ATLANTA: Rina, the highly anticipated skewer house (or shipudiya) concept from restauranteur Tal Baum and the team behind Oliva Restaurants (Bellina Alimentari, Aziza, and Falafel Nation), opened its doors this week in the historic Ford Factory Lofts along the Eastside BeltLine.
Group Executive Chef Brandon Hughes leads the charge in the newest concept, alongside chef de cuisine Daniel Chance, putting a unique spin on traditional Israeli street food. Some recipes, including the falafel, have been passed down for generations through Baum’s family and were first served at their own falafel stand in Israel in the 1950’s.
Embrace the cuisine through a variety of mezze options including Moroccan Carrots, Za’atar Labneh, Eggplant Matbucha, Israeli Salad, Tabbouleh, Sumac-Cabbage Slaw, and more. Choose between a handful of hummus combinations as well as pita selections filled with Chicken Shawarma, Arayes (spiced lamb), or Sabich (spiced eggplant). If that isn’t enough, platter options include Amba Chicken with Persian rice and charred vegetables; Beef Kebab with garlic pita, tomato brown butter, and sumac onion; “Jaffa” Fried Fish fried in falafel batter with fried shallots and herb tahini; Sea Bass with chermoula, Persian rice, and charred vegetables; and a Falafel Salad with feta, crispy chickpeas, and goddess-tahini dressing. View the full menu here.
“Working with new cooking techniques and flavors has always been a passion of mine,” said Hughes. “With Rina, Daniel and I have really gotten the chance to experiment to create something new and exciting. The BeltLine is as close to an oceanside boardwalk as landlocked Atlanta can get so it felt right to bring in the Tel Aviv beach vibes of this restaurant, both in design and menu offerings. This concept and location has not only allowed us to build on what we have done at both Aziza and Falafel Nation, but it has also given us the satisfying challenge to bring an entirely different experience to diners. We can’t wait for guests to experience our takes on these traditional dishes.”
Demario Wallace, who oversees the bar program at both Aziza and Rina, is no stranger to originality when it comes to utilizing Middle Eastern flavors in unexpected ways. Serving up frozen drinks, draft cocktails, boozy milkshakes, and house-made sodas behind the restaurant’s large bar, the menu includes beverages like The Hilton, Rina’s take on a pina colada, with a blend of Plantation rums, coconut, pineapple, lime, and anessette; the Dor Habomin with bourbon, coffee, cinnamon, orange, and amaro; or The Tzuk with spicy tequila, grapefruit, and fresh herbs. View the full bar menu here.
With a desire to create an exciting, welcoming place for the community, Baum looked to Smith Hanes Studio to capture the feel of beach cafes in Tel Aviv. The 2,700 square-foot space includes an inviting outdoor patio with BeltLine access, high ceilings with large windows, and traditional Israeli textures – fully encapsulating a part of Baum’s childhood. Translating to ‘happiness’ in Hebrew, it’s safe to say that is exactly how you will feel as soon as you step into this space.
“This concept is one of the most personal projects for me because this is where it all started. Named for my grandmother, I made sure she touches every piece of this space, from the photography of her on the walls to the family recipes we based the menu on,” said Baum. “I spent so many hours cooking in the kitchen with her and they are some of my fondest memories of growing up. She gave me my passion for cooking and serving others and I can’t wait to continue sharing that with others here.”
Through this Thursday (January 16), soft opening hours are 11 AM - 8 PM. Beginning this Friday (January 17), Rina will be open for lunch and dinner Monday-Thursday from 11 AM to 2:30 PM and 5 PM to 10 PM, Friday-Saturday from 11 AM to 11 PM, and Sunday from 12 PM to 8 PM. For more information, visit the restaurant’s website and follow along on Instagram and Facebook.