The forthcoming midtown restaurant from restauranteur Billy Streck (Hampton + Hudson, Nina & Rafi, Cypress Street Pint & Plate) and former St. Cecilia chef Craig Richards now has a name: Lyla Lila, named for their daughters. It opens this fall.
Lyla Lila, located on the ground floor of the 24-story Lilli Midtown apartment building a block from the Fox Theatre, is a first for Streck, who’s been toying with the idea of opening a more fine dining-style restaurant. That notion came to fruition last fall when he partnered with Richards, who now leads the kitchen at Hampton + Hudson in Inman Park.
The menu for Lyla Lila focuses on southern European fare from countries such as Italy and Spain. Richards, who worked for years in restaurants throughout Italy and with Lidia Bastianich (Italian celebrity chef, restaurateur), plans to feature fresh pastas.
”I think restaurants today can feature pasta without being defined as strictly Italian,” Richards tells Eater Atlanta. “Pasta making is a craft I’ve been working on for over 15 years, and it’s exciting to introduce Georgia ingredients and a sense of place to old world pasta-making techniques.”
A selection of pastas like tomato leaf frastagliate with pork and beef ragu, béchamel, and shiitake mushrooms, along with wood-fired meats and seafood such as swordfish wrapped in fig leaves with farro, braised lamb with apricots, lime, chiles, and peanuts on fragrant rice, and lamb neck and pepper croquettes topped with onion top aioli and herbs are likely menu candidates. Vegetable dishes like wood-grilled lettuce, rye, and wild oregano dressed in yogurt and sherry are also planned.
In addition to cocktails, Lyla Lila will showcase Old World and sparkling wines on its beverage menu, including natural, pétillant naturel (pet-nat), and skin contact varietals.
The design of the 4,000-square-foot restaurant, under the direction of Atlanta’s Smith Hanes Studio, leans slightly “bohemian” in style, according to the press release. That bohemian feel apparently extends to how people eventually dine at Lyla Lila, too. Diners can choose to sit outside on the 40-seat patio and its bar area to capture the buzzy vibe of midtown or in the dining room, described as “dinner-party like” with a “polished” but “relaxed” atmosphere. There’s also a private dining room, which seats 25 people.
”Craig and I both have a soft spot for Midtown since our careers really took off in this neighborhood,” Streck says of their decision to open there. “When Jarel [Portman] approached us about the space, we were immediately impressed by the architecture and the vibrancy. It was a great opportunity to bring a fresh concept to the neighborhood.”
Richards departed Ford Fry’s Italian and seafood restaurant St. Cecilia last year to begin working on the restaurant with Streck. Prior to St. Cecilia, he worked at Fifth Group’s Italian restaurant La Tavola in Virginia-Highland and Ecco in Midtown. Richards will continue to oversee the kitchen at Hampton + Hudson after Lyla Lila opens.
Lyla Lila will open for dinner seven days a week. Brunch and lunch follow later in the year.
693 Peachtree Street Northeast, Atlanta.