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Chef's Table - Location, Location, Location

Marc Weinburg, a partner at the Shopping Center Group, calls himself a "tenant rep." He helps restaurateurs find the right digs for their eateries.

Creative Loafing: Who have you scouted locations for?

Weinburg: I work mostly with national and regional tenants like Starbucks, TGI Friday's, PF Chang's, Brio, along with a few independent chefs I like - Kevin Rathbun, Bob Amick.

If you want to open a restaurant, what's the process?

First I consult with the restaurateur to do a market analysis. Who are they looking for? What economic range? What age? I help them understand where that customer is so we can come up with a strategy of where to locate and how to optimize the revenues to be pulled out of the market.

So that old "location, location, location" saying is true?

It's 100 percent true, with an asterisk. It needs to be the right location for each concept. You can't put Jason's Deli where you put an independent chef. They are in the same solar system, but in two different worlds that never cross. They market and operate differently.

What are the booming locations for a big-box chain restaurant?

Hot locations for national chains are the Perimeter and North Point, where the demographics are as good as it gets in Atlanta - around the regional malls, where people gather. There's a real herd mentality for those restaurants and it works.

And what's hot for the independents?

Downtown, the Old Fourth Ward and the area bounded by Edgewood, including Castleberry Hill and Marietta Street. Kevin Rathbun really proved that, for the right product, people will come.

What about certain spots that seem cursed? I'm thinking of the old Peachtree Cafe location.

It's usually a confluence of things. In the case of the former Peachtree Cafe, it worked at the time because the community supported it and there was enough parking. Buckhead Village was initially what it was intended to be and what the West Village is now, which is why East Andrews Cafe is successful. As the area became more of a late-night bar scene and crime issues rose, the community stayed away. Capital Grille has succeeded by literally rising above the fray.

chefstable@creativeloafing.com



More By This Writer

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What did you do before bartending?

I went to bartending school when I became disillusioned with teaching. I discovered there is significantly more money in it. I was in grad school studying philosophy.

Does your educational background help with your job?

Philosophy is the practice of how to think in a cosmopolitan manner, different ways to view the world and different people from a detached perspective. A bartender's most important skill is to be chameleon-like and engage people on their own terms.

Explain the enduring appeal of a kitschy Polynesian bar in the basement of a downtown hotel.

There's a certain authenticity to the fakeness of Trader Vic's. It's a representation of what was popular 40 years ago. It has a radically different atmosphere than any other bar in city.

I've got this image that customers are either hard-bitten booze-hounds or students.

It ranges. We get a lot of the hip Little Five Points crowd, students from Georgia State, SunTrust people and the occasional old couple who got engaged at Trader Vic's 30 years ago.

Are there more locals or conventioneers?

It varies widely. In our slower periods, we get a lot of regulars who are not necessarily tiki-philes but who like the oasis it provides.

Any misconceptions you want to clear up? Like that women throw themselves at bartenders.

That's not really true. They flirt a lot, but I don't get many straightforward offers. I deflect that by mentioning my wife.

Are you more like Woody or Sam of "Cheers"?

Sam. I love baseball.

What's your most requested drink?

The Mai Tai was invented at Trader Vic's. It's a tart rum drink with fresh lime juice, simple syrup and gold and dark rum.

Does it come in a cool keepsake glass?

No, but our Samoan Fog Cutter does. It is served in a vase. It's a real favorite.

What should people order more of?

Brandy Alexander is a great drink with gin, crème de cacao and cream. No one under the age of 60 orders it.

I heard you won an award for your skills.

The editors of Creative Loafing named me Best Bartender in 2004.

Is this a long-term career? Will you be a senior pouring drinks?

The physical wear and tear is starting to get to me. If someone offers me a sit-down job, I'd consider it.

Trader Vic's, 255 Courtland St. 404-221-6339. www.tradervicsatlanta.com."
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I went to bartending school when I became disillusioned with teaching. I discovered there is significantly more money in it. I was in grad school studying philosophy.

