Lyla Lila will bring house-made
Midtown this fall
The restaurant from Craig Richards and Billy Streck is set to open in lilli Midtown later this year
By Carly Cooper - May 30, 2019
A rendering of Lyla Lila | Courtesy of Smith Hanes Studio
Last year, Craig Richards left his position as vice president of culinary for Ford Fry Restaurants and executive chef at St. Cecilia and joined forces with restaurateur Billy Streck (Hampton & Hudson, Nina & Rafi, Cypress Street Pint & Plate). The duo soon discovered they had more in common than a love of food: their daughters share a name. So it only made sense to express that connection through the name of their new restaurant, Lyla Lila. (Richards’s daughter is Lyla; Streck’s daughter’s middle name is Lila.)
“We had 30 names on the table, but this makes it a lot more personal to us,” Richards says. “The restaurant is an expression of us.”
Located in the lilli Midtown building at the corner of 3rd and Peachtree streets, the food at Lyla Lila is inspired by the cuisines of southern Italy and Spain. It will include house-made pasta and wood-fired meats and seafood, along with Old World wines and seasonal cocktails.
Pasta options will include smoked squash and ricotta caramelle with spiced pumpkin seeds and sumac; and tomato leaf pappardelle with pork and beef cheek ragu and charred peppers. There will be two risottos on the menu, along with entrees such as a pork porterhouse with eggplant and oysters; and a whole-roasted fishtail with smoked onions and lemon butter, served with an anchovy and arugula salad. Sides include a salt-roasted sweet potato with fermented chili butter, while appetizers will include lamb croquettes with fennel pollen aioli and a wood-grilled lettuce salad with rye croutons, wild oregano, and yogurt dressing.
The beverage program will focus on seasonal cocktails and Old World wines, along with both local and European-style beers in bottles, cans, and a few drafts.
“This food lends itself really well to sparkling wines, so we’ll have an expanded sparking wine program,” Richards says. “We want the beverage side and the kitchen to be a reflection of each other.”
When Lyla Lila opens in early fall, it will serve dinner seven days a week. Weekend brunch will follow, along with weekday lunch. Smith Hanes Studio is designing the 4,000-square-foot space.
“In developing the concept, we pulled out some old vinyl—Miles Davis, Duran Duran, old Madonna—and got inspiration that way,” Streck says. “You might see some vinyl playing on a turntable. We’re definitely encouraging an after-dinner crowd.”
Expect a wooden floor with tiles that merge into the horseshoe bar area. There’s an area with cafe tables and banquettes for cocktails, a dining room, and a 25-seat private room. The Peachtree Street-facing patio is designed for people-watching, while a second patio in the cocktail area features a fireplace as a throwback to Cypress Street’s sizable firepit.
“We want the patio to be a beacon if you’re coming from either side of town,” Richards says.
And if all goes according to plan, Richards says, Lyla Lila will have the energy and vibrancy of his daughter, who is “extremely excited” about having a restaurant named after her.
A couple of weeks ago we had an amazing studio visit with mixed media sculptor Eileen Braun and were fascinated by her transition in materials - from ceramics to rattan - in the creation of her extraordinary, otherworldly vessels.
We are sharing here, her description of the work and a glimpse at what she has been working on.
"In 2016, I put my clay work on hold and sought a new media less demanding of material constraints. After a lot of experimentation, I found it in encaustic wax and rattan weed. As I make the work, the forms grow increasingly more complex. Their sizes range from 3 - 7 feet high and the deep shadows (not easily shown in images), provide a completely different personal experience. The work is deceivingly light, weighing in at a mere 2- 6 pounds.
My art mirrors natural forms with a biomorphic edge. Often the exact life cycle stage one is viewing is too complex to pin down. Is it focused on seed, mature growth, or the desiccation of this system? I leave that up to the viewer.
Movement, texture and complexity of form are integral to the work as well. My hope is that the viewer will be drawn in by the shape. While approaching, they will be intrigued by the ever-changing views because one can see both through and around the form simultaneously. The texture, shadow and line created by the materials add to the multidimensional cornucopia of delights.
Process: The sculptures are constructed from rattan reed, encaustic wax, cotton string, and glue. In some instances I have added dress-makers pattern tissue - influenced by my research of Japanese Akari lamps. The rattan reed is left natural or occasionally pre-stained; soaked, manipulated and secured at all junctions with cotton string. Additional elements to the sculpture are constructed or texturized with encaustic wax. The exoskeletons in many instances have been en-robed in wax, giving them the appearance of metalwork."
Enjoy the work and imagine the possibilities - tabletop installations, wall-hangings, ceiling installations...
ILLUSTRATION: COURTESY OF PHASE:3 MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS
Hotel Clermont is due to reopen next year.
"Hotel Clermont welcomes guests in March after an extensive renovation that merges the building’s classic 1920s features with punk-rock style. In addition to a restaurant and a rooftop bar, the property’s infamous Clermont Lounge remains and, though it got a freshen-up too, retains its gritty glory—and its black-duct-taped bar."
