Artie and Nik Are Back with a Winner
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Artie and Nik Are Back with a Winner

Veteran restaurateurs Nik Panagopoulos and sister Artie Antoniades are reprising a new concept, whipping up some good vittles in Sandy Springs.

After 35 years with the Atlanta newspapers, Marcia currently serves as Retail VP for the Buckhead Business Association, where she delivers news and trends (laced with a little gossip).

Stellar combination: buffalo spiced cauliflower with celery and blue cheese crumbles.
Stellar combination: buffalo spiced cauliflower with celery and blue cheese crumbles.

Veteran restaurateurs Nik Panagopoulos and sister Artie Antoniades are reprising a new concept, whipping up some good vittles in Sandy Springs. Some may remember their Fishmonger Seafood Grill on Roswell Road and then Tin Can Fish House, and Teela Taqueria.

Adjacent to Bogartz Food Artz in the Kroger City Walk center, Apron + Ladle recently opened a healthy “deli kitchen” accommodating breakfast and lunch seven days a week.

Born in Greece, the brother-sister team was reared in Zimbabwe, where they were surrounded by Jewish neighbors. Panagopoulous said, “Our Jewish customers have followed us all over, … especially South Africans.”

Co-owners Nik Panagopoulos and sister Artie Antoniades chose an art deco peacock- hued interior for Apron + Ladle.

The clean, fresh and fun design is by Sims Patrick Studio. “We wanted to evoke an old Miami art deco ambiance: birdcage style in bold peacock and teal blue with lots of plants,” Panagopoulos said. “The patio is huge and will be a great entertainment spot. Inside, we seat 75.” It’s easy to park. Just pull right up in front.

Specializing in seasonal products, the kitchen is headed by former Joli Kobi, Artisan Foods Bakery & Café in Roswell, and Eatzi’s Market & Bakery chef-baker Hoyt Williams.

The menu starts with from-scratch buttermilk biscuits (gluten-free optional) stuffed with a wide variety of breakfast items, from slow-cooked brisket with poached egg, portabella mushrooms, Gouda and tomato, French toast, avocado with fried green tomato, to more side choices such as deconstructed scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, bagels, schmears, and homemade preserves. Suffice it to say there is something for everyone.

What we went crazy over:

Vegan tomato-based from scratch vegetable soup: huge chunky veggies and a mélange of green and red grape tomatoes.

Two favorite dishes are smashed avocado toast with radish shavings and scrambled egg whites (top) and made-from-scratch tomato-based crunch vegetable soup (below).

Spicy buffalo cauliflower appetizer with shaved celery and blue cheese. Flash-fried, but we felt the heat and made the not-so-healthy leap.

Smashed avocado with shaved radish, lemon juice on whole wheat toast with poached egg (we subbed scrambled egg whites.)

Salad Nicoise de rigueur tuna, hard-boiled egg, olives, butter lettuce, onion, capers, tomato, made festive with both purple and white potato slices. The dressing is a homemade mustard tarragon vinaigrette. The green beans were blanched just perfectly, which is the flagship of an appropriate French dish.

Surprise “fight” over dessert: Chia pudding in a jar with coconut milk, berries, granola, honey drizzle, bananas – thinly sliced vertically – which was imaginative and enhanced the banana.

There are 17 sandwich choices from muffaletta and Tunisia tuna with capers, spicy harissa sauce on French baguette, to the more traditional grilled salmon wrap, brisket taco and nova. Some come in half sizes for $6. All can be on toasted on a panini press. There are fun options for the young ones for $5 such as banana quesadilla and grilled cheese with sunflower butter dip and apple slices.

Antoniades said, “We don’t yet have a liquor license, but soon hope to be serving mimosas and such. And Sunday brunch should be really a fun time.” Currently there are trained baristas with many beverage options: lattes, espresso, Italian illy Caffe, natural honey sodas, Mexican Coke, and Numi organic hot tea, to name a few.

In addition to the main dining room, there is a smaller room and counter to pick up takeout or catering orders, with friendly table arrangements, which would well suit a mahjong game group.

Apron + Ladle is indeed ambitious, talking on dozens of menu items and balancing both the trendy healthy flank and the traditional delicatessen gezuntah-style 12-ounce protein sandwiches. Think about whole wheat croissants.

The sibling owners should do well in the bustling Sandy Springs rebirth situated a block from the new City Springs complex. Most importantly, they know the art and business of food and are über passionate about their product and service. Besides that, the venue is as close as we can get to South Beach. Imagine the fun flow during the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival day performances.

Apron + Ladle hours are 7 a.m. to 2:30 pm. during the week and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the weekend. The cafe is located at 227 Sandy Springs Plaza and can be reached by phone at 404-963-1080.

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