__Does your educational background help with your job?__

Philosophy is the practice of how to think in a cosmopolitan manner, different ways to view the world and different people from a detached perspective. A bartender's most important skill is to be chameleon-like and engage people on their own terms.

__Explain the enduring appeal of a kitschy Polynesian bar in the basement of a downtown hotel.__

There's a certain authenticity to the fakeness of Trader Vic's. It's a representation of what was popular 40 years ago. It has a radically different atmosphere than any other bar in city.

__I've got this image that customers are either hard-bitten booze-hounds or students.__

It ranges. We get a lot of the hip Little Five Points crowd, students from Georgia State, SunTrust people and the occasional old couple who got engaged at Trader Vic's 30 years ago.

__Are there more locals or conventioneers?__

It varies widely. In our slower periods, we get a lot of regulars who are not necessarily tiki-philes but who like the oasis it provides.

Any misconceptions you want to clear up? Like that women throw themselves at bartenders.

That's not really true. They flirt a lot, but I don't get many straightforward offers. I deflect that by mentioning my wife.

Are you more like Woody or Sam of "Cheers"?

Sam. I love baseball.

__What's your most requested drink?__

The Mai Tai was invented at Trader Vic's. It's a tart rum drink with fresh lime juice, simple syrup and gold and dark rum.

__Does it come in a cool keepsake glass?__

No, but our Samoan Fog Cutter does. It is served in a vase. It's a real favorite.

__What should people order more of?__

Brandy Alexander is a great drink with gin, crème de cacao and cream. No one under the age of 60 orders it.

__I heard you won an award for your skills.__

The editors of Creative Loafing named me Best Bartender in 2004.

__Is this a long-term career? Will you be a senior pouring drinks?__

The physical wear and tear is starting to get to me. If someone offers me a sit-down job, I'd consider it.

Trader Vic's, 255 Courtland St. 404-221-6339. [http://www.tradervicsatlanta.com/|www.tradervicsatlanta.com]."
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What did you do before bartending?

I went to bartending school when I became disillusioned with teaching. I discovered there is significantly more money in it. I was in grad school studying philosophy.

Does your educational background help with your job?

Philosophy is the practice of how to think in a cosmopolitan manner, different ways to view the world and different people from a detached perspective. A bartender's most important skill is to be chameleon-like and engage people on their own terms.

Explain the enduring appeal of a kitschy Polynesian bar in the basement of a downtown hotel.

There's a certain authenticity to the fakeness of Trader Vic's. It's a representation of what was popular 40 years ago. It has a radically different atmosphere than any other bar in city.

I've got this image that customers are either hard-bitten booze-hounds or students.

It ranges. We get a lot of the hip Little Five Points crowd, students from Georgia State, SunTrust people and the occasional old couple who got engaged at Trader Vic's 30 years ago.

Are there more locals or conventioneers?

It varies widely. In our slower periods, we get a lot of regulars who are not necessarily tiki-philes but who like the oasis it provides.

Any misconceptions you want to clear up? Like that women throw themselves at bartenders.

That's not really true. They flirt a lot, but I don't get many straightforward offers. I deflect that by mentioning my wife.

Are you more like Woody or Sam of "Cheers"?

Sam. I love baseball.

What's your most requested drink?

The Mai Tai was invented at Trader Vic's. It's a tart rum drink with fresh lime juice, simple syrup and gold and dark rum.

Does it come in a cool keepsake glass?

No, but our Samoan Fog Cutter does. It is served in a vase. It's a real favorite.

What should people order more of?

Brandy Alexander is a great drink with gin, crème de cacao and cream. No one under the age of 60 orders it.

I heard you won an award for your skills.

The editors of Creative Loafing named me Best Bartender in 2004.

Is this a long-term career? Will you be a senior pouring drinks?

The physical wear and tear is starting to get to me. If someone offers me a sit-down job, I'd consider it.

Trader Vic's, 255 Courtland St. 404-221-6339. www.tradervicsatlanta.com.             13019085 1256212                          Chef's Table - Philosophy of booze "
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Article

Wednesday March 1, 2006 12:04 am EST
Joel Lindsey of Trader Vic's | more...
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Such as?