(Garden & Gun Magazine, November 15, 2017)
Brett Smith is a self-taught abstract artist, represented in Atlanta by Sandler Hudson Gallery. We've been following his work for some time and just love it. We were delighted when he said yes to the casual interview, seen below. Thanks, Brett!
APP: So why Atlanta? As a South African native, how did you settle on this "city in a forest" and what are some things that keep you here?
BS: I got a tennis scholarship to play for Georgia State University. Back then, Atlanta was going to host the '96 Olympics so I thought that would be a great experience. Compared to other college towns, Atlanta seemed to be an exciting city to live in and had a lot going for it, so it really was an easy choice. Apartheid was ending in South Africa and the future was very uncertain, I had this opportunity and I grabbed it.
APP: I know your current series is called "From Scaffold to Thicket" and is largely inspired by all the cranes and construction chaos that is always scattered around our city. Can you talk about the thicket element and how this body is a progression from past bodies of work that are more obviously about nature?
BS: The full name of the current body of work is ‘the portrait of a landscape under construction, from scaffold to thicket we build.’ Recently the themes and ideas behind my work have shifted. I have become more interested in how we interact with nature not just being inspired by trees, flowers, branches etc. This delicate balance we have with each other and our precious planet, all the systems and structures that make up this complex web we interact with on a daily basis (and for the most part ignore) has become my new muse. All the construction going on around us in urban environments amplifies this idea of a constant need to build and grow. Nature also has a constant need (and struggle) to grow and flourish and this tension is the starting point for the current work.
APP: What kinds of "art tools" do you use that might surprise people?
BS: Lol!! Studio secrets! Well, the new paintings are made with an empty ballpoint pen and sometimes the back of a paint brush. I have also used paint stirring sticks from Home Depot and Popsicle sticks, whatever works!
APP: Can you comment on the trial and error aspect of creating these layers of lines and how you begin/when you finish?
BS: The paintings are really this great combo of painting and drawing. Technically, they are made of paint and a cold wax medium but I view them more as drawings. I just start drawing elements and images from photographs that I have taken or collected from social media or the internet. At some point I will pick up the paint brush and paint over some or part of the drawing. This creates a ghost like quality which for me is evocative of the building being destroyed over time and then I draw new images over the top. Recently I have used oil pastel to make additional images once the paint dries. This can be considered an example of trial and error as you are taking a big risk when you decide to draw over something that you already think is successful, but no risk no reward!
APP: We noticed you experimented recently with a bit of 3D. Is sculpture something you think you will dig deeper into?
BS: Yes, sculpture is increasingly on my mind. It seems like a natural progression for me and I have some ideas when this work gets exhibited, so stay tuned!
APP: You've been doing the black and white thing through this series but we love your past use of color also, particularly the orange. Do you have a color you like best?
BS: That is a tough one, color is so seductive. Orange was a stand out from the LIFE series but I’m not willing to say that is my favorite. I think it depends on the shade and intensity of the color; I mean there is red and then there is REDDDD!!!
APP: Do you ever draw curves? Or doodle in circles?
BS: I do, the first work on paper I ever did was circles drawn with watercolor pencil. It was based on bubbles in water; water is life after all. A lot of my work based on flowers also embraces the curve or looped line. I like exploring line in all its forms I just try and find what will be appropriate for what I’m trying to achieve visually and thematically.
APP: We would love to see your florals!
We noticed that you use the hashtag #globalwarming sometimes when you post images of your work. How does the work comment on this very timely topic?
BS: It gets back to this idea of balance. We need to keep building and expanding our cities, communities and population, (but) the environment is struggling to survive. It really is the war of our time; too many wrong moves and the ramifications can be catastrophic. I’m trying not to take sides just observing and trying to start a conversation. I want the paintings to be slightly overwhelming, hints of scaffolding and construction cranes draw the viewer in as these images are familiar to everyone, and then you can explore the pictures and put your own spin on it.
APP: We loved seeing the recent work alongside many other great Sandler Hudson artists in Summer Thunder. Is there a solo show in the works so we can mark our calendars?
BS: There is definitely a solo show in the works, still working on the dates.
APP: Speaking of other artists, who are some of your favorite mark-makers?
BS: Cy Twombly probably has had the greatest influence on me. I feel like he is ever-present. There has been such a move to take the hand of the artist out of the painting process, for better or worse, I find I always come back to painters who get their hands dirty: Joan Mitchell, Brice Marden, Pollock and Shiraga come to mind.
APP: What are some of your favorite places to get inspired around ATL? In the city or in nature?
BS: I love walking the Beltline. I feel like it is such a great addition to the vitality of the City. The Mercedes-Benz stadium was just incredible to watch as it was being built. Anywhere a building is going up or coming down for that matter. Buildings are far more interesting during the construction phase or the destruction phase, they are constantly changing while they are being built, kind of like watching a plant grow. I took many ‘thicket’ photographs of thorn bushes in Africa last time I was there, and I see this influence in the new paintings.
APP: Do you follow "Cranes of Atlanta" on instagram?
BS: No, but I will!
APP: Do that.
To learn more about Brett's work, please visit Sandler Hudson Gallery or Brett's website.