A new take on Latin cuisine is coming to Grant Park this winter, courtesy of the team behind the Firepit Pizza Tavern. Owner Leslie Cohen has filed for a permit at the Larkin on Memorial Development, across from Oakland Cemetery, where Firepit Pizza Tavern has operated since 2017. Her new restaurant will be called Birdcage.
“Once again, she will be collaborating with Executive Chef Shaun Whitmer to create that neighborhood spot everyone calls home,” says publicist Caren West in a press release. “You will not have to look far, as Birdcage will be located next to their killer pizza tavern in the Larkin on Memorial.”
Cohen’s successful run in a neighborhood with plenty of pizza competition may be due, in part, to her deep roots in the Atlanta restaurant community. She began working at Roasters in Buckhead at age 17, through a culinary program offered by Atlanta’s Lakeside High School.
“Roasters definitely prepared me for ownership. It takes lots of training to build a business from the ground up, and experience is critical to becoming successful,” Cohen told Marcia Caller Jaffe at Atlanta Jewish Times.
At 20, after graduating from Johnson and Wales University, “I got an internship working under Richard Blais at One Midtown Kitchen,” Cohen told Yelp! Her big break came in 2014, when she won Cutthroat Kitchen, the Food Network cooking competition hosted by Alton Brown. She was able to parlay years of experience and her newfound fame into a business plan for Firepit Pizza Tavern, which came to fruition three years later.
Her latest venture, Birdcage, will occupy a 3000-square-foot freestanding building “filled with vibrant colors, flamboyant vibes, and those flavorful dishes Leslie and Shaun are known to bring to your table,” continues the press release. “The duo is very excited to bring more love to Grant Park, their favorite Atlanta neighborhood.”