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Garden Variety

This spring, chef Linton Hopkins’ plant-to-plate restaurant, Linton’s in the Garden, sprouts up at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

TAKING ROOT
Celebrated chef Linton Hopkins inside The Fuqua Orchid Center at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

"Think of a Chez Panisse-type menu,” offers acclaimed Atlanta chef Linton Hopkins on his latest project’s slated garden-fresh fare. Much like Alice Waters’ acclaimed Berkeley, Calif., eatery, Hopkins’ highly anticipated restaurant, Linton’s in the Garden (scheduled to open inside the Atlanta Botanical Garden early this spring), will highlight the area’s local purveyors and farms. Hopkins is Atlanta’s answer to Waters, having pioneered the farm-to-table movement by starting flagship Restaurant Eugene over a decade ago with wife and sommelier Gina Hopkins. Since then, the James Beard Award winner has expanded his empire to include Holeman & Finch Public House, H&F Bread Co., H&F Bottle Shop, Hop’s Chicken and H&F Burger spots popping up all over town (from Ponce City Market to The Battery Atlanta near the Atlanta Braves’ new SunTrust Park).

“The menu will feature a lot of salads and flora-based cuisine,” Hopkins says, plus locally sourced seafood, chicken and beef. “After all, the Atlanta Botanical Garden is one of Atlanta’s first urban farms,” he says. “We’ll be working with a horticulturist and the Garden to bring what they grow into the kitchen.” Hopkins is still fine-tuning the details of the menu and excited about the challenge of bringing fresh ideas to the table. “For example, organic baby food or a garden pail with butter-bean hummus, carrots and celery for children,” he offers. “I’m energized by the positive response and ability to connect with people about good, healthy, clean food.”

When asked if he has a green thumb himself, Hopkins admits his skill set resides more in the kitchen than the garden. “I do grow horseradish and herbs,” he says. “But I aspire to be a gardener.” We think this culinary cultivator’s latest crop is destined to flourish.

HOPKINS’ HOTS
Cooking from scratch, ingredients that can be pronounced by a third-grader, kindness

HOPKINS’ NOTS
Pretension, bullies, close-mindedness