Your 3rd Spot, the 30,000-square-foot “Eatertainment” venue, opened its doors in Atlanta’s Upper Westside this fall. Guests enjoy such features as dozens of games and Match and Connect, which facilitates meetings between guests based on their personalities and other factors. But they also encounter a 20-dish menu of globally inspired small plates designed to spark conversations, spearheaded by Atlanta native, Director of Culinary Innovation & Executive Chef Stuart Rogers.
“Dining out has changed so much in the last few years, and we have paid attention to how consumers view this experience. In most restaurants, it seems the conversation stops when the food arrives so people can eat their entrees. We realized this was the opposite effect that we wanted so we’ve created a space and menu with shareable items that evoke conversation and not stop it. Our time out is so finite that we can’t afford any connection downtime,” says Rogers, whose resume includes a stint as lead line cook for chef Ford Fry’s Atlanta restaurants JCT Kitchen and The Optimist, chef at Aria, executive chef at Oak Steakhouse and chef de cuisine at acclaimed Midtown spot Lyla Lila.
“The days of long menus are over. We are in a digital world that allows us to change our menus often so our focus can be on creativity, sourcing the best local ingredients, showcasing seasonal flavors and speed of service while maintaining superior quality,” he continues. “Creating small plates allows guests to be a bit more adventurous with the dish rather than gambling on one item, you have many dishes coming out that people tend to be more open to. Guests tend to stay in their comfort zones with entrees, and we want them to try new, exciting things. When they try something new, they form a memory and that’s what we are in the business of doing.”
The key to that approach, Rogers says, is redefining what guests can expect from a restaurant that doubles as an entertainment venue. “When you think of an entertainment venue, you don’t think of a chef-driven menu,” he says. “We are changing this perception with a very unconventional menu that elevates what we know consumers want. There will always be several core items, but our team is given autonomy to create new dishes that allow the local flavors to shine through.”
“And our price point is extremely competitive, relative to the product we’re delivering,” he adds, “We want to give our guests the opportunity to try new things without having to break their wallets.”
Among the options Rogers is eager for guests to try:
Smoky Pork Ribs- sticky plum glaze, crispy shallots and sesame seeds
Blue Crab Fritters- pickled pepper tartar sauce and shoestring potatoes
Wagyu Beef Tartare - shoyu mustard seeds, umami mayo, pickled carrot, cured egg yolk and puffed sushi rice
Other options Rogers is excited about include the smoked bone-on beef rib (with sesame chili crunch, pickled red onion, house kimchi, and butter lettuce cups; Thai-style pork dumplings (with lemongrass, ginger, coconut, green curry, fried garlic, lime, and mint); and the crispy potato torpedoes (with a deviled egg mousse, smoked caviar, togarashi and chives).
Although Rogers is the face of the kitchen, he’s quick to point out the contributions of his team. “We’ve put together a pretty stellar, all-star culinary cast,” he says. “Among them, we’ve got Zoe Simon, a tenacious, adaptable leader in the kitchen; Anna Daniels, one of the best pasta makers in the city; and my executive sous chef, Ryan Hart, an absurdly talented and passionate chef with whom I’ve developed an unspoken rhythm. Menus change often, but your team should be long-lasting. As passionate as we are about food, nothing tops the passion we have for our people.”
Toward that end, he’s proud of the kitchen’s “Y3S, Chef” program, in which line cooks pitch dishes to Rogers and the chef team. The winning dish is added to the menu for 30 days and is given a special section on the menu with the cook’s name and a little bit of the dish’s history. “It’s an opportunity to showcase what our team members are passionate about, and that collaborative spirit is extremely important to me,” he says. “That’s when you get the best ideas, when everyone feels a sense of purpose, knows they are valued and encouraged to contribute. I have been lucky to work with so many talented chefs who gave me that opportunity, and it is now my mission to do so with our team”
While Rogers is excited for guests to experience and enjoy Your 3rd Spot’s menu, he says, its success will be determined by how well it serves the company’s mission of helping people make connections and forge a sense of community.
“We’ve created this adult-style playground with beautiful food, great drinks, and a fantastic, tech-driven environment,” he says. “There’s been two and a half years of thought and hard work going into this. There’s nothing else like it in the city.”
News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by WTWH Media LLC.