Inman Park is restaurant-rich, the area has more than 14 restaurants and pubs, offering everything from American, Southern, European and ethnic cuisine to your favorite pub dishes. No wonder Inman Park has become an area with an increasingly sophisticated palate. Read about our chefs/owners participating in Inman Park Restaurant Week.
Chef Jason Hill | Wisteria Restaurant
Chef Kirk Parks | Rathbun's/Kevin Rathbun Steak
Kevin Rathbun | Rathbun's/Kevin Rathbun Steak
Massimo Andreozzi | Fritti
Chef Terry Koval Wrecking Bar
Riccardo Ullio l Sotto Sotto/Fritti
Giovanni / Il Localino
Chef Stuart Tracy | The Brasserie & Neighborhood Café at PARISH
Chef Ford Fry
Chef Andrew Isabella
Chef Zeb Stevenson/The Brasserie at PARISH
An Indiana native, Zeb Stevenson cooks with a balance of cerebral curiosity and blue-collar work ethic. Focused on innovation with a solid grounding in the classics, Stevenson straddles the line between good taste and a playful push on boundaries. Zeb started his career not in a classroom but rather in the dish room of a diner. It was there that he fell in love with the sense of adventure and camaraderie that comes in the professional kitchen.
After moving to Atlanta, Zeb earned a position as Sous Chef at the acclaimed Roswell restaurant Dick & Harry’s. Under the watchful eye of his mentor Harold Marmulstein, he learned the finer points of butchery, sauce work, charcuterie, and the beauty of classic techniques. Then he served as Executive Sous Chef at Spice Market. In 2009, he opened Livingston as Chef de Cuisine and quickly took the reigns as Executive Chef. At Livingston, Zeb quickly emerged as a mentor and creative “tour de force.” His preoccupation with learning elemental cooking developed into a kitchen culture that rewards free thinking and exchange of ideas.
In 2012, Chef Stevenson played a key role in the development and opening of Proof and Provision (the Georgian Terrace’s subterranean cocktail bar), and competed and won on Food Network’s “Chopped.” Zeb is known for his sense of whimsy and spontaneity that he brings to every project and restaurant.
Today, Chef Stevenson is making his stamp on PARISH. The chef-lead program is bringing the spirit and life of PARISH back into Inman Park with a more neighborhood feel.
He is a hobby coffee roaster, a visual artist, and an endurance cyclist. In addition to that, he can be found playing bass in his all-chefband or spending a quiet night at home with his Pit Bull puppy Oliver.
Chef Shaun Whitmer The Albert
Born in Kentucky and Atlanta raised, Chef Shaun Whitmer’s culinary philosophy is simple: make people happy through food. “I love giving people that brief reprieve from a crazy day to have good meal or cocktail and becoming a part of people’s lives through their dining experience”, says Whitmer. After beginning his career as a starting AM line cook at Jack’s Pizza & Wings in Atlanta, Ga and a brief stint as West Egg Cafe’s Sous Chef, Whitmer yearned for a change. “I wanted to move from a more corporate environment to a more home grown one. Somewhere I could grow as an actual chef.”
In 2011 Whitmer found a place he could call home when he joined the team as Executive Chef and Kitchen Manager at The Albert, a neighborhood pub located in Atlanta’s Inman Park neighborhood. “I love the Albert because we cater to a diverse crowd. From families to barflies, foodies to barbecue enthusiasts, it’s all one big family.” After revamping The Albert’s menu in January 2011, Shaun proved himself to be a true culinary threat, earning a vast amount of awards including first place in the 2012 Chomp & Stomp Chili Cook-Off and first place in Ria Pell’s Charity Cook-Off in 2012, among others. Whitmer’s loud, boisterous personality, mixed with warmth and passion shows in his food with bold ambition.
Chef Jason Hill | Wisteria Restaurant
Many restaurants come and go throughout Atlanta, but Wisteria has taken root in Inman Park where chef/owner Jason Hill makes a connection with his patrons and the surrounding neighborhood. Since opening on September 9, 2001 Wisteria has blossomed into a friendly community hub and culinary showcase.
