- The Hamptons
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- New York
- Orange County
- Palm Beach
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- Silicon Valley
- Washington, D.C.
Chef Nolan Wynn, a Ford Fry alum, mixes it up at Banshee. Portrait by Elle Wood
Shout Outby Lauren Finney | Jezebel magazine | February 25, 2019
Banshee, now open on Glenwood Avenue in East Atlanta Village, is helping to usher everyone’s favorite party ’hood into a serious food destination.
The Vibe Next door to The Glenwood and around the corner from 529, an unassuming frontage features two bay windows that we’re sure are flooded with natural light in the daytime—but you’re here for the low-lit, provocative date-night vibes post 8pm. Divided by floor-to-ceiling velvet curtains into a lounge area—including a photoworthy bar—and a dining room, the setup is casual yet cool. Eighties tunes and a neon sign at the back that says “Enjoy Yourself” with the subtext “It’s Later Than You Think” help set the mood.
The Food The fry bread—a staple in many cultures—is amped up here with some outrageous concoction called pepperoni butter. All you need to know is that it’s heavenly and indulgent and worth the calories. It’d be criminal not to start with it. The menu is divided into “Begin,” “Continue,” “Growing Now” and “Finish,” and “changes on a weekly basis with items staying on for two to four weeks at a time,” says General Manager Peter Chvala. “It specifically depends on what is coming into season and what is going out.” A recent visit included influences from China, Thailand, India and Italy, with pasta in heavy rotation, as it’s something chef Nolan Wynn loves to make. (“The fry bread and pepperoni butter are not going anywhere,” Chvala promises.)
The Design Designed by award-winning interior and hospitality designer Elizabeth Ingram (Golden Eagle, Beetlecat), the resto combines “what we envisioned—a more old-school look similar to the bungalows in EAV,” says Chvala. “Most importantly, she made the space comfortable and included flashes of elegance.” Take, for example, the custom owl wallpaper stencil mural by Blue Heron Studio behind the bar: playful yet sophisticated.
The Team Wynn (formerly of Five & Ten in Athens, plus several of Ford Fry’s restaurants) is young, experimental and, well, just cool—and it shows in his food. “I’m influenced by the idea of applying a variety of techniques used around the world with local and seasonal ingredients,” he says. “I’m not really confined to a specific style of cuisine. This allows me a lot of avenues for creativity and thinking outside the box.” That translates into dishes like a lobster taglierini (eggy, pasta goodness) with chunks of chorizo, a lemon nage and a saffron tuille that melts its salty goodness into the pasta: the kind of touch that makes you continually ask, “What is that flavor?” before smashing it up to bits and stirring it in.
The Cocktails Faielle Stocco and Katie McDonald are behind the bar menu and supported by an extremely knowledgable staff (shout out to the staff member who patiently answered all our liqueur questions!). The cocktails will be on rotation as well, but two staples, the Stately Hag (reposado tequila, cocchi americano, strega, lemon and thyme—it’s herbal) and Blackest Heart (cynar, rye, averna and borghetti—a weird combo on paper that works) will stay because they’re already beloved. “It might cause a riot if they were removed,” says Chvala.
The Crowd This is not the place to slam back a few before heading to The Earl to see your favorite underground artist. On a recent night, the room was busy come 8:30pm, with a good mix of distinguished older diners with street cred (think tailored yet subversive blazers) and a younger clientele in the requisite ripped jeans. People across the board come here because they care about good food done well, independent of their ’hood or means.
The Conclusion Banshee is twofold: a sophisticated dining spot set to become destination eats, as well as a much-needed neighborhood scene with reliable, delectable dishes that rotate frequently enough to keep you guessing. Long live pepperoni butter! @banshee_eav