By Wyatt Williams
The Atlanta Braves had a bad season this year. That’s not news to anyone. The Braves have limped along for the past couple of years, and this season wasn’t much different aside from the opening of SunTrust Park, their new home in Cobb County. On the other hand, I hadn’t realized the situation was so bad until I dropped in to Todd English Tavern, expecting to catch the last game of the regular season.
Todd English Tavern isn’t exactly a sports pub, but something intended to be vaguely nicer than that, a joint gussied up with “specialty cocktails” and the promise of ingredients such as “heritage pork” and a celebrity chef name. English has been a chef of renown for well over two decades, noted for his international flair and decorated with plenty of awards, TV appearances, cookbooks and a line of “cookware and lifestyle products” to his name. Should you expect him to be the guy cooking your chicken wings on a Friday night in Cobb County? Well, I counted 15 restaurants, not including this one, on his website, with locations everywhere from Orlando, Fla., to Abu Dhabi. A chef who moved from Orlando, Jimmy Reyes, has been tapped to run the kitchen here.
This location is at the heart of the restaurant and retail district built in tandem with the new ballpark. Naturally, there are plenty of screens for watching sports while taking in a meal. On the afternoon of this last away game, I’d casually mentioned to the hostess that we’d like to sit near a screen with a view of the game. Once we had sat for a minute, I realized that all the TVs in view were showing the Falcons. I thought it was a simple misunderstanding.
“Oh, sorry,” I said, “I meant the Braves game.”
The hostess looked at me with a blank face.
“Do you have any screens playing the Braves games?”
She blinked her eyelashes, smiled, and simply said, “No.”