Before opening Wisteria, Hill was the executive sous chef at Harvest. Prior to that, he was a chef at Partners Café and Indigo Coastal Grill. A graduate of Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, Hill actually began his cooking career at the tender age of 17 at Atlanta dining institution Pano’s and Paul’s. Word has definitely spread throughout Atlanta as Chef Hill continues to cook up quality, contemporary American cuisine with a Southern twist. The popularity of Wisteria has earned an excellent rating from Zagat Survey as well as top listings in AJC, Jezebel and Atlanta magazine. Wisteria continues to earn accolades not only from Atlanta publications, but also nationwide press.Hills philosophy is to create a menu reflective of Southern culinary traditions, yet ambitious enough to attract sophisticated diners that want a modest comfortable atmosphere and dinner at neighborhood prices. He varies his offerings to provide in-season vegetables and other ingredients year-round, allowing his menu to stay current while pleasing the regulars with their favorites.
An evening at Wisteria may start with crab bisque topped with Calvados créme fraiche. Appetizers include green tomato fries and pimento cheese deviled eggs. The entree specialaties are iron-skillet chicken over corn pudding and collard greens and fried catfish atop a ragout of okra, greens tomatoes, and crawfish.
Wisteria boasts an extensive wine list with over 250 offerings as well as nearly 50 by the glass selections. With a variety of half bottles and a superb reserve list, Wisteria has something to please every palate.
Wisteria is located at 471 N. Highland Ave. Dinner is served Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 to 10, and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 to 11. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 404-525-3363 or by using online feature. Complimentary valet parking is available and all major credit cards are accepted.
Chef Kirk Parks | Rathbun's/Kevin Rathbun Steak
KIRK PARKS: Kirk is a co-owner of Rathbun’s, Krog Bar & Kevin Rathbun Steak. Born, raised and educated in a small farming community in the Midwest, Kirk worked at the local steel mill until he acted on his love for the culinary field by taking a job at a local restaurant. In the mid eighties, Kirk moved to Houston, Texas and began working at the Brennan’s of Houston Restaurant. From there, Chef Parks moved on and became the Pastry chef of Baby Routh in Dallas, Texas under Chef Stephan Pyles. During this time, Chef parks contributed to Pyles’ first cookbook “The New Texas Cuisine”. In 1993, Chef Parks became the Executive Pastry Chef at Jumby Bay Island Resort, an exclusive resort in the British West Indies, until 1995 when Executive Chef Kevin Rathbun lured him away to work at NAVA in Atlanta.For the past nine years, Pastry Chef Kirk Parks has continued to create incredible desserts for NAVA. NAVA is owned by the prestigious Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, which includes: Bluepointe, Pano and Paul’s, 103 West, Buckhead Diner, Chops, Pricci, Veni Vidi Vici, Atlanta Fish Market, Kyma, Bluepoint, Buckhead Bread Company and Corner Café.While at NAVA, Chef Parks completed his degree in the culinary arts program with honors from the Art Institute of Atlanta.
Chef Parks has garnered many awards, including in 1993, The James Beard Foundation, Baker of the Year of the Southwest. Chef Parks has been published in Southern Living Magazine, Food and Wine, Bon Appetite, Gourmet, Atlanta Magazine, as well as appearances on many local TV stations. Chef Parks has won awards and honors for such acclaimed desserts as his B&B Cube, Banana Quesadilla, Apple Pinon Enchilada and the Chocolate Pecan Pie. He teaches cooking classes at local cooking schools such as Cooks Warehouse and The Kroger Cooking School and has consulted on various area restaurant dessert menus. Chef Parks is in the process of writing a pastry cookbook that will demonstrate the ease of preparing restaurant desserts at home. Kirk resides in Marietta, Georgia with his wonderful wife, Freida and step-daughter, Kimberly.
Cliff Bramble | Rathbun's/Kevin Rathbun Steak
CLIFF BRAMBLE: Cliff is a co-owner of Rathbun’s, Krog Bar & Kevin Rathbun Steak. A native of Coventry, Rhode Island, he is a 30 year veteran to the hospitality industry. Cliff brings along a drive and passion for the restaurant and business side of the operation. From 1985 to 1991, Cliff worked for the Marriott Corporation which included the La Jolla Marriott, Desert Springs Marriott in Palm Desert, the San Diego Marriott & Marina and the Rancho Las Palmas Resort. From 1991 to 1995, Cliff operated his own café until he was asked to join in the opening team of NAVA (Buckhead Life Restaurant Group) in Atlanta. Ultimately, Cliff became the General Manager of NAVA and then the Operations Director for Buckhead Bread Company and Corner Café. (Buckhead Life Restaurant Group).
