Last week, Macquarrie, Rackley, Smith and Chance sat down at a big table in the corner of the dining room and talked about Watchman’s.
“We started spitballing ideas for another restaurant almost as soon as we opened Kimball House,” Smith said. “And we knew that whatever we did would be dictated by the space. What we liked about this space in general was that it was clean looking, it already had a raw bar, so it steered us toward seafood, and we added our own elements.”
“We built Kimball House around the ceiling fans, and we built Watchman’s around the raw bar,” said Rackley, who is one of the founders of Oyster South, a nonprofit that encourages the sustainable development of oyster farming in the region.
“But here we’re set up to do things that are a little faster and a little bit more rustic. Chef has really interpreted our vision of seafood that’s not pretentious but also not cheap and easy. The driving force behind the menu is our relationship with oyster farmers. This was a golden opportunity to put the spotlight on this burgeoning eco-friendly business.”
Asked about his approach to the menu, Chance agreed that it’s driven by careful sourcing.
“My style is from my travels and the stuff I like,” Chance said. “People can identify it as whatever they want. I take inspiration from everything, really. But what we’re trying to do here is use what’s closest, and freshest, and best, and that goes for the produce as well as the seafood. It’s the right thing to do, and it feels good to do the right thing. It wasn’t hard to jump on board with a concept based on that.”
As far as the beverage program, it’s obviously centered around cocktails, beginning with the namesake martini variation, the Watchman. But there’s a small selection of beer on draft and a respectable wine list, too.
“It’s what makes going out to dinner fun — drinks and food,” Macquarrie said. “We are using a similar approach at Kimball House, but we’re also keeping things a little more casual. We’re still using really nice glassware, but maybe we won’t be garnishing each drink with four things.
“There’s a focus on rum, but not Tiki drinks, at all. We’re doing daiquiris, so there’s an element of what would you drink if you were at a bar or restaurant on the Gulf or on the Atlantic coast.”
Krog Street Market, 99 Krog St., Atlanta. 478-569-7393, watchmansatl.com/
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