When Barry Dry moved to New York from Perth, Australia in 2011, he missed frequenting the sunlit cafes of his home country and saw an opportunity to share them with Americans. Now Global CEO of Parched Hospitality Group, he launched Isla & Co., a bright and airy, all-day cafe offering brunch and dinner with jovial service.
“We interact with the customers and have a good fun time. It’s the kind of vibe like you’re going to a friend’s house,” he says.
On December 8, Isla & Co. opens its first Georgia location—this one in the former Sama Food for Balance space in Buckhead’s East Andrews District. (A second location will replace Baffi on the Westside in summer 2023.) The 2,700-square-foot area has been redesigned with greenery and large windows. It also features a patio. Expect ‘80s music on the speakers.
“Atlanta checked all the boxes for us: It’s a cool, young vibe place. Production companies have moved there, it’s becoming pretty affluent, and easy to get to from New York,” Dry says.
Like the locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Dallas, Isla Buckhead features a menu designed by executive chef Matt Foley. However, local chef Kate Huang will add her own touches to some items. Brunch is available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and includes offerings like smashed avocado toast, a Sambal scramble with green harissa, a quinoa grain bowl, and fish and chips. Coffee and espresso come from a special house blend; natural and organic wines and craft beer and cocktails are also a focus.
Although it’s dubbed an Australian cafe, Isla is influenced by many regions, including Southeast Asia and Europe. “Australia is a young country—it has influences from everywhere,” Dry explains.
It’s easy to see these influences on the dinner menu with items like crispy halloumi, spicy Thai green curry, and shrimp vodka rigatoni. Beverages include a shiraz wine float and the Wizard of Oz cocktail made with Starward Whisky, lemon juice, sugar, and egg whites.
While reservations are encouraged for dinner, brunch is first-come, first-serve. “We’re very suited to large groups,” Dry says.