Ryan Smith, Empire State South's executive chef, will leave the Midtown eatery by the end of the year. He'll be joining chef Ryan Hidinger and his wife, Jen, as a partner at Staplehouse, the restaurant the couple hopes to open in late 2013. They currently run a supper club, Prelude to Staplehouse, to raise capital for the planned venture.
"For the last four-plus years, Jen and I have put our heart and souls into planning Staplehouse," Hidinger says. Then, when he was diagnosed with Stage IV gall bladder cancer in December, the community stepped up to support him. Friends and family formed Team Hidi and hosted a series of events to help raise money for Hidinger as he battled the cancer. "We've had some setbacks over the years but have remained true to the spirit of the venture. We couldn't be more thrilled that someone took a look at our baby and said, 'Yeah, I believe in that. Sign me up!'"
In addition to Smith, Abattoir's Kara Hidinger (Smith's fiancee and Hidinger's sister) has joined the team. "We feel we have just added two extraordinary human beings with amazing spirit and skill in their craft." He adds, "We would never hire or partner with someone solely based on their skill set. To us it's about who the person is, and these are good people."
The Hidingers are "thrilled to be evolving [their] brand from a supper club to a brick and mortar establishment." After taxes and business expenses, all profits from Staplehouse will go to support the Hidingers' non-profit, the Giving Kitchen. "That tells you right away what attracts us most to our new partners— the love."
Hidinger's spent years working at Muss & Turner's, whose owners Chris Hall, Todd Mussman, and Ryan Turner (also of Local Three and the forthcoming Common Quarter) will be partners in the new venture as well.
· Ryan Smith Is Joining the Staplehouse Team [Atlanta]
· Staplehouse [Official Site]
· Team Hidi [Official Site]
· All Coverage of Team Hidi [-EATL-]
· All Coverage of Staplehouse [-EATL-]