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Makan Brings Asian Street Food to Decatur

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A tasty morsel from Amy at Melissa Libby & Associates:

MAKAN BRINGS ELEVATED ASIAN CUISINE TO DOWNTOWN DECATUR

Asian Street and Comfort Food Inspired Eatery to Open July 24

While downtown Decatur has become a destination for some of the best dining experiences in Atlanta, it has yet to harness an elevated experience in Asian cuisine. At least, that is, until now. Owners Michael Lo and George Yu along with assistant general manager Damiano Pak plan to change that with their restaurant, Makan, opening Thursday, July 24. Makan (pronounced “ma-kun”) is the Indonesian or Malay word for eat. The restaurant is their effort to share the food that they love, that they grew up eating, taking it to a next level with chef-driven ingredients, a craft cocktail program and top-notch service. The cuisine is inspired by Asian street food and traditional Asian comfort food that you might find in market stalls in cities like Hong Kong, Taiwan or Seoul.

Both Michael and George grew up in the restaurant industry as the first generation of Chinese immigrant parents who owned and managed Chinese-American restaurants. They both worked in their respective parents’ restaurants, where they learned how to run a business and found a love for Asian food. Eight years ago, Michael and George met through their wives who are lifelong friends and both Korean. Since then, the two families have spent time creating recipes and ideas for a restaurant that would reflect their views of Asian comfort food and their respect for keeping traditions.

“Growing up working in my parents’ Chinese-American restaurants gave me a great understanding of the cuisine and the business, but it also taught me how it can be done differently. I lived, worked and traveled throughout Asia for three years, which inspired me even more,” Michael explains. “With Makan, we are trying to change the stereotype that good Asian cuisine doesn’t have a great atmosphere or bar program or even service. We want to show people that this kind of food pairs well with craft cocktails, beer and wine while showcasing the unique and vibrant Asian drinking culture.”

The menu, created by George (who is also the executive chef), consists of many types of elevated Asian comfort foods, all made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients including Korean seafood pancakes, Taiwanese five-spice fried chicken, shrimp and pork spicy wontons, pork belly buns, salt and pepper shrimp, pork raymun (a Korean version of ramen) and Taiwanese oxtail beef noodle soup. Makan also offers large format family meals that offer a communal dining experience while showcasing how Asian families typically eat.

“I want our guests to eat food that they would find if they were traveling through Asia and going to open air night markets, noodle stands and street stalls,” says George, “but with a service level, ingredient quality and bar program that they would only expect from any top notch restaurant. Lots of fresh, local produce. Not heavy on the sauces. And we’ll have a garden outside where we are sourcing some of the herbs and ingredients for cocktails, too.”

Designed by Square Feet Studio, whose recent clients include The Kimball House and General Muir, the space features an open kitchen, a chef’s counter and a full bar with a communal table made of reclaimed wood. Chef tables are stationed in front of the kitchen pass for the ultimate viewing-while-eating experience. The lively 1,500-square-foot patio will feature custom-made cypress and steel picnic tables that encourage sharing and socializing in front of the fire pit. The design is inspired by vintage Asian artwork and the romantic yet defining period of Chinese history of the 1920s and 1930s.

Makan will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week with plans to offer a late-night food and beverage service in the near future. Also, special events like whole-animal cookouts on the patio with night market style service and luau parties are in the works.

130 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 100 404-565-4510.

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