10 Degrees South to close after 26 years in business

10 Degrees South, the flagship South African restaurant in Atlanta, will close after 26 years of business. CONTRIBUTED BY HEIDI GELDHAUSER

10 Degrees South, the flagship South African restaurant in Atlanta, will close after 26 years of business. CONTRIBUTED BY HEIDI GELDHAUSER

10 Degrees South, the first South African restaurant in the U.S., has been a staple on Roswell Road for over two decades, but the eatery is now set to close, owner Justin Anthony said.

The property is currently for sale by Steve Josovitz of real estate firm Schumacher Group, and Anthony said he doesn’t yet know when the final service day will be.

The South African native opened the restaurant in 1998 after suffering a knee injury that ended his soccer career. To satiate his homesickness for South African cuisine, Anthony opened 10 Degrees South with the help of his parents, Derek and Diane Anthony, who moved from South Africa to Atlanta to help him with the new venture.

The restaurant found a place in the hearts of South African expats and Americans alike. It was the first restaurant of three other South African concepts Anthony launched under his restaurant group, True Story Brands.

Now, 26 years later, his parents are ready for a break. His mother, the executive chef of 10 Degrees South, spends five days a week in the kitchen cooking the traditional dishes and operating the restaurant along with his father. At 70 years old, they’ve decided it’s time to retire.

Restaurateur Justin Anthony (left) with his parents, Diane and Derek Anthony. The couple has worked at 10 Degrees South since it opened in 1998.  LIGAYA FIGUERAS / LFIGUERAS@AJC.COM

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Anthony doesn’t want to run the flagship restaurant without them, especially since his mother played such a large role in making the dishes every day. Without her, “it would just feel weird to me,” he said.

“The dishes will live on and already do live on in other restaurants,” Anthony said.

His other concepts, Biltong Bar at Ponce City Market, The Cape Restaurant & Beach Bar in the Avalon and Yebo Beach Haus in Buckhead, will remain open with more projects in the works.

While Anthony and his parents know it’s time to bring the concept to an end, it’s still an emotional experience for him, especially since the restaurant launched their whole brand.

“It’s been a great community that we created,” he said. “But at the end of the day, not everything lasts forever, and without [Diane Anthony’s] touch in the kitchen, I just don’t think it’ll be the same restaurant.”

After opening 10 Degrees South over two decades ago, when Anthony was 25 and his parents were in their late 40s, they’ve seen generations of people move through the restaurant and witnessed engagements, weddings and families growing older. It will be a bittersweet moment for them all, but his parents are tired from so many years in business and are ready to spend time at the beach, he said.

“While it’s a very very special place for a lot of people, including us, at the end of the day we started as a family and so we’re going to end it as a family,” Anthony said.

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