The Daily, a new food concept from Atlanta natives Melody and Michael Shemtov, appeared on the map this January thanks to elements that now seem common to “modern” dining success: social media, unpretentious-yet-sleek industrial ambiance, local and seasonal plant-based menu, merch and most importantly, operated by a “passionate foody” married couple.
“We love seeing our farmers and purveyors come into the restaurant to drop off produce, milk and sometimes even surprises we weren’t expecting,” Melody said. “If we can find a way to incorporate it into the menu, we will!”
The Daily menu also leans heavily on Michael’s Israeli roots. The most popular items are avocado toast, breakfast burrito and seasonal lattes. Melody prefers the homemade chili crunch and sautéed greens. Michael’s favorites are the breakfast burrito and avocado toast. They both like a cortado “as the perfect-size coffee to start the day.”
Melody was raised in the restaurant business, and Michael opened his first restaurant right out of college in Charleston. The Daily launched in Charleston seven years ago, as a sister restaurant to Shemtov’s Butcher & Bee. Over time, the eatery developed its own standalone identity and Atlanta seemed like the logical next step in their expansion.
Located on Trabert, a side street off Howell Mill close to the city water works — an area with limited foot traffic — The Daily neighbors the Seed Factory and Bungalow Classic.
“Many of our customers have discovered us through social media, internet searches and word of mouth,” Melody said. “We serve the residents of Berkeley Park and surrounding neighborhoods. We loved the location for being unexpected and off the beaten path. Discovering the restaurant as a guest is part of the fun.”
At 3,000 square feet, the space is double the size of the original Charleston location.
The Shemtovs felt that, with the larger footprint, they could make use of the giant windows and flood of natural light that fills the space. They employed local architects Square Feet Studios.
“Our aesthetic is warm with a touch of industrial, which is the combination of the color palate of light greens and pinks, light wood and brushed blackened steel,” Melody explained. “The back wall mural was painted by local artist Carl Janes with an artistic interpretation of giant split avocados. We feel his incredible mural really anchors the space.”
With 15 employees at the Trabert location — some of whom relocated from Charleston to help handle the day-to day-operations — the Shemtovs work together in all aspects of the business.
Michael focuses on the business and operations side, while Melody works on design, aesthetics and marketing.
Expansion plans include the build-out phase of the second location in Inman Park, at 100 Hurt Street, in the former Proof Bakery, which is slated to open in fall 2022. The North Creek location, blocks from West Paces Ferry Road, is still about two years away and will be a ground-up build. The Shemtovs are keeping an eye on Nashville for another possible location, as they already own several restaurants there.
“The most challenging thing about being in the restaurant business is that it never stops, operating seven days a week,” Melody says, but it’s also “deeply rewarding, as we bring joy and happiness through food and gathering.”
The couple is now part of the burgeoning Jewish community in Serenbe, where they are raising their four and six-year-olds. But both Melody, who attended South Gwinnett High School, and Michael, who went to Norcross High School, grew up working in local restaurants. Michael’s father Moshe was Israeli, and cuisine was deeply ingrained in family traditions.
After moving to the U.S. in his youth, Michael focused on many of the traditional staples of Iraqi/Israeli and Ashkenazi food: kibbeh, spinach borekas and cholent. Many of them appear on The Daily menu, including the hummus bowl and the breakfast pita, stuffed with Israeli salad, house-made hummus, tahini and cabbage salad.
“I have always been driven by a deep sense of hospitality and community. The most challenging thing is keeping everything going at all times, because there are many moving parts and they often all need attention at the same time,” Michael said.
The Daily closes at 3 p.m., and is located at 763 Trabert Ave., West Midtown. Phone: 404-500-0763.