Two of Cobb’s established eateries get the reboot, and the result is refreshing
By Joan Durbin | Photography by Samantha Shal
WR SOCIAL HOUSE
Once known as Willie Rae’s, the Marietta Square eatery came as a package deal when Katie and Micah Pfister bought the restaurant next door, Simpatico, in January 2013.
They rebranded Simpatico first, turning it into The Butcher, The Baker, a palette for showcasing the many and varied hues of their first-rate culinary imaginations and skills.
For two years, the couple continued to operate Willie Rae’s without change to the jumbled menu of Tex Mex, Creole and Southern items while they concentrated on getting The Butcher, The Baker on firm footing.
Then in January of this year, just months after the Marietta couple’s son Nix was born, they began remodeling Willie Rae’s with new booths and tables, a relocated and rebuilt bar, repainted walls from “mangy tan” to slate gray, wall sconce lights and pendant lights made from colanders and a new outside awning.
In May, it reopened as WR Social House. The menu now offers salads, sandwiches, burgers and starters, all with a unique and gently upscale spin. Ingredients are top quality, sourced locally and regionally, and everything is made in house “except the ketchup,” Katie affirmed.
As the baking half of the couple’s dynamic, Katie makes all the bread and sweets daily for the two restaurants, including the sandwich buns. She spent many summer days pickling and canning fresh fruits such as peaches, cherries and blackberries for pies and cobblers later in the year.
On a recent visit, desserts at the Social House were light-as-air beignets, hot from the fryer and fried peach pies. Other recent offerings were deep dish blondies and ice cream sandwiches. “I make whatever I feel like making for dessert that day,” she said.
Micah, the executive chef, knows his way around meats. He buys and butchers a half Berkshire Farms pig weekly for such varied uses as pork belly nachos, braised pork and his house made hot dogs and sausages.
Beef burgers are freshly ground from brisket and chuck, and in addition to the classic, there is always a daily chef’s burger creation. Fried chicken, steak, shrimp, handmade pasta and oysters, both raw and cooked, all contend for diners’ attention.
“We want this to be a neighborhood hangout, casual, but with the same quality of food as diners would get in the city,” Micah said.
The Pfisters like to offer themed menus and gatherings at the Social House for events ranging from Cinco de Mayo to the annual Georgia/Florida gridiron battle. In between, “we have something special every day of the week,” Micah said. Kids eat for free on Mondays, for example, and Thursdays are for burgers and brews.
Still a work in progress, over time the interior of WR Social House will get more fine-tuning, including murals painted by local artists. There is live music on weekends and the kitchen stays open to 2 a.m., a boon for hungry night owls.