The story of Atlanta is one of rebirth. There’s a reason the city chose the phoenix as its symbol — rising from the ashes of Civil War-era destruction, Atlanta’s reinvented itself multiple times over. Perhaps Atlanta chef Kevin Ouzts, who is bringing a new restaurant called Barleygarden to Alpharetta’s Avalon this year, should consider adopting that same phoenix as his spirit animal.
Ouzts is the talented Atlanta chef whose life has recently been inspired by two other animals. As the chef behind the charcuterie and butcher shop, The Spotted Trotter, the pig might best be his guiding beast. But then there’s also the cockentrice to consider — it’s a weird medieval dish that made by sewing together half of a pig and half of a large bird like a goose or swan. (Consider it an early version of stunt food, perfect before Instagram before Instagram was a thing.) It was also the namesake of the restaurant Ouzts opened in Krog Street Market in the intown neighborhood Inman Park. The Cockentrice, along with an accompanying Spotted Trotter outpost and a hot dog stand called Frankly, closed late last year. His home base, his popular butcher shop is open for retail business in Kirkwood. “The main focus of where we are right now is to make The Spotted Trotter the amazing business it is meant to be,” said Ouzts. “Leaving that business for two-plus years to open a restaurant allowed for us to see a lot of amazing things, most of all, it gave us the ability to know what’s most important and how to make it great.”
Out of last year’s closures comes opportunity, and Ouzts has spent time catering, focusing on Spotted Trotter projects, and refining the Barleygarden project. It’s a craft-beer-focused restaurant that is the brainchild of Kraig Torres of Hop City. Kevin is onsulting on the Food and Kitchen/ It’ll be part of the open-air mall development’s second phase. When Barleygarden opens, it’ll offer OTP diners a wide selection of craft beers local, regional and international, all of which can be enjoyed in an attractive main dining room, front-facing patio and an open-air rooftop deck, similar in style to Avalon’s existing wine bar Cru.
“Branching into both North Fulton and the dynamic Atlanta restaurant scene is a natural next step for Hop City,” says Kraig Torres, founder of Hop City. “Our vast selection of draft beers has been a great success at Krog Street Market and we know the Avalon community will enjoy spending evenings on our rooftop patio, sipping local beer and enjoying gourmet food.”
All the meat-based menu items, heavy on hand-held and “snackable” dishes, on the Barleygarden menu will be locally sourced, and the Ouzts’ Spotted Trotter will supply a good amount of items created especially for the restaurant.
“Our signature menu item is a ‘bratburger,'” says Ouzts. “[It’s] a delicious round patty of bratwurst-style ground pork and beef that blurs the line between America’s love of the hamburger and every tailgater’s dream, it’s delicious.”
This new phase of Avalon’s expansion will see a number of new eateries open, including a seafood restaurant called Brine Fish House and an outpost of Sandy Springs Persian restaurant, Rumi’s Kitchen.
“At Avalon, we’ve worked hard to create a best-in-class mix of restaurants from Atlanta’s most innovative chefs and entrepreneurs,” says Mark Toro, a managing partner at North American Properties, the company that developed Avalon. “Barleygarden Kitchen and Craft Bar’s incredible selection of beer and other craft beverages along with its new culinary offerings will add another destination-worthy dining experience for our guests, residents and office workers.”
And while a beer-focused restaurant might sound like an adults-only approach, Ouzts says Barleygarden’s aim is to be an inviting spot open to everyone. “All our menu items are designed to be paired with beer,” he says, emphasizing the concept driving the menu, “although many of them are family-friendly too.”