After shutdown, 10 Degrees South owner fires up South African cuisine

Restaurateur Justin Anthony opened 10 Degrees South in 1998 in a bungalow on Roswell Road, just north of the dining action in the heart of Buckhead. It was the in thing to open a restaurant in a small bungalow,” he said. The South African-inspired restaurant has gone through about seven design changes in its 20 years in business. This photo was taken in 2001. Photo credit: 10 Degrees South.
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Restaurateur Justin Anthony opened 10 Degrees South in 1998 in a bungalow on Roswell Road, just north of the dining action in the heart of Buckhead. It was the in thing to open a restaurant in a small bungalow,” he said. The South African-inspired restaurant has gone through about seven design changes in its 20 years in business. This photo was taken in 2001. Photo credit: 10 Degrees South.

Takeout program also includes favorites from Biltong Bar and Yebo Beach Haus

The story of Justin Anthony's entry into Atlanta's dining scene is almost unbelievable, but it's true.

He was a teenager with high hopes for a career in professional soccer when he left his native Johannesburg, South Africa, and headed to London. By 1996, he’d moved to the U.S. to play pro ball, but a knee injury permanently sidelined the Atlanta Ruckus striker. At the age of 23, he was forced to find another line of work.

Restaurateur Justin Anthony holds a takeout order. Working out of the kitchen at Biltong Bar in Buckhead, he is offering a takeout menu of favorites from his South African dining concepts 10 Degrees South, Biltong Bar and Yebo Beach Haus. LIGAYA FIGUERAS/LIGAYA.FIGUERAS@AJC.COM
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Restaurateur Justin Anthony holds a takeout order. Working out of the kitchen at Biltong Bar in Buckhead, he is offering a takeout menu of favorites from his South African dining concepts 10 Degrees South, Biltong Bar and Yebo Beach Haus. LIGAYA FIGUERAS/LIGAYA.FIGUERAS@AJC.COM

Anthony settled on hospitality, reasoning that he could provide fellow South African expats in Atlanta a taste of home. 10 Degrees South was born in 1998, and bears the distinction of being the first South African restaurant in the U.S. His parents, Derek and Diane Anthony, even moved here to lend their only child a hand. They’ve been an integral part of the operation ever since.

Anthony’s True Story Brands group now includes Biltong Bar, with locations in Ponce City Market and Buckhead; Yebo Beach Haus; and Cape Dutch.

Biltong Bar Buckhead Biltong and Cheese plate with traditional, droewors, out of the ashes, griffin, alisios, house pickles, apricot chutney and grilled sourdough. Photo credit -Mia Yakel.
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Biltong Bar Buckhead Biltong and Cheese plate with traditional, droewors, out of the ashes, griffin, alisios, house pickles, apricot chutney and grilled sourdough. Photo credit -Mia Yakel.

Anthony decided in March to shut down all the restaurants to ensure the safety of employees and guests.

By late March, tough times became nightmarish when his 12-year old cousin, Emma, tested positive for COVID-19. It marked one of the first known cases in Georgia of an adolescent contracting the disease. She was placed on a ventilator during her stay at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.

“She has fully recovered, thank God,” Anthony said.

Over the past two months, Anthony started a GoFundMe page for employees; partnered with a local artist to design and sell apparel, giving the proceeds to his newly displaced workers; and teamed up with Spanx founder Sara Blakely and her entrepreneur husband, Jesse Itzler, on Frontline Dine, an initiative to provide nearly 2,500 meals a week to workers at three Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta campuses.

True Story Brands employees cook meals in the kitchen of Biltong Bar for the Frontline Dine initiative serving hospital personnel at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. CONTRIBUTED BY TRUE STORY BRANDS
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True Story Brands employees cook meals in the kitchen of Biltong Bar for the Frontline Dine initiative serving hospital personnel at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. CONTRIBUTED BY TRUE STORY BRANDS

“It felt really good to do something positive, because, at that point, it was a really dark time,” Anthony said.

