Buttermilk Kitchen, the first restaurant by Suzanne Vizethann of Chopped, BYOBakeshop and The Hungry Peach fame, is set to open in September (or at the latest, October 1). A breakfast and lunch spot in the old Cafe at Pharr building near Chastain Park, Buttermilk Kitchen will open for dinner (fried chicken) one night each week. Described as "more than a restaurant," Buttermilk Kitchen will serve as a vehicle for educating the public about where their (seasonal, locally sourced) food comes from, according to Vizethann. Here, she provides insight into the restaurant's offerings, atmosphere and more.
What dishes can we expect at Buttermilk Kitchen? Any of your Hungry Peach favorites?
Expect staple dishes with a twist and showcasing technique. Examples include pork belly BLT, blueberry cobbler stuffed pancakes, eggs benedict with country ham and red eye hollandaise, and sous vide flank steak and eggs.
What will the interior look like?
We are going for a really rustic look. Bone white walls with exposed brick and beams. We found the original hardwoods, which we are restoring in the main dining room, and we have a local artist that is going to personalize the restaurant with a mural and some other fun design and signage.
How will your experiences being on Chopped and working on the BYOBakeshop events be reflected in Buttermilk?
The BYOB events helped get me used to cooking in the spotlight and to the public. Winning Chopped really changed my life and gave me the confidence needed to be a successful chef. Fear is probably the biggest thing that stands in the way in this industry and it taught me that you have to face fears and take chances. This experience also led me to pursue stages (working for free) in several different restaurants around the country. Since Chopped I have worked in over 12 restaurants and started a blog about the experience, http://aonenightstage.wordpress.com. Through staging I have met the most incredible people and have learned so much about different types of food and technique from some of the country's top chefs.
Are you nervous about opening a restaurant? Why the sudden shift from catering?
Sure I am nervous but mostly excited. Catering was never in the initial cards at the Hungry Peach but with the café being private and being in a niche market, demand for our catering became consistent. I am a classically trained chef and just wasn’t fulfilled anymore with the type of food we were doing. The Hungry Peach is great and I love what we have accomplished there but I want to continue to challenge myself and grow as a chef.
Tell us about the Fried Chicken Night. What exactly will the offering be?
All of the chicken will come from Grassroots Farm outside of Athens. Grassroots will provide us with pasture-raised, local and sustainable chicken. The main purpose of the fried chicken dinner is to not just nurture the public with a delicious meal but to support the farmer and the farm where the chickens are raised. We hope to educate our customers on where the food is actually coming from. Our staff will take a field trip to the farm so they know exactly where the food is coming from and how it gets to our table. The exact logistics of the fried chicken isn’t completely ironed out; but it will include sides, dessert and some sort of salad or appetizer that will change weekly highlighting seasonal ingredients. It will be BYOB and guests are encouraged to take a tour of the kitchen and ask the chefs questions.
Are you applying for a liquor license? Any boozy brunches in the works?
Due to our opening at the end of the year we will not serve alcohol. Our fried chicken dinner will be BYOB and we may or may not offer BYOB on the weekend; just going to see how it goes and what the demand is.
Who else will be in the kitchen with you? Anyone we know?
We are still in the hiring phases but I did hire a sous chef that I met while staging at Wylie Dufresne’s WD-50. He is moving from New York to take the job and I could not be more excited for him to join the team.
Anything else we should know?
Buttermilk Kitchen is not just going to be just a restaurant. My goal is to also make it an educational experience for not only our staff but for our customers as well. We are trying to open the kitchen up as much as possible and encourage guests to walk through the kitchen to see what we are up to. It is very important to me to teach the staff and customers on where their food comes from.
· Let Buttermilk Kitchen Make You Breakfast This Fall [-EATL-]