By 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.