Hugh Acheson discusses his new restaurant, By George, in downtown Atlanta’s Candler Hotel

Hugh Acheson, a former contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” is slated to open a new restaurant this summer in the soon-to-open Candler Hotel.

By George will be located in the old Central bank space on the Peachtree Street side of the historic Candler Building on the first floor. Hilton will open the building as its newest Curio Collection hotel, AJC writer Leon Stafford reported earlier this month. By George is shooting for a mid-July opening.

“It will have classic cuisine with a French influence,” hotel general manager Martin Wormull said of By George, which will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The restaurant’s name comes from the original architects of The Candler building in 1906—George E. Murphy and George Stewart. 

Acheson, who got looped into the project through a boutique hotel management group he’s worked with in the past, told the AJC he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to develop a concept in a beautiful, historic building.

“I quickly saw the interesting, historical merit of the building,” he said, in addition to the hotel’s proximity to downtown Atlanta.

Acheson said By George’s French menu will focus on the food he cooked while growing up in French Canada, “food that’s been dear to my heart for a long time.”

Don’t look for typical brasserie food -- Acheson said his menu is “fun and interesting, not overly complex” using old French cooking techniques “that are classical in a lot of ways.” 

Expect to see a lot of terrines, Parisian vegetable dishes and a lot French saucework, vichyssoises and Bouillabaisses.   

Though the cocktail list is still being finalized, you’ll likely find lots of cognacs, champagnes and French apertifs, with a wine program that skews heavily European with a few American options thrown in. 

In addition to regular dinner service, By George will also handle room service and banquets for the hotel. 

Ian Quinn, who previously worked for Linton Hopkins’ Resurgens Hospitality Group and has experience working in hotel restaurants, will serve as the restaurant’s executive chef. Kellie Thorn, who serves as the beverage manager for all of Acheson’s restaurants, will work in the same capacity at By George. The wine program will be curated by sommelier Steven Grubbs.

Though By George will be in a hotel, Acheson said its outward-facing location will make it a prime destination for Atlanta residents in addition to hotel guests.

“It’s on the first floor, and it’s the first thing that you’re going to see in this monumental building,” he said. “It’s just a restaurant that happens to be in an utterly beautiful hotel.” 

He said the ultimate goal is for By George to be a spot that takes guests from morning to evening.

“It’s meant to be a place that from 7 a.m.-11 p.m., you’ll have a reason to go, whether you want a simple drink or coffee or you want several courses of food paired with fine Burgundies,” he said. “We’ll meet you where you are.”

The restaurant, designed by senior interior designer Callie Harris of Beck Architecture, will feature a motif that “has a commitment to uncovering the history of the building while modernizing the dining experience to compliment the people who live, work and play downtown,” according to a press release.

In addition to By George, Acheson owns Empire State South and Spiller Park Coffee in Atlanta and 5&10 and The National in Athens. Achie’s, his restaurant in the Omni Hotel at The Battery, closed earlier this year

He was also involved in the opening of First & Third Hot Dog and Sausage Shack in the Battery, though he is no longer affiliated with the eatery. He also served as a consultant at Battery concept Punch Bowl Social , which opened in late 2017. 

In addition, he owned the now-shuttered Cinco y Diez in Athens and The Florence in Savannah.

Acheson, a James Beard Award winner and finalist, is also a cookbook author and recently launched a podcast. 

The Candler Building was once Atlanta’s tallest building, a 17-story beaux-arts tribute to Coca-Cola founder Asa Candler. 

The new hotel will feature 265 rooms, a ballroom, meeting space, a restaurant and fitness center. A private dining room for wine tastings or other events is being considered for the old safe of Central Bank & Trust, the bank Candler helped organize in 1906.

Scroll down to see renderings of By George: 

Photo: The Beck Group
Photo: The Beck Group
Photo: The Beck Group
Photo: The Beck Group

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Hugh Acheson’s career through the years

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