Thursday, April 30, 2009

Widespread Food & Fun

Oh, what a night we had last night with our Don't Panic tribute dinner. Rocking out to WSP tunes, drinking from red Solo cups (as a shout out to John Bell) and five fantastic courses dedicated to the music of Widespread Panic.
We started the evening with "Red Beans" - seared Georges Bank scallops served over braised Carolina red beans, housemade orange mustard and micro celery.

Next, we floated on to "Fishwater" - Peekytoe crab ravioli with local baby fennel, sherry and a shellfish consomme.

After a light course like Fishwater, we kicked up the spice a bit with "Thought Sausage" - Riverview Farms sausage gumbo with Carolina plantation rice. (This course was my personal favorite - just the right amount of heat to it.)
Before anyone got too full, we moved on to "Ribs and Whiskey" - braised Painted Hills short ribs over green garlic potato puree, housemade pickled peppers and Maker's Mark demi-glace. (This was the majority's favorite course. The short ribs practically melted they were so tender.)

At this point, most people were starting to get pretty full so we went very light with "Coconut" for dessert - coconut beignets with chilly watermelon and basil creme anglaise.
Top the evening off with a few PBR "Tall Boys" and some fun, take-home goodies and we were able to call last night a success! Next musical tribute dinner - Jerry Garcia, of course. Join us August 5 or 6 for a two night run. It isn't too late to make your reservation now.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Who's Panicking?

To say that chef & owner Ron Eyester is a music lover is a bit of an understatement. Ron has built a reputation for his music tribute dinners for bands like The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, and Johnny Cash over the last few years. Tomorrow night we are hosting our first music tribute dinner since Ron has taken over as owner, and, appropriately, it is titled Don't Panic - The Changes Aren't Widespread.

Chef Christian testing cheese straw recipes for tomorrow night

The five course dinner pairs each course with a favorite WSP song.

Red Beans

Seared Georges Bank Scallops
Hambone Braised Carolina Red Beans, Housemade Orange-Mustard & Micro Celery


Peekytoe Crab Ravioli
Local Baby Fennel, Sherry & Spiced Shellfish Consommé


Thought Sausage

Riverview Farms Sausage Gumbo
Carolina Plantation Rice

Ribs & Whiskey

Braised Painted Hill Short Rib
Green Garlic Potato Puree, Pickled Sweet Peppers & Maker’s Mark Demi-Glace


Coconut Beignets
Chilly Watermelon & Basil Crème Anglaise

Reservations are still available and can be made by calling 404-347-9747. Dinner is tomorrow night (Wednesday, April 29) at 6:30 p.m. and costs $52 per person. It promises to be a very fun evening.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Going On The Line

Step two of rebranding the restaurant seems to be developing a new website. As I'm sure you can imagine, we are all taking this step very seriously. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, who visits our restaurant will most likely visit our website too. We want it to be a bit funky, very useful, and, most importantly, push people to visit the restaurant.

The fun part of designing a website is the "research" phase. Really, this just means we spent far too many hours surfing the web to pinpoint sites we love and sites we hate, and then deciding what is was that we loved or didn't love about each of these sites.

We loved the fun bios on Leona's site and Schiller's menu design. We also loved the great info Farm 255 offers on their farmers and the photo background of Blue Smoke. See more sites we liked here.

The not-so-fun part of designing a website is writing all the text for the site. Have you ever paid attention to how much information is included on most websites? I've now spent the better part of a week drafting text and I don't think I've made the slightest dent. But come hell or high water, on July 1, we will have a new website...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Name Game

What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Did Shakespeare really have it right? Is a name that unimportant? It seems pretty crucial to me. You see, I work at Food 101 Morningside. Food 101 is a local favorite (local to Atlanta, GA) – a comfortable, farm-to-table staple in the Virginia-Highlands neighborhood. The chef, Ron, has been here since day one and so have many of our regulars. Now, after several years, Chef Ron has bought the restaurant from his former partners and is making it his own. The first item on the to-do list – changing the name.

You would have thought naming the restaurant would be one of the more fun parts of owning your own restaurant. You would have thought wrong.

Turns out, naming a restaurant is a laborious and nerve-wracking decision. Much like naming a child, you consider way too many options, over-analyze every thought and worry about what other people will think. Then you come up with something great and it turns out three other restaurants already have the same name. Oy.

From a marketing perspective (I’m the PR director for the restaurant), I really felt the name was make or break. It couldn’t sound too feminine or too masculine. Did it sound “foodie” enough? Did it convey the right imagine? As the owner and chef, Ron felt that the name wasn’t quite as crucial as I did – the food is still all his cooking so the menu isn’t changing, and the atmosphere stems largely from his boisterous personality so that isn’t changing either . He wanted it to be something that spoke to his personality and was more personal. So as Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name?”

After months of arguing back and forth and tossing around bad names and good ones, we finally settled on a name. Now we are ready to start telling people and, as nervous as we are, we don’t want to hear, “You should have…”

Come July 1, 2009 Food 101 Morningside is going to be rosebud.

Want to know how we decided on rosebud? Stay tuned…