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Chef Joshua Hopkins Departs Hugh Acheson’s Empire State South

Hopkins lead the kitchen for five years, Acheson names Adam Waller (formerly Bar Americano) as new head chef

Chef Josh Hopkins
Chef Josh Hopkins
Empire State South
Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for 12 years.

Empire State South said goodbye Friday night to its head chef of five years Joshua Hopkins. The rather sudden announcement of his departure was made on the restaurant’s Instagram and Facebook pages late Friday afternoon.

Hopkins took over the Empire State South kitchen following the departure of chef Ryan Smith, now of Staplehouse fame. Hopkins has worked previously in the kitchens of White Oak Kitchen and Cocktails in downtown Atlanta, shuttered STG Trattoria on West Paces Ferry, and chef Anne Quatrano’s Bacchanalia and Abattoir (rip) in Westside where chef Ford Fry’s Marcel is presently located.

Empire State South owner chef Hugh Acheson provided the following statement,

“After five great years, Josh has decided to move on to another unannounced project. I am beyond thankful for his time here at ESS and for his friendship. He put in many, many dedicated hours with the team here and to making ESS what it is today. We are all sad to see Josh depart, but I am very much looking forward to seeing what he does next.

“In looking ahead, however, we are also very excited to announce that chef Adam Waller [formerly Bar Americano which closed over the weekend, Bocado] will be taking up the helm as the executive chef here at Empire State South. Adam has been in the Atlanta scene cooking wonderful and dynamic food for some years now, and I am looking forward to having his expertise and skill under the roof at ESS.”

Sources tell Eater Atlanta Hopkins will lead the kitchen at the forthcoming Italian restaurant Adalina on Northside Parkway in Buckhead.

Friday, April 27: The story has been updated to reflect the addition of Bacchanalia to the list of Hopkins’ kitchen credentials.

Saturday April 28: The story has been updated with the statement from Hugh Acheson.


541 Edgewood Avenue Southeast, , GA 30312 (404) 524-5005 Visit Website


1170 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta, GA 30318 (404) 892-3335 Visit Website


1460 Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard Northwest, , GA 30318 (404) 365-0410 Visit Website


2820 Old Milton Parkway, , GA 30009 (678) 248-5223 Visit Website

Bar Americano

180 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222 (347) 457-5426 Visit Website

Empire State South

999 Peachtree Street Northeast, , GA 30309 (404) 541-1105 Visit Website


1170 Howell Mill Road, , GA 30318 (404) 665-4555 Visit Website