The concept, which Santiago has called “Spanish-Caribbean,” features Latin American bakery classics, including savory and sweet pastelillos, pies, cakes and breads, and sandwiches, buns, salads and sides. Plus, at dinnertime, you can find churrasco-grilled meats and local vegetables.
Santiago, who is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, is known for his appearances on “Top Chef,” and his long-running Poncey-Highland tapas restaurant, Pura Vida, which spawned the original Super Pan sandwich shop before it closed in 2012, after 12 years.
El Super Pan opened its first location in 2015 at Ponce City Market, and the small food stall quickly became a go-to destination in the Central Food Hall.
By contrast, the 4,200-square-foot Battery space is a sprawling casual restaurant with dine-in or carryout breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. The build-out is certainly among the most lively at the home of the Braves, with an assortment of dining and drinking areas, including a long lunch counter, a jungle room-like lounge enclosed by curtains, and an enclosed patio with an auxiliary bar.
Recently, Santiago sat down at a table on the patio, where he talked about the latest version of El Super Pan.
“We open at 9 a.m. for pastries and coffee,” Santiago said, showing off a shareable “colada,” a strong Cuban espresso with cane sugar served in a Styrofoam cup along with plastic shot glasses. “And we’re making things like huevos en croute, a pastry with egg and cheese and onions that we top with herbs and jamon serrano. It’s a great breakfast.”
Asked about the evolution of El Super Pan, Santiago allowed that it started as “a hole in the wall.”
“It’s getting closer to what we want,” he said. “The other ones were a small version of the Puerto Rican bakeries in San Juan. A lot of them are owned by Cubans there, so you see the Cuban influence, plus the Spanish background of Puerto Rico, with a lot Galician stuff.
“And then the Cuban sandwiches got to be a thing, though the Cuban sandwich isn’t even Cuban, you know. It’s a really Tampa thing. In Puerto Rico, our Cuban is more like the one in Miami. We do the Cubano Mixto with salami. I really love the salami.”
As far as the larger space, surprisingly, Santiago said a big thing was trying to make it feel more intimate. But he’s also happy to have room for a bakery and some other new things on-site.
“I love the feel of Ponce City Market, with the tall ceiling and the industrial look, so I tried to imitate a little bit of that feel of openness here, too,” he said. “We have a counter, like a lot of the bakeries in Cuba, and at night, it’s more of a bar.
“The churrasco grill is new for us, and we’re doing a lot of special things for dinner, like gallinitas, picaya, lomo al ajo, chicken and duck, slow-grilling the meat to make it nice and tender and delicious. And it really expands the concept for us.”
Overall, Santiago said he’s taken to The Battery, and its mix of businesses and baseball.
“That feel when you get a ton of people in on the weekend or for a game is great,” he said. “And I think we have a niche that’s a little different than most things here. It’s that Latino thing. All the baseball teams have Latino players, so it satisfies that need for something that touches them, and we get a lot of players here.
“We tried to be a place with good food and a good atmosphere, but casual and not pretentious, with good, friendly service. That’s very Southern in a sense. That’s one thing that the South and South America share. That sense of hospitality. To me, that’s what it’s all about.”
455 Legends Place SE, Suite #862, Atlanta. 404-521-6500, elsuperpan.com.
Scroll down for more images from a First Look at El Super Pan at the Battery Atlanta
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