Lane cake. It's from Clayton, Ala., a yellow cake with a custardy filling of pecans, coconut and bourbon. I was doing research on iconic Southern desserts and now I consider myself an authority on lane cakes. Somebody recently called and asked if we made it. They had called every bakery in Atlanta and nobody knew what it was.

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When we first opened, we primarily offered salads and sandwiches. People started asking us to do hot things. They didn't have anywhere else to eat. So we have one featured hot plate, kind of meat-and-three-inspired but there's no choice. Think of it as you're coming to my house for dinner and here's what I fixed you."
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We were in San Francisco and we passed by an entire garden of blue-eyed daisies -- they are actual flowers with the classic white petals and a blue center -- in front of a Victorian. We said, "That might be a really good name for a bakeshop."

What's the concept?

Mayberry, but not hayseed. It's now easier to find French pastries in Atlanta than caramel cake. But I am very keen on keeping Southern traditional foodways alive. They conjure up memories. You have to eat them to save them. Otherwise, recipes die.

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Lane cake. It's from Clayton, Ala., a yellow cake with a custardy filling of pecans, coconut and bourbon. I was doing research on iconic Southern desserts and now I consider myself an authority on lane cakes. Somebody recently called and asked if we made it. They had called every bakery in Atlanta and nobody knew what it was.

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Where'd the name come from?

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Mayberry, but not hayseed. It's now easier to find French pastries in Atlanta than caramel cake. But I am very keen on keeping Southern traditional foodways alive. They conjure up memories. You have to eat them to save them. Otherwise, recipes die.

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Lane cake. It's from Clayton, Ala., a yellow cake with a custardy filling of pecans, coconut and bourbon. I was doing research on iconic Southern desserts and now I consider myself an authority on lane cakes. Somebody recently called and asked if we made it. They had called every bakery in Atlanta and nobody knew what it was.

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When we first opened, we primarily offered salads and sandwiches. People started asking us to do hot things. They didn't have anywhere else to eat. So we have one featured hot plate, kind of meat-and-three-inspired but there's no choice. Think of it as you're coming to my house for dinner and here's what I fixed you.             13018811 1255669                          Chef's Table - Blue-eyed soul "
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Article

Wednesday February 15, 2006 12:04 am EST
Blue-Eyed Daisy Bakeshop | more...
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What's the best thing about waitressing?</
Immediate cash gratification.</
Where else have you worked?</
I was a car hop at A&W Root Beer in high school in Montana. I was a cocktail waitress, a bartender, I worked banquets. The cash is a little addictive.</
In an industry notorious for turnover, why have you stayed so long?</
Restaurant years are like dog years, you know? But I am real blessed; chef/owner Marla Adams is easy to work for and I have a lot of respect for the product we put out. I can sell with confidence. And we have an extremely loyal clientele and that helps personalize the service. It's more satisfying.</
Got a horror story to share?</
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What can we do to be better patrons?</
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Any pet peeves?</
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What about waitrons, off-duty, eating out?</
They are the dream table. They know how to order and know how to tip.</
Babette's Cafe, 573 N. Highland Ave. 404-523-9121. www.babettescafe.com.</
chefstable@creativeloafing.com







































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What's the best thing about waitressing?</
Immediate cash gratification.</
Where else have you worked?</
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In an industry notorious for turnover, why have you stayed so long?</
Restaurant years are like dog years, you know? But I am real blessed; chef/owner Marla Adams is easy to work for and I have a lot of respect for the product we put out. I can sell with confidence. And we have an extremely loyal clientele and that helps personalize the service. It's more satisfying.</
Got a horror story to share?</
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There's a myth that women don't tip as well as men.</
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What about waitrons, off-duty, eating out?</
They are the dream table. They know how to order and know how to tip.</
Babette's Cafe, 573 N. Highland Ave. 404-523-9121. www.babettescafe.com.</
chefstable@creativeloafing.com







































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Article

Wednesday February 8, 2006 12:04 am EST

Ginny Butler says the industry fondly refers to her as a "PW," professional waitron. She has worked nine years at Babette's, five nights a week.</
What's the best thing about waitressing?</
Immediate cash gratification.</
Where else have you worked?</
I was a car hop at A&W Root Beer in high school in Montana. I was a cocktail waitress, a bartender, I worked banquets. The cash is a little...

