Staff Photos: Jason Braverman. Kurt Eisele, owner of Kurt's Bistro, talks to a customer from behind the bar at the restaurant's new location off Peachtree Industrial Boulevard.
DULUTH — Jim Nemecek does business in the Atlanta area and used to travel to River Green Parkway to order his usual — “Cowboy Steak” — from his favorite restaurant.
However, since its recent relocation to 3305 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., he now travels a few street lights down the road to eat at a smaller and cozier Kurt’s Bistro.
Nemecek travels around the country doing business but always makes time to visit Kurt’s Bistro when he’s in the area.
“The old place was getting well ... old,” Nemecek said. “I like this place a lot better. I bring customers here occasionally whenever I’m in Atlanta and they never regret it.”
After 25 years at River Green Parkway, the European-style bistro relocated due to the struggling economy and the drive to keep the business a success.
At the old place, the bistro was larger with a bar and two dining rooms for customers to select from — Vreny’s Biergarten or Kurt’s. The Biergarten was family driven with a casual atmosphere and a German influenced menu. Kurt’s leaned toward a more elegant vibe with mostly American cuisine.
The current location has a concentrated dining room and bar area, bringing together the best of Vreny’s and Kurt’s to create a condensed but unique menu.
Owner Kurt Eisele said the bistro is about 20 percent of the size it was previously, but he has been able to use that to his advantage to make it even better.
“We took two restaurants and made it into one,” Eisele said. “We do specialize in premium steak, but we wanted to give it more of a European flare so we could be a little more versatile with foods from German to Italian to French.”
Head Chef and Kurt’s son, Alexander Eisele, said that though there has been some disappointment that they do not have all German dishes, most of the customers have been favorable to the new menu.
He said the biggest challenge is re-educating the customers on the new items.
“I’ve been coming to Kurt’s for 10 years,” Nemecek said. “They have the best steak in Atlanta. People don’t understand how good the food is here.”
The downsize has helped to make Kurt’s Bistro more manageable, and management has been able use more fresh products from the local markets.
Alexander said they go to the market at least three times a week.
“The bistro has made it’s own identity,” he said. “We’re able to use more fresh, local products and unique ingredients to create a fresher and more adaptable menu.”
Another positive is the location. It has helped to boost the customer clientele.
Kurt Eisele said with the current location people are able to see the Kurt’s Bistro sign when driving on Peachtree Industrial. That was not an option when the restaurant was located on River Green.
“We do have better exposure because the old location was surrounded by buildings,” he said. “Just traveling by (Kurt’s Bistro), people can see the sign.”
That has helped to generate new customers since Kurt’s Bistro opened in March.
Alexander said he has seen new faces but a huge percent of the clientele are regulars.
The establishment has been open since 1985 and has continued to be family driven.
Kurt Eisele arrived in the country with his wife Vrenny in 1965 with dreams of opening a restaurant. Twenty years later, after working at some of Georgia’s most renowned restaurants, he opened his own restaurant with his wife and son.
“We’re a family-owned business,” Alexander said. “We’re not a corporate chain as we have our hands in 99 percent of what’s going on. We’re happy to be here and try to offer something unique that people have never eaten before.”