By Logan C. Ritchie | email@example.com
DJ Mara Davis has long ruled the Atlanta airwaves, bringing new artists and legends to radio. Now Davis uses her smoky voice, natural curiosity and love of good eats to host the “Atlanta Eats” TV show on Peachtree TV and the radio show on 106.7-FM.
Recruited by company founder and fellow radio host Steak Shapiro, Davis isn’t alone in bringing a Jewish perspective to “Atlanta Eats.” Five of the seven full-time employees are Jewish.
One of them, Atlanta Eats blogger and marketing manager Skye Estroff, said: “We believe our love of food is directly connected to our families and our culture.”
Shapiro added that the eight investors behind Atlanta Eats are also Jewish. “Jewish investors are apropos because of how much Jews love to eat. Atlanta Eats is all about creating original content on where to eat, finding the highest-quality food. Food is a passion point of Atlanta; there’s more talk about food in this town than sports and culture.”
Shapiro said the local show has “a quality as good as any show on the Food Network.”
In addition to his years on sports talk radio, first at 790 the Zone and now with 680 the Fan, Shapiro was a judge on Food Network’s “Food Truck Face Off.”
“Atlanta has an insatiable appetite, pun intended, for this kind of content,” Shapiro said.
Atlanta Eats parent company Bread N Butter Productions expects $3 million in revenue for 2015.
The “Atlanta Eats” show is a digital-television-radio triple threat of restaurant reviews, food trends and restaurant news in the Atlanta area. It covers food from Flowery Branch to Peachtree City and every neighborhood in between.
On the local food scene, Shapiro said his Jewish comfort food favorites include the Reuben sandwich at the General Muir in Decatur, potato latkes at Goldberg’s, and bagels from BB’s in Alpharetta.
“If you want to bring someone soup, Chick-fil-A has a solid version of chicken soup,” he said. “And Tavern at Phipps has Carnegie Deli pastrami flown in every day from New York City.”
The only things missing in Atlanta? “We do neighborhoods well. We do ethnicity well. But we need more great diners and Italian joints. There just aren’t enough of them,” Shapiro said. “Keeping on the path to ethnic restaurants — we are getting better, but I want more Turkish and Lebanese restaurants.”
Shapiro and Davis answered questions from the AJT early in November.
AJT: Which Atlanta restaurant do you wish could come back to life for one last meal?
Shapiro: Coach and Six in the ’80s and ’90s was old school, mega portions and huge martinis. On Monday nights Falcons players would come get a free meal. I also loved the old Tom Catherall’s Snack and Shop deli on West Paces Ferry. I’d see Larry King and Ted Turner there regularly. It was a Jewish deli owned by Saul Feldman. That place was the epicenter for lunch in ATL and a family-run business. I spent every Jewish holiday with the Feldmans for years.
Davis: Oh, man. Just one? I would have to say Pura Vida. I’m so happy Hector is opening El Super Pan in Ponce City Market. I just loved that place.
AJT: What do you like to cook at home?
Davis: I am really good at breakfast. I mean, I do what I can, but my husband is an amazing cook and wanted to be a chef. I can cook, but you wouldn’t want that. I can pass. I make basic roast chicken, but I’m no expert. In fact, we are having Thanksgiving Day at home. I’m really looking forward to having all the great sides because turkey is overrated.
AJT: How would you like to see food service change at the new stadiums?
Shapiro: The days of generic sausage stands and cold cheeseburgers and uninteresting domestic beer are over. Now it’s all local chefs with local concepts. For every Holeman & Finch burger there are 20 others. It’s happening at Philips. You walk around in there and see influences from Rathbun’s to Linton Hopkins to Fox Brothers.
AJT: Your neighborhood (Morningside) had a great food scene, and it recently collapsed.
Davis: A couple of restaurants went out of business, and I think it just happens. I heard the owners of Murphy’s are taking over Rosebud, which is a great call because they know the neighborhood. It’s such a family-friendly area, and I look forward to seeing what they come up with.