Originally from Rhode Island, where he attended Johnson & Wales University, Cliff resides in Norcross with his wife Kyra and their two children. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, computers, marketing, financial and business planning.
Kevin Rathbun | Rathbun's/Kevin Rathbun Steak
KEVIN RATHBUN: Kevin is the co-owner of Rathbun’s and in 2004, Kevin Rathbun opened his namesake restaurant, Rathbun’s, then Krog Bar (2005), and then Kevin Rathbun Steak (2007). And today, Kevin continues to be a pivotal and driving force in the local and national restaurant scene.
At Rathbun’s, Kevin incorporated his take on Modern American Cuisine with a menu that expands to over fifty menu items along with specials every night. His insight to what his guests desire have turned most of the menu items into staples. His features of raw “crudo” plates were one of the first to be seen in Atlanta, and his listing of “small plates” expands to over fifteen items. His entree consist of “big plates” and “second mortgage plates” and range in menu pricing of $15.00 to $39.00. The signature items are the scallops, the lobster taco, the 20 oz. Ribeye with blue cheese, and the veal chop with sweet corn Gouda. Added to that is Kevin’s list of signature side plates that range from the cabbage carbonara to the cauliflower mash.
At Krog Bar, after visiting Spain, Kevin returned with a vision of an intimate wine bar with small tapas plates. Working along with the restaurant designers and architects, he opened Krog Bar and did just that. He incorporated all types of Spanish style cuisines into a menu and atmosphere, which has some of the same staples as day one and now features daily specials of hot plates. Krog Bar’s intimate interior adds to the warmth of dining in this award winning Spanish style wine bar.
At Kevin Rathbun Steak, Kevin took on his biggest endeavor to date. Only one and a half block from Rathbun’s and Krog Bar, Kevin found an old cotton warehouse and turned it into one of the Top Steakhouses in The U.S. (Details Magazine). Kevin Rathbun Steak features Prime steaks from Allen Brothers in Chicago along with a menu that expands to over fifty items. Kevin wanted this steakhouse to have the “new modernized atmosphere and menu” of a steakhouse and he did that by incorporating more seafood, alternative meats, new and creative appetizers and a list of over fifteen sides. The incorporation of local produce and a completely chef driven menu with organic meats and heritage bred animals has continued to keep this restaurant as one of the top new steakhouses in the United States.
Kevin’s background started in humble beginnings in Kansas City, where he started working as a dishwasher at Sambo’s.
He has worked with celebrity chefs and restaurateurs such as Bradley Ogden, Emeril Lagasse, Stephen Pyles, Ella Brennan and Pano Karratossos and he has perfected not only his technique in the kitchen, but his passion for owning and operating his own businesses.
While Kevin was Chef at Baby Routh in Dallas, it received the DiRona award for dining excellence. His drive and passion landed him the chef’s position at Nava in Atlanta where he brought Southwestern food cuisine to the city of Atlanta. Nava became an instant hit and was noticed both locally and nationally, and since 1995 has been continuously voted one of the top five restaurants in the city.
Earning Esquire Magazines “Top New Restaurant” for Nava was a highlight, as was being the Corporate Chef of the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group. While there, overseeing NAVA, BluePointe, Kyma, and The Buckhead Diner, his list of accolades continued to add up which propelled him to go out on his own.
In May of 2004, Kevin opened his namesake restaurant “Rathbun’s” in Atlanta. It opened to critical acclaim and was voted by Esquire Magazine as one of the “Top New Restaurants in the Country”. Since the inception of Rathbun’s, Kevin has opened a second and third restaurant Krog Bar and Kevin Rathbun Steak. They are located next door to Rathbun’s and a block and a half from Rathbun’s and both have received local and national acclaim.
Kevin resides in Atlanta with his wife, Melissa. In his spare time, he enjoys, philanthropy, reading cookbooks, dining out, fine cigars, traveling and humbly admits that in his next life, he would have a passion for restaurant designing.
Massimo Andreozzi | Fritti
A native of Naples, Italy, Massimo Andreozzi brings more than a decade of experience baking traditional Neapolitan pizza to his role as Fritti’s head pizzaiolo. Andreozzi’s passion for excellence and dedication to delivering authentic flavor true to his Italian roots have helped make Fritti one of Inman Park’s most popular destinations. Atlanta’s first eatery to serve pizza made in the traditional Neapolitan style, Fritti opened in 2001.
