Atlanta Business section is where we discuss tips and tricks on how to improve or market your business better! We also dive into some of the small businesses in Atlanta that you should be on the look out for as they grow and prosper. The Atlanta Tribe shows Atlanta in a new light.

If you are looking for a great spot to get some authentic and delicious Chinese food, then make sure to make a stop at the Mah Jong Restaurant in Snellville.

Atlanta is a huge place, but there are many amazing locations just outside of the city if you drive a little bit. This one in particular is native to the Gwinnett area. For those privileged to live close to or in the Gwinnett area, you more than likely already know about this little gem.

For those looking to find this place easily, it is right next to the Music and Arts center in Snellville. There is also a Party City a couple of doors down that makes it easier to spot. In addition, there is always plenty of parking which is a growing problem in the Gwinnett area.

Mah Jong Restaurant

Mah Jong Restaurant has been open for over 15 years and boasts of a great reputation in the community and as a restaurant. If you have ever been here, you will know they are fast at everything they do. From getting you seated, to getting your drinks, to cleaning off your table, and even to prepping your food. You never have to wait.

Dining Room

The main dining room has a somber vibe of an old Chinese style restaurant with all of the trinkets, music, and design to fit. Just sitting in the restaurant is peaceful and gives you a sense of being in another place all together.

While this area sits probably over 100 people comfortably, there is an additional back room for large parties or meetings that can be rented out and used by anyone. This is a great feature for a Chinese style restaurant because most of the dishes you order are family style at dinner, so sharing with a group of people is a great idea!

Another great feature of the main room is there are massive windows across the front of the building which let in tons of natural light giving the place a great warm and inviting feel to the entire experience. I recommend sitting near the window booths and enjoying the natural light.

Mah Jong Service

In addition, the service at Mah Jong is consistently impeccable and the waiters are extremely friendly.

There is one server in particular, Mum, that every time we come in will walk over and sit with us to say hello. It makes the experience that much more enjoyable and memorable when we slowly get to know the people that work here overtime.

Another great thing is usually someone is busing tables and cleaning while another person is constantly refilling waters, clearing tables, and catering to the guests. There are not many places that still offer this level of service in the Gwinnett area like Mah Jong does where you are being catered to at all times.

Chinese Food in Snellville

For Chinese food in Snellville, Mah Jong ranks among the top.

When you get here, it is always a great idea to order some hot tea! The tea is great in the cold weather and gives you a little energy as well. I always start off with the hot tea and a water.

Of course, the number one reason to come here is for the food. If you are unfamiliar with Chinese dining, then you need to know most of the food at dinner time will be family style.

Family style means when you order a plate of Sesame Chicken, you will get a plate of just Sesame Chicken and plenty of it. For that reason, it is best to come with 3 to 4 people and order several plates of food with an additional plate of fried rice everyone to share.

Typically, my favorite thing on the menu is the Honey Walnut Shrimp. The shrimp are fried with a slight crisp and laid under a nice base of tangy and sweet honey walnut sauce. By far some of the best Chinese shrimp I have had anywhere. It never disappoints.

Lunch and Dinner

As I mentioned above, the dinner menu will be for more of a family style feel. Make sure everyone knows what is being ordered and agrees to share their food. You do not want to bring stingy people here who do not like to share.

Personally, I like this system better because you get to try different entrees and have a more immersive experience with the people around you. The family style is great for encouraging conversation, trying new things, and making people feel welcomed.

The lunch menu will have independent dishes with a small side of fried rice and a fried Chinese chicken wing. Lunch portions are usually perfect for a single person and come with a spring roll or cup of soup for appetizer. While my family loves the soups, I cannot tell you how amazing their spring rolls are. They are so good, I always order two.

Here are some of our favorites from the menu:

Appetizers

  • Spring Roll (my favorite)
  • Stuffed Lettuce
  • Crab Claw Stuffing
  • Stuffed Chinese Breadstick

Chef Specialties

  • Peking Duck
  • Bird Nest Shrimp or Scallop
  • Tibet Chicken Hot Pot
  • Mint Leaves Triple Delight

Seafood

  • Shrimp Lobster Sauce
  • Black Pepper Shrimp
  • Mango Shrimp
  • Honey Walnut Shrimp
  • Szechuan Shrimp

Fried Rice

  • House Fried Rice
  • Lotus Leaf Fried Rice
  • Shrimp Fried Rice
  • Plain Egg Fried Rice

General Entrees

  • Mu Shu Chicken
  • Sweet and Sour Chicken
  • Mongolian Chicken
  • Sesame Beef
  • Tibet Beef
  • Szechuan Pork
  • House Lo Mein
  • Shrimp Egg Foo Young

Final Thoughts

To put it simply, Mah Jong restaurant in Snellville is one of the best options in Gwinnett to experience Chinese cuisine right outside of Atlanta. The authentic menu and warm environment will make eating here the highlight of your day.

Are you the noodle lover? Or always on a quest to find an eatery of savory and masterfully cooked noodles?

Well, if you are in Atlanta, you are lucky enough to go visit a fantastic Chinese eatery at Buford Highway. The restaurant is popular for its fresh hand-pulled noodles that are a true treasure for taste buds.

Lan Zhou Noodles

Initially, people confused this restaurant with New Lan Zhou Noodles, located in Chinatown food court; however, both eateries are designed with separate concepts. The names of the restaurants refer to the same place in China called “ Lan Zhou.” The eatery in China is labeled as “the noodle capital of the country” where noodle lovers come from different parts of the world to enjoy delicacies like, beef noodle soup.

