he appreciation that the Restaurant Eugene team has for history, the region and traditional foodways provides a certain heft and soul to what they offer. Allowing a local, house-made pantry to drive the menu, the approach is at once traditional and urbane. It is a 'sense of place' that one feels while reading the menu that begins the experience. Names of farmers and artisans are sprinkled about, paying homage to those who have done the work to get such delicious ingredients through the kitchen door. Once through that door, respect and care for the ingredients play as important a role as the preparation of them. The goal in the kitchen is to make absolutely as much of what is used from scratch as possible. Simple sauces like hot pepper sauce, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, and the like are made by hand. More complicated techniques are enhanced by having, even the most basic ingredients, be made in-house. It is a return to actual preparation of ingredients that motivates the kitchen to elevate these precious products to their place on a seasonal pedestal. This 'from scratch' approach may at first, be perceived as rustic but the end result of each dish proves that really, this is what true cuisine is—folkways meeting Escoffier.
Community activity is a contributing factor to why Restaurant Eugene thrives. Early on, the Hopkins’ realized that to be lively, concerned, and engaged in local and regional activities, enhanced their lives and business in a great way. Support of local farmers and artisans is crucial to ensuring that the restaurant can obtain what they need for meal preparation. The idea for a Saturday farmer’s market, just a few blocks away, was born and now, the farmer’s trip to town is much more profitable than simply making restaurant deliveries. Gina and Linton, who are founding partners of The Peachtree Road Farmers Market have helped to form a place where the public has embraced the market as a sort of open-air clubhouse—a place to gather, greet friends, buy vegetables and meet the farmers that grow them. They each sit on the board of directors of such organizations as Georgia Organics, The Southern Foodways Alliance, The Peachtree Road Farmers Market and The Southern Food and Beverage Museum. Involvement in the local school system and neighborhood activity bolsters civic pride. The belief is that their business is part of the fabric of Atlanta and their region. Some of the threads of that fabric come into their Peachtree Street outpost while others weave themselves back out, all with a beautiful, very fine result.
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