First Look: Local Three Kitchen & Bar

Todd Mussman and Ryan Turner of Muss & Turner’s in Smyrna and Atlanta chef Chris Hall had been trying to find a spot to open a restaurant together for more than two years, when Joel Brasserie suddenly closed in June.

The trio jumped on the place at the Piazza at Paces development on Northside Parkway, near I-75, gaining a grand state-of-the-art kitchen, along with a mixed-used location that had proven something of a challenge for the upscale Joel.

But since Local Three opened on Dec. 1, its decidedly more casual atmosphere and reasonably priced menu seem to be drawing steady lunch and dinner crowds.

The look: Atlanta architects ai3 took on the revision of the space, featuring lots of natural wood and some whimsical decorative touches. The rambling, wavy-edged bar top was harvested from a downed tree near the restaurant. East Point artist Tracy Hartley recycled table tops for the dining room and created the comic three pig paintings that accent the soaring wall near the kitchen.

The scene: Early one evening, the bar was packed with an assortment of drinkers and diners, while other sections of the restaurant slowly filled up over the next hour. At one point, Hall made his way from the kitchen to the bar to chat with several Muss & Turner’s regulars who’d stopped in to check out the scene. “It looks really good,” one said.

The menu: Hall’s menu begins with small snacks, such as beef jerky ($4) and boiled peanuts ($3), and bigger appetizers, such as braised lamb shoulder with spiced lentils ($11) and butter-poached Maine lobster ($14). Mains include grilled hanger steak ($21), roasted pumpkin risotto ($16), a burger stacked with double grass-fed beef patties ($12) and the “Breakfast for Dinner” platter ($15), with pork belly, scrambled eggs, grits and a biscuit with gravy.

The drinks: In the tradition of Muss & Turner’s, there’s an extensive selection of craft beers on draft and in the bottle, and good selection of value wines by the glass (starting at $6) and the bottle. So far, the specialty cocktail menu is still in the works. But the full bar has a towering display of top shelf spirits, including single malt Scotch, small batch bourbon and premium aged rum.

The extras: A section of the menu with daily specials, titled “Today,” features Hall’s latest whims and inspirations. Recently listed were braised beet carpaccio ($8), chicken pot pie ($15) and braised rabbit and dumplings ($22). Sunday brunch is an all-you- can-eat deal, priced at $18.93 person and half-price for kids under 10. “Local 1.5” operates in the lobby, serving breakfast, lunch and takeaway bites 7:30 a.m. -- 2:30 p.m. Mondays -- Fridays.

Dining out

Local Three Kitchen & Bar

Lunch: 11:30 a.m. -- 2:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. Dinner: 5:30 -- 10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 5:30 -- 11 p.m. Fridays- Saturdays. Brunch: 10:30 a.m. -- 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Sunday supper: 5:30 -- 9 p.m. Bar opens at 4 p.m. daily.

Snacks, appetizers and sides, $3 to $14; mains and daily specials, $6 -- $24; desserts $5-$6.

3290 Northside Parkway, Atlanta, 404-968-2700,