Lan Zhou Ramen is a must-to-visit spot if you are visiting Pine Tree Plaza. The shopping center is home to the famous Chicago Supermarket.  Chef Liu’s Lan Zhou Ramen is another cheerful addition to the artistically designed shopping center. The skillfully cooked noodles are not the only highlighting features of this amazing spot of Chinese delicacy.  The sight of Chef Liu, masterfully stringing and pulling the strings of noodles’ dough, through dining hall’ windows is categorically a defining attribute of Lan Zhou Ramen.

You can enjoy three types of delectable noodles in the restaurant.  Try hand-pulled noodles if you want to see Chef Lui preparing them, choose knife-cut noodles if you are fond of Italian pappardelle, or go for rice noodles if you are health conscious.  All three varieties are served with stir-fried vegetables and eggs.

What Makes Lan Zhou Ramen Special?

The noodle capital has become a highlight of metro Atlanta.  That’s why you will not find the hand-pulled, Lanzhou-styled noodles anywhere else. The expertly prepared noodles are not less than of an art form. A chance to observe the whole process of noodle creation by gazing to the kitchen is, without a doubt, something you have never got to experience before. The immersive view of noodle preparation dramatically frames an enchanting act of stretching, spinning, and rolling cascading tendrils of soft dough.

Even if noodles have never been in the list of your favorite Chinese cuisine, visiting Lan Zhou Ramen is worth your time and money. The traditional method of noodles preparation is exciting to watch through the window. Also, it results in thicker and scrumptious knife-cut noodles that you will love to taste. When Chef Fu Li mixes it with a fragrant broth of beef, brimming with stir-fried tender meat, wilted greens, and regular or spicy cumin seeds of your choice, the dish turns out into a world-class delicacy.  

You have a choice to slurp the noodles up to their length, but if you feel you lack the expertise to do that, use a pair of scissors to cut the noodles sophistically.

Insight and Accolades

Opened in 2017, Lan Zhou Ramen has a masterfully prepared menu, featuring an authentic and unique variety of noodles and some other tasteful options. The owner Fu Li Zhang has experience of decades as he worked in China, New York, and now Buford Highway.  

Since its opening, the Chinese eatery has established a reputation of a premier restaurant for both Americans and Chinese dinners.

The delectable variety in the menu and exceptional ambiance are what made this restaurant publish in Atlanta Eater, Atlanta Magazine, and Dekalb Neighbor.

Lan Zhou Ramen has an incredibly welcoming ambiance that attracts dinners of all backgrounds and ages to try the scrumptious noodle. Adults and kids equally love watching the preparation process of noodles, in addition to their mouth-watering flavors.

Interestingly, the master Chef Li is planning to expand his noodle operation. He will be opening his next venture at Pleasant Hill Road with the name Crossing Bridge Rice Noodles. As the name implies, the new restaurant specializes in gluten-free rice noodles that will be paired with meat or vegetarian-based broths and toppings like cabbage fish, tomatoes, and chicken.

Explore the Menu

Menu of Lan Zhou Ramen comprises 38 dishes, ranging from fried to steamed noodles with sauce.  If you like eating noodles that are tender but chewy, having a knife-cut flat variety of noodles is the best bet for you.  The slurp ability and springiness of these hand-pulled noodles with beef broth and fluffy eggs are out of the world.

Beyond noodles, the Lan Zhou Ramen’s menu features some spicy and cold dishes such as shredded pig ears, stewed pork belly, and spicy chicken. The entries like pork chops and oxtail soup with rice make the perfect combination to go for when you are in for a party celebration.

You will be amazed by the goodness of Xiao long bao- Shanghai soup bun. The silky and supple skin is, without a doubt, one of the best hand-made creations.  Order these buns with flavorful and fragrant pork meatballs to indulge in the real Chinese cuisine taste.

Here is a quick overview of the Lan Zhou Ramen’s menu;

Exclusive Appetizers

  • Dry-Fried String Beans
  • Pork Intestine sautéed with Hot Pepper
  • Dry -Fried String Beans
  • Triple Chinese delicious Vegetables
  • Stewed Ox -Tripe
  • tomato and Eggs Stir-Fried

Chef Specialties

  • Xinjiang Stir-Fried Chicken – served with hand-made sliced noodles
  • Spicy Crawfish

Lan Zhou Noodles

  • Beef Hand-Pulled Noodle Soup
  • Ox Tail Noodle Soup (Hand-Pulled)
  • Roast Pork Noodle Soup (Hand-Pulled)
  • Beef Stew Noodle Soup (Hand-Pulled)
  • Intestine Noodle Soup (Hand-Pulled)
  • Chicken Noodle Soup (Hand-Pulled)
  • Seafood Stir-Fried  Noodles (Hand-Pulled)

Cold Dishes

  • Pig Ear (Shredded) in Chili Sauce
  • Koushui Chicken
  • Braised Tofu
  • Braised Intestine
  • appetizing Potato Shredded
  • Sliced Beef Tripe in Chili Sauce

Outstanding Dumplings

  • Steamed Pork Bun 
  • Lamb cooked with Cumin Seed Burger
  • Spring Rolls
  • Vegetable Eggs Dish Bun

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, Lan Zhou Ramen is one of the fantastic options to experience the true Chinese tradition and cuisine in Atlanta.  From the scrumptious menu to an interesting and warm environment, the eatery is an epitome of perfection.

