City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Nick Melvin leaving Empire State South

chef_nick_melvin-231x300By John Kessler and Pete Corson

Nick Melvin (left), the chef who departed Parish Foods & Goods in May to join Hugh Acheson in his first Atlanta venture, Empire State South, will be leaving his post as chef de cuisine, according to Acheson.

Empire State South, which opened Aug. 30 at 999 Peachtree St., is one of the year’s most highly anticipated restaurants. The Midtown restaurant has been billed as an upscale Southern meat-and-three that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Acheson said his split with Melvin is amicable. He added that a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner is comparably more difficult to run.

Melvin’s replacement will be Ryan Smith, who has previously worked with chef Linton Hopkins at Buckhead’s Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch Public House.

Acheson’s announcement to open a restaurant in Atlanta was greeted with fanfare by those familiar with his earlier ventures in Athens, including Five and Ten and The National. Acheson has been a James Beard Foundation Award finalist four times.

Before working as chef de cuisine at Parish in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, Melvin previously worked at Bayona, in his native New Orleans, and at Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham.

22 comments Add your comment

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Louise Mulherin PR, accessAtlanta. accessAtlanta said: Hey foodies, read the inside scoop as to why Chef Nick Melvin is already leaving the newly-opened Empire State South: [...]

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Besha Rodell, Brandy. Brandy said: Wow! RT @BeshaRodell: Dang. That was quick. RT @AJCdinecritic: Nick Melvin leaving Empire State South [...]

the fish

September 17th, 2010
8:53 pm

That was quick!


September 17th, 2010
9:44 pm

Ate there tonight for the first time. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!

tom Houck

September 17th, 2010
11:28 pm

Well I don’t know who did the Ham Hock pea soup, but I’d have to say tonight’s meal at ESS was great. Wish Hugh great success.

jack trent

September 18th, 2010
12:01 am

this guy jumps ship more than RBLAIS

not surprised

September 18th, 2010
12:02 am

Sounds like a good move from Chef Acheson. Preemptive damage control before it’s too late!

jack trent

September 18th, 2010
12:06 am

before he was at PARISH he was at The Farm House at Serenbe


September 18th, 2010
1:51 am

Ryan Smith is FANTASTIC. Good for him.


September 18th, 2010
1:52 am

“Acheson said his split with Melvin is amicable. He added that a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner is comparably more difficult to run.”

Ummm Parish was open for breakfast, lunch and dinner…………………….


September 18th, 2010
3:56 pm

The problem with Empire State South was/is not coming form the kitchen, it’s the front of house service that is god awful. Been 3 times, all 3 times food was great and the service staff was reprehensible. I hope Hugh makes a change there soon.

Jay Son

September 19th, 2010
8:12 am

Food has been great. I’ll continue going back, but agree that there are issues with the front of the house (though I didn’t find the service staff to be “reprehensible” as said above – they were just incompetent). On a few visits: waitpersons failed to write down some orders so had to come back and ask people at the table what they ordered for a second time, wrong dishes came out of the kitchen, and there was apparently no method for noting who ordered what, so the food came to the table and they just stood there asking “who got the chicken?” On two occasions they were holding dishes that nobody at the table ordered at all so they had to take them back and, therefore, they left people at the table without the food they ordered. They were good natured about it, but still, regarless of how good the food is, if you’ve got to sit there and watch other people at the table eat their food while you wait on yours due to an order mess up, it tends to be irritating.

Hooligans on the Rampage

September 20th, 2010
10:52 am

Im sorry to hear of his departure. Im wondering if he might be interested in possible employment opportunities at my local Long John Silvers restaurant?


September 21st, 2010
3:46 pm

Before I look at Nick Melvin I would ask about Chef Acheson. My bet is the ego got in the way of a working relationship, and I don’t mean Melvin’s ego. I imagine it is difficult to work for someone that thinks so highly of himself yet thinks he is open and accommodating.

Bride of Puerquito

September 21st, 2010
6:30 pm

I think it is very simple – Nick can’t cook…


September 21st, 2010
6:37 pm

Puerquito/Fooieman/Joe We all know you are a loser waiter who spends his time on line trolling it up, you are not fooling anyone……………. Have a good life being a server in a middling restaurant because thats about as good as it’s going to get for you…………….

MU fan

September 22nd, 2010
12:22 pm

I’ve had several great meals at ESS but I will not be going back until the front of the house gets trained properly. Great food goes a long way but when you have to pass through the spanking machine that is the snarky host/hostesses and then wince as you order because you know your server is not writing or remembering anything that you are saying, the great food gets lost in the shuffle.

Bride of Puerquito

September 22nd, 2010
12:25 pm

I am not a waiter, but I am most definitely a troll.
NIck is a terrible cook, heavy handed and not very creative.

Jason Wright

September 22nd, 2010
4:54 pm

@ Puerquito

regardless of what you do for a living it’s quite obvious you are a pathetic loser and fail at whatever it is you do. Overcompensating by anonymously putting people down….congrats!

Bride of Puerquito

September 22nd, 2010
5:22 pm

@ Jason Wright: you are absoluty correct. Nick still can’t cook.

John Kessler

September 22nd, 2010
5:51 pm

Okay, fellas, break it up…

Bride of Puerquito

September 22nd, 2010
7:05 pm

@ John Kessler: but dad, they started it…