Former One Flew South chef Duane Nutter reveals his restaurant plans

Chef Duane Nutter. Photo by Heidi Geldhauser.

This past May, Chef Duane Nutter left One Flew South, a fine dining restaurant at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport . Today, Nutter announced the next steps in his 22-year culinary career.

Nutter, along with his business partner Reggie Washington, is opening a restaurant called Southern National in Mobile, Ala. In addition, the pair put in a bid two weeks ago to open a full-service restaurant at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. What’s more, they are eyeing spots in the Oakhurst neighborhood of Decatur.

Southern National will be located in the Mobile Arts District at 360 Dauphin St. Housed in a mid-19th century building, the restaurant will seat nearly 150 guests, with space for an additional 65 in a garden courtyard. Nutter and Washington hope to open doors in December, prior to the holidays, otherwise they will launch after the new year.

The cuisine coming out of the kitchen will be influenced by the food Nutter experienced at Louisiana haunts during his childhood living in that state, as well as that which Washington, who will take on the role of director of operations, experienced growing up in Mobile. Washington’s family has roots dating back nearly a century in the Mobile farming community.

Nutter explained that the restaurant gets its name “from what people said I did (at One Flew South) at the airport. I was using regional influences and putting it on a national stage,” said Nutter, who saw One Flew South receive two James Beard Award nominations for Outstanding Service – in 2014 and 2015 - during his eight-year tenure at the restaurant .

In describing the cuisine, Nutter also stated that the food would be “personality-driven.” He explained that the food he cooks has been influenced by “where I’ve been and who I am as a chef and where I’d like to go.” Having been raised in Seattle, Nutter stated that there is “a little Pacific Northwest nod to everything I do.”

While Southern National won’t be fish- and seafood-centric, access to products from the Gulf coast means that creatures of the sea will certainly land on the plate, along with a great deal of fresh produce from nearby farms.

Directing the beverage program at Southern National will be Tiffanie Barriere. She oversaw the beverage program at One Flew South.

Nutter and Washington first met at One Flew South when it opened in 2008. Nutter was in the kitchen and Washington served as operations manager, a post that he left this past May.

As for other projects, Nutter and Washington are awaiting word on the bid they submitted to open a restaurant at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. They also stated that they would like to see the Decatur concept come to fruition in 2018.

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About the Author

Ligaya Figueras
Ligaya Figueras
Ligaya Figueras joined the AJC as its food and dining editor in 2015.