Andreozzi honed his craft in his native Italy where he was the head pizzaiolo at restaurants across the peninsula from Rome and Naples to Costa Esmeralda and Ancona. A consummate leader with an innovative culinary palate, Andreozzi developed menus and mentored junior chefs at Napule in Polignano a Mare, Italy, and also at La Riviera Pola in Spain before traveling stateside in 2007.
Prior to joining the team at Fritti, Andreozzi was the head pizzaiolo at Fratelli la Bufala in Miami, Fla., where he crafted more than 300 pizzas daily in the traditional Neapolitan style.
Andreozzi lives in Atlanta with his wife and children. He is fluent in Italian, Spanish and conversational in English.
Chef Paul Gallois
Paul Gallois has been The Albert chef for three years.
He is self taught in the culinary arts.
The Albert Diner Burger placed #6 in Atlanta Magazine’s
Best Burger Issue.
Helton DaSilva was born in southern Brazil where much of his childhood was spending time at family owned farms. It was there that he observed older generations of his family practicing the crafts of meat curing, cheese making, and simple seasoning cooking. Little did he know that this “farm to table” mentality would be the foundation for his future career.
DaSilva moved to the U.S. when he was a teenager. Day after day, the attempts at many different professions proved to be unfulfilling and night after night he returned home to cook dinner for himself. He began to realize that cooking brought him joy. This epiphany led him to enroll in and later graduate from the Lincoln Culinary Institute.
DaSilva began his time at Barcelona Restaurant & Wine Bar through an internship required for school. After graduation, he was offered a Sous Chef position at the South Norwalk location and later climbed up the ladder and gained more experience at the Stamford, New Haven and Fairfield locations.
The summer of 2010 brought DaSilva the opportunity to do an estage at Primo, an award-winning restaurant in Maine. Later that year, a trip across Spain proved to be an amazing cultural and culinary learning experience that further sparked his inspiration.
DaSilva returns to Barcelona Restaurant & Wine Bar as an Executive Chef at our Fairfield location. He brings creativity, passion and a modern perspective on seasonal, local ingredients and fresh flavors.
Atlanta native and “Top Chef: Las Vegas” alum Eli Kirshtein is chef/partner of The Luminary in the highly anticipated Krog Street Market. Equal parts sports fan and accomplished chef, Kirshtein is a proud Atlantan and food anthropologist. Kirshtein’s culinary career began as a 16-year-old protégé in the kitchens of Chefs Kevin Rathbun and Richard Blais. With an insatiable appetite for learning and advancing his experiences, Kirshtein sharpened his skills at acclaimed restaurant JOËL while completing his formal training at The Culinary Institute of America. After graduation, Kirshtein again teamed up with Blais at ONE. midtown kitchen before moving to Miami to work at Karu & Y. In 2007 he returned to Atlanta as the executive chef at Eno Restaurant and Wine Bar, from which he would take a brief hiatus to participate as a contestant on “Top Chef: Las Vegas.” In August 2014, Kirshtein brought his distinct style and thoughtful technique to life when he opened his first restaurant, The Luminary. An American brasserie with regional influences, The Luminary features a classically inspired menu, large raw bar, craft beer and cocktail program, and 400-square-foot patio space.
photo credit Austen Risolvato
Chef Terry Koval Wrecking Bar
As a teenager with an eye for extra spending money, Terry Koval washed dishes at John Paul’s Armadillo Oil Company in Greenville, SC, unknowingly setting the stage for a successful career that would lead to stints in some of Atlanta’s most recognized kitchens and to the prestigious recognition as the 2012 StarChefs.com Atlanta Rising Star Sustainable Chef.
With a passion for food yet a dream of becoming a professional skateboarder, Terry headed west to San Francisco. This fateful move, however, introduced him to a bounty of farm-to-table fare that would define his style of cooking. With this refreshed outlook, he moved back to the South in 2000 and worked at the famed Buckhead Diner before accepting the position of executive sous chef under mentor Chef Gary Mennie at nationally acclaimed Canoe. He later joined Concentrics Restaurants as the sous chef of Lobby at TWELVE and then became executive chef at sister restaurant Room at TWELVE. After years of proving himself as a creative force in the kitchen, in 2010 Terry was offered the opportunity to conceptualize unique and seasonal grass-fed burgers at Farm Burger. He once again embraces local, seasonal ingredients now accented by house-brewed craft beer as the executive chef at Wrecking Bar Brewpub.
