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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.
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.
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 officially ended his tenure as executive chef at Hugh Acheson's Empire State South this past weekend, leaving Joshua Hopkins at the helm. Hopkins, who previously served as executive chef at White Oak Kitchen and Cocktails, as well as STG Trattoria and Abattoir, says Empire State South customers shouldn’t expect to see too much of a change in the food as Smith turns his focus to Staplehouse.
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.