Banshee, the East Atlanta Village (EAV) restaurant from Peter Chvala, chef Nolan Wynn, Faielle Stocco, and Katie McDonald, opens Tuesday, September 18, for dinner. Brunch service begins Sunday, September 30. Banshee takes over the former My Sister’s Room space on Glenwood Avenue, a block from Mary’s and 529 Bar.
The restaurant may be named for a mythical apparition whose wails herald death, but the partners and longtime friends say Banshee is about leaving the past behind and seizing the moment before it’s too late.
“We’ve talked about opening a restaurant for years, and it became this thing. We really need to get on this,” Chvala says. “The name really kind of stuck, as we realized it’s now or never. We don’t want to get too old or have this moment pass us.”
Chvala, Wynn, and Stocco worked together over the last decade in Ford Fry’s restaurants around Atlanta; McDonald was a manager at Wrecking Bar Brewpub in Little Five Points. All four live in East Atlanta and appreciate the neighborhood’s quirky vibe and penchant for late nights. They want Banshee to fit into East Atlanta, not try to change the neighborhood they love and call home.
While the atmosphere at Banshee is low-key, the partners want people to know the food is elevated yet approachable. It changes with the seasons and isn’t confined to a style or cuisine.
“Our goal is to make the food comforting and satisfying, with our own unique imprint. The seasons really decide what we do here,” says Wynn. “It’s a small and concise menu. We did that so you could choose how you want to dine — whether that means sitting at the bar with a few snacks and a drink or coursing it out from appetizers to entrees to desserts.”
Every dish on Wynn’s menu has some sort of seasonal element. Once that ingredient goes out of season, the dish changes or is removed from the menu. Roasted delicata squash (a vegetable grown during summer but harvested in fall) is listed on the opening menu. Fig season is drawing to a close, but Wynn is using these last few weeks to highlight them in a grilled pork dish.
McDonald says while cocktails at Banshee will lean elegant and well-composed, she’s looking out for EAV’s residents and the many restaurant and bar industry people who frequent the area late at night, after their shifts.
“The four of us have always come out to EAV after work to relax and decompress after a shift. I don’t know when drinking became such a serious business,” McDonald laughs. “You can have a nice cocktail or well-crafted beer or a beautiful glass of wine and come into a place that is comfortable. If you want a beer and shot, we can do that. If you want a fancy cocktail and a great meal, we can do that, too.”
McDonald and Stocco, who share beverage director duties at Banshee, plan to carry plenty of amari — an Italian herbal liqueur category they both love. The Stately Hag is made with tequila and the savory sweetness of strega, while Poppertunities pairs sparkling wine with an Aperol and grapefruit popsicle.
Cocktails contain everything from pisco to bourbon. The pair say the cocktail menu is about “leaving the doors open in order to be creative.”
Expect mostly local beers from breweries such as Creature Comforts in Athens and Wrecking Bar’s micro-brewery, with four beers on tap. But Banshee offers PBR, too.
As for wines, Stocco says due to the far-reaching nature of the food menu, she’s chosen wines that are flexible, “in order to pair with Nolan’s menu or to just have a glass of wine after work.”
Everything at Banshee, from the food to the drinks, is about seizing opportunities before they’re gone. The restaurant’s unofficial mantra, emblazoned in neon on the back wall, reads, “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.”
“Banshee, we hope, is very East Atlanta. We love this neighborhood how it is and we don’t want it to change,” Chvala says. “We’re just excited to be part of it now.”
Take a look at the menus:
Open Tuesday-Thursday, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Banshee, 1271 Glenwood Avenue SE, Atlanta. banshee-atl.com.