“Bob Sandage has revitalized a historical building, making it a landmark once again, and I am excited to bring my passion for local sustainable food to the table,” said Terry of his new venture. Over the next few months, he plans to develop new menu items, “utilizing local product and all its parts.” And as an avid drinker of craft beer, Lagers and Saisons in particular, Terry is thrilled to delve into the science of brewing and evolving his food with its flavors.
Terry and his wife Jenn live in Decatur, Ga., with their daughter Olivia, son Jackson and an infinite source of farm-fresh eggs from their four chickens named Puffy, Poppins, Snowflake and Buttercup.
Riccardo Ullio l Sotto Sotto/Fritti
A native of Milan, Italy, restaurateur Riccardo Ullio moved to Georgia as an almost-teenager and spent his college days on Presidential Scholarship at Georgia Tech, garnering undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Like many students, Ullio spent a lot of time working in food service and restaurants. Eventually the restaurant “bug” bit him hard.
“By the time I finished school, I had been working in restaurants my whole life,” explains Ullio. The energy, drive and sense of freedom that permeates the restaurant world was overpoweringly alluring, and he hung up his calculator for a chef’s hat.
After garnering a master’s degree in environmental engineering, Ullio followed his culinary dreams by working in some of the most prestigious Italian restaurants around the city, including Coco Pazzo and Pricci. Taking time to travel throughout Italy to study regional Italian cuisine, he opened his own restaurants, first Pasta da Pulcinella in 1994, then Sotto Sotto in 1999 and Fritti in 2000. Sotto Sotto and Ullio’s more casual pizza concept, Fritti, have become Atlanta’s finest Italian destinations for dining.
Sotto Sotto and Fritti serve honest, delicious food crafted from authentic Italian recipes. Sotto Sotto creates dishes that are delicious and contemporary, while maintaining the integrity of the ingredients and honoring the traditions of Ullio’s homeland. The cozy dining room of Sotto Sotto, which translates to “hush hush” in English, transports diners to a rustic trattoria in the Italian countryside. Fritti, meaning “fried” in Italian, offers more casual dining with menu items like authentic Neapolitan pizzas baked in an open wood-burning pizza oven, a selection of roasted meats and fish and an array of salads.
Both restaurants have received numerous accolades, including Atlanta magazine’s Best of Atlanta Hall of Fame and four-star reviews from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Creative Loafing as well as a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for Sotto Sotto; Fritti was certified by the Verace Pizza Napolentana Association (VPN) in 2007 for serving authentic Neapolitan style pizzas and is one of only 35 American Restaurants honored with this distinction. It has received three-star reviews from the Atlanta Journal Constitution and a four-star review from Creative Loafing.
Chef Happy Eytab Barcelona
EYHAB “HAPPY” HATAB
Eyhab “Happy” Hatab realized his passion for food and authentic cuisine as a child in his grandmother’s kitchen. As a first generation Egyptian whose family was well known in Alexandria for their Mezze style restaurants, it was almost inevitable that he became a chef.
After graduating from Johnson and Wales in Rhode Island, Happy decided to study food sciences at the Nabisco Laboratories in Rutgers, New Jersey, while touring a slew of New York City finest restaurants during his free time. After leaving Rutgers, he took a position at the Grounds for Sculptures Rats restaurant where he honed his skills in formal French technique, as well as refining his skills in charcuterie and farm-to-table cuisine.
Working his way from the bottom, he quickly gained the title of Chef de Tournant, and became a corner stone of the kitchen team. After a long and beloved time with Rats restaurant, he decided to move on to Philadelphia as one of the opening members of Marcus Samuelsson’s Washington Square, a Steven Starr venture, which focused on world street foods. Although his time spent with Marcus and his stellar staff was an excellent experience, he decided to move on taking a Sous Chef position at the award winning Pluckemin Inn in Bedminster Township, NJ, followed by Daniel Sterns’ Rae restaurant as Chef de Cuisine in Philadelphia. Happy joined the Barcelona Restaurant group in 2009 as Executive Chef at the flagship location in South Norwalk, CT. A few years later, he accepted the opportunity to become Executive Chef/Partner at Judy Wicks’ White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia. It was during his time at the White Dog Cafe where he was nominated as one of Philadelphia’s “Rising Chefs” for the 2012 Starchefs Awards.
