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The team behind Southbound — a new Southern fusion restaurant in Chamblee — has a lot on its proverbial plate. After missing their fall 2012 open date, chef Cooper Miller, formerly of Livingston, owner Mike Plummer, and Dennis Lange, formerly of 5 Seasons Brewing, have been working hard to meet their new launch date of early 2014 (previously late November).
They have since been working on menus, as well as securing permits and picking paint colors. Miller says Southbound will be a “Southern soul food kind of concept with local flare and an international twist here and there.” Southbound will offer traditional Southern dishes like fried chicken and shrimp and grits, as well as smoked and braised meats made on a wood-burning grill.
Plummer has also leased space in the same block and is planning an “upscale diner concept,” Miller says, adding that there’s a third space in the area—once home to Chamblee’s original brothel—that he and Lange are considering for yet another concept.
For now, however, their focus is Southbound. They are working with the folks at Le Caveau Fine Wines in downtown Chamblee to put together a “pretty eclectic, diverse wine list” focused on French, Italian, and Old World wines usually not available by the glass.
Southbound will also feature a four-seat chef’s table — called The Chef’s Porch — located in a screened-in porch that looks into the kitchen. It will give Miller, Lange, and sous chef Josh Vilian (from Kaleidoscope) a chance to infuse different styles of cooking, such as Caribbean and Asian, into the food in the form of five-to-seven-course tasting menus. Cooper says the dishes on these menus, ranging from yakitori chicken hearts to blackened redfish, will likely be available as specials in the dining room, too.
“I don’t want it to be a one-note menu,” he says. “Southern food really is a mixed pot of African, Spanish, and other cultures that have come together and made soul food what it is.”
Southbound will serve lunch and dinner, as well as weekend brunch. Cooper says his team is considering serving breakfast—at least coffee, pastries, and biscuits—but could also shift that business to the diner.
Everything will be made in house; expect charcuterie, pickling, preserving, and the like. “I’m shooting to do 60 to 75 percent of the menu local,” Cooper says.
“This has been a beast of a project—we really had to strip the building down to the bones,” Miller says. “This building [an old Masonic lodge] has so much soul. It’s really one-of-a-kind.”