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Buttermilk Kitchen Nourishes Its Customers and the Local Farming Community

By Pamela Sosnowski

When customers eat at Buttermilk Kitchen, they're not just supporting the staff; they're supporting the local Atlanta community. All of the dishes served are made using sustainably grown and raised ingredients. It's how the breakfast and lunch-themed restaurant is living up to its name, as buttermilk itself is created when butter is churned, leaving nothing to go to waste.

The restaurant was launched in 2012 by Suzanne Vizethann, leads staff as the establishment's executive chef, and has been featured on NBC's "The Today Show," and in Martha Stewart Living and Atlanta Magazine. Vizethann believes in nurturing her customers through food, and making all dishes in-house and by scratch, using fresh, sustainably grown ingredients. Buttermilk Kitchen focuses on serving breakfast, lunch, and brunch only, but does feature a "Fancy Fried Chicken" once a month. General Manager Susie Rachele explains why Vizethann's techniques make the chicken so special.

"We brine our chicken for a minimum of 24 hours in organic sweet tea among a number of herbs and spices," she explains. "Brining is part of the secret of infusing flavor and ensuring moist, tender meat. We use our pancake batter as part of the coating process to seal in the moisture while adding an extra layer of flavors and the perfect crunch to every bite. Suzanne uses white meat chicken only from Springer Mountain Farms; 100% all natural, hormone and antibiotic-free chicken."

The chicken dinner is by reservation only and held once per month because of the restaurant's small size that seats 63 patrons. The restaurant also holds monthly themed dinners where guests don't find out what they're eating until they arrive. For $65, they receive a four-course meal and may bring their own beer and wine. Previous themed dinners have included a Mexican fiesta that featured a mariachi band and a photo booth, a Southern wedding theme that included an elaborate wedding cake created by the restaurant's pastry chef, and a Kentucky Derby themed dinner party.

"It is a lot of work and we go to great lengths to make it something the guests will never forget," says Rachele. "Due to the size of our restaurant and staff, we simply aren't able to do more of them. Plus we would need to clone chef Suzanne at least twice to even consider pulling it off!!"

Rachele describes Buttermilk Kitchen's dishes as American with a southern flair. The most popular breakfast and lunch item, she says, is the chicken biscuit dish, which is fried chicken breast on a biscuit with house made red pepper jelly, pimento cheese grits, and house pickles -- a hearty, protein-packed dish with southern flair that will fuel up anyone's day.

Other popular menu choices include the pimento omelet, lox plate, and chicken salad sandwich. Just about everything including condiments are made in-house by the restaurant's kitchen staff; they even make their own mayonnaise using free range eggs and butter from cream derived from the local Southern Swiss dairy farm. And yes, they make their own buttermilk, too.

Restaurant staff is not just creating the dishes; they visit the vendors, too, another quality that helps Buttermilk Kitchen stand out from its competitors. "Every dish tells a story," says Rachele. "Our staff can tell you where it comes from and how it is made. We take the staff on field trips to visit and meet the vendors. They get first hand knowledge about what is going on. That experience changes everything on how they approach what Suzanne works so hard to accomplish."

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