Happy returns to the Barcelona Restaurant Group as Executive Chef and looks forward to providing a unique dining experience for our guests in Atlanta.
Giovanni / Il Localino
Born in Italy, Giovanni, a third generation restaurateur, has just celebrated his 50th Anniversary in the restaurant business in the United States. Trained from his youngest memories to use only the freshest and highest quality ingredients, he became a pioneer of modern Italian cuisine in this country. The beginning of Giovanni’s restaurant career in the US was spent in Miami, where it was his pleasure to feed a US President, Vice President, a Foreign King, Dignitaries, and the greatest stars of music, theater, television and opera. From Frank Sinatra and Pavarotti to today’s Jared Ledo, from Tommy Lasorda to Joe DiMaggio, those with a love for great food have found their way to Giovanni’s door, whether in Florida or Atlanta.
Throughout the years, Giovanni has brought and trained many young professionals to the business, who are now spread around the world. Giovanni is the winner of the ‘Maxime of Paris Champagne Award and the ‘5 Star Award” presented by Selecta Magazine. Giovanni’s Il Localino is the winner of OpenTable’s Diner’s Choice Award year after year, Voted Best Italian Restaurant by Access Atlanta, Metromix, and many others. If you ask Giovanni, his most important critics are the ones that show up to dine each and every night.
Chef Stuart Tracy | The Brasserie & Neighborhood Café at PARISH
Hailing from Atlanta, Chef Stuart Tracy is returning to his roots and joining The Brasserie & Neighborhood Café at PARISH as the new Executive Chef.
Tracy expressed an interest in the kitchen from a young age but had no professional cooking experience when it came time to decide his career path. Despite this, he decided to follow his passion and enroll in culinary school at Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina.
Tracy’s decision turned out to be a good one. While still in school, his first experience in the restaurant industry was working as a dishwasher at Outback Steakhouse where he quickly learned the virtue of hard work. He then moved on to become Sous Chef at Langdon’s Restaurant and Wine Bar in Mt. Pleasant, where he worked for two years. After his time at Langdon’s, Tracy became Chef de Cuisine at Sienna Restaurant on Daniel Island, working under Chef Ken Vedrinski (who now owns Trattoria Lucca on Bogard Street and Coda del Pesce on the Isle of Palms). Tracy then joined the culinary team at Charleston Place Hotel, serving as Chef de Cuisine at the award-winning Palmetto Cafe—a role he held for over three years.
In 2011, Tracy became Chef and Operating Partner at Butcher & Bee on upper King Street, where he has led the kitchen for almost four years. During his time at Butcher & Bee, Tracy has received praise from outlets like New York Magazine, GQ, Food & Wine, The Huffington Post, and earned “Best Late Night Menu” and “Best Sandwich” nods. Additionally, Chef Tracy received the 2013 StarChefs.com Rising Star Chef Award.
Chef Tracy believes that food should be simple, honest, accessible, fun and delicious. He believes in leading by example and encourages personal and professional development for himself as well as his staff.
Tracy credits several idols (both culinary and non-culinary) for shaping his character and culinary career, including Danny Meyer, Shawn McClain, Peter Schiff, Ron and Rand Paul, and his father Jeff, who taught him to become a diligent worker.
Outside of the kitchen, Chef Tracy enjoys weightlifting, reading, and takeout Chinese.
