When Ford Fry opened JCT. Kitchen & Bar in 2007, he seemed to accomplish the impossible. He took a proven dog of a space — two restaurants had already crashed and burned there — and turned it into a winner. Working with architect and designer Smith Hanes, he took this box of poorly lit square footage with no street visibility and only a train track for company, and showed everyone it could be a destination. The Southern menu had a few gourmet aspirations and the room a kind of “Garden & Gun” sense of farmhouse style, but the restaurant proved easygoing — at heart it remained a fun, loud place to eat fried chicken with your fingers.
Ford and Hanes repeated their feat last year when they transformed the somnambulant Eurasia Bistro in Decatur into the reliably mobbed No. 246, an Italian restaurant serving wood-oven pizzas, pastas and roasted meats. Again, the menu and room were cannily