Tour Atlanta’s new destination in flavorful fine dining.
How chef Ryan Smith is continuing the legacy of late chef Ryan Hidinger at Staplehouse, subsidiary of The Giving Kitchen charity.
Tell us about Staplehouse’s tasting and à la carte menus.
Originally, these were two separate concepts—one indoors and one out—but now we’re molding them together. The à la carte menu is shared dishes, which, to me, puts more emphasis on what sitting down at a table is about: sharing with people, interacting and having conversation. It gives us more room for creativity. With the tasting menu, we get to create the journey.
Staplehouse uses a ticketing system, Tock, for the tasting menu. How does that work?
It’s much like going to a concert or buying a ticket for a show. On our end, it has a huge benefit because it allows us to know exactly how many people are going to come in and how much food to order. We can control the pace of the night so that we can give the best experience we possibly can.
Your culinary offerings have a healthy spin.
We build a pantry from local sources. Health was definitely in the forefront of our planning; [the menu is] very vegetable and whole-grain oriented. We’re pushing ourselves to find new ways to find flavor in something you wouldn’t normally, so we like to ferment things and make our own vinegars to create ways to build flavor.
What’s unique about the dining experience?
We wanted Staplehouse to be accessible to people—we didn’t want it to feel too precious. Regardless of whether you’re coming in for the full tasting menu or if you’re popping in for a few oysters and a glass of wine, we wanted people to feel comfortable.
Besides the food, how did you achieve that presence?
We’re housed in a 115-year-old building, and it’s got a lot of character and history and very simple architecture. It doesn’t feel too fussy. I think that speaks to the simple elegance of the restaurant.