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Award-winning Riverstone Corner Bistro, affectionately known by frequent patrons as “RCB,” has outgrown its space after nearly nine years in business. Moving two blocks away to a twice-as-large 5,000 square-foot building at 151 Reinhardt College Parkway, the popular Southern comfort food purveyor will give Canton residents the only rooftop dining experience in town upon its planned May opening.
Owner Shelly Farrar told What Now Atlanta that the upsized space will facilitate an on-site herb garden, private rooms for events, a wider selection of wines and bourbons, more beers on tap, twice as many restrooms, and more legroom for RCB’s kitchen staff. “There will be more light, definitely a lot of windows to suit our needs—we just need a bigger space,” said Farrar.
RCB’s former location previously housed a Shane’s Rib Shack—its bar, make shifted from the former tenant’s service station, only accommodated six patrons and was bereft of a dump sink and a dishwasher, necessitating regular back-and-forth between the bar and the kitchen. Along with more streamlined service, the new site’s bar will now accommodate blenders, adding frozen cocktails and “adult milkshakes” to the eatery’s already-robust cocktail menu.
Fragrant basil, rosemary, lemon basil, and cilantro will join peppers, a second bar, diners, and “anything that will grow in the South that we can make happen” on the eatery’s new roof, Farrar said. The only downside to the move is the loss of RCB’s drive-thru window, which Farrar said became a huge asset at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s allowed people to feel safe and pick up food and not come through the building—that’s been a saving grace for the past year,” said Farrar. “We won’t have a drive-thru at our new space but we look forward to being able to have more parking, more restrooms and a nice, heated downstairs patio.”
Hailing from Ohio and Chicago, the Farrar restauranteur family’s tastes were piqued by the fried and filling cuisine of the South upon moving to Georgia. “When we moved here we fell in love with Southern food and the Southern ways,” said Farrar. “As a family, we all love to cook together and create and we would play around with Southern dishes and go to areas like Charleston and New Orleans that are experts in it—we found what we thought was the best of the best and we made it our own.”
Formerly an executive assistant to Outback Steakhouse founders Trudy Cooper and Tim Gannon, Farrar left the corporate restaurant world when her then-19 son Michael asked for help opening a deli in Woodstock’s Town Lake on the conditions that he “put down half the money and negotiate the terms.” Called Corner Bistro Deli and in successful operation for four years, the family’s first culinary venture of their own became Canton’s RCB, where deli favorites amalgamated with Southern specialties to form their extensive menu. Farrar’s husband, Mike, and his brother, John, quit their corporate gigs as P.F. Chang’s market partners to join in the family’s success and are the namesakes for the Farrar family’s other Canton eatery, J. Michael’s Prime.
Like the deli that came before it, the old RCB location at 135 Reinhardt offered $8 house burgers and weekly $12 “Chef’s creation” burgers—the ten most popular of these specialty patties will enjoy permanent inclusion on the restaurant’s full-time menu at their larger new location. New dishes, including new vegan and vegetarian options, are in the works, and entrees that once had one side will now feature two.
But don’t worry—Farrar assures loyal RCB patrons that the restaurant’s beloved fried chicken and shrimp and grits will remain stalwartly on the menu.