Over the past 3 years, I gained interest in small businesses and the idea of creating my own grew. Through a series of successes and failures, I have learned a few important lessons that could save you time and money if you are looking to create your own small business team. Let’s start with a brief backstory on how I got into startups, and the I will tell you my 7 Tips for Building An Atlanta Startup Team.

My Startup Backstory

For a little bit of backstory on my experience with small businesses, I launched my first startup in 2017 around an emerging market trend at the time. Here are some of the things I did:

  • Built a team of 9 people. This included people with skills in full stack coding, design & marketing, hedge fund data analytics, derivative market structures, legal finance, traditional markets, Initial coin offerings, blockchain, token economics, and of course business development. To put it simply, I had a stacked team of talented individuals.
  • Find initial investors. To start, we had anywhere between $300 to $500 thousand from investors looking to push into the market and manage for our hedge fund. We had structured the initial phase to allow for two more funding rounds.
  • Wrote a whitepaper. This is basically a business assessment and outline of everything your company will do that was around 20 pages of detail for the investors. We made it professionally, and too many renditions to get correct.
  • Set up branding. This was done with our design team which included marketing materials, color scheme, long-term purpose and company fundamentals. In short, this was very fun.
  • Establish the entity. I did this with strong legal guidance due to the unregulated industry we were getting into. We settled on an LLC for simplicity although we would pursue incorporating as an S or C corp later on.
  • Structure user accounts and investments. This entailed formulating aggressive and passive investment structures for the fund, tons of research, time delay release structures, exit strategies, and reserve partnerships with two companies in Singapore and Ohio to grow reserves to present value investments.
  • Choose a Legal team. We had several calls with a legal team from New York that specialized in our specific industry. This was by far the hardest part of building our startup because of the enormous legal complexity of the industry.
  • Run weekly meetings. These were used to discuss market strategies and get to know each other. Plus everything I did had to be voted on by the team and discussed to make sure all avenues were considered.
  • Delegate tasks and manage the team. On a weekly basis I had to be in contact and touch base with all 8 people on the team while still finding time to run my busy life. Let’s just say I was on the phone a lot.

The First Startup Failure

While this may sound like a solid gig and tons of work, the entire operation still failed from a single cog.

My partner at the time was tasked solely with communicating and working with the investors. Ironically, he had become so close with the largest investors that he was sold on the idea of rebuilding his own company with the same idea and funding group.

At one point my partner disappeared for 4 weeks and gave away a lot of our work to another group, bounced a series of checks off of our personal company account I was linked to, and basically demoralized the team. Soon after this, I called off the project and the team disbanded.

In total, I was out several thousand dollars and months of preparation and time. On top of this, I had to face plenty of unhappy people, dissolve the entity, and basically feel like a failure for a few months. It was not the brightest moment in my life.

Fold and Move On

I want to start off with this personal story of failure to show how far you can get, yet still fail.

Honestly, failure is all apart of the process of starting a company. There will be many failures, but what matters is learning and not giving up on your dreams.

From this failure, I have gone on to create two more startups. The second startup had a strong team of 6 people which quickly became 3. This was due to lack of dedication and understanding. Lessons were learned, and I moved on quickly from this one.

The third startup has currently been in progress for 9 months and is going strong. The team is stable, consistent, and dedicated to the long-term goal. In addition, there are several things I am doing throughout this startup to ensure the same outcomes do not happen as the last two. These will be in my tips!

That is enough about me to give you an idea of where I am. Therefore, here are my top 7 tips for building a startup team so that you can succeed and achieve your goals!

7 Tips for Building an Atlanta Startup Team

Since there are so many dynamics to building a perfect startup team, keep in mind that these tips may or may not apply directly to your situation. Apply them where necessary, but I will try to weed out any doubts along the way with examples which should help you deduce if you need the tip or not.

Also, keep in mind I am still learning and adapting myself. There is always more to learn, but let’s dive into my 7 tips for building an Atlanta startup team.

Figure Out What You Need

This may seem like commonsense, but it really is not. It is very important to know what you need versus what you want.

For instance, when I started my first first company, I wanted someone who could build a website, and code. Although, I did not need someone who could do that because I could have quickly learned and done it myself.

What this did was add to the stress of managing the team, limit my overall control of the process, and lead to complications down the line. When you are thinking about what you need for your startup, only go for the absolute necessities. The things you absolutely can not do on your own or learn how to do over a weekend. Then you will know who you need to target and get on your team with you.

In addition, the larger your team is the more problems that can occur. Keep it simple.

Work With People You Trust

This is by far one of the most important points. If you do not trust your team, nothing will get done. From my example of the first startup, there was clearly a lack of trust that lead to the project failing. Trust is key in a startup, and there is no exception.

Choose your team wisely, and always go for trust over talent. There was plenty of people in the past three years that have reached out to have my help on a project or startup that I refused due to the lack of trust, transparency or communication.

Communicate With Your Team

Speaking of communication, this is another obvious tip, but many people overlook. Make sure there is some sort of natural interest or friendship with these people you are working with. If there is no level of friendship or natural communication, then things will quickly become dry, unappealing, and difficult.

During a startup there are plenty of weeks where the work seems daunting, unappealing, or just simply too much. Without this level of friendship and communication, your team will never survive these phases.

Make sure to establish a strong personal relationship with your team though organic communication and interest.

Keep the Team Small

A huge mistake I made starting off on my startup journey was building teams there were frankly too big. This sounds great to have 9 or or 7 people working with you or pushing a project forward when in reality, it makes it harder.

This time around we have a team of 3 people which was plenty for this idea. Slowly, we added two more part time people to the team. Although, they are not fully needed and we do not rely on them to complete the project.

