Much anticipated and much discussed, Holler & Dash Biscuit House is set open its first Atlanta location at 9 a.m. on Tuesday in the Westside Iron Works adaptive reuse project on Howell Mill Road.
The fast-casual breakfast-lunch-brunch concept from parent company Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. debuted in 2016, and not counting the Atlanta location, it operates four restaurants, between Alabama, Florida and Tennessee, with a Nashville location coming soon.
Sometimes dubbed “Cracker Barrel for millennials,” the Southern-inspired menu is built around sturdy biscuits with soft buttery layers and crunchy tops designed to hold up in signature hand-held creations like the spicy fried Kickback Chicken with goat cheese, green onion, and sweet pepper jelly.
The offerings from chefs Jason McConnell and Brandon Frohne, who is the current culinary director, are tailored to each location and feature local ingredients in dishes that include toasts, egg plates, salads, sandwiches and sides.
In Atlanta, that means the likes of Doux South Pickles, Rev Coffee Roasters and Springer Mountain Farms. And dishes such as the Four O Four sandwich with sweet tea brined Springer Mountain chicken, pickled cabbage, sprouts, cilantro, cucumber, and hot sauce aioli.
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Holler & Dash, which replaced Tom + Chee, and joins two other restaurants, O-Ku and Barcelona Wine Bar, at Westside Iron Works, occupies a prominent space at the front of the building with a patio that hugs the sidewalk.
Inside, repurposed design elements, rustic locally sourced furnishings, and an open kitchen come together to create a lively contemporary atmosphere, complete with shelves of local cookies, dog treats and other goods to peruse in the queue to the order counter.
Last week, Frohne, who is based in Nashville, Tenn., and brand manager Ally Clokey, who is based in Birmingham, Ala., were at Holler & Dash to offer a preview of the Atlanta location and menu.
“A few years ago, a group at Cracker Barrel got together and asked how we could appeal to the millennial generation,” Clokey said. “The idea was to keep true Southern food but put a little spin on it. So they came up with a biscuit house concept with a chef-inspired menu, signature biscuits, and local artisan products.
“But I think something that’s really unique to this brand is our people. We hire for personality, because we want people to be kind, energetic and passionate about our brand, and really love on our guests.”
Frohne, who is just over 30, is a fifth-generation chef, with a family background in the restaurant business, and a fine dining resume that most recently includes serving as executive chef of Mason’s Southern Provisions in the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville.
“I came up in restaurants in the back of the house, and my family is European, so they’re strict,” Frohne said. “But in Nashville, I had a pop-up restaurant called Forage South, and that was what started my career there. I was at Mason’s for three years and had a lot of success taking classical European technique and injecting it into Southern seasonal cuisine.”
Frohne said his transition to fast-casual cooking came at a time when he was looking for a break from fine dining.
“When I found out this was a biscuit-driven brand, I thought that was something I could get behind,” Frohne said. “It was a big transition, and I was outside my comfort zone, but I really challenged myself. I wanted to see what we could do out of a fast-casual space with a five-minute pickup time. Now I think it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life. The food that this team is able to put out of this kitchen in five minutes is pretty incredible.
“The Kickback Chicken is one of the favorites at all of our restaurants. With the pepper jelly, goat cheese and scallions, you’ve got lots of creative flavor profiles, tangy, sweet, savory, that work together. And that’s our approach to food in general. Creating a beautiful dish is like composing a beautiful song. You have to hit all the flavor notes.”
1085 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta. holleranddash.com.
More images from a First Look at Holler & Dash Atlanta