Photo Gallery | Park's Edge in $20
ATLANTA – When the economy took a downturn Richard Wadlington decided to cease operation of his freight company in Orange County, California – but, he didn’t want any of his employees to be left unemployed.
“I told everyone working for me that they needed a trade. I told everyone that they needed to go to school or something because I saw the business slowly turning a corner”, says Richard.
And it did. Almost, three years ago Richard moved to Atlanta and opened Park’s Edge after his freight company shuttered.
“I moved here and opened the restaurant immediately – this was my first restaurant – I was always just a business owner,” Richard said about his first restaurant venture.
Richard was born into a family of entertainers and he thought that as long as he could smile and manage dollars and cents his restaurant business would thrive; especially with his former personal assistant and executive chef at Park’s Edge, Jorge Pacheco.
Richard says, “Jorge was my right-hand man in California and he took my advice when he worked for me and went to culinary school.”
When the two opened the restaurant, they modeled the original menu as a “destination restaurant.” The twosome included a number of seafood dishes – they wanted to become a neighborhood seafood destination for the inTown crowd. Since the beginning, the restaurant has hosted a weekend brunch and is credited with popularizing the “endless mimosa” in the city limits.
“Our endless bellini’s and mimosa’s are a staple drink, in our restaurant, we give craft service with those drinks and that’s something we’ll never change,” Jorge says. However, Richard and Jorge have discussed changing the drinks price from $11 to $12, each.
The restaurant was, recently, featured on the Gordon Ramsey’s “Kitchen Nightmares” restaurant makeover show --- and the restaurant was forced to undergo some changes.
“Ramsey wanted to give us a more “neighborhood-ish” feel. He wanted us to localize our menu,” Richard said.
And they did – the restaurant’s dinner menu, now, includes American Contemporary fare; items like: Burgers, wings, Mac and Cheese and French fries.
“I would have never put a burger on the menu,” Jorge said. “This isn’t a restaurant where you eat burgers.”
Richard and Jorge feel the restaurant changes aren’t very cohesive with their audience, which is majority African-American and homosexual. They are convinced the demographic they serve would prefer a more “refined” menu.
“One of our loyal guests was actually offended by a couple of our new offerings,” Jorge explained. The guest was referring to the menu’s Watermelon Salad and Spicy Wings selections.
According to Jorge, the restaurant plans to retroact some of the changes made to the menu.
“We want to keep our image where it should be and we want our menu to reflect the consistency of our image,” Jorge tells us.
Every Tuesday, the Where U Live team chooses a Metro Atlanta restaurant and with the restaurant's help, shows you how you can sample the menu without spending too much. Park’s Edge gives us three options for dinner under $20.
Jorge recommends the Pan Seared Salmon for those who want something traditional. The salmon filet is wild-caught from Scotland and served over a cauliflower puree. Jorge explains that the puree is seasoned with chicken stock and combined with a potato. The dish is garnished with a caper and raisin relish, which is made with champagne vinegar and served alongside pan-seared green beans. This dish costs $19.
Richard suggests the Roasted Chicken Breast for picky eaters. The chicken cutlet is a “skin on” breast and it’s marinated in a dill mixture. The breast is served atop a mixture of Israeli couscous mixed with cranberries, butternut squash and fresh pecans. The couscous is cooked with a hint of lime and coconut milk. The Roasted Chicken Breast costs $17.
Jorge, also, recommends the Lobster Mac and Cheese. The Lobster Mac and Cheese has an interesting presentation – it’s a plate of Mac and Cheese decorated with a dollop of fresh lobster meat and toasted breadcrumbs. Jorge says he chose to plate the dish with a unique flair because he wants “people to eat with their eyes first.” The Mac and Cheese is crafted with yellow and white sharp cheddar and Asiago cheese. The Lobster Mac and Cheese costs $18.