Rather we appreciate the support and work they give while understanding the brunt of the project relies on us 3 to complete and push the company.

Stay Focused On One Goal

Another simple tip, but rather effective. With my first two startups, I tried to have an array of people with different skills all focusing or specializing on different things. While this sounds great, it really lead to a lot of incomplete work and a huge lack of focus. With everyone working on one united goal of finishing a specific project, we have had much higher success in pushing the current project to further stages.

Make sure not to divide your team into different areas or onto different ideas. Keep everyone focused on one idea, and you will have a much higher chance of success.

Short-Term Goals

While the long-term goal is to launch the project, keep in mind that the short-term goals for startups are much more important. Companies are not built in a day and neither will your startup.

Any reasonable timeline should be between 6 to 12 months for any startup. The larger the market you are looking to enter into, the longer the timeline should be. Make sure to set up short-term goals for your team to accomplish, but do not be surprised if things take longer than expected or there are hiccups along the way.

Instead learn to adapt and push past these obstacles because they will come. Short-term goals will help keep the team focused and driven though the months of work and focus.

Macro vs Micro Decisions

This is a little more in depth and leads into some of the team psychology. While I try to make sure everything was getting done and properly, as the leader of the project I have to allow my team the ability to be creative.

For instance, I have a vision in mind of how the project should look and operate. At the same time, I have to let my designer put his ideas and spin on the project. This can be hard at first. Over time you have to allow your team’s vision and input to take shape as much as your own.

In essence, allow your team members to make a lot of the micro decisions. These can include small things like color scheme, font choices, design ascetics, some functionality, and even marketing. While they do this, realize your job is to make more macro decisions like timelines, launch dates, partnerships, legal structuring, and things like this.

Do not micro manage your team. Instead, show them trust in their abilities and watch what they deliver.

Startup Tips and Tricks

These are my 7 tips for building an Atlanta startup team that you can use! I am constantly learning more tips, but over time I have learned that simple is better. Keeping things simple saves time and increases productivity. In addition, make sure to invest in your team. They will more than likely make it worth your time and effort and thank you later.

The film industry is reaching a breaking point. Action films at the box office have completely flooded the market to the point where they are almost indistinguishable from one another. I saw John Wick 3 recently, and I went in expecting an ok story with some amazing action sequences. My bar was already not that high, and I was still disappointed. The story was exactly as I expected, simple. The action was repetitive and even boring at times, and John Wick is not the only film to fall victim to this.

Too many action films of the past few years have been mindless and unentertaining, and audiences are catching on. My prediction is that we will experience a renaissance of filmmaking within the next few years.

Action Movies at the Box Office

Now action movies aren’t exactly failing at the box office, but more people are showing up for story driven films. This year alone we’ve had films like Queen and Slim, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and most importantly, Joker. These are all stand alone films, not sequels that have done extremely well at the box office. Joker is the most profitable film of all time and although it is based on characters from a comic book, it is not part of a cinematic universe or anything of the like.

Audiences of all types are showing up to these films, old and young, male and female, everyone is showing up to watch it, which I love. These films are the beginning of a new wave. Audiences are recognizing quality film more frequently. They’re not condemning bad films, but they’re making the effort to see good movies.

Film Market is Changing

I think this change in taste has come from action films putting in less effort. I’m paraphrasing Alton Brown here but in his “Hot Ones” interview he said that once a location thinks they have something on lock, they start slipping in quality. I think this applies to a lot more than just food, in this case, I think the action film industry thinks they have the box office on lock and now audiences are noticing other genres of film.

Since the Marvel Infinity Saga has come to a close people are branching out and trying other things. The market is essentially in limbo, no new trends but once audiences find the new genre they fall in love with, that will dominate for the next few years.

Action Films are Safe

Now, all action films aren’t bad, Skyfall is one of my all time favorite movies, it’s an incredible action film all around. The problem is, every action film can’t be Skyfall. It has story, incredible cinematography, and it took risks, which is rare for a sequel film. Let alone the 23rd in a series. Most films shy away from risk because if someone dies they can’t make a sequel, which in turn makes the studio less money.

This has led to action films actually being quite safe, which makes the ending much more predictable. The hero wins and no one dies, and like I said before, people are catching on.

Mindless Films

Action films aren’t going anywhere soon. They’re mindless fun to watch when you want to turn your brain off and relax, but I don’t think they will be as dominant in these next few years. The decade of the story driven film is among us and I could not be more excited. This opens the door for more creative directors and storytellers to get their chance at the big screen. The future’s looking bright and I’m ready for my shot.

As every story goes, three pub lovers set out to set up their pub. A twenty-plus years’ experience in the bar/ restaurant business, they realized Atlanta had space just waiting to be filled. Soon, vibrant conversations, sounds of glassware clinks, and aroma of fresh food were going to bring this place to life. The icing on the cake would be a beautiful historic building, right in a bustling square as the setting. From that, I give you the Brick Store Pub in Atlanta.

With a wonderful and warm brick stone ambiance, you definitely can’t go wrong in enjoying what this pub has to offer.

Brick Store Background

Tom Moore, Dave Blanchard, and Mike Gallagher, the three friends made their dream come true in the form of The Brick Store Pub. There are plentiful reasons for patrons visiting this place, but what stands out is the absence of televisions, neon, loud deafening music, and definitely a major absence of domestic beers.

 The Brick Store Pub is a beer lover’s paradise. At their main bar, you can find local, regional, and nationally recognized craft beers, their reserve bottled and vintage beer list, and the English and German specialty beers. They also offer a carefully selected, frequently rotated array of draught beers, out of a total of thirty-one. These also include two cask lines and a variety of cans and bottles.

