Castellucci Hospitality Group’s Basque-inspired restaurant to open in early 2014

Federico Castellucci III divulges plans for pintxos, wood-fired meats, and seafood
Federico Castellucci III

Courtesy of Castellucci Hospitality Group

Castellucci Hospitality Group, the restaurateurs behind Sugo, the Iberian Pig and Double Zero Napoletana, will open a Spanish and French Basque-inspired restaurant in the Elan Westside building at 691 14th Street early next year. Federico Castellucci III—who owns the restaurant with his sister Stephanie and the company’s culinary director, Chad Crete—is focusing on the San Sebastian region in particular, with traditional dishes such as tapas-like pintxos as well as modern takes on the cuisine (“New Basque”).

“There are two major reasons for this new project: One is creating new opportunities for talented people in our organization, and the other is that our other three restaurants are all doing well and in a good place from an execution perspective,” Federico says.

Landon Thompson, currently chef de cuisine at the Iberian Pig, will be the executive chef at this yet unnamed restaurant. He will work closely with executive sous chef John Castellucci, who is soaking up the Basque culture while working at Arzak in San Sebastian for the next six months. Together, they will prepare roasted seafood and meats cooked over a wood-fired grill.

“Clearly the concept is a risk,” Federico says. “We only have a few Spanish restaurants in the city and not too many French restaurants either. So, a very unique region like Basque Country that sits on the edge of France and Spain, with its own unique culinary landscape, is certainly different. It really came down to my time in Southern France and San Sebastian and seeing the influences and the creativity of the chefs there.

“The restaurant will certainly be our own inspiration of the place. We won’t be copying Basque cuisine because creativity is something that is inherent in the best places there, and we need to come to the table with our own unique vision. Ultimately, the decision was easy. The place was so compelling that I felt Atlanta needed to taste, see, and feel a little bit of what was going on there.”

Ai3 will be designing the restaurant, including the exterior facade.