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A first look at four newcomers to Atlanta's restaurant scene: Staplehouse, La Mei Zi, Com Mai, and Venkman's
Ryan’s sister Kara Hidinger, her husband and chef Ryan Smith, and Jen have been working feverishly to fulfill Ryan’s dream of opening Staplehouse. Jen says the end—or maybe the new beginning—is finally in sight. “We’re deep into construction and on schedule for the middle of summer—the end of July if not sooner,” she says. “It’s been six years since we birthed this concept out of our home. It’s formed so many different branches for such good, and it’s the heart of what Ryan and I created.”
Chefs and mixologists from more than 50 local restaurants and bars will gather on January 25 at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot for Team Hidi 3.0. Proceeds will go toward the Giving Kitchen, an organization that provides help to restaurant workers in need.
It was the year of the city center. With the opening of Buckhead Atlanta, Inman Park’s Krog Street Market, and Alpharetta’s Avalon, restaurants opened in droves. Local chefs got a nod from the James Beard Foundation, a lime shortage caused momentary panic, and one popular pop-up signed on its first brick-and-mortar location. Read on as we remember when.
What started as a dream in 2009 is about to become reality this year. Staplehouse, a restaurant helmed by chef Ryan Smith (previously of Empire State South), will open in the Old Fourth Ward in "the very foreseeable future," according to co-owner Jen Hidinger.
SweetWater Brewery is set to launch a limited release of The Giving Kitchen’s Second Helping IPA next week, a collaboration that will benefit the nonprofit created to support Metro Atlanta food industry employees during unforeseen hardship. The Giving Kitchen (TGK) was inspired by the community support chef Ryan Hidinger of Staplehouse received, following a stage four gallbladder cancer diagnosis this time last year. Hidinger and his wife Jen were on the cusp of moving their much loved supper club into a brick-and-mortar location when news of the cancer struck. [Editors note: Ryan Hidinger passed away on the day we published this blog post. He leaves behind a community unified by his battle, as evidenced by the generosity he inspired.]
As the saying goes, you win some, and you lose some. This year we saw famed mixologists leave their longtime outposts, award-winning chefs open new “it” spots, and the restaurant community band together to help one of their own. As we welcome in the new year, we pause to take a look back at what happened in 2013.
Ryan Smith, Empire State South’s executive chef, will leave his position by the end of 2013 to join as a partner in the forthcoming Staplehouse, conceived by Ryan and Jen Hidinger. Smith’s fiancé and Ryan Hidinger’s sister, Kara Hidinger (currently at Abattoir), will also be a partner in the restaurant. The team hopes to have the restaurant open by the end of the year; they’ve already filed a letter of intent on a building in the Old Fourth Ward/Inman Park area.
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