His restaurant group was among the last in the metro area to open for takeout during the pandemic. They’d never offered carryout and delivery before. “We don’t know that business; we’re an experiential restaurant group,” he said.

But, more regulars have been thinking about South African cuisine since he launched True Story Brands To-Go, a curbside takeout program with a menu built around favorites from Biltong Bar, 10 Degrees South and Yebo Beach Haus, with pickup at Biltong Bar in Buckhead.

The next step has been reintroducing dine-in service under new restrictions. The Buckhead Biltong Bar opened last week; the Ponce City Market location likely will reopen sometime this weekend, on a reservations-only basis. Anthony hopes to welcome guests for on-premises dining at 10 Degrees South the week of June 1.

An order of bolognese brings ribbons of tagliatelle in a creamy sauce with ground ostrich meat along with mushrooms and spinach. LIGAYA FIGUERAS/LIGAYA.FIGUERAS@AJC.COM
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An order of bolognese brings ribbons of tagliatelle in a creamy sauce with ground ostrich meat along with mushrooms and spinach. LIGAYA FIGUERAS/LIGAYA.FIGUERAS@AJC.COM

Plans are in place for a new Biltong Bar outpost at Avalon in Alpharetta, and Anthony is hopeful that Yebo and its adjacent private club, Lion’s Head, will open by June’s end in its new home on East Andrews Drive. A new home for Cape Dutch will have to wait another year, he said.

The True Story Brands group has added South African-style pizzas known as Za to its takeout menu. Pictured is the Za made with the same sweet and savory, curry-inflected flavors as a bobotie meat pie. LIGAYA FIGUERAS / LIGAYA.FIGUERAS@AJC.COM
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The True Story Brands group has added South African-style pizzas known as Za to its takeout menu. Pictured is the Za made with the same sweet and savory, curry-inflected flavors as a bobotie meat pie. LIGAYA FIGUERAS / LIGAYA.FIGUERAS@AJC.COM

While the pandemic has delayed some projects, it accelerated one that had been on hold: shipping prepared foods nationwide. “We had always talked about shipping our stuff all over the country, but we never had time to do it,” he said. Now that Biltong Bar’s jerky has gotten USDA approval, it’s full steam ahead on that product — and others.

“It’s a different business,” Anthony said. “We are having to reinvent ourselves somewhat.”

The former pro soccer player reinvented himself once already. Time to do it again.

Is there a restaurant you want to see featured? Send your suggestions to ligaya.figueras@ajc.com.

10 DEGREES SOUTH/BILTONG BAR/YEBO BEACH HAUS

Menu: to-go selections from the three restaurants

What's new? selection of 12-inch South African-style "Za" pizzas

Alcohol: beer and wineWhat I ordered: peri-peri flavored biltong, bobotie Za, sosaties, Bolognese, bottle of chenin blanc. The order of biltong, a tasty house-made South African-style beef jerky, was generous. The bobotie Za puts the essence of the sweet and savory, curry-inflected South African bobotie meat pie on a pizza crust. Sosaties are kebabs marinated in a tangy-sweet curry sauce. The large tender chunks of beef burst with meaty juices; a bed of rice turns the dish into a meal. The Bolognese features ground ostrich meat; the tagliatelle and sauce were arranged beautifully in the container. Careful attention was paid to packaging; branded labels affixed to each container are a thoughtful touch. The value-priced bottle of 2019 South African chenin blanc ($18) was chilled.

Service options: order online up to one day in advance, or via phone (Biltong Bar Buckhead location); contact-free curbside pickup.

Safety protocols: adhering to all COVID-19 safety protocols; employee temperature checks taken; gloves and masks worn

Address, phone: 306 Buckhead Ave., Atlanta; 678-927-9272

Hours: Pickup 4:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 4:30-9:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays

Website: toasttab.com/biltong-bar-buckhead/v3

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