After naming Staplehouse as a finalist for the country’s best new restaurant in 2016, Bon Appétit magazine announced today that the Old Fourth Ward restaurant has been crowned number one on their annual list. In his article, editor Andrew Knowlton described in detail the story behind the restaurant: How Ryan and Jen Hidinger’s plans to open a restaurant were derailed when he was diagnosed with stage IV cancer in 2012; how they created their nonprofit, The Giving Kitchen; and how Jen, her sister-in-law, Kara Hidinger, and chef Ryan Smith opened the restaurant in 2015, a year after Ryan Hidinger’s death. But Knowlton noted that while the story behind the restaurant’s creation was compelling, it was stellar food and an impeccable atmosphere that ultimately made his decision to rank the restaurant No. 1.
“Staplehouse didn’t become my restaurant of the year because of a heart-wrenching story,” Knowlton wrote, “It became my restaurant of the year because of the smart, innovative cooking of Ryan Smith and the warm, welcoming, unwavering hospitality of Kara, Jen, and the entire team. In every way imaginable, it floored me.”
In an emailed statement to Atlanta magazine, Jen Hidinger wrote on behalf of the Staplehouse staff:
“We are full of appreciation, not only to our community, but to our staff who shares in the commitment that ‘anything long lasting or worthwhile takes time and complete surrender.’ This is for them and the city of Atlanta for their unwavering support of Staplehouse and The Giving Kitchen.”
The quote Jen Hidinger references was said by Ryan Hidinger and is painted on a wall inside Staplehouse, as Knowlton notes at the end of his article.
Staplehouse announced earlier this month that they would abandon their tasting menus at the end of August, instead focusing on an a la carte menu. In our April issue, Corby Kummer gave the Staplehouse our first four-star review in ten years.