Rendering courtesy of ai3
Setbacks and delays are a common theme in the restaurant industry. The winding permitting process, construction mishaps, and other unforeseen circumstances often push back the opening day for months. We checked in with four local restaurants—Staplehouse, the Cockentrice, the Little Tart Bakeshop, Gu’s Dumplings—for an update on their progress.
The Old Fourth Ward restaurant that started as Ryan and Jen Hidinger’s supper club and garnered nationwide attention when the restaurant community banded together to support Ryan after he was diagnosed with Stage IV gall bladder cancer is still a ways away from opening. According to the restaurant’s monthly newsletter, “Staplehouse is knee-deep in the city permitting process” and won’t be able to start construction for another three to seven weeks. After that, Jen estimates it will take another three to four months to build out the space. That puts the opening at December at the earliest. While Jen continues to focus on Staplehouse and the Giving Kitchen, Staplehouse executive chef, Ryan Smith is back in the kitchen at Empire State South as interim pastry chef. Rendering courtesy of Square Feet Studio
The meat-centric, small plates spot will open in Krog Street Market at the end of September or early October, owner and chef Kevin Ouzts hopes. He recently launched a Kickstarter to raise money for the restaurant and is nearly a quarter of the way to his goal. The Cockentrice will be the first restaurant for Ouzts, who also owns the butcher shop, the Spotted Trotter. The space will seat 120 people and feature a bar, patio, and butcher shop.
Ouzts say he’s still working on the menu but admits that some of it may stay purposely vague. For example, the menu may read “lamb,” giving Ouzts the opportunity to use different parts of the animal prepared in a variety of ways. “Our mission is to use cuts and cooking methods that speak to the meat in ways that haven’t been done before,” he says. And yes, a few vegetarian options will be offered.
One item that diners will likely see on the menu is Milk and Honey—local milk consommé with a honey noodle and croquettes of ham wrapped in potato. “We’ll have a vast cheese menu with unique preparations that really push the envelope,” he adds. Scott Stroud from the Spotted Trotter will pave the way as cheesemonger. Rendering courtesy of Square Feet Studio
The Little Tart Bakeshop
Sarah O’Brien’s bakery, which currently shares space with Octane in Grant Park, will open a second location in Krog Street Market this fall. O’Brien says she hopes to have it up and running in September. Its menu will be very similar to the flagship location but with the addition of rice pudding, mousses, and panna cottas. “I definitely want to do a rice pudding based on what I was used to in France: basic vanilla bean with salted caramel sauce on the side,” O’Brien says. “I’ll do a classic French chocolate mousse and a local honey panna cotta with seasonal fruit.” There will be a French take on a Southern breakfast sandwich, too.
The new Little Tart will serve Octane coffee and espresso. Although there will be a couple of bar stools, the space is designed for to-go orders, and patrons can enjoy their purchases in the Market’s communal areas, O’Brien says. Rendering courtesy of Square Feet Studio
A Szechuan dumplings and noodles stall in Krog Street Market, Gu’s is scheduled to open in September or October. It will serve an abbreviated menu of dishes similar to mother restaurant Gu’s Bistro on Buford Highway. Expect pork, chicken, and vegetarian dumplings, plus kung pao lotus root, bubble tea, and more. Rendering courtesy of ai3