Chefs Ron Hsu and Aaron Phillips, the owners behind Candler Park tasting menu restaurant Lazy Betty, open Vietnamese restaurant and bakery Juniper Cafe at Westside Village in Bolton this summer. Hsu and Phillips partnered with Lazy Betty general manager and beverage director Carl Van Tyle Gilbert in the northwest Atlanta restaurant.
The trio tapped chef Tim Rufino, currently a senior line cook at Lazy Betty, to lead the kitchen at Juniper Cafe, which will serve pho, noodle salads (bún), banh mi, sausages, and summer rolls alongside fresh pastries and shaved ice desserts. In addition to coffee, tea, and house-made sodas, look for cocktails using Vietnamese flavors and ingredients from Gilbert as well as beer and French and American wines on the beverage menu.
Once open, Juniper Cafe will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner and feature indoor seating and two patios — one with a takeout window for pastries, coffee, and to-go food and drinks.
The more casual Juniper Cafe is a departure from Hsu and Phillips’ fine dining background, which includes stints at chef Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin, Jean-Georges’ the Mark Restaurant, and Le Colonial in New York City.
The pair opened Lazy Betty in 2019, paying tribute to Hsu’s late mother Betty, a longtime Atlanta restaurateur who owned five Chinese restaurants throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Hsu siblings, Howard and Anita, own Sweet Auburn BBQ in Poncey-Highland. The “lazy” in the restaurant’s name refers to a family joke poking fun at their mother’s need to stay active and busy, even after retiring. Juniper Cafe is named for Hsu’s niece and for the tree-lined street populated with historic homes and restaurants in Midtown.
Phillips now leads the kitchen at Lazy Betty and will also act as corporate chef for Juniper Cafe, while Hsu takes on the role of culinary director for both restaurants.
Until Juniper Cafe opens this summer, Hsu and Phillips will host pop-ups at Lazy Betty, something the chefs did for months prior to opening the Candler Park restaurant. The first pop-up takes place Tuesday, April 13, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Howard and Anita Hsu were to open their latest restaurant Amar Bien at Westside Village, but ended up abandoning those plans. “We decided to shift gears. We think it’s a great neighborhood and love that Juniper Cafe is opening at the property,” Howard Hsu tells Eater. “Amar Bien is still in the works, and we are looking for the perfect spot for the concept.”
The team behind Marlow’s Tavern opened the Woodall in February at Westside Village serving steaks, pasta, seafood, and cocktails. A third location of popular coffeehouse Spiller Park Coffee opens this fall in a new portion of the Publix-anchored Moores Mill Center complex just north of Westside Village.
2250 Marietta Boulevard, Atlanta. juniper-cafe.com.