In anticipation of its grand opening on Jan. 25, Achie’s, the quietly elegant new restaurant from James Beard Award-winning chef and author Hugh Acheson , has been in soft opening mode this month — though that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been open a lot.
Located at the entrance of the Omni Hotel at The Battery Atlanta, adjacent to SunTrust Par k, its hours are 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily, offering breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch, as well as room service for hotel guests.
The menu, described as featuring “dishes that emphasize responsibly sourced ingredients executed in a more approachable way,” includes anything and everything from a French omelet with boursin, chives and leeks to a whole spatch-cocked local chicken for two, as well as a cleverly curated array of cocktails, wines and local craft beer.
Acheson is known nationally for his wry presence on “Top Chef Masters,” and his role as a judge on “Top Chef.”
But around Athens and Atlanta, he first found fame as the driving force behind casual fine dining restaurants 5&10, the National, and Empire State South. And more recently, he branched out with Spiller Park Coffee shops, and First & Third Hot Dog and Sausage Shack, which opened last year at The Battery.
At Achie’s one afternoon last week, Acheson talked about why he decided to take the plunge into the world of hotel dining, and how the team members he’s assembled over the years are helping with the transition.
“People call us all the time for different ideas and for different reasons,” Acheson said. “But the more we’ve gone about consulting and opening things up, we’ve realized that we’re pretty well equipped to get systems together with a bigger vision. We have people like Kelly Thorn with cocktails and Steven Grubbs with wine and a cadre of talented chefs.
“Omni is a really interesting and amazing brand that shoots for very high standards overall but wanted to get more into an outward facing, independently styled restaurant. And because of Empire, we’ve got a fair bit of experience in servicing breakfast, lunch and dinner, and those points in the day when people just need something of quality and nowhere else is open.”
Asked about the concept and the design, Acheson offered, “They built us out a really beautiful restaurant, so it’s been good that way. It’s named for the nickname of my paternal grandfather, who was a Canadian banker in the Caribbean. And it’s meant to be a destination restaurant in the style that I do destination restaurants. There’s no pomp and circumstance, but there’s good quality, and they’re technical and professional.
“We’ve always gone for the notion of very open, wide spectrum restaurants. We appeal to people for a vast number of reasons. You can come here for a small bite to eat and a great coffee, or you can have multiple courses and really great wines, if you want. It’s really up to you, and that really fits well in a hotel.”
As far as the specifics of the food, Acheson brought on Atlanta native Alex Bolduc as executive chef, and along with him some history and connections to the original 5&10 location in Athens.
“We’re doing old school 5& 10 here in a lot of ways, because it’s where my heart’s always been,” Acheson said. “Alex worked at 5&10 for years back in the day, which was always meant to be a really simple very consistent community restaurant. When we talked about the menu, I sketched it out and he finalized it.
“The direction we want to go in is French technique, lightly Cuban and Caribbean influenced, but mostly the modern continental food that we do. We have a classic French omelet with beautiful local eggs and a simple green salad.
“There’s an American Wagyu beef burger, which we made into a rich, fun French burger with stewed onions, Gruyere and a brioche bun. And a poached salmon we’re serving with Brussels sprouts, lemon emulsion, whipped celery root puree and pickled celery.”
Acheson said he envisions Achie’s as a kind of refuge from the often crowded spaces around The Battery and the ballpark.
“There’s a lot going on out there,” he said, motioning toward the front windows. “If Empire is a little quiet oasis in Midtown, then Achie’s should be a little quiet oasis at The Battery.”
2625 Circle 75 Parkway, Atlanta. 678-567-7327, omnihotels.com/hotels/atlanta-battery/dining/achies.
More images from a First Look at Achie's at The Battery Atlanta