Restaurant Review: St. Cecilia

posted on June 9, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Crudo, by James Camp

Here’s the elephant in the dining room when it comes to Atlanta restaurateur Ford Fry: Can you buy success? Does substantial capital beget a winning concept? Money can buy a gleaming kitchen and chic interior design, but it can’t guarantee a great restaurant. There are plenty of examples of wildly expensive flops in Atlanta. Fry is not one of them. His restaurants continue to be popular. The chef turned entrepreneur, whose Rocket Farms Restaurants group includes JCT Kitchen, the Optimist, King + Duke, and No. 246, has another hit on his hands with St. Cecilia.

St. Cecilia occupies a big, beautiful space in Buckhead’s Pinnacle building. It opened in January in the former Bluepointe location vacated by Buckhead Life Group in 2011. The menu’s focus is coastal Mediterranean seafood and is broken up into the traditional Italian categories of crudos, salumi, antipasti, primi, secondi, and dolci. Six months in, the kitchen has begun to widen its scope.

One of Fry’s strengths is knowing when to make staffing changes. Case in point: Bringing in chef Drew Belline to replace chef Brian Horn in April. Belline, now “V.P. of Culinary” and executive chef at both No. 246 and St. Cecilia, joins chef de cuisine Craig Richards, who’s been at St. Cecilia since it opened.

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