Soon after a change in the beer law, the three partner friends took a trip to Belgium, which completely changed the way they served beer. Upon their return, they immediately started purchasing beer that not just holds up but also refines with age.

An extensive relationship with breweries and importers from all over the world allows them to offer you beers you won’t find anywhere else.

Brick Store Pub Food

While beer is surely the main attraction of the pub, there’s no underestimating the play of flavors in their kitchen too. The owners ensure that only premium quality products of local farms go into their foods. They hold true to their promise of freshly prepared food from scratch.  Some of their offerings are:

Kitchen Littles:

  • Tittle pop
  • Pimento cheese and crackers
  • Sausage and grits
  • Cheese tartlet
  • Fried pierogies
  • Lil’ shawties- whipped cheese, house smokies, butter bread, and pickled mustard seed
  • Soft pretzel
  • Butterbean hummus
  • Brunswick stew

On Bread

  • Brisket burnt ends
  • Turkey
  • Radish and mushrooms
  • Roasted Pork

Garden

  • Field green
  • Arugula
  • Farro and red peas

Pots and plates

  • Short rib pot roast
  • Pierogi Primavera
  • Chicken pot pie
  • Trout
  • Fish and chips
  • Smoked chicken

Desserts

  • Chocolate pot de crème
  • Poundcake
  • Fried pie

The Brick Store Pub’s Cellar

The three friends and joint owners of the pub, Mike, Tom, and David, traveled to Belgium in 2004 on their first beer trip. They had heard of a pub called Kulminator in Antwerp, which historically changed their offerings of beer. They were, for the first time, introduced to vintage beer, with a menu sized like a  phonebook.

Upon their return, the three friends started buying and storing beer cases in the basement of David’s house. Any bottle that was conditioned or contained a high ABV and a strong malt bill were considered fair game.

Soon they hired the bottom of a next-door, old bank and began to age their beers down there. Very soon, they built a cellar in their pub.

The cellar opened in 2010 and holds up to 1000 vintages. It is still a recognized force in the beer industry today with many accolades on a national level.

Final Thoughts

If you are a resident of Decatur or the surrounding neighborhoods, there is no chance you can miss an experience at The Brick Store Pub. This pub promises sheer happiness and a hang out you will cherish for a lifetime.

The Gullah and Geechee is one of the oldest surviving communities of South Carolina, of the oldest surviving African-Americans culture in the USA. The initial plan was to open Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen and Bar in Midtown, but a change in plans brought, Gee and Juan Smalls to Main Street, Atlanta. They thrilled the crowds with the opportunity of scooping up rice-based recipes of famous James Island, where Gee was brought up by his father. The restaurant’s logo, too, holds the appearance of Gee’s father’s face in the blue mural.

Adding quaint charm to the overall theme of the restaurant is the menu, written in the cultural Creole language, but also literal enough to decipher. So if you read ‘shawk bites’ on the menu, it actually means real shark. The ‘poke’ fried, is made with pig and not cold tuna. The crab rice, too, is what it says i.e., pure and authentic. One bite of the food from Gee’s kitchen and you’ll regret not having been eating it for long.

Also, once you take a bite of the chuck-town chewy brownie, sweetened with light brown sugar and topped with pecans, powdered sugar, and served with caramel salted ice cream, you won’t be able to stop eating it.

Background

Gullah and Geechee are descendants of West African and Central African people and have preserved their heritage more than any other US black Americans. They were imprisoned together as slaves on an isolated sea. This isolation brought about a great deal of interactions between different groups of different languages and settings. In time, a unified language, called Creole, was created as a common mode of interaction with each other. This union ultimately gave birth to the glorious cuisine of the Gullah Geechee people.

Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen and Bar have been named after Gee’s late father. It pays tribute to owners’ heritage and roots. All of the dishes here are a creation out of the Virgil Family recipes and are presented with great pride.

The restaurant is most known for its mouth-watering rice dishes paying homage to their ancestors who belonged to Sierra Leone and other rice-producing countries.

The mantra followed at Virgil’s is to maintain a space where people can enjoy great food, top-notch service, and a dining experience filled with love by the owners and their impressive team.

Menu

To experience the Gullah Geechee culture firsthand, you must try out all you can from their A La Carte menu. Some of their bests are described below:

Stawtuhs- Starters

  • Shawk bites- tender shawk meat, seasoned, lightly battered and fried to golden perfection
  • Gullah eggrolls- stuffed with vegetarian red rice, vegan fried cabbage, and white shrimp
  • Fried oysters- golden fried and topped with pickled jalapenos and geecheeboi sauce
  • Cucumba and watuhmelon salad- cucumber and mixed greens, tossed in a dressing of herbs with spiced pecan, goat cheese, and pickled shallots served on a watermelon slice.

From the Rice Fields

  • Vegan red rice- tomato sauce cooked rice, peppers, onions, and diced tomatoes
  • Crab and shrimp gravy- white shrimp cooked in a gravy of crabs, served over steamed rice
  • Red rice- cooked in tomato sauce with smoked sausage and bacon
  • Vegan okra perloo (pilaf)- Rice cooked with onions, okra, peppers, and vegetable broth
  • Crab rice- rice served with crab meat and Gullah seasonings.

