Get Adobe Flash player


Sushi plus vodka equals new trend in dining



As cool as they come, Czar Ice Bar has a 4-inch thick and 27- foot long solid ice bar top surrounded by hundreds of vodkas from around the world.


The Czar Ice Bar, in Buckhead’s Andrews Entertainment area,  derives their offerings on the initially odd-sounding pairing of sushi and more than 300 vodka selections.

Stephen de Haan, president of Andrews Entertainment District, said he wasn’t aware of any other restaurant that paired as chief offerings the Japanese food with the Russian drink. But, de Haan, who has been exploring food and drink since  a high school paper on alcohol, said vodka and sushi make sense for the palate -- vodka’s clean finish goes well with the sushi.

The Czar Bar blends a décor of Imperial Russia (paintings of Czar Nicholas and Peter the Great) with modern  furnishings and a hand-painted, lighted ceiling.

At Czar, de Haan strikes the perfect balance between restaurant and lounge. The 4-inch thick and 27-foot long solid ice bar top surrounded by hundreds of vodkas from around the world mix to make the Russian-inspired surroundings hip, yet with comfortable living room seating.

Many of Czar’s vodka offerings originate from Russia, which is famous for the drink, but with over 300 varieties other countries help round out the list. Czar also features around 15 infused vodkas they create in-house.

While Russian and Scandinavian countries are represented well on the libation list, Japan is the sole inspiration for the food. Master Sushi Chef Saito Saito was begged out of retirement to open Czar and de Haan said he is “the creative magician behind our sushi masterpieces.” Born in Fuku-Shima Ken, Japan, Saito is one of only a handful of “Master Chefs” in the United States.

No newcomer to unique and interesting restaurants, de Haan, also operates Prohibition in the same area, a 1920s inspired speakeasy where entrance is only granted to those who know the secret number. In speakeasy style, Prohibition  has no signage with an ultra cool secret entrance (and we’re not telling).

Czar Ice Bar is located at 56 East Andrews Drive, Atlanta.



At right,  Every drink is a history lesson with bartender Tom McGuire at Prohibition in Atlanta. The bartender talks  origins of drinks as he hand chips ice from 300 pound blocks that supply the speakeasy inspired location.

Mountainside’s $10 million expansion still on track


Artist’s rendering of the forthcoming $10 million expansion at Piedmont Mountainside. The renovation will add a new emergency room, expanded operating room and  an update to the interior throughout the Jasper hospital.

     On his last day as CEO at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital , Mike Robertson assured the community that a planned $10 million expansion of the hospital may have stalled slightly but is still in the works this summer.

     Robertson said plans had called for a May groundbreaking of the project to add a new emergency room, expanded operating facilities, an additional ten-bed capacity plus a remodeled interior theme throughout the hospital on Highway 515.

Ball Ground man arrested for sex charges involving children

From Cherokee Sheriff's Office


Cherokee Sheriff’s Office investigators arrested a Ball Ground man Wednesday for sexually assaulting 2 juveniles under the age of five. Daniel Baxter, 27 years of age, is charged with 1 count of Rape, 2 counts of Aggravated Child Molestation, 2 Counts of Aggravated Sodomy, and 2 counts of Sexual Battery. The incident was reported to the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday.

Although not related, the victims were acquainted with Baxter. Detectives are unaware of any other victims at this time. Anyone who has children that have been around Baxter can call investigators at 770-928-0239 to report any concerns they may have.

Baxter remains in the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center without bond.

Emergency crews urge caution with heat wave

Cooling center opens at Roper Park



Pickens County EMA will treat the next 72 hours as a potential heavy-call period with a heat wave expected to send temperatures into the triple digits.

Fire Chief Bob Howard said they would handle this as an operation, with additional manpower and will closely monitor the volume of calls coming into 911 to take further steps as needed.

The county will open the community center at Roper Park from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m. through Sunday as a cooling station. Pets are not allowed. 

“We’ll have it as a place to come and sit and cool down,” he said.

The county will issue a code red alert on the heat wave, asking all residents to be very careful in the heat, drink plenty of water and don’t leave pets or kids in cars.


Howard said they had been in contact with staff at the senior center to see that elderly are covered with fans if they lack air conditioning. Howard said the people at the senior center said they were all covered they felt.

Of particular concern is the fair and other activities planned for the weekend. Howard said the city of Jasper crews will be monitoring the fair at Lee Newton Park for heat problems.




Beat the Heat with Tips from Pickens County EMA
and Ready Georgia

A scorching heat wave will arrive in earnest this weekend, with temperatures expected to soar into the triple digits in many parts of Georgia. Extreme heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer in the U.S, claiming approximately 400 lives across the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so it is best to prepare now to reduce your risk of heat-related illness.

Work continues on courthouse

Pouring of basement foundation footings at courthouse construction site, Friday, June 22. Old Crust restaurant building in background. Marble Courthouse Annex at left.


Installing underground utilities; preparing footings for the basement area; renovating the existing structure––so Courthouse Project Manager Thurman Slone characterized present progress of courthouse construction Thursday, June 21.

 That sounded somewhat understated, given a look and listen at the building site, then teeming with workmen and heavy equipment. Supplies arrived regularly by truckload, admitted through gates in the tall blue fence that partially hides activity going on inside.

See complete update on the work in this week's print edition or e-edition.