A press release heralding a new restaurant in Atlanta crossed my email inbox recently. Everything seemed pretty standard at first: Holeman and Finch Public House, opening April 14, intends to serve “food and drink … with unrivaled quality and care.” The chef evidently revels in “whole-animal preparations” and plans to make his own “charcuterie such as coppa, bresaola, and tom thumbs.”
Sounds good to me. I applaud nose-to-tail cookery, as well as the move toward small-scale artisanal sausage making. All very trendy, and not a bad thing at all — as long as the meat is sourced from humane, ecologically minded farms. Then came this:
The hand-chosen 75-vintage wine list features small production, boutique wineries that emphasize quality and value.
There’s some weird pretension at work there. “Hand-chosen” wine? But hey, I enjoy a nice glass of wine as much as the next generally quite populist food snob. Then something odd crept into the press release:
The serving dishes will include rustic cheese boards, sturdy ceramics, and a debut line of never-before-seen cast iron pieces from Lodge cookware.
Wow. Rather then fetishizing ingredients and the farms they hail from — not a word about sourcing — these folks are fetishizing serving dishes. Product placement: not just for Hollywood anymore. And then this:
Holeman and Finch will serve as a testing lab for Coca-Cola’s “Perfect Serve,” a unique return to the art of serving Atlanta’s greatest original beverage.
Hmmm. Apparently this “artisanal” restaurant — with its “cozy, intimate space [that] will seat just sixty lucky sippers” — has hopped into bed with the globe’s largest beverage conglomerate.
“Perfect Serve,” it turns out, is some sort of marketing scheme designed to revive Coke’s reputation among gourmet types. That’s a tough slog for artificially blackened and carbonated water, flavored mainly with chemicals, and sweetened with ultra-processed, genetically modified corn. Coke consists of:
High fructose corn syrup
Phosphoric acid is charming stuff. It’s known to decrease bone density in people who regularly consume it.
Undaunted, the press release writer made a stab at eloquence to describe the beverage’s alleged grandeur:
The Perfect Serve of Coca-Cola is a special and unique experience that brings romance to one of the South’s finest creations: Coca-Cola. The experience appeals to all five of the senses. The Perfect Serve is about releasing the magical, ice-cold taste of the Coca-Cola secret formula, enjoyed from the unique contour bell glass and served with the perfect ritual. And of course, where and how the Coca-Cola will be enjoyed makes all the difference. Here at Holeman & Finch, Coca-Cola will be consumed in the perfect environment.
For those interested, here’s a creepy little video that shows the restaurant’s owners waxing euphoric about Coke’s virtues while a company marketing dude cheers them on.