Three new restaurants recently opened in Atlanta and Sandy Springs, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
All three are following CDC- and state-mandated and recommended health and safety guidelines brought on by the outbreak. Here's a rundown:
Botica by Chef Mimmo, which opened Jan. 1 in the former Watershed space in Buckhead, is owned by Mimmo Alboumeh. Pronounced “boh-tee-kah,” which means “boutique” in Spanish, it bills itself as “a sophisticated bodega” specializing in Mexican and Spanish cuisine, according to its website.
Alboumeh, who founded and co-owned Red Pepper Taqueria, which has locations in Buckhead, Decatur and Brookhaven, left that business last year to start Botica. In an interview, he said the 5,002-square-foot space, located in The Brookwood building at 1820 Peachtree Road, drew him in.
“I loved the place when I walked in,” Alboumeh said. “The energy was in here. I could visualize it: the great assets, great location, great neighborhood, heart of Buckhead, everybody knows my name in Buckhead. But the vibe that I got (was) that I can make magic in here.”
Alboumeh, who grew up in Lebanon, Italy and Spain and worked in Spanish restaurants in Spain and in Mexican eateries in metro Atlanta, drew on that experience to open Botica. While the menu includes both Mexican and Spanish fare, its star is the section of 10 street tacos. In September Alboumeh spent four days in Mexico City eating at “about 30 different places” as part of Botica’s “research and development.”
“I felt the right magic combination would not necessarily make it a tapas menu but we could make a big appetizers section besides sides of chips and salsa,” he said. “You can have an octopus, chorizo, ceviche. Then you make some classic dishes like (chicken) tamales canasta, which is what they sell in the street (in Mexico).”
Alboumeh, who said he got an excellent deal on his lease, is confident Botica will survive amid the pandemic because it’s a large enough space, with indoor and outdoor seating, to succeed even at 50% capacity due to COVID-related restrictions.
“Sooner or later things are going to come back to normal,” he said.
Alboumeh added he brought his entire management team from Red Pepper to Botica.
For more information, visit www.eatbotica.com.
Mujō, which opened as a popup Japanese restaurant inside the Cooks & Soldiers eatery in west Midtown, is getting a home of its own.
Part of the Castellucci Hospitality Group, it is expected to open nearby at 691 14th St., Suite C, in west Midtown in mid-2021. Designed by Elizabeth Ingram Studio, Mujō’s new 1,500-square-foot space will include a six-seat bar, 23 total seats of private dining space and a sushi bar.
Led by New York sushi chef J. Trent Harris, Mujō “will embody the same level of elevated creativity, spirit and refinement as that of its to-go only inception while offering a fully realized omakase experience,” according to a news release.
Its two-tiered menu will include modern edomae sushi and kappo-style hot and cold dishes influenced by Japanese traditions of kaiseki and washoku as well as from the chef's own eclectic background. Seafood is sourced straight from Japan, and dishes will feature local seasonal produce and meat and a curated beverage program focusing on sake, wines and craft cocktails.
“Our fascination with creating a unique-to-Atlanta concept outside of our comfort zone has been years in the making,” Castellucci CEO Fred Castellucci said in the release. “After befriending chef Harris at one of his omakase dinners during his New York days, we committed to the future idea of working together to create a less pretentious, hospitality-driven approach to omakase dining.
“While the pandemic threw a big wrench into our plans, I’m so proud of this partnership and what we have been able to accomplish with Mujō so far. After such a difficult year, we’re thankful to everyone who embraced our newest venture and are eager to bring it home in an even bigger way in 2021.”
For more information, visit www.mujoatl.com.
Wing It On!
Wing It On!, a Waterbury, Connecticut-based franchise restaurant concept, opened its first Georgia location in Sandy Springs Dec. 7.
Known for its fresh, never-frozen, all-natural wings ’n wiches, the eatery is located at 8290 Roswell Road, Suite 200, and offers takeout and third-party delivery daily. The company plans to open a handful of other locations in the Peach State in the future, but they have not been set yet.
“I’m thrilled to add another Wing It On! location to the map and make our entrance into Georgia,” Wing It On! founder and CEO Matt Ensero said in a news release. “Our dedication and commitment to exceptional wings, award-winning sauces and a phenomenal customer experience is a perfect fit for local foodies and wing fans in Sandy Springs. The future looks bright for us here in Georgia.”
In a quest to create the best wing experience, Ensero founded the restaurant in the 2011 after spending several years in which he and his friends “would argue every football Sunday about who was driving 30-plus minutes to pick up wings from some of their favorite spots in nearby towns,” the release stated. “However, the distance and low-quality product would always result in soggy and cold wings once they got home.”
He opened the first Wing It On! in his hometown of Waterbury, Connecticut, and the concept is known for only the freshest and crispiest of wings that true wing fans crave. In addition to its famous buffalo-style wings, Wing It On! also serves chicken sandwiches and customizable seasoned fries.
For more information, visit www.wingiton.com.