Chef Art Smith, who rose to national notoriety as the man who helped Oprah Winfrey shed pounds, visited Valdosta this week with his new friend, Brian Hotchkiss of Sunrise Irrigation and Landscaping. Hotchkiss worked on Smith’s mother’s house in Jasper, Fla. and they became friends, even flying Hotchkiss and his son, Aaron, to Ohio for the Hall of Fame VIP Party for Warren Sapp that Smith catered.
In recent years, Smith has been a fixture in the Master Chef competitions on Bravo, which, along with Top Chef, are my absolute favorite shows to watch. I find the shows inspirational but am no where near their culinary skill level. Yet!
It turns out that Smith, who owns five restaurants in four major cities, also recently bought a winter home in Jasper to be near his mother, and according to Hotchkiss, has “big plans” for the town. It would be awesome if that meant opening a small eatery there. Or here in Valdosta.
The group dined at 306 North, and Chef Smith took the time to write a lovely note on their Facebook page afterwards.
It’s not only nice to kIn recent years, Smith has been a fixture in the Master Chef competitions on Bravo, which, along with Top Chef, are my absolute favorite shows to watch. I find the shows inspirational but am no where near their culinary skill level. Yetnow when someone who’s a well known celebrity, in cooking circles especially, visits Valdosta, but also to know that the community left a favorable impression on him.
Thanks to those at Sunrise who sent me the information and photo this week, and Chef Smith, the next time you’re in town, I’d love to hear from you!
White Weddings will be moving from its current location in Summit Pointe to a brand new home on Connell Drive. A groundbreaking this week on the site next to Mizell’s marks the beginning of construction on the new building, which I understand will give the shop room to expand and grow.
The new Remerton Mill Pizza and Buffet is now hiring and they plan to open by Valentine’s Day. The new eatery is located in the Remerton Mill Plaza on Baytree Road and will include an arcade in the future along with the food and fun atmosphere.
The new Kaufman Tire (hoping I’m spelling the name right this week) is currently under construction on Inner Perimeter, next to Chick fil A. They have locations around the southeast, but only around Atlanta and Albany in Georgia currently, so this will be their first in our area.
Ashurst Plaza on Bemiss Road has been completely remodeled, inside and out, and looks about a thousand times better. It’s home to Cuz’s and there’s a great oriental grocery there as well.
There is a sign on a building on St. Augustine near Hill Ave. saying The Cup and Cake Shop coming soon.
No new news on the Gold Plate reopening date, other than hopefully soon, and the Cactus Flower Cafe is supposed to be opening this week where Sureste was located in North Oak Plaza. The new Smoothie King in the same plaza should also be opening in the next week or so.
The Baytree Animal Clinic on Baytree near Black Crow media is really taking shape.
On Norman Drive, Gondoliers Italian restaurant is still under construction and is a couple of months from opening. Farther down Norman, the new Aspen Dental Clinic is moving rapidly by Goodwill, with an eye towards an early spring opening. I get asked every week if that’s going to be a new restaurant, so maybe the Aspen folks will get a sign out soon to help with the confusion.
In Hahira, the concrete has been poured for the foundation of the new Dollar General store, being built next to the current one on Main St. where the tobacco warehouse stood for many years.
The new Thai Cafe on N. Ashley St. is certainly worth trying, at the opposite end of the plaza from Firehouse Subs.
I also understand that a couple of business men in town have successfully recruited a new business for the downtown area, and I can’t wait to let folks know about it, hopefully soon.
That’s it for this week but if there’s something I missed, please let me know!