Earlier this week, Hugh Acheson was on-site and checking-in with the construction crew remodeling the historic house on South Milledge Avenue that will soon become home to his iconic Athens neighborhood restaurant, 5&10.
Acheson said he hopes the move around the corner from the original Five Points location on South Lumpkin Street will be complete by July.
But the chef, whose other endeavors include The National in Athens, Empire State South in Atlanta, and regular appearances as a judge on Top Chef, sighed as he talked about being over budget and behind schedule.
“We’re not doing that much in the main part of the house,” Acheson said, pointing to a paint-streaked vintage fireplace. “We’re mainly opening up vistas. We want to retain everything that makes this house special.”
The gentle build-out includes several contiguous dining areas, a bar, a coffee bar, and restrooms. A new addition at back of the house will contain a two-story kitchen, with the main kitchen on the top floor, and a pastry kitchen, walk-ins and storage below. There will be room for new offices in the basement of the house.
Beyond moving 5&10, and working on two new cookbooks, Acheson confirmed that he’s planning to open a new restaurant in Savannah, tentatively named Vittoria. It will be a major project with Jamestown Properties, the Atlanta real estate company that brought Empire State South to the 999 Peachtree Street development.
“It’s a big restaurant, but it will be Italian with a beer garden upstairs, and a seasonal, fine dining Italian restaurant downstairs,” Acheson said. “Kyle [Jacovino], the chef at 5&10 now, will be the chef down there, and I have another chef coming in to take over 5&10 when he departs.”
Summing up his existence these days, Acheson allowed that he doesn’t spend much time in the kitchen at 5&10, anymore.
“I write books, play a jackass on TV, and try to do too many things at once,” he said.
In other Acheson-related news, Atlanta Magazine’s Bill Addison is reporting that Ryan Smith is joining the Staplehouse team, and will leave his position as Empire State South’s executive chef by year’s end: www.atlantamagazine.com.
— Bob Townsend, AJC Food and More blog.