Chef Ford Fry
Ford Fry’s culinary inspirations cover many years and much of the country: from eating out with his family as a child in Texas, to studying at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, to spending time as a fine dining chef in Florida, Colorado and California—and eventually as a corporate chef in Atlanta. Although the corporate chef position didn’t stick, Fry’s love for Atlanta stuck with him and it has proved a recipe for success so far. Fry and his restaurants have been included in numerous national and local publications, such as Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Chicago Tribune, Cooking Light, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Esquire, Food & Wine, Garden & Gun, Sky, Southern Living and the Washington Post. Accolades for Fry and his restaurants include:
• October 2012 – The Optimist named the Best New Restaurant of the Year by Esquire magazine
• 2013 – Fry named a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Awards for Outstanding Restaurateur
• June 2013 – The Optimist named one of the 70 Best Restaurants in the World by Condé Nast Traveler magazine
• September 2013 – The Optimist was on the cover of Bon Appétit and named the seventh Best New Restaurant in the country by the magazine
• October 2013 – King + Duke selected as one of the Best New Restaurants of 2013 by Esquire magazine
• November 2013 – Fry wins seventh annual Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence (GRACE) Award for Restaurateur of the Year
• November 2013 – Fry named Empire Builder of the Year by Eater Atlanta
• Invited to cook at the Beard House on multiple occasions
In January of 2007, Fry put down roots in Atlanta with the opening of his first restaurant – JCT. Kitchen & Bar – a place that’s as warm and friendly as its owner. The menu at JCT. is reminiscent of traditional family favorites and features ingredients from regional fields and farms. Regulars love JCT.’s refined comfort food, from fried chicken with bacon mac and cheese to deviled eggs with country ham to the restaurant’s famous “angry” mussels. The upstairs bar serves up small plates, cocktails and amazing views of the Atlanta skyline for a more casual dining experience. JCT. Kitchen & Bar is the kind of place locals take their out-of-town guests for a classy Southern experience.
“I want to create restaurants that strike a timeless emotional chord – restaurants that don’t pander to trend, but draw generations of families together,” says Fry.
Fry’s culinary vision always begins with ingredients and dishes that are central to the Atlanta community and Southeastern region. He sources local ingredients not only because they taste better but because it allows him to partner closely with suppliers and honor local harvests. He then utilizes classical European techniques in his preparation, which results in dishes that are approachable and uncomplicated yet entirely new to his guests.
Fry opened his second restaurant, No. 246, in Decatur, Georgia, in July 2011 with executive chef/co-owner Drew Belline. No. 246 presents guests with an Italian-inspired dining experience that is influenced by seasonality and local products. The restaurant offers pizza that is cooked in an oven imported from Naples and handmade pasta. Like JCT. Kitchen & Bar, No. 246 is more than just a restaurant; it is a neighborhood gathering place.
His third restaurant, The Optimist and Oyster Bar at The Optimist, opened in May 2012 in Atlanta’s Westside neighborhood. The Optimist serves sustainable seafood prepared in a wood-burning oven, while the attached Oyster Bar at The Optimist is a more casual, “fish camp” style spot for raw and roasted oysters and a specialty punch menu. Landlocked Atlantans appreciate having a sophisticated beach food experience nearby.
Fry’s King + Duke opened in May 2013 in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. The restaurant uses primitive techniques such as hearth and open fire cooking to create dishes with bold and smoky flavors. Additional components are kept to a minimum in order to showcase the natural flavors of the wood-roasted cuisine.
In January 2014, Fry opened St. Cecilia. The restaurant’s name not only pays tribute to the patron saint of music, it also represents Fry’s love of music and the sirens of Greek mythology whose songs coaxed mariners to shore. Located at the bustling corner of Peachtree and Lenox Roads, the addition to The Pinnacle Building blends a timeless design with a modern day atmosphere. Inspired by the southern European coast, the menu features light olive oils, wood-roasted fish, simple, yet perfect pastas and local produce. He opened Mex-Tex restaurants The El Felix in Alpharetta’s Avalon development in October 2014, and Superica at Krog Street Market in Atlanta in February 2015. Marcel, a European-inspired steak house with glamorous 1920s influences, opened on the Atlanta Westside in July of 2015.
State of Grace opened in Houston Texas in the fall of 2015, along with sister restaurant to The Optimist, BeetleCat, in Atlanta’s Inman Park Inman Quarter mixed-use development. The second edition of Fry’s Tex-Mex restaurant, Superica, opened in the Chastain Park neighborhood of Atlanta in July 2016.
In addition to his restaurants, Chef Fry also partnered with North American Properties, Vantage Atlanta and Iconologic to help launch People’s Food Truck to benefit City of Refuge, a non-profit organization dedicated to community development efforts. He partnered with Four Seasons Hotel of Atlanta in 2015 to open Bar Margot as a hotel bar with high-service standards, big-flavor food, and “zero pretension,” Fry said.
All of Fry’s restaurants have a few things in common: they’re as formal as guests want them to be; they’re chef owned and operated; they’re committed to their communities; and they serve exceptional food made with local ingredients in casual environments where a great deal of attention is paid to detail. However, each restaurant has its own unique identity.