From the Yard and Water

  • Fried poke chop- lightly battered, seasoned, and golden friend. Served with brown gravy
  • Sautéed shrimp- white shrimp seasoned and then sautéed in delicious Gullah BUTTER SAUCE
  • Jam up wings- Marinated with seasonings and drizzled with Gullah gal sauce( baked or fried)

Some Gullah sides

  • Seafood pasta salad- shrimp and pasta mix, crab meat mixed with house dressing.
  • Okra soup- Fresh okra stewed with corn, tomato, and smoked turkey.

Virgil’s Kitchen and Bar goes a long way in showering its diners not just with an abundance of love and warmth but also surrounding them and keeping alive the core cultural traditions of the beautiful community. The gift of its divine flavors is something you can’t afford to miss in this lifetime.

We bet you haven’t ever experienced a deli as upscale as The General Muir in Atlanta. Established in 2013 by Jen Johnson, Ben, and Shelley Sweet, this Jewish eat out has been winning hearts ever since.

Todd Ginsberg, the executive chef, takes the entire burger mania to a whole new level. But his culinary genius doesn’t stop at burgers merely; other show stoppers of the deli include the cheesecakes, poutine fries, the matzoh ball soup, and the pastrami sandwiches piled high.

How It All Came Together

Taking great inspiration from its handcrafted roots, this is a restaurant that is a modern classic in origin but New York Jewish in tradition. While we talk about handcraft, we cannot forget to pay homage to the honor given to all the traditional favorites at The General Muir- the hand-rolled bagels kettle boiled, the in-house smoked and cured pastrami.

Taking their culinary game to greater heights are the dishes that surpass traditions, focus solely on premium fresh ingredients, and the preparations that are as simple and as authentic as can be.

The name of the restaurant pays homage to a refugee transport vessel. This vessel historically carried Holocaust survivors, including the mother and grandparents of Jennifer Johnson, co-owner to New York in 1949.

The General Muir is owned by Shelly Sweet, Jennifer and Ben Johnson, and Chef Todd Ginsberg.

The Place Where You Can Find It All

If you have been on the lookout for a place where you can find any and every meal of the day under on roof, then The General Muir is just where you need to be.

This place offers breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, as well. Additionally, there is also an espresso bar that serves locally roasted coffee, Batdorf, and Bronson. If that isn’t enough for you, then you can also make your way to bar full of spirits, beer, wine, and cocktails to find your glass of perfection.

If you happen to be in a hurry and just need to grab something quickly, then The General Muir’s service counter is just what you need. They serve sandwiches, bagels, pastries, salads, and coffee throughout the day.

Coffee Experience Your Life Would Be Incomplete Without

While no coffee is ever ordinary, the one at The General Muir is an exclusive edition you won’t find anywhere else.

While the full coffee bar serves drip coffee and espresso drinks all day, the star of this section is the exclusive blend created especially by Batdorf and Bronson for the restaurant. It is made up of a combination of 6 beans, which represent each coffee-growing region. The result is a complex yet balanced cup of coffee. You may also buy a bag of delicious brew if you decide to enjoy more of it at home.

General Muir Menu

Bagels:

  • Choice of plain, sesame, poppy, salt, everything
  • Choice of scallion caper, plain, vegetable, dill horseradish
  • Choice of fish addition- baked salmon salad, nova or lox, sable, smoked trout salad

Open-faced bagels:

  • Nova, avocado, schmear, cucumber, grapefruit, dill, onion
  • Smoked trout salad, pickled onions, crème Fraiche, parsley
  • Lox, salmon roe, schmear, chives

Breakfast plates:

  • Fish and potatoes
  • Smoked hash
  • Egg omelet
  • Pecan crusted French toast
  • Poached eggs and grits
  • Fried egg sandwich

Lunch:

  • Soup and half sandwich
  • Chicken club
  • Reuben
  • Tuna melt
  • Vegetarian Reuben
  • Burger stack
  • Roast beef sandwich

Dinner:

  • Matzoh ball soup
  • Burrata
  • Deviled eggs
  • Poutine
  • Frisee and mustard greens
  • Chopped liver
  • Fried chicken of springer mountain farms
  • Duck breast
  • Beluga lentils
  • Hanger steak
  • Trout

Deli classics include:

  • Corned beef
  • Pastrami
  • Cured and smoked in house meats

Whether it is weekday that needs fancying up with the deli menu or a weekend that need celebrating with the chicken and spaghetti dinners, The General Muir promises to be your food destination for life.

To give some back story, I did gymnastics for 18 years of my life. I started at 2 years old and went all the way until I was 20. My first year of college was spent at the Air Force Academy competing for their gymnastics team as well.

Similarly, my brother was a gymnast, but he took it even further. He competed all 4 years of college, and even competed in the college NCAA’s for the Air Force Academy on Pommel horse. It is safe to say that we know a little bit about the sport and even still help out from time to time at local gyms.

Gymnastics in Atlanta

From my multiple years of training in Atlanta, and many long nights, I had to privileged to train at many different gyms. Particularly, three gyms come to mind for gymnastics.

To preface this, these gyms are for guys and girls which is rare. Most small local gyms will not have all of the guys equipment needed for upper level gymnastics. For those reasons, here my my top three gyms in Atlanta that you can take your boy or girl to learn and train at!

Atlanta School of Gymnastics

This gym, the Atlanta School of Gymnastics (ASG), is close to my heart. I spent most of my earlier days as a gymnast here, and even came back to coach and train after leaving the Academy. The gym is mostly run by a former cheer leading coach, Rochelle, and has plenty of culture and history behind it.

