From the beginning, Best and Calvert pointed to executive chef Bies as the secret behind the success of Ticonderoga Club. His clam roll, Cobb salad and steak tartare, plus his way with Latin and Asian flavors and his creative Sunday brunch specials, were key to that success.
However, when the pandemic hit in March, the coziness that made Ticonderoga such a singular experience became a problem, and it remained closed through the early part of June.
“Obviously, with the closure of Krog Street Market, and the public spaces, a bar the size of ours, with one bathroom, was not an ideal facility to try to operate,” Best said. “And, because of where we’re geographically located in the building, there wasn’t really a takeout model that would have worked for us.”
In early June, the partners decided to reopen in stages, starting with limited takeout lunch and dinner.
They named the temporary concept Ticon-To-Go Club, and did some construction to create a pair of order and pickup windows with a rustic facade.
“We basically closed off our little patio area and turned it into the equivalent of a New England roadside clam shack, or a Southern barbecue shack, or a daiquiri shack,” Best said. “We’re focusing on our version of takeaway food. But we’re known for cocktails, so we’re doing that, and smoothies and slushies.”
Bies is offering some his greatest hits on the lunch menu, including the Cobb salad, and a mini version of his fried Ipswich clam roll. The dinner menu, available Thursdays-Saturdays, is more expansive, and his yellowfin tuna Bali Burger could be a new favorite.
Brunch is back on Sundays, with the infamous giant hash browns packaged to-go in a pizza box. Also available are market items, such as jars of Bies’ Cobb dressing and chile crush oil.
“We all realized that TC as we knew it had to change,” Bies said, because the majority of his menu items wouldn’t work well being boxed and bagged.
“We have some cool things on the menu now,” he said, “and we’ll be bringing back some things people have been asking for. The Bali Burger is something that I’m super into. It’s high-end sushi-grade tuna, grilled and seasoned with Bumbu Bali, which is like all the flavors of Bali.”
Looking ahead, Best said the partners have been thinking about how they might reopen the dining room. “We’re pretty much planning that won’t happen until after the end of the year,” he said, though that could change.
“For now, the idea is to keep it fresh and exciting,” Best said, adding they’ll be revealing new components of the to-go operation. “Survival innovation is what I call what we’re living through.”
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Menu: salads, sandwiches, grain bowl, and bacon, egg and cheese roll at lunch; starters, snacks and entrees at dinner What's new: patio walled in to create order and pickup windows with social distancing; brunch is back
Alcohol: cocktails, wine, beer and alcohol-free cups
What I ordered: Cobb salad ($11), spiced pork torta ($13), grain bowl ($11). Everything comes in biodegradable bowls with clear tops, making it easy to see what you ordered, and handy to eat straight from the bowl. The salad was generous and artfully arranged, with tomato, avocado, bacon, egg, grilled chicken and blue cheese. The torta was served on a crisp toasted bolillo, piled with pork, refried beans, pickled jalapeños, avocado and queso, plus lettuce, tomato and onion. The grain bowl combined quinoa with fresh veggies, pomegranate, mint, toasted pepitas and bright lemon buttermilk dressing.
Service options: to-go sales only; see current menu on website; order at website for pickup; line up with social distancing for ordering and pickup
Safety protocols: following CDC guidelines; staff wears masks and gloves; sanitizing all surfaces; social distancing markers outside order and pickup windows
Address, phone: 99 Krog St. NE, Atlanta; 404-458-4534
Hours: brunch, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sundays; lunch, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mondays-Tuesdays; dinner, 5-9 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; closed Wednesdays
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