Former wine country chef Leif Johnson operated a catering business in Dunwoody before opening a small, mostly lunch-centered spot called Bite in Alpharetta in 2011. In January, Johnson took another step, remodeling and doubling the size of the restaurant, adding a patio and full bar, expanding dinner service to six nights a week, and updating the menu with more New American entrees.
The look: Bite is located in a brick storefront in a small shopping center at the corner of Kimball Bridge and Webb Bridge roads. Inside, the contemporary decor is both stylish and comfy, with a compact tile-topped bar that offers a cozy landing for couples or solo diners.
The scene: Late one afternoon, the cafelike space was still crowded, even as lunch service was about to close. Though they were secluded behind a gauzy curtain, the sound of a group of women having a get-together could be heard throughout the dining room. Elsewhere, two women wearing tennis skirts and visors were finishing the last of their salads and white wine.
The menu: Favorites among Bite’s longtime offerings include a tarragon-flavored lobster roll on a black pepper bun ($17/$19), and a variety of flatbreads, including fig and prosciutto ($10) and al pastor with smoked pork and grilled pineapple ($12). Short rib pappardelle ($22) is among several pasta dishes that show up on the new menu. Mains include seared diver scallops with roasted leek risotto ($27) and a grilled rib-eye filet with Yukon Gold puree, asparagus and wild mushrooms ($33).
The drinks: The bar menu matches what’s going on at most Atlanta fine dining restaurants these days, with craft cocktails, craft beer and a curated selection of wines by the glass and bottle. Classic cocktails include a Sazerac with Templeton Rye ($11), while newer creations include the Palm Key with Cathead Honeysuckle vodka, rosemary grapefruit syrup, lemon juice and prosecco. The current beer list features Bell’s Two Hearted Ale ($6) and New Holland Dragon’s Milk stout ($9).
The extras: Perhaps the most buzzed-about menu item right now, the Double ($12/$15), is a burger stack with two house-ground short rib and brisket patties, melted American cheese, bacon, caramelized onion, special sauce, house-made pickles, lettuce and tomato, served with fresh-cut fries.
Lunch: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. Dinner: 5-10 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. Small plates, flatbreads and salads, $6-$14; pasta and main dishes, $19-$33; lunch menu items, $5-$15.
11500 Webb Bridge Road, Suite A9. 770-754-5500, www.biteatl.com.