Ford Fry, owner/executive chef of JCT. Kitchen & Bar, and Chef Drew Belline, previously the chef de cuisine at Floataway Café, are opening No. 246 -- their new Italian-inspired, locally driven restaurant in easy-going Decatur next week! Stay tuned to their Facebook page to get the scoop! No. 246 (twofoursix) takes its name from the original number of the plot of land where the restaurant sits. Through their joint venture, Fry and Belline share their passions for using seasonal, local ingredients, simple preparations and wood-fired cooking -- key strengths of both Californian and Italian kitchens.
The No. 246 menu veers off the Southeast's meat-centric path, setting forth more vegetables and dishes driven by local farm produce. Dinner dish examples include "start" of wood oven-roasted razor clams with salsa verde and lemon. Among the "flour & water" selections are garganelli with soffritto-braised rabbit, sultanas, broccoli rabe and pecorino and a cherrystone clam pizza with grana padano, parsley butter, garlic and chilies. "From the hearth" items include wood oven-roasted Springer Mountain chicken with hen-of-the-woods, roasted young carrots and a sherry-bacon vinaigrette or a whole wood-roasted fish of the moment. As a "finish," dessert options include lemon balm buttermilk panna cotta with lemon marmalade and brown butter blueberry croustade with crème fraîche. Lunch features entrée salads and sandwiches including the No. 246 burger with Teleme and house pickles and a BLT featuring Belline Farm's tomato, fior di latte, backyard basil and prosciutto.
Lara Creasy directs the beverage program, pouring wines from Italy and California and providing a revolving list of "house wine" values by the glass or half-carafe. Cocktails contain numerous traditional Italian ingredients -- vermouths, amaros, aperitivos, digestivos, seasonal fruits and produce, Italian sodas and house-made mixers. Coffee also will be a priority at No. 246 -- perfect to enjoy in a place where the front doors spill out onto the sidewalk while the backdoor opens into a yard green with an herb garden, shuffleboard court, and a deck built around a tree where live music will be played on Saturdays and Sundays. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner daily and will not accept reservations. So, what comes after No. 246? Ate, of course.
No. 246: 129 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue in Decatur; 678-399-8246.