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Brewed to perfection

New Atlanta gastropub delivers a myriad of beers hailing from Atlanta to Belgium

By Kirsten Ott Palladino

ormsbys-atlanta

Tucked away in the bottom of the White Provision building (a former meat-packing plant in the early 20th century) on the Westside of Atlanta is Ormsby’s, a self-proclaimed good place to be. Co-owner Michael Goot won’t exactly confess to it being either a pub, speakeasy or a tavern, but the low lighting, dark milled walnut floors, oak booths, copper-topped bar with mahogany leanings, slightly secretive location with just a metal-worked O hanging by the front door and casual atmosphere of good times speak for themselves. The newly minted restaurant opened in December 2009, and has been packed most every night. The camaraderie found at Ormsby’s is scholarly in a grad student/professor way, but the fun to be had is for all drinking ages and personalities: A flight of stairs below the restaurant is a host of games, ranging from bocce ball, darts, pool, shuffleboard, ’80s videogames (think Donkey Kong, Pac-Man) and even Skee Ball is in the works for April. Ormsby’s is a collaboration between Michael Goot, a man whose work history is steeped in beer, and Warren Bruno, who opened his first bar in Atlanta in 1974. This is Bruno’s 12th bar, and he says it’s his final. He had a bocce ball court at his first one, and to bring it full circle, he wanted to have the precision game available at his last venture. Bruno also owns Atkins Park Tavern, Atlanta’s longest-standing bar and restaurant, which has two locations. The pair looked to Executive Chef Andrew Smith to design their easygoing but respectable menu, which features American-style pub dishes such as house-made sausage, hand-dipped corn dogs, New England clam chowder, bratwurst, fried cod, veal and mushroom meatballs, as well as more than 10 hearty sandwiches. But the real shining star of Ormsby’s is the beer. With more than 20 offerings on draft and 45 to 50 bottle brands available on any given day, it’s no wonder beerophiles flock to this hidden gem. Choices abound, from complex Belgian beers like Dupont Fore, which has the “Belgian funk,” according to Goot, because of its orientation in a Belgian farmhouse where the windows stay open to allow the yeast to blow in from the farm (also known as spontaneous fermentation) to simple craft beers like Avery Ellie’s Brown Ales from Boulder, Colo., which shines with vitality. Local Atlanta beer is a top seller, especially SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale, with hoppy characteristics and a crisp finish. Trappist beers like St. Bernardus Abt12, a dark ivory-colored beer with a high fermentation, is on draft, while St. Bernardus Prior 8, a fruity malt with a purple-ruby hue, is available by the bottle. While no favorites ever leave the beer menu, Goot continues to tweak the list to continue to intrigue and satiate Atlanta’s thirsty palate.

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THE PERFECT PAIR

Savor the weekly special pot roast braised in red wine and served with root vegetables and buttered noodles with the notes of fig, raisin and dark stone fruit in Dogfish Head Paulo Santo.

Loop your fingers through local pale ale-battered onion rings, and wash it down with Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, a light, citrus IPA.

Southern hospitality takes center stage with shrimp and grits, roasted peppers, caramelized onions and cream sherry. The spice in Dupont Foret Organic keeps up nicely.

The spicy orange blossom, caramel malt and crisp hop at the end of the Ommegang Rare Vos Amber Ale balances out the spicy lamb merguez (sausage) with Tzatziki sauce, cucumber and pickled red onion served gyro-style in a grilled pita.

This article was published in Draft Magazine.

Atlanta, restaurants

New Seafood Restaurant Lure Opening in July

Lure, a new seafood restaurant, is slated to open in Midtown early July. It will be housed in Vickery’s Crescent Avenue Bar & Grill’s old digs, just a few doors down from South City Kitchen. Both Lure and SCK are owned by Fifth Group Restaurants, which is run by Robby Kukler, Steve Simon and Kris Reinhard.

“We have been talking about Lure for more than three years, and the basic idea of serving simple, high quality seafood dishes in a fun, uniquely designed atmosphere has been our inspiration from the start,” says Kukler.

The atmosphere Kukler speaks of is being designed by Bill Peace of Peace Design and ai3, whose created the flair at luminary mainstays such as 4th & Swift, Holeman & Finch, Flip and Miller Union. Lure will seat 150 guests in a sophisticated space that welcomes everyday dining. The feeling of Vickery’s will be long gone, as the building has undergone major renovations to the interior, exterior and patio.

“Both ai3 and Bill Peace really understand the ideas we articulate and our desire to achieve an understated, timeless look at Lure,” says Kukler. “Our design inspiration for this restaurant is, naturally, the ocean and the contrast of its unrefined and polished characteristics,” he adds.

The designers are utilizing a cool, fresh color palette reminiscent of the sea along with stripped, weathered wood and steel. Reclaimed nautical spotlights cast blue-green reflections off a zinc bar top, and, paired with gloss shiplaps and the essence of billowing sailcloths, evoke both the raw nature of the fishing industry and the mysterious charm of the ocean.

David Bradley, currently the chef de cuisine at Ecco, will oversee the kitchen at Lure. Lure will always have an extensive offering of oysters from many waters as well as other raw bar staples. The menu will also feature sharable items such as a house-smoked seafood “charcuterie” sampling, Sapelo Island clam crudo with charred Padrón peppers and a Guerrero-style spicy seafood cocktail with citrus and a shot of a summery pilsner added tableside. Sautéed pompano with Silver Queen corn and curry and grilled whole Georgia trout with pickled ramp butter cooked in the kitchen’s 1400-degree charcoal burning Josper Spanish oven are examples of simple fish preparations that will be served at Lure. On the more “seafood house” traditional side, guests can expect offerings such as Acadian redfish fried in sourdough batter with malt vinegar marinated cucumbers and Georgia shrimp broiled Scampi style with Sparkman’s cultured butter.

Fifth Group Restaurants Beverage Director Vajra Stratigos is constructing the beverage program for Lure, which will include an expansive list of both draft and bottled beers as well as a collection of interesting wines and innovative cocktails.

“Ocean wines should feel very natural, rather than display overt fruitiness,” says Stratigos. “For me, seafood wants acidity, minerality and salinity in a wine partner – all things that accent what is inherent to the ocean itself,” he adds.

Lure is located at 1106 Crescent Avenue NE in Midtown Atlanta and will be open for dinner daily first with lunch service added at a later date.