NBA player turned analyst Kenny Smith has clinched a classy new gig. The former Atlanta Hawks player has signed on as celebrity spokesman for Gentleman Jack Rare Tennessee Whiskey.
“The brand stands for being a gentleman, drinking responsibly – not swinging from the chandelier,” said Smith during a launch event held at Southern Art, the new restaurant in the InterContinental Buckhead. “I’m not a swinging-on-the-chandelier guy. I like elegance. I like charm. I like sophistication.”
A New Yorker who played college ball at the University of North Carolina, Smith noted that he spent many summers growing up visiting relatives in South Carolina.
“I’m a New Yorker with Southern charm,” he said.
Joining Smith for the launch event was the visionary behind Southern Art: Chef Art Smith (no relation). Chef Smith is no stranger to celebrity encounters. Once Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef, he just opened a restaurant in New York in partnership with Lady Gaga’s dad and was headed to Florida for an event benefiting former First Lady Barbara Bush’s literacy foundation when we stopped by to check things out.
“When people travel to a city like Atlanta they want to be able to taste the city,” he said, explaining the cuisine and decor. His restaurant took over the spot that once housed Au Pied de Cochon. Formal elegance has been replaced by homey warmth, and French cuisine has been replaced by an upscale-Southern menu. Au revoir, escargot. Howdy, ham bar.
Smith said things are going well.
“We’re probably the busiest hotel restaurant in the city of Atlanta,” he declared with trademark optimism. “I’m really proud of what we’ve done.”
- Jennifer Brett/The Buzzfirstname.lastname@example.org