As of late last week, Watershed on Peachtree is under new ownership. After the historic restaurant closed in Decatur and re-opened in Brookwood in 2012, executive chef Zeb Stevenson helped lead it into the modern era. Now, Watershed founders Emily Saliers (of the Indigo Girls) and Ross Jones have sold the restaurant, Stevenson is out, and the new owner, chef Matt Marcus (of Bluetop and Portofino), is revamping its menus. Far from being left out in the cold, Stevenson has several new projects up his heavily tattooed sleeve.
This Sunday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Stevenson will host a tamale pop-up at Lotta Frutta in the Old Fourth Ward. Then on April 26, he’ll partner with Zach Meloy for a ticketed dinner at Better Half. He’s also working on a Monday night industry brunch with the Castelluccis (of Iberian Pig and Cooks & Soldiers.)
But most of his time is now focused on a new, vegetable-forward restaurant with former Watershed owner Jones. The new restaurant does not have a name or location yet, but Stevenson promises it will be “a little irreverent” with a “free-spirited approach to local cuisine that’s more worldly and less regionally centered” than Watershed.
He’ll focus on fresh, light, composed vegetable dishes, with a changing menu driven by seasonality. Meats will be responsibly sourced. Stevenson describes the menu as “small but not so compartmentalized.”
“It’s that ‘we serve food, eat it however you want’ mentality,” Stevenson says.
The restaurant will be casual, serve dinner as well as weekend brunch, and have a “little bit of a rock ‘n’ roll edge to it.”
“One of the most fun times in my career was opening Proof & Provision and helping design a really rad cocktail program. I’d like to feel that again,” he says. On that note, expect “super fun” beverages, approachable wines from around the world, and both local and international beer.
He’s looking for a 3,200 to 3,600 square foot space that will seat 80 or 90 people.
“This restaurant [that we’re planning] is everything I ever worked for. To have the opportunity to turn it into a real thing is overwhelming. I feel like the luckiest guy alive,” Stevenson says.