It didn’t take long, however, before the Frys decamped for Roswell.
A recommendation from a fellow chef first pointed Fry in Roswell’s direction, but it was his sons’ favorite sport that eventually sealed the deal.
“My kids play a lot of tennis. They were attending Fellowship Christian School and got into competitive tennis, and there’s not much of that in town,” Fry said of the urbanized area where he had been living.
Now, 13 years later, Austin, 15, and Anders, 13, go to Legacy Academy, which leaves more time for practice. Fry said his wife, Stacy, fell in love with Roswell. As a runner, Leita Thompson Park is one of her favorite spots in the city.
Fry also loves tennis and occasionally plays at Brookfield West. He’s been asked to join a team, but said he’d need more time to do it.
And free time is something Fry doesn’t have a lot of these days. One of the hottest chefs and restaurateurs in the metro area, Fry has three thriving restaurants, JCT Kitchen and Bar, No. 246 and The Optimist, and will open a fourth in Buckhead around March of next year.
He recently garnered national praise when Esquire magazine named The Optimist as the country’s best new restaurant of 2012. The oyster bar and fresh seafood menu has been drawing raves from locals since it opened in May in West Midtown.
The flagship in Fry’s armada, JCT Kitchen, is seasonally Southern with an upscale mindset, while No. 246 in Decatur offers Italian-inspired cuisine. “I’m just a big fan of different cooking techniques,” Fry said.
The newest unit is in Buckhead now scheduled to open around March of next year 24-foot-long working wood and coal burning hearth with different types of grills. There will be eight seats in front where patrons can watch the chefs’ every move.
Fry has at least three more restaurants in the hopper, one of which has been trumpeted for the soon-to-be-built luxury retail and shopping complex Avalon in Alpharetta.
“Most likely,” Fry said when asked if he is actually going to open a restaurant there. “We’re not fully signed. We’re still in talking stages and we’re about 60 to 70 percent of the way there.”
A Texas native who trained at the New England Culinary Institute, Fry has had it in his head for some time to create an eatery that would serve food from his roots. If Avalon turns out to be a go, that’s the likely concept.
“I want it have an Austin, Texas feel, Tex Mex but completely authentic,” he said. “I want it to be really good since I live up there, so it has to be really cool. I do think it would be a nice project for me because it’s all about doing something in your own neighborhood.”
When he dines out in Roswell, he’s a fan of Little Alley Steak, Bistro VG and Dreamland BBQ, but Table and Main is his favorite. Executive Chef Ted Lahey at Table and Main is the lead singer in a chef’s band in which Fry plays guitar.
“He’s an awesome singer, but he’s also an awesome chef. His food is stellar,” Fry said.