Last year, chef Todd Hogan (Branchwater, Branch & Barrel, and Indigo), shared his plans to open an upscale steakhouse called the Republic in Alpharetta’s Liberty Hall. It was scheduled to start serving in late 2017. With building delays came more time to contemplate the concept, and Hogan now has a new vision in mind. Targeting a late summer opening, Prairie American Kitchen and Hearth will be a steak and seafood spot that pays homage to the American West.
“Everyday dining is what I want to be known for,” Hogan says. “Prairie will serve lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. It can be for business, friends, as well as occasions. I wanted it to be more rustic comfort.”
To fulfill the rustic theme, Prairie’s food will be prepared over a hardwood hearth and served on potted plates.
“The ingredients are indicative of what you might find on a prairie—rattlesnake beans, yams, and hominy,” Hogan says.
He and executive chef John Sweeney will cure their own bacon and make cheese in-house. The menu will feature traditional cuts of steak, as well as select Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic fish. There will be a chef’s choice carving board featuring items such as pork loin, prime rib, or leg of lamb, and a signature peach- and apricot-glazed pork porterhouse. At lunch, diners can expect smaller sized entrees, plus sandwiches and salads. The brunch menu will include angel biscuits and flapjacks. And for dessert? S’mores pie encased in marshmallow meringue.
Kevin Beam is leading the beverage program, making craft cocktails like honeysuckle lemonade and barrel-aging multiple bourbons. There will be craft beer, as well as a diverse, “artisan-style” wine menu, Hogan says.
The 6,000-square-foot space will seat 175 diners, including on the patio. An antique bar will serve as the focal point.
Not only did Hogan completely revamp the concept for Prairie, but he’s also overhauling his Milton restaurant, Indigo, to give it a similarly laid-back vibe. In late July, Indigo—which reopened in 2016 after a fire—will be turned into an industrial comfort food restaurant called Duke’s Roadhouse.
“Indigo got labeled as a special occasion [restaurant], and that’s not what I wanted,” Hogan says. “That’s why we’re re-concepting it, too.”
The “down home” cooking will include beer-braised brisket with macaroni and cheese, apple barbecue baby back ribs, fried chicken, burgers, and banana splits.
The menu revamp and interior redesign is being done in stages, with menu items currently running as specials at Indigo, so the restaurant won’t need to close at all during the transition.
“It’s almost bittersweet,” Hogan says. “We loved the Indigo brand but it never took off for daily dining, and I need bodies in my chairs every day of the week.”
Duke’s will have a lower price point than Prairie, with entrees starting at $10.50.