Chastain Park Gains New Italian-American Restaurant Pendolino

Perfect for a night out, Chef Kevin Maxey crafts a classy neighborhood eatery in a praised Atlanta neighborhood

Not your nonna’s recipes—new hot spot Pendolino dresses up the fresh regional ingredients of the Southeast in an enticing Italian way, bringing the essence of Italy right to Atlanta’s doorstep.

Chef and owner Kevin Maxey has long held an appreciation for Italian food and culture, musing the idea of one day opening a restaurant of his own. He took inspiration from the Pendolino olive variety—a low-oil producing olive that attracts bees, aiding pollination and growth of other nearby vegetation. Moved by the symbolism of reliance and community support, Maxey kept the name in the back of his mind. “When I came across the space in Chastain Park, I came home and told my wife, ‘I think I found Pendolino today,’” says Maxey. “It just stuck.”

Designed by designer Kirby Caldwell and architect Neil Waddle with expansive booths and a mirrored bar, the sultry space is retro and dreamy with its shades of deep eggplant and rich marine, evoking an Italian Riviera feel. Dining at Pendolino is comparable to vacationing on the European coast while simultaneously embodying midcentury Brooklyn. This seamless melody of moods mirrors the relaxed demeanor of the restaurant’s intended concept. “It’s borderline Italian-American; we are playing into all the different styles and versions of Italy,” says Maxey. “We can be Tuscany or New Jersey.”

In keeping with the fresh simplicity of Italian cuisine, here you can indulge in simple, light dishes such as the Alaskan Halibut with butter beans and crispy artichokes, or relish in the delightful familiarity of Chicken Scallopini Parmigiano. “The beauty of Italian food is that it is so comforting,” says Maxey. All pastas are handmade in-house—including the ever-popular spaghetti and malfadine pastas.

For dessert, experience a twist on tiramisu with chocolate cake compote, espresso syrup infused with Marsala wine, classic cream, and shaved chocolate. And no meal would be complete without craveable cocktails such as the Mamma Mia or Sonny Boy. Pendolino is a step above the rest with its handmade Negroni on draft and three different spritzes.

With the community top of mind, Pendolino puts on no airs. “There’s an Italian feel to it, but it’s not overtly Italian, which is what we wanted to do here,” says Maxey. “We are not trying to be anything other than a neighborhood restaurant.”

“It’s borderline Italian-American; we are playing into all the different styles and versions of Italy.”