The Continent opens on Buford Highway with Jamaican fusion and fine cigars

The Afro-Caribbean restaurant and cigar lounge comes from Scotch Yard chef Scotley Innis

Chef Scotley Innis

Photograph courtesy of the Continent

Chef Scotley Innis, best known for competing on Hell’s Kitchen Season 18 and for his popular ghost kitchen Scotch Yard, has opened a swanky Afro-Caribbean restaurant called the Continent on Buford Highway (4300 Buford Highway Northeast). There, Innis combines his Jamaican background and Southern experiences with Asian and African influences to create a menu full of unique dishes. Serving dinner, late-night dishes, and weekend brunch, the Continent pairs flavorful eats with boozy cocktails.

“I wanted to take Jamaican food to an elevated level,” Innis says. “People know us for jerk chicken, and I wanted to do more than that.”

Oxtail lo mein

Courtesy of the Continent

Pepper prawns

At the Continent, he’s created a menu balancing small plates with heartier large ones. His oxtail lo mein features braised oxtail, baby bok choy, and chambray onions; while the Yardman oysters put a Jamaican twist on Rockefeller oysters with callaloo, duck bacon, garlic butter, and Parmesan cheese. And the aforementioned jerk seasoning? That can be found on lobster cooked with a sherry beurre blanc and served with grits.

After working with mixologist Mike Haze (of Red Phone Booth) on the Atlanta Spirits Festival, Innis selected him to lead the Continent’s bar program, which has a focus on craft cocktails. Expect spins on Old Fashioneds and Sazeracs, plus a bramble-berry julep and a hibiscus Moet martini. Ale Sharpton hand-picked the beer offerings—local bottles only—including his new Piano Keys imperial stout from New Belgium Brewing.

Call Me Old Fashioned cocktail

Courtesy of the Continent

Those looking for something harder can head to the Cigar Lounge, where rare and pricey spirits include Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac, as well as Macallan scotch flights. Hand-rolled cigars can be enjoyed in what Innis promises is a less smoky space than one might expect. Though the Cigar Lounge is open to the public, memberships and cigar lockers are available.

The 120-seat restaurant is designed to awaken all of the senses—not just tastebuds. Dark wood, plush banquettes, and red velvet elicit a clublike vibe, and a DJ plays reggae and Afro-Caribbean beats Thursday through Saturday evenings.

“I wanted everybody to feel at home in a nice, comfortable setting, that’s laid back, where they can chill,” Innis says.

Inside the Continent

Courtesy of the Continent