This gym is particularly good for younger kids and here is why. The coaches that work with the small kids, ages 10 and younger, have been there for a long time. All of these coaches have devoted years and years to their craft and understand how to work with children. On top of this, they know how to safely train younger kids all the while pushing them to greater heights.

Team Coaches

When you get past the younger ages, you may want your child to move up to a team position. This will typically happen by one of the coaches doing a try out for your kid and accessing their skill level. Afterward, the coach will have a meeting with the parent to discuss the potential level that their skills meet.

Sometimes kids will excel and need to be moved up quickly, and other times they may not be ready. Gymnastics is not a natural sport to most kids, so do not put a lot of pressure on your kid to be great. Although, for those that do excel, there is plenty of instruction and talent at the gym to take your kid as far as he needs to go.

ASG Gym

The gym is right off of I-285 in Tucker, Georgia and seems to be in the middle of no where. That is pretty much the same for most gyms. Over the years, the owners have been trying to renovate the gym and add new equipment. The gym has been open for easily 50 years, so you can imagine the history behind it. Overall, the gym is well run and has plenty of potential for any level of gymnast.

Roswell Gymnastics

At a certain point while training, my team moved from ASG to Roswell Gymnastics which is not surprisingly in Roswell, Georgia. There were multiple reasons at the time, but the moved worked well for us. In transitioning from one gym to the other, you never really know what to expect. Luckily, Roswell was a well run and up kept gym that we thrived at.

One of the best things about the Roswell gym is that it is partially funded by the city. This means they will always have to most up to date equipment, new pit, and air conditioning. Also, the gym has plenty of coaches for all ages and is more run like a business at times which can be a positive and a negative.

Roswell Gym Classes

The benefit of having so many coaches and a different coach for each event is that kids get more attention and proper training. When you have one coach running from event to event, things can get muddled and the focus can be off. At the same time, with multiple coaches the kids may like some and dislike others. It is bound to happen because each coach my have a slightly different style to coaching.

This is entirely dependent on how well your kid adapts to changes and adjusts to each coach. Some kids love it, while some kids would rather just have one coach they work with throughout the day. Personally, it does not matter as much because in gymnastics, success is entirely up to the kid. You can train hard by yourself, with a good coach, or with a bad coach. Although, I personally liked to work with the same coach from event to event.

Gymnastics Levels

One of the great things about Roswell Gymnastics is that there is plenty of room and equipment for everyone. You kid will rarely not have space or time to get their workout in, and they will make plenty of friends as well.

This gym is on the list because they boast a great girls and boys program for all levels of gymnastics. While they may not have as many elite gymnasts, the coaches here can most certainty train kids to any necessary level since some of the coaches are former Olympians.

Cobb Gymnastics

Another good gym in the Atlanta area is Cobb Gymnastics. Like Roswell, Cobb is also partially funded by the city which means good equipment and no trouble with parking, hopefully. This gym is not as aggressive as the other gyms. This means they do not have as many gymnasts or as big of coaching staffs, but there is still plenty of talent for all ages.

Cobb Gym

While this gym has plenty of funding, it does not have the strongest upper level gymnastics teams. This is a good and a bad thing. While there are coaches at this gym who can train at all levels, it seems the gym is just out of the way for most people. Due to this, there is plenty of space and resources for your kid if you can get to this gym regularly.

They have a great rod floor and tramp both into the pit and a vault that also goes into the pit which is good for training. The people who run the gym are very nice and flexible with all needs.

While this gym may not have as big of a following or history behind it, it has both guys and girls teams which makes it stand out from most other gyms already. In addition, it has good equipment for all levels to train on.

Atlanta Gymnastics

Gymnastics is a sport that not many people will do for very long, but almost every person I know did as a kid. If you have a young one and want to get them some basic training, make sure to check out one of these gyms! Get your kid signed up, and who knows, you may have the next Olympian.

Wrecking Bar Brewpub in Atlanta is a dreamlike eatery, located in an old Victorian mansion’s cellar on Moreland Avenue. If you happen to be a food geek or a beer lover, then this is where you belong. It is the regular gathering spot for all beer lovers and foodies alike.

Brewpub In Atlanta

The Wrecking Bar Brewpub is housed in an ancient Victorian building that was once a Church, a home, a dance studio, and a salvage store of architecture. This bar quickly became a cornerstone after its establishment for the neighborhood, and the reason is not hard to guess. How can a combination of Victorian architecture, great beer, and good food ever fail?

It has a clean, comfortable, and friendly environment. The food is all locally sourced, and the pub holds house-crafted beer as well as extensive bar programs. This restaurant makes you fit right in since there’s something for everyone here.

Atlanta Food

If the Wrecking Bar can boast of a diverse menu, the credit goes to the head chef Terry Koval. He has invested the last couple of years transforming the menu into a delightful array of flavors while sticking to the traditional pub classics.

The bar sources its ingredients from dairies, local bakeries, and farms (including their own). They source locally with the sole aim of boosting the local economy and building relationships within the industries. While the menu changes mostly to reflect the seasonal changes, there are a few constant classics of the kitchen. One things you are guaranteed to find here are flavors and products at their best.

Wrecking Bar Beer

Neal Engleman has developed a program for a beer that brews on a 7 barrel system. The program focuses on attaining perfection on classic styles such as Pilsner, IPA, Kolsch, ESB, session styles, and barrel-aged strong beer. What adds uniqueness is how they balance the classic list with more experimental styles; fruited farmhouse and gose ales, milkshake IPA’s, and certain others, to name a few. 

