Juniper Cafe, the much-anticipated modern Vietnamese cafe and bakery from Ron Hsu, Aaron Phillips and Carl Van Tyle Gilbert, will open for breakfast and dinner on Wednesday, December 15 at Westside Village (2260 Marietta Blvd NW, Suite 100), where Marietta Boulevard meets Moores Mill in Atlanta’s West Midtown neighborhood. Hsu and Phillips are chef-partners behind Atlanta’s acclaimed Lazy Betty in Candler Park, and Van Tyle Gilbert is general manager and beverage director at Lazy Betty.
The casual, colorful restaurant will offer breakfast and dinner at opening, with lunch to come, and feature Vietnamese specialties, like pho, noodle salad (bún), banh mis, summer rolls and house made sausages, as well as made-from-scratch pastries and Coconut Shaved Ice – razor thin shaved ice infused with coconut and topped with mochi, fresh strawberries & mango, plus the option to add a scoop of pineapple ice cream. Timothy Rufino – formerly a senior line cook at Lazy Betty – will helm the kitchen as executive chef.
Gilbert will manage a full beverage program, with a focus on cocktails incorporating Vietnamese flavors and ingredients, wines from across the globe, sake, Lunar hard seltzer, makgeolli, soju, sochu, baiju and great beer from Asia. A non-alcoholic beverage menu will offer guests craft natural sodas – like Kumquat & Yuzu soda with lime, light agave, thai basil & black pepper, and Acerola soda with black tea, lemon, dark agave & lavender – plus a robust coffee, espresso and tea selection for all-day imbibing.
From local architecture and interior design firm PRAXIS3, the restaurant’s design will include modern takes on traditional forms with stepped ceiling elements reminiscent of the terraced Vietnamese countryside and a patio structure that will incorporate interpretations of time-honored details from historic Vietnamese homes. Two patio spaces will include seating as well as an outdoor takeout window for pastries, coffee and to-go food and drinks to enjoy on the go or around the property. The finish palette will boast bright tones for a fun and light-hearted interior to complement the locally sourced, fresh menu items. Casual and relaxed furniture will further Juniper Cafe’s relatable and family-oriented approach for a comfortable dining experience. Named for Hsu’s niece, Juniper Cafe is also a nod to the popular Midtown Atlanta street.
An Atlanta native, Ron grew up working in his family’s Chinese restaurants. He was formally trained in French technique during his culinary education and served as executive chef of Le Colonial, the French-Vietnamese restaurant in NYC, in addition to working as creative director at Chef Eric Ripert’s Michelin-starred Le Bernardin, where he met Phillips. Phillips has also spent time in the kitchen at NYC’s Bouley, Jean-Georges’ The Mark Restaurant and The Four Seasons Hotel and at Atlas Restaurant in Atlanta.
With the opening of Juniper Cafe, Phillips now serves as Lazy Betty’s executive chef and acts as Juniper Cafe’s corporate chef; Hsu is the culinary director for the two restaurants, and Gilbert is the beverage director for both concepts. The same team will also open Humble Pie, a family-friendly neighborhood restaurant offering chef-driven American dishes, at The Interlock (1115 Howell Mill Rd, Suite P100) in spring 2022.
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