First Look: Big Sky Buckhead
There was a lot of moping in Atlanta when chef Hector Santiago closed Super Pan, his sandwich shop located right behind his popular pan-Latin restaurant Pura Vida. And then when Pura Vida announced it was closing, a collective "Come on!" was heard across the city. Such is the tale of rising rents. But Santiago - a longtime Atlanta cook who gained significant attention after appearing on Top Chef Las Vegas - moved on to an executive chef role at Abattoir. While he's brought some of his Latin flourishes to that menu, Abattoir is an established restaurant with a menu that wouldn't lend itself to a complete overhaul. Enter Big Sky Buckhead, opening this week.
Big Sky, located right off Roswell Road in the East Andrews nightlife district, aims to bring many of Santiago's past creations to a lively, casual, food-and-bar environment in Buckhead. Some favorites make the transition - fans of Santiago's coconut steamed buns with crispy pork belly can rest easy - but new, creative reworking of pub favorites also show up. Sriracha chicken wings and Asian-inflected guacamole, anyone?
"The menu is basically a revival of some of the items of Super Pan," says Santiago. "We're doing different versions of them, and a lot of the flavors are available in buns sandwiches or bowls. We want big flavors, enough to fill you up, but keeping it very casual."
Santiago had a hand in most of the menu items, but Pedro Matos, who Santiago has mentored for almost a decade in the kitch, will be Big Sky's executive chef.
"After Super Pan [closed], Pedro went to Cakes & Ale," says Santiago. "He's gonna be basically taking Big Sky. He used to be a bartender and server for us for a long time, 15 years ago, and I started him eight years ago in the kitchen. Basically he's been getting into baking and dessert making, and took over Super Pan too. He's doing a lot of the menu designing and putting together food. Also he's from Puerto Rico, so we have a background in the same flavors, so it's easy for me to explain to him what I'm thinking."
Big Sky Buckhead opened for lunch yesterday, with lunch service running weekdays from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM. The restaurant rolls out its dinner, brunch and bar program over the next few days. Here's the schedule:
Grand Bar Opening: Saturday, February 22
• Open at 11:30 AM for lunch service
• Closes at 2 AM after all-day bar service
Sunday Brunch Opening: Sunday, February 23
• Open at 11:30 AM for brunch service
Seated Dinner Service: Monday, February 24
• Open at 6 PM for dinner service
3201 Cains Hill Place NW; 404-481-5168