Chef Jarrett Stieber describes opening Little Bear, his new Summerhill restaurant, as “surreal.” After running the wildly popular pop-up Eat Me Speak Me for years, his restaurant already has a built-in set of regulars. Most have followed Stieber since his days at Gato cafe in Candler Park, where he offered playful takes on the fine dining establishment’s proclivity for tweezer food garnished with “pretentious flowers” or desserts like a blondie brownie and whiskey milk served with a tiny straw.
As the doors open at the Georgia Avenue restaurant, Stieber is back in the kitchen serving up what he refers to as “Michelin Tire dining” and “regular dinners,” both prominently stated on the front windows of Little Bear. This is part of what endears people to Stieber as a chef — making dining out approachable and fun by not taking the whole thing so seriously.
The intimate dining atmosphere at the restaurant should feel familiar to those who attended Stieber’s pop-ups at Gato. The chef even stands behind the counter cooking in an open kitchen while chatting with diners. Little Bear includes just 30 seats between a row of two-top tables set against a long, wooden banquette and a ten-seat bar.
The menu at Little Bear features around 12 shareable dishes, ranging from $7 to $13, broken out into hot, cold, and sweet sections. Dishes listed include Stieber’s tongue-and-cheek descriptions, like a catfish okonomiyaki served with 1990s-style mayo and brown sauce drizzles or apples and pork belly “drowning” in Sichuan chile oil.
Stieber says. “Hopefully we can turn this place into a comfortable, beloved neighborhood restaurant for a long time to come and a place for people to be pleasantly surprised.”
By Beth McKibben, Eater Atlanta