The Winter months seemed a little longer without Atria’s Sunday Burger Night, so when it was time for their doors to open, I knew I had to go, and see what was new for this 17th season.
Atria is like two worlds, kind of like the Island sometimes. The upstairs, which is light and sophisticated, and the downstairs Brick Cellar, which is dark and cozy, intimate.
Opening day, a Friday night, with a group of friends called for the latter. We made reservations, a must, especially during peak season. We were lucky enough to get a great corner table.
I arrived a bit early, so I could catch up with Atria’s sommelier, Sam Decker, for a couple of minutes, but first it was nice to catch up with one of the owners, Greer Thornton. She’s always fun to chat with about Island happenings and what’s new at Atria.
Sam is such an amazing wine guy. He is always exploring exciting new wines, and with Atria closed during the Winter months, he decided to challenge himself in a new way.
Sam has begun the Court of Master Sommeliers – an exclusive program. So exclusive that there are less than 200 Masters in the world. Sam has completed level one and two, with plans to finish three and four in 2017 (you have to take a year off between the final two levels.
Over the last intense four months, he feels like he has learned more than over the past four years. He has been truly inspired and challenged, between blind taste tests and all of the information, he has even more appreciation for wine and vintners.
Something new for Sam, who is usually searching for the next small, great amazing wines, the outliers, those who are creating new masterpieces. However now, he has new appreciation for the classics.
With his expanded appreciation for wine, he has decided that he wants to challenge himself and Atria. Create a wine collection that is unparalleled, from a cellar with about 170 wines to potentially 300 wines. With a seasonal town that might seem difficult, but he hopes to build it up to such an impressive state.
Also, a great thing about Sam is that even though he is a genius when it comes to wine, he makes you feel a part of the experience, sharing his knowledge, enjoying the learning, the experience with you.
If wine is not your thing, perhaps one of new cocktails. Sam and his wife, Katy, travelled to Sicily in the early spring, and some of the new cocktails at Atria are a nod to that trip, like the new Venetian Spritz. I had the Michael Pollen Revisited – raw-honey infused Barr Hill Gin with elederflower tonic and cucumber – so delicious and refreshing, perfect for Summer!
If you haven’t dined at the Brick Cellar at Atria in a while, you will notice that there are a number of newer additions, like the “Rip Off,” which has a sesame seed bun, onions, pickles, cheese, lettuce, double beef patties (cooked through) and cellar sauce.
It is rumored to taste just like a Big Mac. If you’re jonesing for a McDonald’s fix, here you go, though so much better for you, and with even better fries.
Strangely, I was in the mood for “Mother Clucker,” a spicy buttermilk fried chicken, slaw, pickles, onions, and pimento cheese, accompanied by Atria’s signature truffle tries. It was just plain perfect. This evening was one of the few times I deviate from my usual “Fast Eddie,”burger but hey, a new season calls for something new.
There are also brand new ones, burgers that weren’t even on the menu for opening night, but have been added since. So, if you like to try the newest things, be sure to check out “Samoya’s a Jerk….Chicken Burger” with grilled spicy jerk chicken topped with house made mango chutney, pineapple and crispy plantain.
If you’re not in the mood for chicken, then perhaps “The Boss Hogg” is the one to try. A burger topped with seared pork belly and red onion jam.
The burger menu is one that rotates. It’s sure to keep you burger fans enthused.
In addition to the new wines, cocktails, and burgers, the entree and starter menu will also be expanding over the next couple of weeks.
Hope this On Point blog tempts you to go to Atria right now!!!! However, you might have to wait a day or two. Atria is open, upstairs and downstairs, Wednesday thru Sunday. Don’t forget to try out the swing when you’re there. It’s a moment in time to be a kid again!
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