“When I’m looking to develop a new restaurant, I start with the location,” explains Fry. “I ask myself if the space has a story to tell and if the restaurant would meet a need within the community where it is located. Then I carefully consider the culinary genre and make sure the type of food is one I’m passionate about. This is my strategy for putting all the parts in place.”
Fry’s goal is to continue creating restaurants that are relevant, timeless and inspired, in spaces that are unique and soulful. He wants to run restaurants that are measured by customer satisfaction and growth, not just by sales. And he strives to teach his employees how to take the next steps in their careers by cultivating their talents and watching them come into their own.
“I love finding talent in the region, and putting these people in an environment where they can learn and grow,” says Fry of his management philosophy.
Along with his roles at his restaurants, Fry is also the founder of one of Atlanta’s most popular food events, The JCT. Kitchen & Bar Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival. This annual event features some of the South’s best chefs and mixologists, who are paired with local farmers to create innovative tomato dishes. The Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival is also an excellent opportunity for chefs and attendees alike to meet producers and develop longstanding relationships in order to further support the local food movement. Proceeds from the event benefit Georgia Organics, an organization that is very important to Fry. Fry also serves as a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, which debuted in May 2011 and is a luxury festival that celebrates the deep food and beverage traditions of the South.
Fry currently resides in Roswell, Georgia, with his wife and two sons. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar and spending time with his family.
Chef Andrew Isabella
European tradition and an ardor for sport fishing meld in Andrew Isabella: as executive chef for Ford Fry restaurant BeetleCat, Florida-native Isabella shapes globe-straddling recipes into the restaurant’s shore-style, seafood-focused menu. His outdoorsman’s knowledge of coastal and fresh waters deems him a perfect fit for BeetleCat. Isabella was named to Zagat Atlanta’s celebrated Top 30 Under 30 list in 2015.
Isabella, a Marianna, Florida native, dedicated himself to the culinary craft as a teen. “Growing up, a family we knew experience a tragedy,” Isabella says. “Instead of bringing them food, I asked my mom if I could just go over there and cook. The feedback, the way it made me feel, and being able to be there with them during a difficult time showed me it’s what I wanted to do with my life.” Isabella paid his dues at a small family restaurant in Marianna, and went on to manage a staff at a country club.
He graduated from Keiser University with a degree in culinary arts, interning with Wolfgang Puck’s Catering at the Georgia Aquarium along the way. After culinary school, Isabella worked at Table 1280 at Atlanta’s cultural mecca, the Woodruff Arts Center. Under Bravo Top Chef contestant Tracey Bloom’s tutelage, Isabella refined his American cuisine technique – and when Bloom went on hiatus to film Bravo’s Top Chef, Isabella was tapped for the position of sous chef.
Isabella returned to his home state in 2010, and became sous chef at the acclaimed Winter Park hotspot LUMA on Park, where he remained until the fall of 2012. When Isabella yearned to get back to Atlanta, LUMA executive chef Brandon McGlamery, close friends with co-owner and executive chef of no. 246 Drew Belline, connected the two. “I fell in love with no. 246,” Isabella said.
“Drew took me right in.”
The Belline/Isabella duo made for an impressive combination of leadership and style at no. 246, where seasonally grown and locally sourced ingredients are the building blocks of fresh, everyday Italian dishes in the heart of Decatur. From perusing the garden in the restaurant’s backyard to foraging for mushrooms in local spots, the chefs daily welcome dirt-covered, fresh produce into the kitchen at no. 246 on a daily basis. At no. 246, Isabella’s recipes riffed on his family’s classic Italian dishes, like spinach pie and fritters with peaches – which only makes sense in a restaurant where digging in family-style is encouraged. As Fry set to open nostalgic, French-inspired, beefsteak-heavy Marcel on Atlanta’s Westside, Isabella was tapped to help open the 136-seat, glamorous restaurant, infusing it with his brand of European-style expertise. With Marcel’s success, Fry looked to Isabella to lead the company’s next venture: Isabella serves as executive chef for BeetleCat, the hotly-anticipated sister restaurant to Fry’s successful venture on Atlanta’s westside, The Optimist. Isabella’s offerings include wood-roasted crab, octopus, clams, and more, with many dishes served a la plancha. Small plates will be big on flavor, encouraging patrons to mix and match, share, and try a sampling of menu bites.
Isabella and his wife Kaylen are settled in the East Lake area of Atlanta with their new son Preston, and spend off-days traveling, fishing and meandering through antique markets.