The team behind Muss & Turner’s, Local Three and Eleanor’s—Todd Mussman and Ryan Turner, along with Chris Hall (Local Three) and Chris Talley (Muss & Turner's)—have a new restaurant in the works. Common Quarter will be a neighborhood restaurant with coastal influences located in East Cobb. Replacing Chepe’s Mexican Grill (which replaced Fellini’s Pizza), Common Quarter is scheduled to open on July 1. Below, Talley and Hall share details on their vision for the restaurant.
Where did you get your inspiration for Common Quarter?
Talley: I grew up around St. Simons Island and have always been drawn to the South. No matter how far I travel, I always gravitate back to Southern culture and heritage. Some of my favorite memories involve driving through country backroads and farmland on the way to a beach vacation. Todd Mussman and I sat down one day and drew a map of the Gulf coast from Texas, all the way around the panhandle, and up the east coast to Virginia. That's when it hit me: I wanted to offer a menu influenced by the Southern coast and farms.
What type of food will be served?
Talley: Common Quarter is dedicated to sourcing locally harvested products whenever possible. We will present organic and sustainable dishes that were hooked, netted, shot, pickled, cropped, and cured as close to home as possible. Crossing the worlds of origin, a regularly changing, chef-driven menu will be available for lunch and dinner daily.
What menu items do you envision serving?
Hall: The menu is very much a work in progress, but a few items that might be around are: Timmy's Tybee Island peel-and-eat shrimp with Sriracha cocktail sauce and preserved lemon; charred Georgia peach salad with field arugula, pickled sweet peppers, almonds, and crème fraiche; pan-roasted wreck fish with Carolina Gold risotto, summer tomatoes, and blistered beans; and slow-roasted Gum Creek Farm pork loin with jalapeno creamed corn, crispy eggplant, cucumber, and basil.
Where did the name Common Quarter come from?
Hall: Common because it’ll be a welcoming space open to all. A quarter is four parts—the four of us [partners].
It’ll be a little bit of a hybrid between the two places we have now: more Muss & Turner’s at lunch and more composed at dinner like Local Three.
How did you choose East Cobb for the location?
Hall: We’ve decided to build great neighborhoods and become a part of that neighborhood rather than determine a concept in advance. Once we’ve chosen the neighborhood, we decide what will best serve that neighborhood. A lot of our friends are raising kids in East Cobb, and we want to be a part of that community. We’re looking at it as an opportunity to expand and grab new guests. The response so far has been unbelievable—people are excited we’re coming!
Let’s talk about the atmosphere and decor. What do you anticipate it to feel and look like?
Hall: Chris [Talley] is leading the design with ai3. We have a vision book. It’s a mix of farm and coastal culture: light, open, warm, and inviting. I don’t think anyone’s ever accused us of being hip.
We’re cognizant of the fact that it needs to be both family-friendly and adult-friendly. That’s going to be a part of the design. It needs to be authentic and transparent and have a story that reflects back to who we are. We’ve partnered with Lamon Luther—a design and build company that started out of the recession—to do a lot of the furniture and tabletops. They do handmade furniture with great craftsmanship. The bones of the space are really good. We’re going to rework the interior but we don’t have to do too much in the kitchen.
Talley: I want to create a sense of nostalgia from vacation destinations around the South: Charleston, Hilton Head, St. Simons Island, Amelia Island, Seaside, Orange Beach, etc. I want our guests to forget that they are in East Cobb. The colors will be pulled from a sunny palette and light. I'm envisioning whitewashed or distressed wood.
Service is where we stand out. Our culture is deeply rooted in people. That is the fuel of our business. Our staff members are inspired to truly engage, educate and offer memorable and unexpected service to our guests.
Who will be in the kitchen?
Hall: Todd and Chris [Talley] will be overseeing the kitchen. We have someone in mind who we’ve worked with in the past, but we’re still finalizing the details.
What surprising, unique or interesting aspects of the restaurant are you most excited about?
Talley: There will be a few spontaneous secrets. These will not be on a weekly calendar, but you may walk in on a random night and see one of our sous chefs shucking oysters at the bar or catch a local band playing music on the covered patio. We are also fortunate to have a lot of friends in the industry that will make guest appearances as hosts for wine, beer, and/or spirit tastings and dinner events.