Grazing: A first look at Social Vinings

Paul Albrecht and son Patrick open a second restaurant

There are certain things one doesn’t expect to see these days and among them are new, huge restaurants with fairly pricey menus. But that’s exactly what Social Vinings (3621 Vinings Slope Dr., Suite 4100, 770-432-9772) is.

Of course, it’s true that Paul Albrecht (of Pano’s and Paul’s fame) and his son Patrick have struggled to get Social open for a year – before the economy began its unprecedented dive toward Ramen noodles and canned soup. Social joins their other restaurant, Paul’s, as part of their Great Food Group. (A third is planned next year, like Paul’s, in Peachtree Hills.

The new restaurant is located in the Vinings Main development. It is 6,500 sq. ft. with a large bar space, a dining room replete with a sushi bar and several private dining rooms. It was open only a few days when I visited and a sign had not even been installed.

The restaurant’s website describes the décor as “a combination of old European style such as heavy wood and plaster-like textures to burgundy-colored glass and some iron work.”

Um, okay, but to me, it looked like a gigantic, relatively barren hotel restaurant with more windows than the Crystal Cathedral. It’s nice that you can tuck yourself away in a comfy booth and have a conversation, but the ambiance is really chilly. Perhaps the fact that the place was virtually empty when we visited contributed to that effect.

(Photo by James Camp)