Danny Mellman and his wife Michelle Moran have purchased Cucina Rustica and La Pizzeria at Forge Mill Crossing, bringing their total number of restaurants to four. We scratched out heads for a bit, because Danny used to joke that his wife said he could have as many restaurants as he wanted, as long as they were all withing walking distance of each other. (The ones downtown – Harvest on Main, the Fry Shop, and Masseria – are almost side by side.) One of his employees told us that it’s not too far from their home, so perhaps that’s it.
We’re more apt to be seen in Masseria, but they’re all good. For those who don’t know, Danny is a real chef. He does an especially good job on ingredients, and his preparations are generally excellent as well. How many kitchens in this town make their own sausage? Danny’s do. I wish them luck in their new venture.
For those who might be interested, the history of the site is that Kay Kendall, who recently retired from managing the kitchen at Merciers, had a restaurant there called Forge Mill Crossing. Not only did she know what she was doing in the kitchen, it was a warm and welcoming place, and a special favorite of my mother. In those days, she reminded me a bit of Alix Kenagy, who I thought of as her Atlanta counterpart. At the time, the My Mountain community was growing, and its proximity to Forge Mill Road made it a favorite weekend destination at a time when the second best restaurant in town was the Wendy’s. It probably also helped that it was the only place in Fannin County where you could brown bag in those days. After she sold it, it just wasn’t the same, to say the least. I still run into people who who talk about the pecan chicken salad.