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EACA Small Business Spotlight: Gaja

By Armando Celentano
Each month, the East Atlanta Community Association (EACA) will be spotlighting a different small business in the EACA newsletter. In turn, that business will offer a discount to card carrying EACA members. This month’s focus is on Gaja, one of the most recent and exciting restaurants to open in the village. Flash your EACA card and receive a “cool kid’s discount” of 10 percent off your meal this month.
Gaja is the brainchild of brothers Tim and Danny Song, along with Chef Allen Suh. Three longtime friends brought together by a love of music and passion for food, they conspired to bring this concept to life as Chef Allen began gaining notoriety while hosting the now legendary weekly pop-up restaurant, Gato Arigato in Candler Park.
Tim describes Gaja as a “non-traditional Korean restaurant and soju bar” (not to be confused with Japanese shochu). For the uninitiated, soju is a clear distilled beverage traditionally made from rice, wheat, or corn. In 2014, it was the largest selling spirit in the world. They characterize Chef Suh’s cuisine as “playful yet authentic.” Small shareable plates called “smalls” range from $4 (anchovie & peanut brittle) to $10 (sweet potato noodles with sesame oil and bone marrow). Entree sized portions (Bigs) served with rice, vegan kimchi, and two banchan (sides) hover in the $11-$14 range. Thoughtfully paired cocktail and beer menus accent their soju selection, along with a broad selection of Korean non-alcoholic sodas and yogurt drinks. Since their opening in November 2015, they’ve become critical darlings and popular among restaurant industry insiders.
The three felt East Atlanta was the right place for them to open their first business because of their level of comfort in EAV. This is a progressive concept that would have easily fit in West Midtown or Buckhead, but their somewhat punk rock approach to traditional cuisine fits easily alongside the neighborhood’s DIY aesthetic. Building on the strong sense of community between not only neighbors, but other nearby bars and restaurants, Gaja is building a unique niche in the city’s culinary and bar scene.
Gaja is located at 491-A Flat Shoals Ave. For more information visit, email, or call (404) 835-2126.

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