Ria’s Bluebird | This is Atlanta Cooking | PBA30

Ria’s Bluebird

Gourmet Southern Classics

421 Memorial Drive
Atlanta, GA, 30312
(404) 521-3737

From Berlin to San Francisco, Ria’s cooking has gained a cult following for her gourmet Southern classics in the heart of the ATL: light & fluffy biscuits, topped by a generous portion of thick, spicy milk gravy, just like grandma used to make. Buttermilk pancakes moist and delicate enough to prompt locals, and Jane Fonda, to tout them as the ‘best in the City’. And innovative sandwiches like the popular prosciutto, brie, dates & basil on toasted baguette. Locally roasted coffee from Batdorf & Bronson acts as the bass note to Ria’s creations.

Chef Ria Pell earned her stripes in some of the toniest kitchens of the City, like Dish, Mondo and Chef Annie Quatrano’s Float Away Café. Under Quatrano, Pell developed her natural instinct for surprising, yet grounded, experiments in the art of gourmet cuisine. But it was Pell’s Danish grandmother, and New Jersey mother, who inspired her to cook delicious food like the hand-sifted pancakes topped with carmelized bananas that has become a signature classic.

Always the chef, never the owner, Ria finally got the opportunity to open her dream restaurant when she and co-owner Alex Skalicky (El Myr and Patio Daddy-O BBQ) spotted a rundown, drive-thru liquor store across from the Oakland Cemetery. After a year of hands-on hard labor, more than a few robberies, and borrowing money from every relative and friend left, they threw open the glass doors to Grant Park’s only brunch spot.

Ria’s has become a favorite of local celebrities, touring bands, loft-dwelling hipsters, tattooed artists, and in-town families alike.

Chef Pell and the great food of Ria’s Bluebird has not gone unnoticed. Chef Pell made an appearance on the television morning show “Good Day Atlanta” and Ria’s has twice garnered a “Top 100” citation in Atlanta Magazine’s annual restaurant reviews. Ria’s Bluebird is a featured hosting spot for Atlanta’s Table (a benefit for the Community Food Bank Fighting Hunger), and has received countless mentions in magazines and on web sites, including ‘Elle’ magazine, Zagat’s famous survey, Citysearch.com, TripAdvisor.com, Knife & Fork, and many more.

Chef/Owner Ria Pell Prepared:

  • Angus Beef Brisket from Ria’s Bluebird
  • Shrimp and Grits

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Angus Beef Brisket from Ria’s Bluebird


  • 3 lbs. beef brisket, whole
  • 2 Tbls. vegetable oil
  • 1-2 Tbls. kosher salt
  • 1-2 tsp fresh ground black pepper


  • 1 med. onion, peeled & quartered
  • 1 head garlic, sliced horizontal
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 Tbls. black whole peppercorn
  • 1 Tbls. Cayenne
  • 1 Tbls. crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
  • 6-8 quarts water (roughly)


  • 10-quart Dutch oven
  • 8x12 baking pan
  • fine mesh sieve
  • 6-quart Tupperware
  • 2 slotted spoons


Preheat oven to 350°F. Heavily salt and pepper the brisket.
In a large skillet, heat the oil until it begins to smoke. Sear the brisket on all sides to a golden color.
Combine all other ingredients in 10-quart Dutch oven.
Add the seared brisket, fat side up. Make sure the water is covering the meat. Place lid on securely and bake in center of the oven for 8-10 hours at 300°F.
Check water level at 6 hours, add more if necessary.
When the brisket is done, the meat pulls easily with a fork, carefully remove pan from oven.
Using 2 slotted spoons, remove brisket and place in 8x12 baking pan.
With a fine mesh sieve, strain the broth (discarding the onions, tomatoes etc.) into a 6-quart container and set aside.
Using the spoons, clean the brisket by scraping the fat and sinew away from the meat and discarding.
When cool, cut into bite-size pieces and place in plastic bag. Top with about 1/4 cup of fat (dipped from the top of the beef broth). Refrigerate till needed.
Refrigerate the broth uncovered over night; a fat layer will form on the top.
The next day, scoop off the fat layer, cover the broth, and refrigerate.

Both meat and broth can be kept for up to 4 days. Serve heated with your favorite barbeque sauce. The beef both can also be frozen and used as soup stock.

Shrimp and Grits

Please don’t use instant grits. Use slow-cooking grits and follow the directions on the package. Ria adds half-and-half towards the end of the cooking to make for a smooth, creamy dish.

Quantity per person:

  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ red pepper, diced
  • ½ poblano pepper, diced
  • 6-8 shrimp
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • 6-8 ounces of beef broth (left from Ria’s brisket)
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 Tbls. unsalted butter


In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic, red pepper flakes, and red and poblano peppers. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and stir into the pan. When the shrimp is done, deglaze the pan with the beef broth and stir in the maple syrup and butter. Serve over grits.