BY TEAM HIDI COMMITTEE
PHOTOS BY ANDREW THOMAS LEE
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”—Margaret Mead
Saplehouse started in 2009 as an underground supper club led by Chef Ryan Hidinger and his wife Jen out of their quaint bungalow home in the Grant Park neighborhood of Atlanta. Hosting 10 guests for dinner every Sunday allowed Ryan and Jen to talk with guests and hear their thoughts on food, the city and all the possibilities for both. Over the last four years, many strong and lasting relationships formed. This was the prelude to Staplehouse.
On the first day of this year Chef Ryan was diagnosed with Stage IV gallbladder cancer. “Our friends, family, the Atlanta community and Ryan’s cancer treatment center team have surrounded us with a tidal wave of love and support that has forever changed our perspective on life,” says Ryan. As a result, inspiration struck and their dream restaurant has been re-purposed to tell a story of hope and will give back to those who stepped up in their time of need.
With help of several friends, the Hidingers founded a nonprofit called The Giving Kitchen, an initiative that will support members of the Atlanta culinary community who encounter unexpected financial challenges. Staplehouse will be the flagship and backbone of The Giving Kitchen, a casual fine-dining experience with a purpose. The restaurant will donate all proceeds to The Giving Kitchen initiative.
Seven partners will manage the operation: Chef Ryan and Jen along with Chef Ryan Smith and Kara Hidinger (Ryan’s sister). Ryan Turner, Chris Hall and Todd Mussman will support the business. Turner, Hall and Mussman have a proven track record in the Atlanta restaurant community with three successful restaurants and another on the way in July 2013. Staplehouse will be the first modern farm-to-table restaurant powered by award-winning chefs that will never make a single cent!
A beautiful and historic two-story brick building located in the heart of the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood of Atlanta will house Staplehouse. Downstairs, a cozy 50-seat restaurant will present sustainable, local flavors, simple cocktails and an approach to hospitality like no other. The second floor will house The Giving Kitchen offices and a foundation function room—where guests can share dinner privately. Square Feet Studio in Atlanta has graciously donated the design for Staplehouse.
You can help this dream becomes reality at indiegogo.com. Ryan and Jen, along with their team and The Giving Kitchen board of directors, are crowd-funding the renovation, build-out and finishing of Staplehouse. The funding site went live on April 16 and will end on May 31.
After the campaign ends you can make donations at thegivingkitchen.org. This is an opportunity to support and give back to the community that has been the backbone of our hospitality industry in Atlanta. Every dollar counts, so make your donation today.