In late November, Bully Boy, the newest project from Concentrics Restaurants, opened in the former Nexto space near the Beltline and between the Telephone Factory and Common Grounds developments in Poncey-Highland.
Located in a distinctive corrugated metal shed that was formerly a blacksmith and metal shop next to Concentrics’ long-running flagship restaurant, Two Urban Licks, the build-out includes a new bar area that wraps around the open kitchen.
The 100-seat dining room features intimate tableaux of tables and booths surrounded by tall windows and contemporary artwork.
The menu from co-executive chefs Michael Bertozzi and Justin Dixon is dubbed “Eastern Seaboard fare,” and mostly uses products of “farms, rivers and coastal waters along the Atlantic Seaboard” from Nova Scotia to Florida.
Right now, that means some 20 share plates such as blue crab mango salad, crispy tempura-battered Point Judith calamari, Virginia oyster sliders, and a Nantucket Bay scallop roll — plus signature dishes such as crab fried rice topped with a Japanese exploding omelet, Maine lobster frites on the half shell, and a Comfort Farms double-stack rabbit patty melt.
Beyond the plates, there’s another way to share a meal. The “Feast” is a protein with sides that serves four to six people, and currently includes a North Carolina poulet rouge, a Heritage Farms pork shoulder, or a cast-iron-roasted 42-ounce prime porterhouse.
The beverage menu mixes spirit-driven takes on classic cocktails and local and coastal craft beers. The wine list was curated by sommelier Justin Amick of Painted Hospitality, who calls it “a very small, focused program highlighting global classics and relevant surprises with a lot of coastal wines.”
“I grew up in the New York City area, and my parents’ favorite fine dining restaurant when I was a kid was named Bully Boy,” Bob Amick, owner and president of Concentrics Restaurants, said during a recent conversation.
“I’ve had that name in my mind all these years, and wanted to use it for a long time. It doesn’t have anything to do with anything other than that. It’s just a great-sounding name.
“But growing up on the East Coast, and spending a lot of time on Cape Cod and Nantucket, and Long Island, the New Jersey shore and the Maryland shore, and down to Hilton Head and the Florida coast, I wanted to do something with the food that comes out of those areas.”
Tasked with translating Amick’s vision in the kitchen, Bertozzi and Dixon worked together to come up with dishes that were familiar but incorporated some new flavors and presentations.
“I grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., on the Eastern Seaboard, and that’s where it started with Bob and I talking about all this,” said Bertozzi, who also serves as executive chef at Two Urban Licks and director of culinary development for Concentrics. “So we asked what are these classic dishes from land and sea that we grew up eating, and that we could put a modern take or a little twist on and make our own.
“When we brought Justin on board, he helped round out the menu, working with local farmers he had contacts with, and getting some other items on the menu. Basically, we just kept tasting and tasting, until we got to the point where we are now.”
Besides getting creative, Bertozzi and Dixon agreed that it was important to have a menu that encouraged grazing and sharing.
“You can approach the menu so many different ways,” Bertozzi said. “You want to come in and get a beer and some oyster sliders and head on, great. You want to come in with a group of friends and order a bunch of plates, you can do that, too. That was the thing I like the most about the concept. There’s something for everyone.
“But what I’ve loved the most about this experience is that very few chefs get to work in tandem with another executive chef to put out the food they want to put out. That’s been the great thing for the two of us.”
828 Ralph McGill Blvd., W10, Atlanta. 678-904-5607, bullyboyatl.com.
Scroll down for more images of a First Look at Bully Boy in Poncey-Highland
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