Anyone who follows Atlanta cuisine will be well-acquainted with Ron Eyester, alum of Top Chef Season 12 and former proprietor of now-shuttered Highlands favorites Rosebud and The Family Dog.
Eyester is back in full force with his latest venture, Southern Bistro in Sandy Springs, an homage to fine Southern food in a relaxed, approachable atmosphere.
The Southern Bistro space was previously occupied by Nancy G’s, a local cafe lead by husband-and-wife duo Colman & Nancy Goodrich. The pair invited Eyester to join as chef & revamp the menu with some new-found Southern flair, including a focus on a strong brunch program (undoubtedly Eyester’s speciality).
The brunch menu is ambitious but unassuming, with a selection wide enough to please both the health-conscious (order the avocado toast on grilled multigrain bread) and the savory brunch lover (Eyester brings back The Big Nasty, a buttermilk fried chicken breakfast sandwich revered from his days at Rosebud).
Starting in November, Southern Bistro is introducing a “pre-fixe” brunch menu – for $20 on Saturdays & Sundays, you’ll get a first course (offerings like salmon spread with grilled bread, sweet potato hashbrowns, grits with sorghum bacon-jam), a second main course (breakfast burger, house cured salmon omelet), and a choice of a mimosa or Bloody Mary.
The first & second course options will change weekly, with seasonal specials and new creations that Eyester dreams up on the spot (another one of his talents). During my visit, he brought out bananas foster pancakes – they weren’t on the menu, but he had the hankering to make them – and boy, was I glad he did.
If dinner is more of your fancy, Eyester introduces a bit of French flair into the bistro-style menu, elevating Southern favorites like shrimp & grits and fried chicken (Springer Mountain, of course). Don’t miss the delicate hangar steak or hearty gulf shrimp, served with andouille sausage and a hearty low-country inspired tomato pan gravy.
Eyester has also featured a beautiful Bay of Fundy salmon during brunch, lunch, and dinner service – this particular type of salmon hails from the North Atlantic around Nova Scotia, with distinct marbling due to the bay’s rough waters.
The fare feels familiar but at times a bit surprising – it’s a much-needed modern take on Southern cuisine that introduces unorthodox flair to traditional favorites.
Pro tip – if you’re a dog lover, Southern Bistro has a fantastic outdoor patio that’s dog friendly, even serving up a small menu just for your four-legged friend. Pups are always welcome – swing by for brunch outside with Fido before the weather gets too cold!