The open kitchen is a focal point, surrounded by stainless steel, and dramatically lit up by the flames from a custom Grillworks wood-burning grill. Other design elements include exposed brick walls, pop art prints, and abstract paintings.
Back’s menu is billed as “progressive and signature interpretations of American wood-fired classics.” That includes St. Louis-style pork ribs, sustainably sourced salmon, and a bistro steak, all served with sides.
Executive Chef Woolery "Woody" Back uses the custom wood-fired grill for multiple dishes at Coalition. Photo credit- Mia Yakel.
But big, entree-size salads, a hefty Reuben with house-smoked pastrami, and the double-patty CFBurger, with griddled onions and melty American cheese, are pitched to become everyday favorites.
Like the food, the drink menu plays on the classics, with house cocktails, both old-school and local craft beers, and a wine list that leans heavily on American selections.
Recently, the Pernice brothers sat down with Back at Coalition to talk about how they envisioned the restaurant and its offerings.
Coalition Food and Beverage team including owners Daniel Pernice, Ryan Pernice, and Woolery "Woody" Back. Photo credit- Mia Yakel.
“Our other two restaurants are not fine dining, but they’re certainly more fine dining than Coalition,” Ryan Pernice said. “That’s kind of the way I see the market moving. People want to have great food in not as upscale of an environment.
“People want great food and great service wherever they’re at, whether it’s a kiosk, or a food hall or fine dining restaurant. So our thought was, let’s do something that kind of speaks to that trend, plus this growing urbanism you see everywhere, including Alpharetta. So we wanted to design a space that played to that sense of energy.”
“With this, we wanted the menu more approachable than the other two restaurants,” Back said. “They are approachable, but they’re places you go for Italian or Southern. Here, it’s where you go when you just want to go and eat something, so there’s something for everyone on the menu.”
As to the space and the design, Ryan Pernice said it came together as the answer to a specific question.
“This space answers the question, What would a classic American diner look like if it was invented today?” he said. “It’s got to have a sense of excitement, and the live, work, play people want in their day-to-day now. Alpharetta is growing up as a city, so we wanted the space to very much reflect that.”
“One of the design and concept choices we made here was to highlight the bar,” Daniel Pernice said. “We want this to be a destination bar, where people can have their entire experience at the bar, drinking and dining and hanging out. And I love that.
“From the beverage perspective, that means we’ve got a bunch of interesting cocktails, but not overly complicated. We have a range of beers in a bunch of different styles, and, of course, heavily featuring local stuff. For wine, I wanted to showcase complexity and quality in a more affordable range at this restaurant, and I wanted it to be mostly domestic.”
For Back, the kitchen was not only an important part of the design, it was essential to the kind of food he wanted to feature.
“We spent a lot of money on the grill, and we wanted to show it off,” he said. “It’s a gaucho-style grill, and you can raise and lower it, depending on the kind of heat you want. It’s an American grill menu, so you’re going to have your burgers and steaks and even some sausages.”
50 Canton St., Suite 108, Alpharetta. 470-839-6725, coalitionfoodandbeverage.com.
Scroll down to see more images from Coalition Food and Beverage
Coalition Food and Beverage Pretzel Tray appetizer with creole mustard and beer cheese. Photo credit - Mia Yakel.
The CFBurger with two beef patties, grilled onion, lettuce, pickles, tomato, and American cheese on a milk bun. Photo credit- Mia Yakel.
The Reuben sandwich with house-smoked pastrami, thousand island dressing, gruyere cheese, and sauerkraut on toasted rye bread. Photo credit- Mia Yakel.
Scorpion Kick cocktail with Denizen 8yr rum, Clement Creole Shrubb, lemon, and almond syrup. Photo credit- Mia Yakel.
Chocolate Cream Pie with Oreo crust, vanilla whipped cream, and chocolate shavings. Photo credit- Mia Yakel.
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