Revolution New Italian – purpose, passion, and a promise to revolutionize the way we taste and remember food.
HOW WAS REVOLUTION CONCEIVED?
My wife, Kristen, and I were driving around one night trying to decide where to eat. We were frustrated at the choices and the fact that Atlanta was so far away. Suddenly, she hit the dashboard and said, “This town needs a Revolution!” I shot back, “Let’s start one! That could be the name of our new restaurant!” Revolution’s one-year anniversary is October 15, 2019. For a few months after opening, we served appetizers, then on December 1st, we showed off our full menu!
WHAT’S YOUR LOVE STORY WITH FOOD?
I worked in restaurants and started cooking at a young age growing up in New Jersey. My first job, at 13, was as a dishwasher at our local soccer field’s hot dog stand. All through college in Philadelphia, I worked in Italian restaurants where I learned to cook and put flavors together. That time in college also opened my eyes to different cultures. Cuban, Spanish, and Italian are my favorite cuisines.
WHEN DID THE DREAM BECOME A REALITY?
Getting Revolution ready was a drawn-out process. I didn’t have a huge chunk of money to get started. It all came in at different times throughout the build. This is one of the reasons why I built so much of the place myself with help from day laborers. It took from the time we signed the lease in June of 2017 until October of 2018 to open our doors. It has also taken the past 10 months as well — training, adjusting, and continuously building to get to where we are today. It’s a non-stop process of trying to make things work better.
WHAT LEARNINGS HAVE YOU TRANSFERRED FROM THE FILM INDUSTRY TO YOUR RESTAURANT BUSINESS?
I worked in the film industry for nearly 20 years providing grip and lighting equipment through my rental company. I then moved to Georgia to set up my second location. After a few years and some soul-searching, I decided to venture into the restaurant business. I was able to carry the many years of being in the film industry into building and operating Revolution. I was the best boy grip during my film industry days, organizing and doing inventory. Today, I use many of my inventory skills and systems in our kitchen to help keep things on track.
EXPLAIN THE CHEF-BY-COMMITTEE CONCEPT AND HOW IT HAS REVOLUTIONIZED THE WAY DISHES ARE CREATED.
I’m a research nerd. I watch food shows non-stop, Pinterest like a champ, and bring old memories from my childhood into the mix. I like to take a flavor that I enjoyed once and work that into some cool new dish by combining recipes and elements that I find on Pinterest, food shows, the produce section in a grocery store or a market. In the kitchen, I come up with the idea, give it to the chefs to think about, then we put our heads together and decide on the ingredients and techniques. They then put it all together and later we get together and tweak it. We’ve created some incredible dishes this way.
CAN YOU NAME SOME FAVORITE DISHES ON THE CURRENT MENU?
Right now, my favorite is the corvina over squid ink pasta. For the sauce, we make a velouté — which is a mother sauce created from a roux of butter, flour, and seafood stock — with some spicy sopressata for a little kick. Another very popular dish is our bolognese. We cook the sauce for six hours and use a ton of red wine. It has completely redefined bolognese for me.
WHO ARE YOUR BEST CUSTOMERS?
They are the ones who are open to try new items on the menu, ask questions about what we do and how we do it, and aren’t afraid to give feedback so we can make the experience better for everyone. These usually are customers who also appreciate that we are trying our best to create wonderful experiences for them. They are the ones who return week after week and bring family and friends with them to have a great time. They are the reason why we do this.
WHAT KEEPS YOU GROUNDED ADMIST THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE OF THE BUSINESS?
I try to make time to hug my kids (8, 10, and 12) and my dogs every day. Kristen and I talk every morning over coffee. She is pretty much the inspiration for the restaurant. She had a food blog and led food tours in Athens, GA, and she’s been a crazy foodie ever since. The two of us have had countless conversations about what we envision for our restaurant, and her input and ideas are amazing — from menu items, to staff, to our vision for the coming years.
IS REVOLUTION TRUE TO ITS WORD – LITERALLY?
We are a European-style restaurant. That means that everything is hand-made. Lighting, tables, bar — all of it is made by hand. The food is all about the best ingredients we can get, served in a portion that makes sense. I’m most proud of the fact that we do everything fresh and make all of it in-house. Fresh pasta, homemade sauces, desserts, pickles: you name it, we make it here. The only thing we don’t make is bread, and we are working on that, too. I’ll take ideas from customers and test them out on our Monday night Test Kitchen. We’ll experiment right in front of you! If it doesn’t work, that’s ok. We can do it better next time with different ingredients and techniques. In a sea of chain restaurants, I feel that’s truly revolutionary.
HOW DO YOU SUPPORT THE LOCAL COMMUNITY?
I was a soccer coach for a few years with the Lazers organization. The restaurant tries to give back, and my wife and I are active in our church. We support local artists as well by displaying and rotating the art from local photographers, artists, and painters. Two of the local places we love are Snippets, a small microgreen farm that helps us with making our plates beautiful, and the Peachtree City Farmers Market. We started at the market in 2017 with our coffee truck.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF ABOUT REVOLUTION?
I really want Revolution to be a sophisticated place that people can come to for an amazing meal as well as late-night drinks, dessert, and coffee. I would love for people to see that local restaurants can offer far more than any chain restaurant, with healthier food sourced from local places that support our community. The service is all about experiencing our place like you would experience a close friend’s house at a dinner party. It’s all about making people feel like family.
HOW ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THE COMING HOLIDAY RUSH?
We’ve added delicious tapas and vegan dishes to our expanding menu. We’ve also begun catering, and we are available to do corporate and private events at the restaurant or on location. We will make a custom menu to accommodate your needs. With the holidays just around the corner, we recommend that you call us sooner than later. Drink some good wine, enjoy your time, and be among family and friends!