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Ponko: What's Old Is New Again

15 November 2017

Ponko Chicken is the re-launch the city of Atlanta has been waiting for. The doors to this Chamblee restaurant opened the week of October 16th, then merely 5 days later, they joined over 100 restaurants to debut their food at Taste of Atlanta. Ponko impressed the masses and went home with a trophy engraved with “Best Selling Taste” of Taste of Atlanta. This “Amerasian” restaurant is famous for their unique spin on chicken tenders, but there is so much more to the story of Ponko than their incredibly addicting menu staple suggests.

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2 Ponko Rice Boxes features: original tenders with white rice, fries, homemade ranch and pickles and buffalo tenders with brown rice, sweet potato fries, homemade ranch and pickles.

Ponko's Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich with a side of Potato Salad.

Ponko’s Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich with a side of Potato Salad.

Ponko's "Best Selling Taste" trophy for Taste of Atlanta 2017 pairs nicely with their original tender recipe rice box.

Ponko’s “Best Selling Taste” trophy for Taste of Atlanta 2017 pairs nicely with their original tender recipe Rice Box.

From creative graphic design to the symbolism behind the names of menu items to inventive recipes, every aspect of Ponko is thought through thoroughly. Learn more about the history of this restaurant and the people behind the scenes below:

Maggie Uyehara was born and raised on Crenshaw Boulevard in the heart of Los Angeles. An all-American girl, she is the proud daughter of her 2nd generation-born (nisei) Japanese-American parents. Her father Howard, was a Purple Heart World War ll veteran, and her mother, Emiko, was a farm girl from central California who passed on the family’s love for cooking and spirit of entrepreneurship. With that heritage, Maggie invented and perfected her signature PONKO Chicken recipe and opened an LA-based catering business when she was 18. The blend of Asian spices and southern California cooking style made the chicken tenders a wildly popular dish.

Two decades after providing craft services for Hollywood studios and corporations, Maggie joined her sister Reiko in suburban Atlanta where they, their supportive husbands and ve amazing kids crafted a fresh casual menu that revolves around that original PONKO Chicken recipe. In 1998, they opened the original restaurant, with a sophisticated urban vibe that gave a sense of home to everyone who ate there.

“My mom was an amazing cook. We always had the proverbial pot of Japanese steamed rice. She made Japanese classics like the frying pan dinner (aka: sukiyaki) to all-American favorites like fried chicken and meatloaf. And every other week, a slow cooked pot of beef stew would be turned into Japanese curry the next day! I refer to the food I have created as Japanese Soul Food. Straight from the heart. Authentically Japanese. Authentically Western. My parents referred to it as ‘good eatin’!”

“On top of that, my family owned and operated Arlington Bowl, where my mom served one of the city’s best bowls of ramen and her legendary hamburger. We grew up when L.A. food joints, like Tommy’s, Golden Bird, and Walts were thriving. And let’s not forget the lil Japanese diner called ‘Bungo’ on Washington Boulevard. No sushi, nobody throwing knives around, just good Japanese home cooked meals!” Maggie confessed.

Today, two of the Uyehara grandkids have decided that they are ready to move the company forward. Noah Clark, Reiko’s son and Mia (Antoine) Seilern, Maggie’s daughter, have taken the helm with great leadership, passion, and business acumen. Dubbed by their family as the Prince and Princess of PONKO, Noah and Mia are poised to turn the family catering company into a global fast-casual dining concept by connecting cultures and cultivating happiness, one chicken tender at a time.

Tickets On Sale Summer 2019!

Get hands-on instruction, hone your grilling skills, and pick up new techniques with Atlanta's top Chefs.
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Simon’s Restaurant<\/a> in Midtown has been open less than a year and already has a big-time trophy under their belt. The restaurant won “Best Taste” of Sunday at Taste of Atlanta on October 21st. Simon’s is best known for creative southern dishes and a truly Instagram-able build out. Chef Robert Butts crafts a unique and ever-changing menu with options ranging from indulgent to vegan; savory composed plates to painstakingly homemade\u00a0pastries. His enthusiasm is infectious and every restaurant-goer can appreciate the good vibes that radiate from his kitchen and extend throughout the entire dining space.<\/p>\n

Chef Robert updates his menu seasonally and right now, he’s focused on fall comfort foods. We went behind-the-scenes to capture some of these decadent dishes. Watch a Facebook Live with Taste of Atlanta Marketing & Media Manager, Skye Estroff, and Chef Robert for more details of each menu item. <\/a>One of the newly-added items made it to the menu because of it’s appearance on Simon’s <\/a>Taste of Atlanta menu- the Slow Braised Beef Ribs over Pimento Cheese Mashed Potatoes and Crispy Collard Greens with Jack Daniels Au Jus.<\/p>\n

See below for an up-close look at each spotlit dish and come and try Simon’s<\/a> before 2018 ends! This restaurant is the perfect spot for brunch, drinks, dinner, happy hour, late night or group events any\u00a0day of the week (brunch is weekends only).<\/p>\n

1)\u00a0Slow Braised Beef Ribs over Pimento Cheese Mashed Potatoes and Crispy Collard Greens with Jack Daniels Au Jus.<\/strong><\/p>\n

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2) Spaghetti Squash with Mushroom Bolognese and Vegan Parmesan.<\/strong><\/p>\n

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3) Thanksgiving on a plate- Turkey Leg Stuffed with Cornbread, served over Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Sweet Potato and Collard Greens.<\/strong><\/p>\n

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Stay up to date with all things Taste of Atlanta throughout the year! Follow us on Facebook<\/a>, Instagram<\/a>, Twitter<\/a> and sign up for our e-newsletter here<\/a>.<\/strong><\/p>\n"},"1257":{"pid":1257,"date":"18 October 2018","title":"Taste of Atlanta 2018- Know Before You Go","thumb":"http:\/\/tasteatl.net\/management\/..\/images\/2018\/10\/Consume-Media-B-Roll-Screenshots-TOA-2017-Drone-4.png","excerpt":"Know before you go to Taste of Atlanta 2018!","cat":"Events","markup":"

\"Consume<\/a><\/p>\n

Taste of Atlanta<\/span><\/a>, the city\u2019s much anticipated food and drink festival showcasing the local restaurant scene, is taking place this weekend on October 19, 20 and 21. Held at Historic Fourth Ward Park, the 17th annual festival will feature more than 90 of Atlanta\u2019s favorite restaurants, offering their most craveable dishes alongside live, on-stage cooking demos, hands-on group classes from top chefs, a beer garden and more. Here\u2019s what you need to know to make the most of this year\u2019s festival!<\/span><\/p>\n