In the past seven years, they also developed their barrel-aging program in which they age stouts, scotch ales, barleywines, and rum barrels to highlight the best characteristics of the beer. They have won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival for strong barrel-aged ales. The winning product was their Willet Bourbon Barrel-Aged Ye Old Sprinklerhead Barleywine.

Brewpub Menu

Snacks

  • Corn pups
  • Soup of the day
  • Wreck fries
  • Beer boiled peanuts
  • Beef heart tartare
  • Acorn squash
  • Corn pups
  • Brussels sprout quesadilla

Sandwiches

  • Spicy catfish
  • The O.G Burger
  • Pastrami

Entrees

  • Meat and three steak salad- aged flatiron steak, three seasonal fish salads
  • Vegetable plate- Farro risotto, shaved Brussels sprouts, butternut squash puree, pickled butternut squash, toasted pecans, Parmesan Reggiano
  • Lamb sirloin- Lamb sirloin from Elysian field, Brussels sprouts, acorn squash, red wine reduction, spiced yogurt, dried cranberry, sweet potato puree
  • Posole Roja- Pork belly of Bear creek, preserved chillis, greechie boy corn, cilantro, shaved radish, lime, chicharrons.
  • Poulet a La Crème- Joyce farm’s chicken, butternut squash, compressed apples, brown sugar glazed hassleback, pickled cranberry vinaigrette
  • Roasted fluke- sunny side egg, fried cabbage, Korean bbq, smoked bacon, smoked trout roe, kewpie mayo

Private Events

The Cellar

The cellar is a private dining area that can accommodate around 30 guests for dinner and 40 if it is a cocktail style party. It is just the ideal venue for getting together, dinner parties, and so on.

The Biergarten

It is an event space in their brewer warehouse that accommodates around 42 guests for a dinner party and around 100 for standing, informal gathering. It has a long concrete bar, fermentation tanks, twelve beer taps in the room. There is also a built-in stage, proving ideal for casual celebrations involving a band.

The Marianna

This is the formal event space located on the main floor of the house. It has a capacity of 30 to 250 people. With 13ft ceilings, original fireplaces, and stained glass windows, it is the perfect setting for weddings, rehearsal dinners, and holiday parties, and so on.

Final Thoughts

The goal of the restaurant is to maintain something for everyone here. This is one of the best options you can find in Atlanta if you want to grab a beer or hang out for a relaxing time with family and friends.

When I started film school, I couldn’t tell you the difference between a producer and a director. Many of my fellow classmates were in the same boat and they did not know all Atlanta film jobs on set. Actually, one of the best things film school did for me was clarify the responsibilities of each role. If you haven’t gone to film school it can be embarrassing to ask what each job does, so here’s my list of important jobs on set and what they do.

Film Producer

The producer is the be all end all of the project. They are there from day one until the project wraps. They are in charge of securing money, hiring the crew, and making sure the project goes smoothly. Almost all of the producers work is before production. Once the shooting starts the producer should be able to take a step back and let the film happen. Ultimately, however, the producer has the final say on everything with the project because they are the ones who control the money, and if they don’t want to pay for something or want to cut something out, it is completely their call. The producer and director should have a close relationship or at least an understanding for each other because they both want the same thing, a good movie.

Set Director

The director is in charge of making the movie. They are in charge of the story and creative aspects of filmmaking. In pre-production, they create the shot list, storyboard, overheads, and script breakdown. Then, they meet with the first A.D. to create the shooting schedule based on all of the paperwork. The director’s vision is what drives the movie forward. Whether they wrote the script or worked with a writer, they are there to make their own movie with their own vision. On set, they work with the actors to shape their performance, cinematographer to create a stunning shot, and the first A.D. to make sure they are on schedule.

The only person that is above the director is the producer because the producer controls the money. Once filming has wrapped, the director works with an editor to create the final project. The director, much like the producer, sees the project through to the very end.

Set First A.D.

The First Assistant Director is the right hand to the director, if the director says something needs to get done, the first A.D. will get it done. They are in charge of making sure the production is on schedule, they have a list of every shot that needs to be filmed that includes the actors, props, and locations of each. They film everything in the most logistical way possible because time is money, especially on set. While the director is meeting with the actors or talking to the cinematographer about the next shot, the first A.D. has everyone already moving equipment there so that when they’re ready to shoot, everything should be set up.

Film Cinematographer

First things first, the cinematographer does not touch the camera. They create the shots and control the lighting and make it look how they want but the camera operator is the one that executes the shot. The cinematographer is in charge of the entire camera department, whatever they say goes, but if you want to work with the cameras and actually do the shots, then camera op is right up your alley. On smaller sets of course the cinematographer is also the camera op. Near the end of pre-production, the cinematographer will meet with the director and go over the shot list to collaborate on what they think each shot should look like.

Set Production Assistant

Some of you are probably very familiar with this job but for those who are just getting started, a P.A. does whatever they’re asked whenever they’re asked to. If someone needs coffee you’re going to grab their coffee. If something needs to get picked up for later, you’re driving to pick something up. You are the workforce that the first A.D. will call upon to make sure everything gets done. When I first started doing P.A. work, I worked on very small sets. I was the only P.A. which meant I did everything that needed to get done, but this also meant I was able to work closely with everyone on set like the director and D.P. This was extremely valuable to me because I was able to learn about every job on set. If you can find a job like that I would recommend taking it.

Atlanta Film Jobs on Set

In the film industry there are many titles and slang terms. They can all be very confusing, especially if you never ask what they mean. I hope this list has been helpful in clarifying some of the important job titles on set. If you you learned something new from this make sure to check out my other articles on Atlanta film!