Morningside Kitchen, the new concept from Tom Murphy and the team behind the long-running Virginia-Highland fixture Murphy’s, and the more recently opened Paces & Vine in Vinings , officially debuted for dinner on March 29 in the former Rosebud space in Morningside.
The team includes culinary director Ian Winslade, managing partner Tom Harvey, chef de cuisine Bhavesh Patel, and beverage director Dan Givens.
Atlanta architect Mary Turnipseed took on the redesign for the project, which features new lighting, updated seating and a more neutral color palette to complement the building’s vintage brick walls and wood floors.
Last week, Murphy and Harvey, who was once the chef at Murphy’s, sat down at Morningside Kitchen to talk about the concept and food and drink.
“What this neighborhood wanted is what I do,” Murphy said. “Just good, consistent fare that’s a good value with a good bar. We don’t have a wood-burning grill or a rotisserie at Murphy’s, but this place screamed for that. So the concept is American fare, carefully prepared and simply presented, but a bit different from Murphy’s, doing just dinner and brunch.”
“Our brainstorming about what this place should be pointed to the people in the neighborhood who love Murphy’s so much for the hospitality and warm welcome but wanted some different food,” Harvey said. “We spent a lot of time listening to the people who live right here. The term ‘neighborhood restaurant’ gets thrown around a lot, but this restaurant truly is that.”
Murphy and Harvey said that Winslade and Patel were the creative forces behind the menu. But the wood-burning grill and Peruvian-style charcoal rotisserie clearly drive the flavors of many of the dishes, including wood-grilled octopus, hanger steak and salmon, and charcoal rotisserie chicken.
“Once we agreed on a dish that was right for the restaurant, then it basically became getting to the way we were going to execute it, with the portion size and seasoning and everything exactly the way we want it to be,” Harvey said. “Having a rotisserie chicken is kind of our pride and joy, and it’s one of the marks of a great kitchen.
“All of the chefs here want the food to be galvanized and consistent and dependably delicious. That’s exactly the mindset we wanted. Perfectly executed classics have become the new post-modern. These chefs are using every technique in the book, but it’s not for ego, it’s to make the food taste as good as it can.”
The beverage program has a similar concept and goal, with Givens working with house-made shrubs, and a house old fashioned and Morningside sangria on draft, along with craft beer and nitro coffee. The compact wine list of some 30 bottles is curated by the team from Murphy’s wine shop and Paces & Vine.
“The old fashioned and the sangria are by far our two top-sellers so far,” Harvey said. “Having an old fashioned here is quickly becoming the cornerstone of the experience, along with the food.”
More glimpses of Morningside Kitchen.
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