Bellwoods provides social hot-spot in Westside

Photo Courtesy of Bellwoods

Back in April, 2013, we had the chance to speak with Tech architect graduate and Miller Union head chef, Steven Satterfield, who asserted that Atlanta’s food scene was on the verge of a creative boom.

Atlanta was known for being the city of fast-food and chain restaurants for an unfortunately long time; it was good to hear somebody say that was no longer the case and that things would get better, even still.

Midtown has arguably been at the forefront of this new burgeoning food scene, with new restaurants and store fronts popping up left in right, in every nook and cranny possible, each with their own unique character and special offerings.

The Westside has been home to a variety of respectable locations, from gourmet organic burgers at Yeah Burger!, and exquisite modern food from JTC Kitchen, to five-star excellence from Bacchanalia, this side of town has it all.

This concentration of quality dining can be viewed as both a haven for food lovers (A.K.A. paying customers) or a pressure cooker that some may not be able to handle. There is a new kid on the block now, and it is here to play.

Bellwoods Social House is the latest addition to Westside’s list of dining locales, and was listed in Atlanta Eater’s and Zagat’s list of Atlanta’s most anticipated restaurants.

The team behind Bellwoods is the same team behind Bite, which has taken on the identity of “New American” styled food. The owner, Leif Johnson, has taken the success of this Alpharetta location and brought it into the thick of the city.

Open for merely a week (as of this article’s original writing) Johnson, chef Jason Morgan and bar manager Arianne Fielder are set to run what could be one of Atlanta’s new social hotspots for drinking and dining.

As it is a bar, the focus is going to be more focused on the 21 and up crowd, and more specifically those with good tastes in designer cocktails and high-end bar food. Yes, the typical connotation of bar food is not the most positive, but the food served here should quickly turn that around.

From this perspective, this new social house has great potential, with it’s a cozy setup and warm decor, friendly and talkative staff and extensive drink menu. Those of age can come here and expand their drink pallet with ease and enjoyment.

What of the average college student’s perspective, though? Underage potential patrons mustn’t shy away from the opportunity to dine here, for a couple reason. Most notably, Georgia Tech students get a ten percent discount at check out on their order, so for those who are money conscious, they will have a way to spend wisely. The menu is full of items college students crave, and at a respectable cost (since nothing on the menu is above fifteen dollars): “Gangsta Fries” made with Asher blue cheese, house bacon, red chili oil and chives are sinfully good. Fish, chicken, pork and short rib gourmet tacos are available; hotdogs stuffed with pimento cheese and peppedew peppers will tempt meat-lovers across the city, and the “Grilled Chicken & Peach” salad made with local peaches, spiced pecans, blue cheese and honey dijon vinaigrette is a wonderful mash of flavors that should not leave any customer wanting more.

It is called a social house for a reason; Bellwoods is meant for any and all to come and enjoy with close friends and family. Even though I dined in on a calm night, the folks at the bar (including staff) were affable and welcomed conversation.

There is even a “dog bar” on the outside patio, fitted with water and a food bowl for canine companions to come and hang.

This is the sort of location people are likely to come and stay for a while, so on busy night I would not bank on quick turnover; expect patrons to come, sit, drink, eat, and talk til their hearts content. Staff will even bend the hour rules a bit given that the bar is full, and stay open past midnight on weekdays.

Overall, Bellwoods manages to provide an upscale dining and drinking experience with a low-key atmosphere welcoming social vibe. The restaurant is open now, but it’s grand opening will take place on Sept. 13.

The Westside is full of places to come and enjoy good food, but now it may have a new official neighborhood watering hold on its hands.