A Wintry Mixer

Atlantans Jonathan Aherin, Austin L. Ray and Claire Whitehead love to pair good friends with good food and drink. And, for the past two years, these friends have vowed not to exchange gifts during the holidays, but rather, to throw themselves a party. “The first year we did this, it was great fun but not terribly sophisticated,” Jonathan says with a laugh. Last year, though, the group sought out a space that was sophisticated yet fresh, settling on Shaun’s Restaurant in Inman Park, which they reserved for the evening.

The restaurant’s design is open and airy, with lots of natural wood and an earthy palette. With its minimalist holiday décor, the locale was the perfect backdrop for the three friends and their ever-increasing guest list. Plus, the group drew on its combined resources; from within their social circle, they had connections to some impressive names in the city’s food and wine community, as well as designers who plotted the look and feel of the party—and created invitations.

The restaurant’s proprietor, Chef Shaun Doty, enjoys collaborations, so he was happy to share his kitchen for the event with Chef Steven Satterfield of Watershed Restaurant in Decatur. “We hired Steven to cook for us because he has a like-minded sense of taste, is incredibly organized—and he and Shaun are friends,” Jonathan explains. “Steven enjoys putting menus together and thinks through flavor and flow.” Satterfield kept the menu comforting, yet celebrated seasonal flavors. Cauliflower soup, for instance, preceded roast pork loin with apple cider jus and a side of brussels sprouts.

From the sidewalk, passersby looking through the big glass windows saw glowing candles and smiling faces, as the wintry wind blew the smell of warm, festive food down the street. But it was the sounds of laughter from within that reminded them of the true spirit of the season.

Shaun’s, (404) 577-4358