on brioche with lemon-caper tartar; simply grilled fish, lobster rolls, fish stew, clam fritters, fresh oysters and fish tacos.

“We’re bringing a vacation vibe to the dining experience,” says Taft. “I’ve spent a lot of time on the West Coast, where they really know how to make the most of a relaxed atmosphere and fresh, delicious seafood. That’s our model for Brine.”

That experience includes the rooftop bar, which features fresh, tiki-style craft cocktails under a retractable roof. Downstairs, a raw bar and classic boat drinks are on the menu. For diners on the go, there’s a walk-up window inspired by New England clam shacks where you can grab takeout, soft serve ice cream, milkshakes and even cocktails, wine and beer to enjoy while strolling through Avalon.

The Cape Cod-meets-Santa Monica seafood menu will follow the sustainable practices outlined by the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch, the nonprofit dedicated to empowering consumers and restaurants to make choices that result in healthy oceans.  Much of the seafood from New England, the West Coast and the Gulf region will be geo-tagged so Brine chefs know precisely where the fish was caught, down to the captain’s name and boat.

Brine is the latest dining concept from Southern Fried Hospitality, which provides management and development for Taft’s four restaurants - Chicken and the Egg, Brine Seafood Shack, FEED – Fried Chicken & Such (scheduled to open late spring in The Battery Atlanta adjacent to SunTrust Park) and CO-OP Community Table + Bar (scheduled to open April 2018 in Forsyth County’s HALCYON Development). The company also plans to expand its consulting services to both restaurants and hotel F&B operations.

The 150-seat Brine Seafood Shack is located in phase two at Avalon in Alpharetta. For more information, call 470.226.2190 or visit


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Midtown Takorea & Ssam Bar Reimagines Menu with Chef Tomas Lee’s Korean Flavors of Home

For more information:
 Morgan Lanier
                  Melissa Libby & Associates

Korean Fried Chicken Night, Build-Your-Own Ssam Bar are Flavorful New Additions to the Menu

ATLANTA (April 5, 2017) – Atlanta chef Tomas Lee, best known for nurturing and enabling our city’s current craze for Korean tacos at his West Midtown Hankook Taqueria, is now using his 30 years of culinary expertise, along with his Korean heritage, to transform the menu of his popular Midtown Takorea & Ssam Bar. Opened as an offshoot of Hankook Taqueria in 2011, the adorably funky, airy restaurant at 818 Juniper Street is now a beloved Midtown mainstay, revered for fueling its eclectic mix of hungry college students and urban condo dwellers with Lee’s trademark fast-casual Korean street food.

Now, Lee wants to deepen that culinary conversation with more sit-down dinner options inspired by his family’s favorite recipes from home. “By putting traditional Korean flavors inside the familiarity of tacos and burritos, we were able to introduce Atlantans to the foods I grew up with,” says Lee. “Now with Midtown Takorea & Ssam Bar’s more chef-driven menu, our goal is to create lots of flavorful, sharable dishes that you’ll want to pass to friends and family around the table.”

Midtown Takorea’s new build-it-yourself Ssam Bar (ssam is “wrapped” in Korean) offers spicy marinated pork tenderloin or beef, paired with bowls of flavorful banchan side dishes (such as kimchi) and other pickled vegetables, sauces and a spicy bean paste, all delivered via a stack of crisp green leaf lettuce wraps.

Ssam Bar menu highlights include:
·         Kalbi (Short Rib) Ssam — Sweet soy-marinated boneless Angus beef short rib, served over sesame rice and butter-roasted Napa kimchi
·         Dragon Pork Ssam- Red pepper-marinated pork tenderloin served over sesame rice and butter-roasted Napa kimchi
·         Bulgogi Pork Ssam – Sweet soy-marinated pork tenderloin served over sesame rice and butter-roasted Napa kimchi

Starting on April 19, Wednesdays will be reserved for Korean Fried Chicken Night. Guests that opt for this mid-week special will receive a whole fried chicken (all-natural chicken, twice fried to a golden brown in a gluten-free rice flour batter) and served with fried rice, tempura-citrus Brussels sprouts and an assortment of house-made kimchi and pickled veggies, enough for four friends, all for $60. Reservations for KFC Night (via OpenTable or by calling 404-532-1944) are strongly encouraged.

“I love cooking for the people in this neighborhood,” says Lee. “We’ve been welcomed into Midtown and in return, we wanted to create a neighborhood spot where you can come in with your friends, share new tastes together and really explore the flavors of Korea in a relaxed, budget-friendly way. We began a neighborhood conversation here when we opened in 2011. Now, we want to broaden and deepen that dialogue with a more chef-driven menu filled with all the flavors of Korea.”

Located at 818 Juniper Street in Midtown Atlanta, Midtown Takorea & Ssam Bar serves lunch and dinner daily. For more information, call 404-532-1944 or visit


Easter Specials Abound at Atlanta-Area Restaurants

For more information:
Morgan Lanier
Melissa Libby & Associates

Hop In for Brunch and Dinner Options at Top Dining Destinations on Sunday, April 16

ATLANTA (April 5, 2017) – Easter Sunday is right around the corner, and metro Atlanta’s best restaurants are hard at work preparing a bountiful basket full of delicious brunch and dinner options for the April 16 holiday. Hop on over to one of these renowned hot spots for a celebratory meal, but make your reservations now, as space is limited.

