Food and Drink - Fall/Winter 2012 - (Page 184)

I N D E P E N D E N T R E S TA U R A N T S New Fish in the Pond The Optimist brings fresh seafood, a variety of culinary influences and a relaxed atmosphere to the Atlanta restaurant scene. By Marta Jiménez-Lutter company profile The Optimist Location: Atlanta Employees: 200 Specialty: Seafood Ford Fry, chef and owner: “I told myself, ‘Enough with the pig; let’s do some fish.’” pork, but fish. Fry wanted to offer highquality seafood without pretentiousness to Atlanta diners, something he felt was lacking in the area. “I told myself, ‘Enough with the pig; let’s do some fish,’” he says. The Space Ford immediately was attracted to the space available for the restaurant. The old ham-curing warehouse has the feeling of a capsized large boat, an ample space with a barrel roof, which falls in line with the nautical feeling Fry wanted to impart the space. “It looks like the setting for a movie,” Fry says. Fry has divided the space into two distinctive areas – a large dining room with capacity to seat 160 people plus a large bar for 24, and an oyster bar adjacent to the main restaurant area. The oyster bar seats 60 inside and has a courtyard area with capacity for another 45 people. The outdoor area also has a putting green where guests can test their mini-golfing abilities while savoring fresh oysters from the east and west coasts of the United States, as well as fried oysters from the Gulf of Mexico. >> The Optimist has become a go-to place for fresh, sustainable seafood in Atlanta. S tand aside pork; there is a new favorite food in town – fish. Atlantabased chef and entrepreneur Ford Fry has opened a new restaurant in the city’s west side with a decisive nautical theme, serving fresh seafood and oysters. This is Fry’s third venture into the restaurant scene in Atlanta following the success of his previous venues, JCT. Kitchen & Bar and No. 246. The name “The Optimist” refers to a small dinghy used by children as well as Fry’s positive disposition. Even though The Optimist opened its doors at the beginning of this summer in what used to be Talmadge Country Hams business, the restaurant’s focus is not Sustainable Food Fry wanted a menu focused on fresh sustainable seafood cooked in an eclectic style, combining influences from 184 food and drink • fall/winter 2012 •

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food and Drink - Fall/Winter 2012

Food and Drink - Fall/Winter 2012
Tableside Chat
NYC Wine & Food Festival
Going Global
Beverage Focus
Caribou Coffee
Scooter’s Coffee & Yogurt
Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen
Distributors: Food Law
Progressive Gourmet
Rocky Mountain Natural Meats
Seattle Fish Company of New Mexico
Blue Mountain Growers
Dandrea Produce and Wines
Dorr Lobster
Gary’s Seafood and Specialties
Pohl Food Service Inc.
Supply America
Victoria Fine Foods
Bernatello’s Pizza Inc.
Best Mexican Foods
C.F. Gollott & Son
Clipper Seafoods Ltd.
Mountain Foods Products
Siedhoff Distributing
Sterling Pacific Meat
Producers: Business Strategies
Carib Brewery
Heroes Vodka
Mountain Pure Beverage Co.
Deli Express/E.A. Sween Co.
Family Fresh Pack
Haring Catfish Enterprises
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Demerara Distillers
Walker & Sons Inc. – Slap Ya Mama
DRY Soda Co.
Good Time Beverages
Greencore USA
Jaindl Turkey Farms
McCall Farms
Nuovo Pasta Productions
Brewery Ommegang
R.L. Schreiber
Venus Wafers Inc.
Casper’s Ice Cream
Restaurants: Smart Marketing
Extreme Pizza
Buffalo Wings & Rings
Fatburger North America Inc.
Famous Famiglia
Francesca’s Restaurants Inc.
Aurelio’s Pizza
Yoshinoya America
Crepe Delicious
FREEB!RDS World Burrito
Razzoo’s Cajun Café
Independent Restaurants
Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant
The Alicart Restaurant Group
The Optimist
The Olive Tree Italian Restaurant
The Epicurean Group
Salty’s Seafood Grills
Retailers: Shopper Marketing
Weigel’s Inc.
Royal Buying Group
The Last Page

Food and Drink - Fall/Winter 2012