First Look: The Companion is open for takeout on Marietta Road in Bolton

From left: Crunchy Asian Veggie Salad, Tempura Filet o' Fish, Double-Stacked Collard Green Melt, The Tower Of Power Burger, House Smoked Wings. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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From left: Crunchy Asian Veggie Salad, Tempura Filet o' Fish, Double-Stacked Collard Green Melt, The Tower Of Power Burger, House Smoked Wings. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

The Companion on Marietta Road in Bolton isn’t officially open, yet. But the longtime-coming bar and restaurant from chef Andy Gonzales and the team behind Steinbeck’s Ale House in Decatur is taking phone orders for dinner to go Tuesdays-Sundays.

For now, the menu features some of Steinbeck’s greatest hits, coupled with sneak peeks from the new Companion menu. Recently, that’s included Steinbeck’s signature house-smoked wings, and the famous Tower of Power double-patty beef burger behemoth.

Tempura Filet o’ Fish with spicy-zingy slaw, Sriracha mayo and Old Bay fries, a Collard Green Melt with vegetarian collards, Million Island slaw, and Swiss on toasted rye, and a Crunchy Asian Veggie Salad, with cashews, ginger dressing, and shrimp a la plancha, are among the Companion reveals.

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The Companion is located in the former Adams Hardware store on Marietta Road. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY.

The Companion is located in the former Adams Hardware store on Marietta Road. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY.

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The Companion is located in the former Adams Hardware store on Marietta Road. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY.

Those who venture out to the neighborhood spot in northwest Atlanta can catch a glimpse of the future of the concept, which is located in a free-standing storefront space that was once home to Adams Hardware.

Along with a spacious indoor/outdoor bar area, the design by Amanda Dashwood showcases a large open dining room with seating at reclaimed wood booths, cafe and communal tables, and a library nook with books and knickknacks. A large-scale mural of an owl and a fox by local artist Thomas Turner is spread across the back wall.

Last week, Gonzales talked about the ideas behind the Companion, and explained how the food and drink will fit together, once the restaurant gets its liquor license and can open for dining.

“Steinbeck’s and our other bars are kind of dude-like in their approach to decoration and design,” Gonzales said. “I was trying to avoid that. I wanted people to walk in and immediately say, ‘Wow, somebody considered this.’ That ad hoc approach works for Steinbeck’s because it’s kind of an ad hoc place.

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The bar and dining room at the Companion. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY.

The bar and dining room at the Companion. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY.

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The bar and dining room at the Companion. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY.

“I wanted the Companion to be more streamlined, more beautiful, more gender-neutral. I wanted people to walk in and feel immediately comfortable. It’s easier to communicate with your food and your booze when people are happy with their surroundings.”

Asked about the mural by Turner, Gonzales said it was part of the branding for the Companion.

“Thomas is a local artist, and he’s done a bunch of Atlanta United murals, and he’s pretty well known around the Atlanta area,” he said. “All of his murals occupy this kind of fantastical space filled with mystical animals. We settled on owls, which have both a playful nature and wisdom, and then they’re kind of fierce at the same time. Thomas decided on the fox as the companion animal and it’s really beautiful.”

As far as the menu, it’s tied in with the Companion idea, too.

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Chef/owner Andy Gonzales stands in front of the mural by local artist Thomas Turner at the Companion. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Chef/owner  Andy Gonzales stands in front of the mural by local artist Thomas Turner at the Companion. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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Chef/owner Andy Gonzales stands in front of the mural by local artist Thomas Turner at the Companion. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

“The etymology of the French compain is literally ‘with bread,’” Gonzales said. “I wanted a place with sandwiches as the heart of the menu. Like big, fulfilling, delicious, perfectly made sandwiches. That was the original dream. I realized later on that I couldn’t have just a sandwich shop. I wanted a bar with really great sandwiches, so that’s what we’re shooting for.

“So the word ‘with bread’ leads into sandwiches, and the idea of that companionship. If you look at the bar, the whole thing is kind of a metaphor. You’ve got the art as companions. You’ve got books as companions. You’ve got music as companions. You’ve got the food and booze as companions. And then, of course, we’re trying to be a hub of the neighborhood, so that people can come here and be together. That’s what restaurants are supposed to be for, right? It’s restorative, hence the word restaurant, and that’s what we’re going for.”

Talking about the food, Gonzales described it as “uncomplicated.”

“I want the technique to be hidden in the deliciousness,” he said. “There’s not going to be any tweezers here. But the food needs to be always good. That’s the hallmark of Steinbeck’s as I see it. The kitchen never breaks down, and the food is always good.”

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Bookshelves with memorabilia decorate some of the booths at the Companion. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Bookshelves with memorabilia decorate some of the booths at the Companion. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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Bookshelves with memorabilia decorate some of the booths at the Companion. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

As with almost all bars and restaurants, the global pandemic has been hard on Steinbeck’s, and especially difficult for the Companion as a new restaurant trying to secure a liquor license and open to the public. But in the face of that, Gonzales is surprisingly can-do.

“That’s my mother,” he said. “That’s Rosie. And Rosie didn’t raise no quitters. Trust me, you can ask my wife, I’ve spent a night or so angrily drinking and staring out the window at my house. But at the end of the day, who is there to be mad at? There’s no one to blame. So you better get to work.

“Restaurants aren’t grocery stores. They’re not gas stations. We’re left in this really weird gray area. We’re not forced to shut down. But we can’t open to the public, either. So we have to walk this line. And every owner has to make the exact same call. We’re given this decision to make, and none of us know what the real answer is.”

The Companion, 2316 Marietta Road NW, Atlanta. 404-228-1632, facebook.com/TheCompanionBar.

Scroll down for more images from a First Look at the Companion in Bolton 

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House Smoked Wings, Basil Blue Cheese at the Companion. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

House Smoked Wings, Basil Blue Cheese at the Companion. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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House Smoked Wings, Basil Blue Cheese at the Companion. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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The famous Tower Of Power Burger the Companion. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

The famous Tower Of Power Burger the Companion. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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The famous Tower Of Power Burger the Companion. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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Double-Stacked Collard Green Melt, Tots. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Double-Stacked Collard Green Melt, Tots. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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Double-Stacked Collard Green Melt, Tots. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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Tempura Filet o' Fish, Zippy Bok Choy-Aleppo Slaw and Fattoush Salad. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Tempura Filet o' Fish, Zippy Bok Choy-Aleppo Slaw and Fattoush Salad. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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Tempura Filet o' Fish, Zippy Bok Choy-Aleppo Slaw and Fattoush Salad. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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Crunchy Asian Veggie Salad, Cashews, Ginger Dressing, Shrimp a la Plancha. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Crunchy Asian Veggie Salad, Cashews, Ginger Dressing, Shrimp a la Plancha. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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Crunchy Asian Veggie Salad, Cashews, Ginger Dressing, Shrimp a la Plancha. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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