Farm-to-table is so last week. Chef/restaurateur Linton Hopkins is going "plant-to-plate" at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Hopkins' restaurant group is taking over the Garden's cafe in November and will open a restaurant of its own by late 2015.
"The possibility of what we can do is wide open," Hopkins said in a prepared statement."We plan to make salads from the lettuces grown there, to bring in heirloom southern heritage seeds and use those as part of the annual harvest. I really want to integrate this idea of soil and garden to the plate and create something really unique."
The cafe will be rebooted as The Cafe at Linton's and will serve a menu that features natural meats and local produce, including fruits, vegetables, and herbs grown at the Garden.
The new restaurant is part of an extensive expansion project planned through 2017 for the Garden. It will seat more than 200, include a patio and rooftop deck, and offer views of the woodland garden and the Midtown skyline. Once Linton's in the Garden is completed, the cafe will be converted to office space as part of the multi-million-dollar expansion.
"We wanted to create a new model for Atlanta in which the dining experience would match the Garden's beautiful displays and visitor experience," Atlanta Botanical Garden president and CEO Mary Pat Matheson said. "We can grow many of the vegetables and herbs in our Edible Garden that are used in dishes served in the restaurant, showcasing the plants used to create remarkable culinary experiences."
Hopkins is the man behind Restaurant Eugene and the Holeman & Finch empire, and he won the 2012 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast.