Simon Welcomes The Public Kitchen & Bar to Atlanta
From the sleek mid-century inspiration behind its décor to the down-home southern comfort slant to its menu, there’s something for everyone at The Public Kitchen. And with a fashion-forward aesthetic that leans toward elements like a rotating collection of art and even a living wall of plants, there’s also always something new to discover. Scroll on to take a peek inside and to get to know Durrence and Perkins. Not in Atlanta? No worries! You can check out the dining options at a Simon near you to discover even more untold stories.
Welcome to Atlanta! Tell us about the decision to open the new location here, beyond the restaurant’s Savannah roots. How did you end up at Phipps Plaza?
Jamie Durrence: When we opened the Public Kitchen & Bar in Savannah five years ago, we really didn’t know how strong the concept was until we were up and running. After a few years, as things started to grow organically, we began to look for opportunities to expand the concept. We really wanted to take our time, though, because our restaurant in Savannah is in such a unique location — we’re on the crossroads of the downtown, business, and residential districts, which makes it very unique and provides a lot of foot traffic. When we were looking to grow, we wanted that same public sensibility.
Robby Perkins: We were in conversations with Simon, and they told us about Phipps Plaza and the energy and excitement here right now. We visited a couple of times, and as we started looking more closely, it seemed like a natural fit. There’s an emphasis on fashion and style at Phipps Plaza, and it’s become a mecca here in Atlanta.
Speaking of style, how would you describe the overall vibe of the restaurant?
RP: When we created and opened Public Kitchen, we wanted to elevate the casual dining experience. Five years ago, Savannah didn’t have an elevated place you could go for a quick, casual meal. You had to choose between the barbecue joint on the corner or a fine dining establishment. So, we wanted to emphasize “casual” at every turn: the menu is simple; the aesthetic of the interior is clean, simple, and inspired by mid-century modern design; and the overall feeling is a relaxed one.
There are a few other Daniel Reed concepts. What elements unite all the restaurants, and what sets this new location apart?
RP: For people who know our brand well, I hope that when they come here, they feel there’s something signature about what we do. Whether it’s the quality of the food or the design, you walk in and know it’s Daniel Reed Hospitality. This location is definitely an evolution of the Public Kitchen in Savannah, but it’s built on the same principles. Special attention and effort were paid to the emphasis on fashion and style at Phipps Plaza — every location is unique, and we try to cater to what’s going on in that location. But quality and consistency are something we strive for, and you can feel them here as well.
Robby, you mentioned fashion being a driving force in the restaurant, which is interesting since both you and Jamie have worked in fashion in the past. Do you think that’s affected the stylish interiors of the restaurants?
RP: During the design process and construction, it was important to me that you could swap mannequins for our tables and chairs, and it could easily be another of the boutiques here at Phipps Plaza. We tried to blur the conventional lines between retail and hospitality, and even between commercial and residential design. My fashion background is in the retail space, so I wanted to tailor the restaurant to the guests’ needs and be sensitive to the clientele who’s coming to Phipps Plaza.
JD: And my role in fashion was more in the project management and constructive side, so Robby and I complement each other very well. He’s very talented in design, and I’m able to bring that together with the components that are my strong suit.
Well let’s get down to the important stuff: food! Do you guys have any favorite items on the menu?
JD: The first thing I ordered today was the burger, which is so special to me. I’m the third generation of a farming family, and my parents have a 300-acre farm in Glennville, GA, where they raise all the beef that goes into the burgers at all our locations. All the burgers here at Phipps Plaza are made of all-natural, grass-fed, hormone-free Angus beef.
RP: I’d have to say the Savannah Shrimp and Grits, which is wildly popular both in Savannah and here. We have fan-favorite menu items that people are crazy about, so we made sure that the menu here in Atlanta mirrors the food people already love. It’s true southern comfort food.
What’s up next for Public Kitchen? Will we be seeing any other new locations within Simon properties?
JD: Time will tell! We’re definitely open to it and are considering Jacksonville and North Carolina. But either way, the future is bright for us!
The Public Kitchen & Bar, Phipp’s Plaza, 3500 Peachtree Rd NE, Suite 1095B, Atlanta, GA 30326, 404.900.7799