Long in the works, Athens Eats: Recipes from the Classic City has just been published by AIDS Athens as a benefit to raise money for the organization. Full disclosure: I wrote the foreword. Full of recipes from local chefs and gifted amateur cooks (e.g., Peter Dale, Hugh Acheson, Jaamy Zarnegar, Mark Richt, Vince and Barbara Dooley), it sells for $20, and you can buy it on the website, at Aurum or at home.made.
Big Daddy Mike's Barbecue Bar and Grill, the restaurant evolution of a BBQ sauce company that also does catering, will open soon in what was most recently Dickey's Barbecue Pit, on Hawthorne, near its intersection with Oglethorpe/Tallassee.
Groove Burgers, a brand-new burger joint from Bridger Loftin (of Loco's), could have a soft opening this weekend, in the new Epps Bridge shopping center, by Kinnucans. The concept seems potentially franchisable, which wouldn't be a surprise, but for now it's a rare independent business in the Epps Bridge area.
Yet to determine a location is Burger 21, which is a franchise, with locations in Buckhead, Johns Creek and the Mall of Georgia, as well as in many other states. Its menu is a little more voluminous, and it offers seafood burgers, sliders, chicken tenders, hot dogs, turkey chili and an array of shakes and floats.
As of Feb. 3, the space on Baxter Street that once housed Mirko Pasta is now home to Mama Jewel's Kitchen, an independent business that does Southern cooking and healthier options.
Photo Credit: Five & Ten
The James Beard Foundation describes its outstanding restaurant winner as the best restaurant "in the United States that serves as a national standard bearer of consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere and service. Eligible restaurants must have been in operation 10 or more consecutive years."
Beef O'Brady's will hold its annual wings-eating contest during the halftime of the Super Bowl, on Sunday, if you're more interested in chicken than in Beyonce. Wings are "nuclear"-flavored, the charge is $12 (except for the first three entrants, who get to compete for free) and the winner gets free wings for a year.
Since it opened almost two years ago, Big Family Cafe has built a following in Homewood Hills by serving reliably delicious, fresh food off a large menu. You can bring your kids. You can bring your parents. You can get an omelet for breakfast or lunch, and avocado comes with tons of entrees. Once before, it tried expanding its hours to include dinner, but couldn't make a go of it. Now it's trying again. The new hours are 7 a.m.–9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. Sunday (closed Monday).
The space downtown that most recently housed a branch of local franchise Your Pie will soon be home to Zombie Coffee and Donuts. Owner Tony Raffa, who won't graduate with his undergraduate degree from UGA until the end of this semester, owns another branch of the store in Washington, D.C., but says he's excited to open one in Athens.
In some ways it's hard to believe Automatic Pizza hasn't been around any longer than a year, so quickly did it attract an audience and become a regular stop for many in its neighborhood. But it's one year old today, so it's offering dollar slices and dollar PBRs all day. It closes at 11 p.m. Go get some.
D.P. Dough, downtown's second late-night-oriented quick-service calzone eatery that also delivers is now open, in the Georgia Heights building, on the Broad Street side. To celebrate, it will be giving away free calzones next Thursday (Feb. 4) from 5–8 p.m. It will not operate regular hours that day and will not accept orders over the phone or in store. As long as you are in line by 8 p.m. and you check in via social media (on-site) in one of the following ways, you will receive a free calzone:
Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones
The new downtown location of Zaxby's, which may be a chicken franchise but at least is ourchicken franchise, with headquarters in Oconee County, will celebrate its grand opening Monday, Jan. 25 with a ribbon-cutting at 10 a.m.
Goodie Two Shoes, the offshoot of Mama's Boy that opened in the 909 Broad building in December 2014, will stop serving lunch after next Friday, Jan. 29. It will remain in business as a space for event rental and in which Mama's Boy can do catering prep.
Interested in supporting Hugh Acheson's home-ec reboot, Seed Life Skills? There's a benefit dinner this Sunday at 5 p.m. at The Foundry, with the chef lending his culinary presence, plusmusic by 6 String Drag. The menu consists of: a salad of little gem lettuces, pistachio, mint, lemon and olive; a family-style main course with trout, rack of lamb, leeks, farro with Brussels sprouts and pumpkin seeds, and the roasted carrot and beet salad with cumin dressing that is a personal favorite of mine from Acheson's first cookbook; and a butternut squash panna cotta for dessert.
And so it continues... Speakeasy, which found new life early in 2015 with a beautifully revised menu and a new sense of refinement in the kitchen, will close December 31. Owner/chef Patrick Anderson wrote, on its Facebook page:
If you've driven down Baxter lately, you may have noticed the paper in the windows of the space next door to home.made, Mimi Maumus's catering business that currently does weekday lunch and a monthly supper club. The florist that was in the adjoining space has moved out, and home.made is moving in.
Hot on the heels of Mediterranean Grill expanding to Athens, another small Atlanta-area chain is opening a location here. Cafe Istanbul has hung out a banner for the space between Utage and Jerzees, on Clayton Street downtown.
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