A former Kansas City Chief has turned Marietta chef. Al Boyce's third restaurant had its grand opening last month.
is named for Boyce's six-year-old son. "He swears he's the boss for real," Boyce said.
Boyce opened his first restaurant in Kansas City, The Chef of Soul Food, and his second in East Atlanta, Chazz's Southern Cooking.
"Here, in this neighbored and this city, there was a real need for a restaurant like this, for real, good soul food," Boyce said.
With live music on multiple nights, karaoke Tuesdays and more events to come, such as featuring amateur and professional chefs twice a month, Boyce hopes to create a fun, family friendly restaurant that keeps customers coming back.
"I want to make it real nice and cozy," Boyce said. "I want people to come in and enjoy themselves like they were at home. If you can't get a seat, we'll accommodate you. You can come in and pour yourself a drink; you can BYOB." There is an $8 fee for BYOB.
"When you think of soul food you think of going to a hole in the wall place, all nasty, but this is a nice place. I've got good tables, comfortable seats, nice music and a nice atmosphere, and the meals are nicely presented with garnish. Everything in this restaurant has my personality, it's me."
Boyce said the sides on the menu are his specialty. Green beans, yams, mashed potatoes, rice, fried okra, collards, macaroni and cheese, bbq baked beans, cole slaw, back eye peas, potato salad and more—they are all homemade and have "a little something, something." The vegetables are prepared with vegetable base.
"We're here to serve our customers. I want everything to be fresh and tasty," Boyce said. "If we get half way through the day and the grits or yams turn, throw them out and make new."
The menu is straight forward and easy to understand, especially with Boyce coming out to tell you what everything is and answer any questions.
"Cooking was just a passion for me. I cooked for the team, but I didn't know I had a real talent for it. Over time I played with food and played with taste until I knew this was it."
Boyce remembers the first time he realized he could cook. He was in college and at a barbecue. "I was on the grill, and I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I just went in and seasoned the meat till I thought it was good, and everybody loved it!
"I remember my father use to tell me, 'Don't be a flipper, don't be a flipper. You'll know when it's done.' If you get the temperature right and keep the lid closed you can smoke the meat all day."
The recipes at Chazz's Place all have Boyce's personal spin on them—Tilapia, Salmon, Catfish Fillet, Fish & Grits, Shrimp & Grits, Steak, BBQ Ribs, Pork Chops, Smoked Turkey Wings or Chicken, BBQ, Grilled, Southern Fried Buttermilk.
Boyce describes his BBQ sauce as "mild and spicy." The meats are cooked-to-order, boneless (except the ribs) and a clean cut. "It's healthy Southern cooking," Boyce said.
Even Boyce's tea shows his Southern taste. "It's done on the oven, and I try to make it as dark as I can."
"I still add more stuff and discover new recipes every day," Boyce said. "I add more to the menu, which is why we have these (takeout-style menus)."
Going with Boyce's exploration of Southern cooking and development of new recipes, he has a difference special each day.
"It's a real joy seeing people be happy, seeing people smile. I love being here; it's very positive, very motivating. It's a great group of people working with me and trying to make what I do better."
Right now Chazz's Place is primarily growing through word of mouth, and Boyce thinks his soul food restaurant will be "real big in Marietta. They believe in family here. I want this to be a family business, something people come to when family comes home."
and tell us what you think of the restaurant in the comments below.
Location: 531 Roselane St., Suite 520
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.