Scheduled to open the last week in June, Ink & Elm will combine fine dining with a casual tavern, coffee shop, and upscale lounge under one roof in the Druid Hills/Emory Village area. Inspired by Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed the neighborhood more than a century ago, Ink & Elm is named after Olmsted’s renderings and the trees that line the neighborhood streets.
“Emory Village never had high-end restaurants,” says Keith Osborne, who is partnering in the venture with Hunter Jefferson and mixologist Nick Chaivarlis. “Most are convenience driven based on the Emory University traffic. We’ve created Ink & Elm around the needs of the community, so you’ll have the dining room with a more elevated atmosphere and then the tavern with more comfort, rustic fare.”
Like an upscale, turn-of-the century hotel bar
Adjacent to the dining room will be a 1920s-style lobby lounge and raw bar. There will be oversized bar stools, high-end vinyl flooring, reclining chairs, and a fireplace. The focus will be champagne cocktails.
Seasonal plates and rare spirits
In the dining room, where only dinner is served, the offerings will be comprised of seasonal dishes with the menu, defined by executive chef Stephen Sharp, changing nearly daily. These “refined plates” may feature composed salads, white shrimp, sweetbreads, burrata, local chicken, and local pork. More than 100 wines will be available, as well as craft cocktails. At the end of each meal, a cart will be brought to the table, offering handcrafted digestifs made of rare spirits from around the world.
The dining room, Jefferson explains, is light and airy with numerous windows. It’s designed to make you feel like you’re outside, in a park-type environment. “We want it to be a place you come for the entire evening,” he says.
Everyday tavern fare
With a more casual atmosphere, the tavern will be open from early morning to late night. Lunch and dinner will be served, with menu items such as burgers, sandwiches, stews, North Georgia trout, and St. Louis smoked ribs. After the kitchen closes at 11 p.m., charcuterie, cheeses, and other snacks may be available.
Here, the drinks will be focused on dark spirits, particularly bourbon. Chaivarlis describes them as “simple but classic” with house-made bitters and cordials, such as a “house perfect Manhattan” and Sazerac variation with cinnamon bitters. The traditional mint julep will be served with a twist—root beer bitters muddled with mint.
The first Atlanta restaurant to serve Intelligentsia
The Ink & Elm tavern is also a coffee house. Jefferson says it will be the first restaurant in the city of Atlanta to serve Intelligentsia Coffee (and coffee cocktails).
All bartenders at Ink & Elm will take barista classes and be able to serve those who come to the tavern to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi, booths with customizable lighting, and tables with built in USB ports and power strips.
“It’s a spot that serves the social gathering needs of the neighborhood,” Jefferson says, hence the twenty-seat private dining room with audio/visual capabilities available for free for meetings during the day on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Though the tavern will have dark hardwood floors and a lower ceiling than that in the dining room—which is 40 feet high—it is still designed to be a comfortable place where you don’t mind sitting for hours, Osborne says.