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What exactly do you do?

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How does one become a food stylist?

I started by teaching cooking. They didn't really call us stylists then. I would prepare food for TV commercials, but I wasn't real excited about the stuff — it was inedible. You had to bury the food so dogs wouldn't eat it.

Yeah, I've heard there are so many tricks of the trade.

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Tell me some tricks.

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What's the toughest food to work with?

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So does anyone ever eat the food on shoots?

As soon as the shoot is complete, the TV crew comes out of woodwork. You never knew so many people worked there.

I know you have worked on some cookbooks.

Cookbooks have come into their own. They are more than collections of recipes: They are culture, art and history. I've worked with Naomi Judd, Jean Georges Vongerichten, Patty LaBelle, Isaac Hayes.

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Julia Child paid me the biggest compliment. After we had been to three TV stations, she asked if she could take the chocolate cheesecake I had made for a luncheon gift. It had been photographed all morning. I only wish I had had a fresh one to give her."
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__How does one become a food stylist?__

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__Yeah, I've heard there are so many tricks of the trade.__

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__Tell me some tricks.__

Ice cream won't hold up under lights. We might use mashed potatoes instead and spray them with glycerin to make them look cold and frosty. Meat gets dry, so we brush it with oil, we paint it on, so it looks juicy. We spray vegetables with water to give them a nice, fresh look and keep them bright and colorful, like in the grocery store.

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__I know you have worked on some cookbooks.__

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What exactly do you do?

Prepare food, get it ready for a photo shoot and keep it looking good under hot lights.

How does one become a food stylist?

I started by teaching cooking. They didn't really call us stylists then. I would prepare food for TV commercials, but I wasn't real excited about the stuff — it was inedible. You had to bury the food so dogs wouldn't eat it.

Yeah, I've heard there are so many tricks of the trade.

Food photographs funny. When you are making a commercial, you don't always get it right on the first, second or third try. You have to keep the food coming. It starts to look shopworn.

Tell me some tricks.

Ice cream won't hold up under lights. We might use mashed potatoes instead and spray them with glycerin to make them look cold and frosty. Meat gets dry, so we brush it with oil, we paint it on, so it looks juicy. We spray vegetables with water to give them a nice, fresh look and keep them bright and colorful, like in the grocery store.

What's the toughest food to work with?

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So does anyone ever eat the food on shoots?

As soon as the shoot is complete, the TV crew comes out of woodwork. You never knew so many people worked there.

I know you have worked on some cookbooks.

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Article

Wednesday February 1, 2006 12:04 am EST

Food stylist Gloria Smiley has logged some long days making all sorts of food look mouth-watering on paper and on TV for 20 years.

What exactly do you do?

Prepare food, get it ready for a photo shoot and keep it looking good under hot lights.

How does one become a food stylist?

I started by teaching cooking. They didn't really call us stylists then. I would prepare food for TV commercials,...

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Interesting that your last name is a vegetable that crops up on menus.

My name as kismet? I've worked around the hospitality business most of my life, but never actually in restaurants, except McDonald's when I was 16. I love the restaurant industry. I love spices. The herb that I am, I enjoy.

I understand some of what you do includes lobbying.

Mostly public education, about 25 percent is lobbying. The majority of my time, I help my clients understand how the system works and what the regulatory and legislative rules are to abide by. I help educate restaurants so they don't get into problems.

What exactly have you recently lobbied for? I am thinking of the smoking ban.

I shared experiences from my client restaurants, like what percentage of people ask for a smoking table. We gave information to policymakers so they had enough data to make decisions. I sat on a task force for nearly a year.

What are key pending initiatives?

Immigration. Several pieces of legislation were introduced last session by suburban and exurban Atlanta legislators concerned about the increased influx of undocumented workers. I am looking after hospitality interests. Several things they may do could have unintended consequences. We are watching carefully.

