Eli Zandman, ToNeTo Atlanta

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Eli Zandman is the vision behind ToNeTo Atlanta, a blog that’s dedicated to bringing the latest and greatest (and sometimes not so greatest) news from the retail, restaurant and real estate worlds. Their no-nonsense approach is punctuated by their penchant for not pulling any punches- which makes Eli a perfect person to pontificate his perspective on the questions that I asked him for Five Questions With. And yes, that last sentence featured eight words that started with the letter “”p””.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Reading Rainbow.

Q. Last meal in Atlanta. Where are you going and what are you eating?

I would love to be able to answer smoked salmon at Taurus restaurant, but sadly Gary closed up shop this past month (of course, anyone reading this would already know that because they would have read about it on Repeat Atlanta…wink, wink). Hate to repeat, no pun intended, but I’d have to go with “”the burger”” at Holeman & Finch Public House. Less than a year old, the space has the character that makes it seem like it’s been there forever. You walk inside and wouldn’t imagine you’re in the bottom of an apartment complex on Peachtree Road. Aged meats and cheeses, a lively bar and the open kitchen, so you can see the food created before your eyes, this place is just plain good. The burger is a favorite of mine, but unfortunately is only available for a limited time and in limited quantities, starting at 10 PM Monday through Saturday, and at noon on Sunday for those of us who don’t like eating such a delectable culinary creation too late. As I’m not a fan of eating late, I’d finish my night on a healthy note with a granola and Blackberry yogurt at Yogurberry in the Terminus building, north on Peachtree. There may be imitators, but these guys do it best!

The above pictured Holeman and Finch steak tartar, accompanied by a glorious quail egg and well-salted fries, is well worth the the cholesterol.

Q. Hidden Atlanta gem that everyone needs to experience/see/do at least once?

The Castleberry Hill art district is a definite must see! What was once abandoned warehouses has now become a vibrant assortment of art galleries and independent restaurants. My clear favorite in this area is No Mas Cantina. No Mas is a Mexican restaurant serving up classic and unique Mexican dishes. The 4th Friday art stroll is an outing not to be missed!

Q. There’s a proposal on the table for video gaming at Underground Atlanta. Assuming passage and ensuing development, what do you think Underground (and its surrounding neighborhoods) looks like five years from now?

I see Underground revitalized and rejuvenated with more restaurants and shops and of course the aforementioned casino.

The future of Underground Atlanta will sit in a chair just like these, smoking unfiltered cigarettes, sipping on a flat Diet Tab, wondering if there’s a line outside Kenny’s Alley. Or not.

Q. If you could wave a magic wand and banish one chain retailer/restaurant group from Atlanta, which one would it be?

Raving Brands! Simply put they are a mess, and their brands lack originality and thought. Each concept they have come up with is merely a knockoff of a competitor. They wanted to buy Doc Chey’s. Richard Chey smartly declined; they developed the inferior Mama Fu’s chain and are now in a legal mess over the brand. They bought the Flying Biscuit from Delia Champion and have watered down that concept. What was once a fun “”hole in the wall”” is now found in the bottom of a parking deck in the middle of Buckhead. Shane’s Rib Shack, similar story, they bought out Shane Thompson, and what was a “”shack”” is now found in strip centers and mall food courts. Raving Brands, in my opinion, represents everything that is wrong with the restaurant business.

Q. If you could wave a magic wand and recruit one chain retailer/restaurant group to Atlanta, which one would it be?

Miro Café! Miro is a small eatery located on Broadway in SoHo. My magic wand would land a Miro in Midtown Atlanta. They have the best flatbreads I’ve ever tasted.

Eli Zandman’s Atlanta

 To finally book that reservation at No Mas Cantina, click here.

To find out more about the man that made the words “no mas” famous, click here.

To finally say “no mas” to your house and check out a ridiculously raw, beautiful and gigantic loft space in Castleberry Hill, click here.

A little teaser picture at the raw space, below:

Photo Credits: H and F (Creative Loafing), Castleberry Stroll (the almighty Wikipedia), Video Poker (Casinos Online)

Bonus Question: What is Repeat Atlanta, and why is it awesome?

Repeat Atlanta is a boutique business chronicle that covers three unique niche markets: The Retail, Properties, and Eateries of Atlanta! It is something that I have wanted to do for years, and judging from our visits, something people enjoy! The content has no rhyme or reason, though we like to use proper punctuation; other than that, you never know what will be said, or who about. Oh, and Repeat Atlanta isn’t awesome…it’s AMAZING! Take a peek yourself: www.repeatatlanta.com!

 

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