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Zeb Stevenson on why he never wants to own a restaurant again and his new gig with Oliva Restaurants
For 25 years, ever since he secured his first cooking position—at Waffle House, no less—Zeb Stevenson wanted to be the chef at his own restaurant. “That was really all I ever set out to do,” he says. In 2019, he achieved his goal, opening Redbird in Westside Provisions District with Ross Jones (formerly of Watershed on Peachtree, where Stevenson was previously executive chef). His “free-spirited,” vegetable-forward approach to cooking attracted diners for four years, even surviving the Covid-19 pandemic. However, in February 2023, Stevenson reluctantly shuttered his life’s dream, noting unsustainable costs of labor and food.