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Wayne Post
  • A worldly approach to dining local

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  • By day on Thursdays through Sundays, Atlas Eats is a kitchen and bakery offering fresh takes on breakfast, imaginative lunches, and decadent sweets and breads. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the new Irondequoit business brings fine dining and white tablecloth service to a quiet neighborhood corner.
    Atlas Eats opened in mid-July at 2185 N. Clinton Avenue, and offers fresh, locally sourced dishes alongside in-house baked goodies and breads.
    Proprietors Gerry and Diane Brinkman of Rochester bring more than 25 years of restaurant experience to Atlas Eats, having operated the Rochester Club Restaurant, and also the Wellesley Hotel Restaurant in Thousand Island Park until last year.
    “The decision came quickly,” says Diane of the transition from running the seasonal restaurant to opening the doors of Atlas Eats. They looked at the space in the brick building located at the corner of North Clinton Avenue and Rawlinson Road in April 2012. Early this year, they started a five-month renovation.
    Atlas Eats is a classic “mom-and-pop” location with bright linoleum floors and a tin ceiling, featuring a cozy dining room, and an open kitchen and bakery. There is plenty of parking behind the building, but patrons often arrive on foot or by bicycle.
    The Brinkman’s longtime baker, Brenda Robak, bakes from scratch, producing the shop’s cookies, cakes, brownies, muffins, specialty desserts, rolls, biscuits, and a variety of breads by the loaf.
    The kitchen’s menu reflects Gerry Brinkman’s love of fusing world flavors, including vegetarian choices, kimchee-based dishes, and his mother’s recipe for homemade cavatelli with greens and beans – all available for lunch alongside soups, salads, sandwiches and other options.
    Gerry’s sisters Leslie Delpopolo, of Irondequoit, and Jeanne Grinnan, of Greece, both help out, and daughter Anna Brinkman, a culinary school graduate, will take over daily operation of the Atlas Eats kitchen when Gerry resumes teaching culinary arts at MCC this fall. Daughter Emma Brinkman and her fiancé Ben Eskind, who together run Pachamama Farm in Farmington, deliver fresh produce to Atlas Eats every Wednesday.
    ‘Fresh and local’ has been Gerry’s mantra throughout his restaurant career. “That’s always been our style,” he says, “it’s the right way (to do it).” Everything at Atlas Eats is also homemade, right down to the pasta and the croutons.
    A unique dining concept they call The Edible Atlas showcases the Brinkman’s decades of experience in high-end restaurants. A five-course prix fixe dinner is offered on Friday and Saturday evenings at two seatings, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
    The Edible Atlas dinners are based on cuisines of the world – Italy, Spain, and Greece, so far. France will be offered by region, and began with Provence. The menu rotates to a new region after two weekends, and is posted under ‘news’ on their website. Future menus will feature regional dishes of the United States, with a nod, of course, to Rochester.
    Page 2 of 2 - Reservations are recommended for dinner as the maximum for each seating is 20 people.
    “We want to keep it small and manageable…we’ve done the big restaurant thing,” says Diane, adding, “You can come back, and the menu is always fresh!”
    Atlas Eats is open Thursday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is served Thursday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Prices range from $3 to $9.95 for lunch items, and $1.50 to $10 for sweets and specialty breads. The Edible Atlas is $30 per person, plus tax, gratuity and beverages. Find them online at www.atlas-eats.com and on Facebook.
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