A James Beard finalist for Best New Restaurant, Staplehouse is living up to its renowned reputation and building a heartfelt legacy.
There is more to Staplehouse than meets the very admiring eye. Even as the accolades and glowing reviews continue to rush in, the Atlanta newcomer has always stood for more than acclaimed tasting menus and celebrated New American cuisine.
Located in the heart of Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, right around the corner from where Martin Luther King Jr. was born, Staplehouse is serving creative takes on seasonal dishes using the best local and regional ingredients. It’s also a for-profit subsidiary of The Giving Kitchen, a nonprofit organization serving the city’s restaurant community.
The restaurant’s inspiration is rooted in its past. Staplehouse was once the dream of Chef Ryan Hidinger, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 gallbladder cancer in December of 2012 and died seven months later. After his passing, his wife, Jen Hidinger, sister, Kara Hidinger, and her husband, Chef Ryan Smith, embraced the vision—first imagined during ticket-only dinners at the Hidingers’ house—and made sure the restaurant became a reality. And they didn’t do it alone.
Ryan Turner, Chris Hall, and Todd Mussman—partners at Atlanta-based Unsukay Community of Businesses and restaurant operators—ultimately created The Giving Kitchen in Ryan Hidinger’s honor. Before the organization’s launch, the first event, dubbed ‘Team Hidi,” along with roundup requests in area restaurants, raised $275,000 in a mere four weeks for his cancer treatments.
Since then, the 501 (c) 3 organization, which got its official start in January 2014, has granted more than $750,000. Part of the money has come from Staplehouse’s profits as well as from restaurant guests who want to make additional contributions when they pay their tabs. The Giving Kitchen’s mission is to provide crisis grants to members of Atlanta’s 230,000-strong restaurant community who are facing unanticipated hardships.
“Staplehouse is in honor of our backstory. It supports the dream that Ryan and I shared together,” Jen Hidinger says. “This restaurant furthers his legacy and provides a lighthouse for The Giving Kitchen.”
In its first year, Staplehouse was a James Beard finalist for Best New Restaurant and named the Best New Restaurant in America by Bon Appétit.
Opened in September 2015, the 40-seat dining room offers two menus—a prix fixe, five-course tasting menu for $85, and à la carte items that are typically shared.