3. Restaurant Neighborhoods
It used to be said that a chef made it as an empire-builder when he or she successfully opened an outpost in Las Vegas. There’s probably still a grain of truth to that, but nowadays chef-restaurateurs are thinking less vertically and more in terms of dominating an entire neighborhood (as opposed to Daniel Boulud-style international proliferation). Chefs like Linton Hopkins, Spike Gjerde, Marcie Turney, and Joanne Chang are taking it to the street—and the next street, and the next—to build restaurant neighborhoods filled not just with flagship restaurants, but also casual eateries, bakeries, coffee bars, sandwich shops, cocktail joints, and cafés. The resulting symbiotic webs, designed to support each other, have not just given chefs varied outlets for their boundless creativity, but also have helped solidify their footing in markets where a single excellent restaurant is not quite enough to make ones mark. There’s no better example than Linton Hopkins, whose H&F Bread Co. provides baked goods for Hopkins’ other restaurants (as well as other ATL eateries). The restaurant neighborhood idea takes branding to a whole new (and local) level, turning chefs from would-be emperors instead into much more focused yet still influential mayors.
Chef Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen, Half Acre, and Artifact Coffee – Baltimore, MD