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#014

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

November 15, 2011

Featuring:
Bill Johnson, Steven Satterfield, Marie Nygren, Don Rooney

OVERVIEW

Albeit a centerpiece both in form and function, the cuisine at our favorite restaurant is just plain food if not paired with conversation, company, atmosphere, and brought to us by people who care.  In other words, it truly is the “thought” that counts.

For this, our Thanksgiving Special, Gene is joined by four very “thoughtful” guests who act as our Atlanta Restaurant Guides, coming together through conversation to explore our heritage, our history, the soul of Southern Food, and the importance of family and friendship.

Ma Hull’s in Inman Park was known for their banana pudding and for their family style. The band Little Feat shows their appreciation.
Ma Hull’s in Inman Park was known for their banana pudding and for their family style. The band Little Feat shows their appreciation.

Bill Johnson, Founder and Principal of The Johnson Studio, knows his way around a kitchen, and a bar, and a seating area and Atlanta.  His firm has had an architectural and design hand in well over 400 restaurants that locally include Aria, Nava, Bistro Niko, One Midtown Kitchen, Lobster Bar, South City Kitchen, Kyma, Horseradish Grill and even The Varsity.  Bill stops by the studio to talk shop and drop knowledge about the thought that goes behind these fabulous spots.

Aria. Architecture & Design by The Johnson Studio.
Aria. Architecture & Design by The Johnson Studio.

Steven Satterfield, Co-Owner and celebrated Chef of Award-Winning Miller Union, is a true talent in the kitchen (ask Martha Stewart) and just a down-right cool guy.  His restaurant just celebrated its 2nd anniversary, but the location’s history dates back many years before when Atlanta’s reinvigorated “West Side” was a meat packing district and the site where the restaurant sits today was the Miller Union Stockyard.

Winter Vegetable Plate. Miller Union.
Winter Vegetable Plate. Miller Union.

Steven joins Gene to share the history of the “West Side”, his personal history, insight into the Southern Foodways Alliance, and the art of today’s Southern food.

Miller Union “gets it” when it comes to food, beverage, decor, and down-home Southern hospitality.
Miller Union “gets it” when it comes to food, beverage, decor, and down-home Southern hospitality.

Don Rooney’s job is to answer questions.  As Curator of Urban and Regional History at The Atlanta History Center, Rooney’s depth of experience and knowledge about about our past is hard to beat.  But it’s his personal nostalgia and love for Atlanta along with his role in a dining club, that really add the cherry on top to a wonderful conversation that ranges from Civil Rights “sit-ins” to celebratory birthday dinners and much more.

Restaurants played a major role in the Civil Rights Movement as places to plan, places for peace, and places to protest.
Restaurants played a major role in the Civil Rights Movement as places to plan, places for peace, and places to protest.

In 1962, Marie Nygren’s mother, Margaret Lupo, bought Mary Mac’s Tea Room from Mary McKenzie after working there for just one week.  Over the next 32 years she grew that business through equality, family values and of course mouth watering Southern Soul Food like collard greens and potlikker, macaronni and cheese, fried chicken, cornbread, fried green tomatoes, meatloaf, okra, black-eyed peas and baked potatoes.  Marie joins Gene and graciously shares her family’s story about Mary Mac’s and the carried on traditions of home cooking, plus its place in her current kitchen, “The Farmhouse at Serenbe”, where she and husband Steve Nygren will host 400 for Thanksgiving Dinner!

Mary Mac’s serves up some of Atlanta’s best.
Mary Mac’s serves up some of Atlanta’s best.

So, with that, please enjoy this feast of knowledge and nostalgia that promises to impress.  We’d also like to offer a special Thanksgiving “thought” to all of our friends, family, and fans…Have a fabulous holiday and enjoy it in good health.

1

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