Kevin Gillespie shares details about forthcoming Atlanta restaurant Nàdair

Dining concept with prix-fixe and tasting menus to focus on reimagined Scottish cuisine
Chef Kevin Gillespie stands at the entrance to his soon-to-open restaurant Nadair. Located at 1123 Zonolite Road in the former Floataway Cafe space, the restaurant will focus on reimagined, elevated Scottish cuisine. May 8 is the target opening date. / Ligaya Figueras/

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Chef Kevin Gillespie stands at the entrance to his soon-to-open restaurant Nadair. Located at 1123 Zonolite Road in the former Floataway Cafe space, the restaurant will focus on reimagined, elevated Scottish cuisine. May 8 is the target opening date. / Ligaya Figueras/

Chef Kevin Gillespie has kept a tight lip about his forthcoming restaurant concept, Nàdair, since announcing it last December. Now, the venture is one month away from a targeted May 8 opening to coincide with the 11th anniversary of Gunshow, Gillespie’s celebrated restaurant in Glenwood Park.

Nàdair (from the Scots Gaelic “dòigh nàdair” meaning “the way of nature” and pronounced “nuh-DARE”), will be located at 1123 Zonolite Road in Woodland Hills, home to Anne Quatrano’s Floataway Cafe for 25 years until its closure in December 2022.

As he gave a tour of the space that is still undergoing renovation, Gillespie detailed his vision for what is a deeply personal project and the culmination of his 27-year culinary career.

Nàdair is an homage to Gillespie’s Scottish roots and will focus on what he refers to as “reimagined Scottish” cuisine rooted in wood-fire cooking. It marks a full-circle moment for Gillespie because it means a return to a similar style of cooking as when he joined the now defunct Woodfire Grill in the mid-2000s and, after a stint in Portland, became the restaurant’s executive chef and partner in 2009. Yet, it also builds on other places he has lived or visited — including Scotland for family reunions and the Maine of his summer childhoods with grandparents and adult respites with his wife, Valerie.

Open Wednesdays through Saturdays, Nàdair will offer multiple dining experiences: a four-course prix-fixe menu, a six-course tasting menu and an a la carte pub menu. The prix-fixe ($115/person) will include a starter, seafood course, meat course and pudding aka dessert course. Each course will have multiple options, with accommodation for dietary restrictions. The tasting menu will be a set menu without course options ($175/person with an option for wine pairings).

The prix-fixe and tasting menus will be served in the 70-seat main dining room and only available by reservation. Reservations will open one month in advance. A more informal pub menu will be available in the 15-seat bar area on a first-come, first-served basis.

Private dining options include a 16-seat room and a 50-seat room, available to book any day of the week.

“We are not simply regurgitating the tropes,” Gillespie said of his approach toward contemporary Scottish fare. “We are taking traditional family recipes of mine, we’re reimagining the essence of what makes them special, and I think we’re presenting them through the lens of a Scottish American family.”

One example of the kind of plates guests can expect is North Georgia rainbow trout encrusted with fried peanut crumbs over brown butter jus with grilled lemon and mustard greens. “That dish is just as Georgian as it is Scottish,” he said. “It’s a freshwater fish dish, which is incredibly significant to Scottish cuisine – lots of freshwater fish. It’s utilizing degrees of French technique and flavor, which is also very Scottish. People sometimes don’t realize, historically speaking, the ties between Scotland and France. So it informs the cuisine.” He called the dish one that “lives equally in the New World and in the old.”

Although the opening menu is still in the development stages, other recipes being tested include Cullen skink (house-smoked haddock chowder in a hybrid velouté-bechamel white sauce); wood-oven haggis with a grilled turnip salad, potato sauce and peated whiskey; cheese dumplings with spring peas, asparagus and turnips in a coal-roasted Vidalia onion sauce; and lamb crepinette in black treacle syrup with Scottish rumbledethumps (a mashed potato, cabbage, onion and cheese casserole similar to Irish colcannon and English bubble and squeak). Scottish savory meat pies will be a staple on the pub menu, Gillespie said.

Among drinks, cocktails will lean toward classics while wines will be available by the glass and bottle. A highlight of the beverage menu will be Gillespie’s personal stash of about 30 whiskies “that you’re not going to go find somewhere else.” They include rare expressions from notable distilleries, some of which no longer exist as well as old bottlings such as a Glenfarclas from the early 1960s. In addition, the bar will showcase younger distilleries in Scotland that have not received much attention in the U.S. “A good example is ArdnAmerican (by Ardnamurchan Distillery), which just won most sustainable distillery in the world. And I feel like no one barely knows it stateside,” he said.

When construction is complete, the 70-seat main dining room at Nadair will include wood paneling and wainscoting from local woods and custom carpeting with a tartan pattern similar to that worn by Kevin Gillespie’s great grandfather, who served in the Scottish Royal Regiment during World War I.  / Ligaya Figueras/

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

icon to expand image

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Sustainability has been a guiding principle at Gillespie’s other restaurants, including Gunshow and Revival (The latter closed in February 2023 due to building damage caused by storms and a theft. Gillespie still plans on reopening it but said that “we have yet to find an appropriate location.”) One reason he opted for reservation-only prix-fixe and tasting menus at Nàdair is because knowing the exact number of guests will help mitigate food waste, he said. Gillespie stated that he hopes Nàdair will earn a Michelin Green Star, which are awarded to restaurants for their sustainability practices. (Bacchanalia and the Chastain received Michelin Green Star designations in the inaugural 2023 Atlanta Michelin Guide.)

Notable aspects of the interior by Atlanta designer Wendy Blount include paneling and wainscoting using local woods as well as artwork from Georgia-based Blayne Macauley, Neil Welliver of Maine and Scottish artist Ellis O’Connor. Custom carpeting will feature a tartan pattern similar to that worn by Gillespie’s great-grandfather, who served in the Scottish Royal Regiment during World War I.

While Gillespie will spend the vast majority of his time at Nadair, he said Gunshow is in good hands with its current kitchen team under the leadership of Cody Chassar.”It’s thriving, and I think it’s a better restaurant than it ever was under my tenure. I think Gunshow 2024 is better than any version, where I was the show.”

Gillespie, who owns eight kilts, will also be donning tartan daily at Nàdair. As executive chef, it will mark the first time that he will cook on a daily basis at one of his restaurants since undergoing successful treatment for renal cancer in 2018. Last fall, his physician gave him a cancer-free bill of health.

“I am a little worried that my body is not going to hold up,” said the 41-year-old chef of the physical toll he anticipates by helming culinary operations at Nàdair. “But I am going to try.”

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