Though he may maintain a tight budgetâitâs how his restaurant got its name, after allâCalvin Phan has the skills and passion to put a unique spin on seemingly straightforward meals at his restaurant, Poor Calvinâs.
Originally hailing from Vietnam, Calvin eventually moved to Germany, whereâto this dayâhis family owns multiple restaurants. Calvin made the impressive progression of washing dishes at his parentsâ restaurants, to attending culinary school, to working as a chef in Switzerland. In 2012, he teamed up with two of his friends to transform an old Irish pub in Atlanta into what is nowÂ Poor Calvinâs.
From fried chicken paired with rich lobster mac & cheese to Angus beef tips with sweet soy glaze, Calvin fuses Eastern flavors with Western recipes while consciously using the freshest and most flavorful of ingredients. For Calvin, itâs the people of theÂ city who initially compelled him to open a restaurant, and itâs their open-mindedness that encourages him to continue to experiment.
âAtlanta is growing with people coming from all over the place â itâs such a big transplant city,â Calvin says. âOn top of that, compared to ten years ago, people are so much more willing to try new things.â
If heÂ had to choose a dish on his menu to eat for the rest of his life, CalvinÂ would go with his signature fried chicken with lobster mac & cheese. By pairing the chicken with lobster mac & cheese, heÂ gives comfort food an upscale feelÂ â the combination of which is aÂ common theme throughout his menu.
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Images by Emily Schultz.