Former St. Cecilia chef Taylor Neary is ready. His menu is set. The decor is in. His staff is trained. The owner and executive chef of Restaurant Holmes is prepared to open the first eatery in the new Alpharetta City Center on July 11.
Set in the historic Jones House, Restaurant Holmes takes its name from Neary’s family: Holmes is not only his and his 2-year-old son’s middle name, but a name that goes back six generations. It’s only fitting then that the restaurant is designed to mirror the way Neary likes to dine—on simple, hyper-seasonal dishes created for sharing.
“People say dining is the experience. It’s not much of an experience if I’m only eating one thing the whole time I’m there,” he says. Hence Restaurant Holmes’s small plates format for dinner.
The menu features 20 small plates, the majority of which are vegetable-based. There’s wood-fired cauliflower with peach salsa verde, local greens, and fried capers; hand-cut spaghetti with charred summer onions, tomatoes, and preserved lemon; and tuna crudo with strawberry, avocado, cucumber, olive oil, and salt. Each plate provides three to five bites-worth of food, so Neary recommends that a table of four order about half the menu. (Prices range from $5 to $19.)
Prefer a traditional entree? The lunch menu—launching two weeks after opening—will offer salads and sandwiches served a la carte.
For dessert, Neary is making soft-serve ice cream in flavors like charred peach, smoked pineapple, and vanilla with activated charcoal. Expect olive oil cake with pineapple and local whipped cream, too.
Sam Schilf (formerly of Local Three and Seed) is leading the beverage program. There are six cocktails made with juices clarified in a centrifuge, 25 red wines, 20 whites, and eight beers on tap. A rum-based tiki drink called Jack the Ripper and Stumptown cold brew coffee will also be served on tap. Want to go big? There’s a reserve wine list with 12 varieties that cost more than $100 per bottle.
The Restaurant Holmes space seats 60 diners inside and 40 on the covered patio. Local artist Greg Mike painted large murals in the dining room and bathrooms, and there are skateboards and graffiti on the walls. Pendant lights hang over the bar, and the space is decorated in shades of brown, gray, and navy. An neon orange sign reads “Keep the Vibes Alive.”
“It has a young, West Coast feel. To counteract that, we have polished glassware, handmade plates, and take attention to detail very seriously,” Neary says. “It has the nuances of a fine dining restaurant with a more casual feel.”
Editor’s note: On June 23, Restaurant Holmes pushed back their opening from July 5 to July 11. This article has been updated to reflect that.