Superica (read: Super Taqueria) is the name that Atlanta empire builder Ford Fry has chosen for his sixth restaurant, a casual dining space that will feature a menu that Fry terms Mex-Tex— serving Mexican food inspired by some of his favorite dining spots in Austin, Texas— along with wood-burning grills and an indoor/outdoor patio bar set up to host live music. Creative director Kevin Maxey, who consulted on King + Duke, will be involved with the project as well.
Superica is slated to open by early 2014 as the anchor tenant of Inman Park's highly anticipated Krog Street Market, a "homegrown" West Coast-style marketplace that debuts later this year and will also house Grand Champion BBQ, the Spotted Trotter, an Eli Kirshtein project, and more. Fry also runs Atlanta restaurants JCT Kitchen, No. 246, the Optimist, King + Duke, and the forthcoming St. Cecilia, set to open in Buckhead this fall. He's chosen Parts and Labor, a New York-based boutique firm founded by Andrew Cohen and Jeremy Levitt, to design the space because, he says, he really likes their "cool Brooklyn-style" restaurants. Below, Cohen talks about Parts and Labor's design for Superica, what attracted them to the project, and how they met Fry.
How did you meet Ford Fry?
It's a bit of being at the right place at the right time. We had finished up Atera in TriBeCa and had all of our fabricators involved in the build-out over to our office for our annual Labor Union BBQ + Bourbon Dinner. We like to show our appreciation as often as possible, and we like everyone to meet since some of them are halfway across the country. Anyway, Marcus Samuelsson's website Food Republic did a small feature on it, so we were on their radar and they invited us to a chef event over in the West Village. A few reps from a PR firm we're friendly with happened to be there as well, and at some point one of them said they had a client in town that was doing some fantastic things down in Atlanta and that we need to meet because we would be fast friends. A few texts later we were connected, and the rest is history— or, rather, future.
The KSM space poses some interesting challenges because of its former use as a warehouse facility and its antiquity. How did you approach/overcome them?
The idea is to embrace the locality and what it embodies both architecturally and culturally. The challenge is more so that [the market] is a part of a developer's larger vision as a marketplace, while what's most important to us is to establish the identity of the restaurant as a distinct anchor to the marketplace and a unique food destination. It also is charged with the mission of being fun, edgy, and a bit unexpected. Key to the success of the project will be to be recognized as something authentic that was borne out of a sense of place and built by local trades, fabricators, and artisans.
Given your firm's reputation for attention to detail, what is the overall esthetic you are going for at Superica?
To keep things simple, we'd describe the project as being high-end, low-tech, and fashion forward. Beyond the details, it'll deliver a lot of really great experiences under one roof.
Is Superica your first 'Mex-Tex' restaurant?
We've done a few Latin concepts in the past, but this our first [of this nature]. Most of the others fall more into the fine-dining realm, whereas this one is a total casual concept that we get to put our more bare-knuckled and yet bespoke stamp on.
What element of Superica's overall design do you hope that diners notice most?
We want them to just take in the entire experience, enjoy themselves, and then discover the devil in the details more and more each time they come back.
Ford is not shy about food and loves to see people happy. We literally ate 4 dinners in one evening, and ordered half the menu each time?
No. 246, the Optimist, Empire State South, and Miller Union. We cheated on Ford the previous day at Miso— delicious. The food scene is exploding in Atlanta in the best way, and we're fortunate to be a part of it.
· Parts and Labor Design [Official Site]
· All Krog Street Market Coverage [-EATL-]
All Superica Coverage [-EATL-]
[Screen grab: Krog Street Market]