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Chef Chats: Aaron Philips on Michelin-Starred Lazy Betty Atlanta and Its New Midtown Opening

Chef Chats: Aaron Philips on Michelin-Starred Lazy Betty Atlanta and Its New Midtown Opening

Aaron Phillips

For five years, Lazy Betty Atlanta has been quietly delighting eaters tucked away in a small space along Dekalb Avenue. But now, the Michelin-starred eatery is boldly bringing its art into the mainstream as it moves to Midtown on March 16.

As one of just five restaurants in town to receive one Michelin star during the guide’s inaugural year in Atlanta, Lazy Betty will continue to prepare the thoughtfully crafted tasting menus they’ve become known for, each offering a distinct dining experience from the incredible culinary team. Guests can enjoy an a la carte food menu in the bar lounge as well as a patio debuting at a later date.

As one of the chef-partners behind Lazy Betty Atlanta’s magic, we sat down with 2023 Inspiring Innovator Aaron Philips and his team to discuss his favorite Atlanta restaurants, what inspires him, and how he plans to keep giving back to the community that’s given him so much.

What’s new at Lazy Betty Atlanta’s Midtown location?

The new 4,300-square-foot space features a 70-seat main dining room, a semi-private dining room and a private Chef’s Dining Room. The semi-private and private Chef’s Dining Rooms will offer guests a new way to dine at Lazy Betty. Velvet drapes give guests privacy in the semi-private dining room, and the Chef’s Dining Room provides a separate room featuring a hand-painted mural by Christina Kwan and a repurposed steel and glass window that provides a glimpse into the action of the main dining room.

Guests will also be able to pop into the new bar lounge for cocktails, wine, beer, and an expansive selection of zero-proof beverages. Soon, we will also launch an a la carte food menu in the bar lounge that’s available for walk-ins (no reservations accepted).

What things from the original Lazy Betty Atlanta location are you keeping at the new Midtown spot?

Ron Hsu and I are advocates of equitable pay in the industry and sensory-inclusive restaurants. Lazy Betty’s pricing will continue to include a 20 percent service fee, which will help level the pay disparity typically seen in restaurants between the front- and back-of-house, ensuring everyone on the team receives more consistent pay and a liveable wage. Lazy Betty Atlanta will also be a sensory-inclusive space as certified by KultureCity. The new certification has equipped the team to provide a more comfortable and accommodating dining experience for those who experience sensory overload situations often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions.

How do you stay motivated as an innovator?

There are so many great restaurants in our city, so I find my inspiration by tapping into my passion for food, beverage and hospitality, as well as the constant curation and mentoring of talent in all aspects of the restaurant business. I love Georgia boy/Southern Belle, Cooks & Soldiers, Hen Mother Cookhouse, BoccaLupo, White Bull, Lyla Lila, Gunshow, Bacchanalia, Tiny Lou’s and Foundation Social Eatery!

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

Don’t bite off more than you can chew, but also—and maybe most importantly, in my industry—take care of your staff and they will take care of the business. This is a “people world,” and it’s wise to try and work well with everyone because you can’t do any of it alone. It’s all about relationships.

What has surprised you the most as you’ve evolved in this industry?

I am most proud of the growth that I have witnessed in my colleagues and employees. The number of amazing people that I have gotten to know, learn from and teach is both inspiring and humbling. The kitchen has taught me discipline, focus and the ability to stay calm under pressure, and my hope is that I can pass that on to the people working with me.

In what ways do you like to give back to the community?

I work closely with KultureCity, which is an organization that serves children with sensory needs and non-visible disabilities like PTSD, autism, dementia and strokes. I also work with The Giving Kitchen, Ronald McDonald House and CURE.

Lazy Betty and Humble Pie are now taking reservations.,

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