The entrance to Staplehouse, Atlanta’s buzzed-about supper club-cum-restaurant, is around back. To get inside, one must walk up a driveway, wind through an herb-tangled garden, and pass through a glass patio. Right from the get-go, dining at Staplehouse feels intimate, as if you’re heading over to your neighbor’s house instead of a spot named best new restaurant in 2016 by Bon Appétit and nominated for a James Beard Award. It feels personal.
That’s because it is. Staplehouse was the brainchild of Ryan and Jen Hidinger, a married couple who began running a supper club out of their home after relocating to Atlanta from the Midwest. The goal was to build enough buzz and traction to eventually launch into a full-fledged restaurant, but those plans came to a halt when Ryan was diagnosed with stage IV gallbladder cancer in 2012. To raise money for his medical bills, Ryan’s family and friends put on a benefit that raised $275,000. “That was the light bulb moment,” says Jen, one of the current partners and business manager of Staplehouse. “We realized that a backbone of support didn’t exist for restaurant workers, many of whom tend to live paycheck to paycheck.” That realization grew into the Giving Kitchen, a nonprofit that offers financial assistance to members of the Atlanta restaurant community suffering unexpected hardship. In September 2015, Staplehouse opened its doors as the Giving Kitchen’s for-profit subsidiary.
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