Bill Addison, Eater's roving national restaurant critic, has revealed his picks for the 21 best new restaurants in America. Considering all the accolades Staplehouse has received since opening last September, it should come as no surprise that the Old Fourth Ward establishment made the cut.
"When Staplehouse swung open its doors last October, it took Atlanta (where I live when I'm not on the road) a moment to warm to its brilliance," Addison wrote. "Folks resisted the ticketing system, the tasting menu format, and the location in the still-transforming Old Fourth Ward neighborhood near downtown. Happily, Ryan Smith's poetic cooking — coupled with the unlimited graciousness of sisters-in law Jen Hidinger and Kara Hidinger — ultimately won locals over."
Addison goes on to highlight chef Smith's cuisine — "wonderfully intense, aged-on-the-bone duck breast with peach puree and dill oil; the chicken liver tart featured regularly as an a la carte item is outstanding" — and the restaurant's back story.
"Staplehouse was the brainchild of chef Ryan Hidinger, who died of gallbladder cancer in 2014 before he saw his dream venture realized. (Kara was his sister; Jen, his wife.) In forging ahead to create what is now arguably the city's finest restaurant, his loved ones have honored him, honored Atlanta, and honored life."
Addison compiled the list during his travels around the country while researching for Eater's National 38. To qualify, restaurants opened between May 2015 and May 2016. Last year, Westside's Little Bacch made Addison's inaugural best new list.
It's been a big year for Staplehouse. The restaurant earned Atlanta Magazine's first four-star rating since 2010, and it was one of five nominees for the James Beard Foundation's award for Best New Restaurant.