What would I be surprised to know about the industry?

About 20 million meals are served every day in Georgia. If every person who worked in hospitality was registered and voted consistently, there is nobody we couldn't elect — or unelect. Hospitality is the second largest employer in the state and number one in metro Atlanta. There might be an issue about service or about smoking, but there is rarely an issue about the delivery of quality food. Nobody gets harmed or sick. That's a remarkable achievement. I marvel about how we do it.

chefstable@creativeloafing.com"
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Interesting that your last name is a vegetable that crops up on menus.

My name as kismet? I've worked around the hospitality business most of my life, but never actually in restaurants, except McDonald's when I was 16. I love the restaurant industry. I love spices. The herb that I am, I enjoy.

I understand some of what you do includes lobbying.

Mostly public education, about 25 percent is lobbying. The majority of my time, I help my clients understand how the system works and what the regulatory and legislative rules are to abide by. I help educate restaurants so they don't get into problems.

What exactly have you recently lobbied for? I am thinking of the smoking ban.

I shared experiences from my client restaurants, like what percentage of people ask for a smoking table. We gave information to policymakers so they had enough data to make decisions. I sat on a task force for nearly a year.

What are key pending initiatives?

Immigration. Several pieces of legislation were introduced last session by suburban and exurban Atlanta legislators concerned about the increased influx of undocumented workers. I am looking after hospitality interests. Several things they may do could have unintended consequences. We are watching carefully.

What would I be surprised to know about the industry?

About 20 million meals are served every day in Georgia. If every person who worked in hospitality was registered and voted consistently, there is nobody we couldn't elect -- or unelect. Hospitality is the second largest employer in the state and number one in metro Atlanta. There might be an issue about service or about smoking, but there is rarely an issue about the delivery of quality food. Nobody gets harmed or sick. That's a remarkable achievement. I marvel about how we do it.

''[mailto:chefstable@creativeloafing.com|chefstable@creativeloafing.com]''"
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  string(2436) "    Ron D. Fennel, government and public affairs consultant   2006-01-25T05:04:00+00:00 Chef's Table - Capitol gains for restaurants   Suzanne Wright 1224027 2006-01-25T05:04:00+00:00  Ron D. Fennel is the president of Georgia Capitol Associates, a government and public affairs consulting firm that has represented a variety of hospitality clients, including the Georgia Restaurant Association, the Georgia Hotel and Lodging Association, and the Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.

Interesting that your last name is a vegetable that crops up on menus.

My name as kismet? I've worked around the hospitality business most of my life, but never actually in restaurants, except McDonald's when I was 16. I love the restaurant industry. I love spices. The herb that I am, I enjoy.

I understand some of what you do includes lobbying.

Mostly public education, about 25 percent is lobbying. The majority of my time, I help my clients understand how the system works and what the regulatory and legislative rules are to abide by. I help educate restaurants so they don't get into problems.

What exactly have you recently lobbied for? I am thinking of the smoking ban.

I shared experiences from my client restaurants, like what percentage of people ask for a smoking table. We gave information to policymakers so they had enough data to make decisions. I sat on a task force for nearly a year.

What are key pending initiatives?

Immigration. Several pieces of legislation were introduced last session by suburban and exurban Atlanta legislators concerned about the increased influx of undocumented workers. I am looking after hospitality interests. Several things they may do could have unintended consequences. We are watching carefully.

What would I be surprised to know about the industry?

About 20 million meals are served every day in Georgia. If every person who worked in hospitality was registered and voted consistently, there is nobody we couldn't elect — or unelect. Hospitality is the second largest employer in the state and number one in metro Atlanta. There might be an issue about service or about smoking, but there is rarely an issue about the delivery of quality food. Nobody gets harmed or sick. That's a remarkable achievement. I marvel about how we do it.

chefstable@creativeloafing.com             13018694 1255425                          Chef's Table - Capitol gains for restaurants "
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Article

Wednesday January 25, 2006 12:04 am EST
Ron D. Fennel, government and public affairs consultant | more...
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