The Scoop on A Mano: A New Restaurant for Old 4th Ward

There’s a new restaurant coming to BeltLandia! Midtown resident George Demeglio is currently building a mano, an intimate eatery serving traditional Italian inspired dishes with locally sourced ingredients. Burke and I were lucky enough to grab lunch with him not too long ago to interview him and get the scoop on his new project!

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You had never been in the restaurant business before, right?

I’m an engineer. I’ve been in  manufacturing, telecommunications, software, construction. In many different industries I’ve applied my skills but never in hospitality or restaurant. I look at it as I can lend my special operations skills to it, and of course I’ll have a seasoned staff that is in the business. My inspiration is community. I’ve been home based as an engineer for twelve years and you work in a building or with whoever’s on the phone, but you don’t work with a community. And I really miss that. I really miss being part of a community in my day job.

How long have you been working on this project?

I’ve been working on this for 8 years. My son was in college, my daughter was about to start college, and I was there saying “What’s next?”  I was jogging and the idea came to me to open up a speakeasy! I thought Little Five Points needed a place for grown-ups, or at least for when they wanted to act like grown-ups. Sometimes you want a little nicer place. But the idea stuck and that’s what I needed to do. So I started walking the BeltLine before anything happened, and started looking in the neighborhoods around until I found a place.

So you were convinced the BeltLine was going to blow things up?

I didn’t have any idea that it was going to be as big as it was. Back then, there was just renegade art and nothing was paved. In 2010, there was the first lantern parade. The first lantern house was actually at the restaurant space. Chantelle Rytter was looking for a place to have a workshop and I had just bought the restaurant. It was before I’d started gutting anything, so it was the old Parlucci’s hair salon space. And it had power and everything so I said “Hey, it’s yours!”

What dish are you most excited about?

What I’m excited about is the simplicity of great Italian pasta like an arrabiata or a Cacio a Pepe or Olio e Aglio. Where you have these great fresh pastas with very simple– it’s hard to even call them sauces– just very lightly seasoned. What happens is, if you have very good ingredients that are executed well, you don’t need all that other stuff.

When you say affordable, what’s a typical menu item going to ring up at?

So our pastas will probably be in the $9-13 range, and our secondis (our proteins) will be in the $13-20 range with the occasional special that will be a little more than that depending on what it is.

And you’re trying to do sustainable and locally sourced menu items. What farms are you paired up with?

I don’t have that list yet. Our chef, Chandler Cottingham, is working with them. I sent him to Italy for two weeks because I wanted him to know how the pastas are done there. I wanted him to experience it. The chef owns the menu, I influence it. He knows what flavors, what price points, and I let him know the direction I want to go.

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A glimpse at the bar detail

George let me poke around inside a little bit to see everything he was talking about, but there are no pictures, so you’ll have to check it out for yourself when they open! I will say that the design is spectacular, as they saved every bit of reclaimable lumber off the side of the building to create a gorgeous bar. All the tables, booths, and banquettes are currently being constructed with reclaimed lumber as well. The bar is reminiscent of an Italian grotto to enhance social interaction.

Located at the corner of Ralph McGill and Glen Iris, a mano is scheduled to open later this Spring around May. Parking will be very limited, so walking, biking, and ride-sharing is recommended. You can follow their Facebook page for updates. Hope to see y’all there!

 

About Lee Ogilvie

Lee Ogilvie is an Atlanta-based writer who enjoys local coffee houses, farmers’ markets, and Free Art Fridays. She uses ‘art’ as a verb and lives life with food on her face. She resides in Sylvan Hills with her boyfriend and her plucky cat, Artemis. You’ll find her blogging about her lunches at Lee Makes Lunch

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