5Church Atlanta is offering Easter specials and bottomless mimosas in addition to its regular à la carte brunch (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and dinner (begins at 5 p.m.) menus. 404-400-3669;

Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar is offering its regular a la carte menu, as well as specials including a Maine lobster omelette served with chèvre and smoked tomato butter, jumbo lump crab cake Benedict with brown butter hollandaise, brioche and poached eggs, and seared scallops and a maple-glazed pork belly in a Vidalia onion soubise with asparagus, oyster mushrooms and a poached egg. 770-635-7641;

The Federal, Shaun Doty and Lance Gummere’s Midtown take on a neighborhood restaurant, is open for brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., featuring such favorites as chopped chicken liver, beignets with café au lait sauce, and chicken and waffles with bourbon barrel vanilla butter and Steen’s cane syrup. The neighborhood spot will also be open for dinner starting at 5 p.m. 404-343-3857;

Food 101 is featuring a selection of regular brunch and dinner favorites from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to such signature items as the fried chicken biscuit, crab cake BLT, chicken and waffle, scallop salad and three-meat meatloaf, the restaurant is offering specials including spinach salad with a boiled egg, bacon, raspberries and a sherry vinaigrette; spring onion veloutè; smoked lamb carpaccio; a mushroom and asparagus tart; sorghum-glazed, hickory-smoked ham; Border Springs stuffed lamb saddle; and pan-roasted halibut. 404-497-9700;

Enjoy HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern's popular brunch menu from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with such favorites as loaded breakfast sliders, Georgia pancakes with candied Georgia pecans, grilled cheese with tomato bisque and $17 bottomless mimosas, plus live music from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday. 404-968-2288;

Marlow’s Tavern, Atlanta’s favorite neighborhood tavern, is serving brunch. Enjoy brunch buffet-style at the Midtown, Northlake, East Cobb, Kennesaw and Vinings locations until 3 p.m. (2 p.m. in Vinings); offerings may include made-to-order omelets, crab cake Benedict, French toast and scrambled eggs, among others. Other Marlow’s locations are featuring an a la carte menu boasting such items as chicken and waffles, lemon ricotta pancakes, shrimp and grits, “serious” steak and eggs, brunch cocktails and other favorites.

In the mood for something a little different? Midtown Takorea & Ssam Bar is open as usual, offering its usual, unique collision of Korean and Mexican cuisine, including “takos,” burritos, banchan, quesadillas and more. 404-532-1944;

Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails in historic Crabapple promises an elegant $32 prix fixe menu alongside such brunch staples as Charleston crab bisque, blackened salmon, Southern fried chicken breast and French toast. 770-817-0161;

On the Westside, Ormsby’s is getting into the Easter spirit with its own take on Easter eggs: Each guest receives a plastic egg filled with a piece of candy, a ticket for a free drink or another fun prize. This casual spot under the White Provisions building also has a special dish on the Easter Sunday menu featuring bourbon-glazed ham, smashed peas, roasted carrots and mashed potatoes. 404-968-2033;

Ray’s Restaurants is known for holiday buffets, and Easter is no exception. Ray’s at Killer Creek (770-649-0064) is laying out its luxurious spread from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., boasting such delicious options as house-smoked salmon, rosemary-roasted leg of lamb and BBQ-smoked brisket for $39.95 per adult and $19.95 per child (ages 5-10). At Ray’s on the River (770-955-1187), guests can enjoy herb-roasted prime rib, pork loin with pineapple chutney and Cheshire baby-back ribs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. for $45.95 per adult and $22.95 per child. And at Ray’s in the City (404-524-9224), diners can choose from an Easter brunch buffet with such treats as broiled grouper medallions, seafood gumbo and salmon croquettes from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ($39.95 for adults, $19.95 for children), or the restaurant’s à la carte dinner menu from 5 to 8 p.m. For full menus, visit

Enjoy the holiday with a distinctly Southern twist at Revival, which is serving its sumptuous, family-style brunch menu from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Chef Andreas Müller promises a surprise or two for dinner (5 to 9 p.m.) in addition to the restaurant’s regular menu. 470-225-6770;

Both locations of Rize Artisan Pizza + Salads will be open as usual, serving their usual menu of chef-crafted pizzas, pastas, flatbreads and more. At the Poncey-Highland location, enjoy $5 sangria and $25 sangria carafes all day, plus $5 small plates and flatbreads from 12 to 4 p.m.

In addition to its regular brunch menu, Seed Kitchen & Bar is offering the following specials: croque madame with brioche, gruyere and prosciutto on sourdough, with Mornay sauce, asparagus and sunny side up egg; lobster, chorizo, English pea and Manchego strata with a poached egg and truffle hollandaise; and Meyer lemon and blueberry crepes with crème anglais. 678-214-6888;

Buckhead gastropub The Southern Gentleman is serving up its sophisticated take on Sunday brunch with such appetizing options as lemon and ricotta pancakes, New Orleans shrimp and grits and a pimento cheese and bacon omelet. Wash your entrée down with a carafe of mimosas or Bloody Marys. Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 404-939-9845;

Storico Fresco Alimentari is offering a variety of Spring pastas to celebrate the season, including fava and spring pea; rabbit, carrot and toma; and Easter Egg-shaped two-cheese-filled pasta. For families or groups in need of a heartier option, there’s lamb Bolognese lasagna with potato and pecorino Romano. And don’t forget dessert! Try Colomba di Pasqua, a traditional Italian Easter cake, or Torta Pasqualina, a spinach, Swiss chard, ricotta and egg tart wrapped in a puff pastry. 404-500-2181;

Sublime Doughnuts is offering delicious hot cross buns all week, from Monday, April 10 through Easter Sunday, for $3 each. Both locations.