New South’s Culinary Elite Partner with ai3, Inc. for Dining Design

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ai3 designs four new Atlanta restaurants

The density and range of culinary talent in Atlanta is astounding, and is only getting more creative and diverse...The lines between food, service and design are becoming more and more blurred.

Atlanta’s most established culinary teams and anticipated newcomers are turning to ai3, Inc. to design the region’s next wave of dining hotspots. ai3, Inc., an award-winning multi-disciplinary design studio, has been chosen as the design partner for new projects from the owners of Muss & Turner’s and Chef Mel Toledo as well as a highly-anticipated tavern and lounge in Druid Hills. La Tagliatella, a global Italian restaurant concept popular in Europe, which has selected Atlanta for its first two U.S. locations, is also partnering with ai3 for design.

“The density and range of culinary talent in Atlanta is astounding, and is only getting more creative and diverse. Each one of our clients has a distinct vision, but there is one common thread. The lines between food, service and design are becoming more and more blurred. I think that’s played a big role in putting Atlanta at the epicenter of dining in the U.S.,” said Lucy Aiken Johnson, ASID and partner at ai3.

More than ever before, ai3 is seeing a strong interest from chefs and restaurant owners in new interpretations of southern fare and hospitality.

Dan Maas, AIA – also a partner at ai3 – comments: “The farmhouse-inspired aesthetic – the one so many people associate with the New South – has been done well here. What we’re seeing now is that chefs want to explore new interpretations of Southern perspective. What other inspirations can we draw from? Or, how can we take a global brand and make it feel at home here in Atlanta? The designs that accompany these visions and challenges are becoming more personal and more ambitious.”

ai3’s current restaurant projects include:

  •     Eleanor’s: Part speakeasy, part tribute to a good friend and colleague, the recently opened Eleanor’s is the vision of Ryan Turner, Todd Mussman and Chris Hall. Located in Muss & Turner’s, Eleanor’s is a true speakeasy-meets-saloon that can only be entered through a walk-in cooler and only known to those who think to look for it.
  •     Foundation: Situated on the active urban thoroughfare of DeKalb Avenue, which connects some of Atlanta’s historic in-town neighborhoods, Foundation Restaurant will be located on the defining line between historic Inman Park and the industrial CSX yard and MARTA tracks, a location that parallels the background story of owner and Executive Chef Mel Toledo. Toledo, who has built his career in fine dining establishments like Bacchanalia in Atlanta and Restaurant Daniel in New York, aims to evoke a strong sense of attitude and edginess in his newest venture while providing a familiar, relaxed experience for neighborhood patrons. Foundation is scheduled to open in 2013.
  •     La Tagliatella: AmRest Holdings SE, the largest operator of independent restaurants in Central and Eastern Europe, has teamed with ai3 to bring the La Tagliatella restaurant brand to the U.S. market for the first time. La Tagliatella specializes in high-quality modern Italian cuisine and has served its unique fare to more than six million patrons in Europe. ai3 is currently working on three locations, including one at Midtown's Metropolis, Emory Point and Arlington, Virginia. These locations are scheduled to open in Fall 2012.
  •     Ink & Elm: Located in Emory Village, Ink & Elm is a 7,000 square foot tavern, lounge and dining room that celebrates the deep history of Atlanta’s Druid Hills neighborhood, including Frederick Law Olmsted, the neighborhood’s designer who is also behind NYC’s Central Park and the neighborhood’s Olmsted Linear Park. The location provides the perfect spot for Druid Hills’ residents as well as Emory faculty and students to gather, socialize and dine. The dark and cozy design for the tavern is loosely based on a turn of the century landscape design studio, while the dining room takes into account Olmsted's approach toward garden and landscape design with a light and airy mood. Ink & Elm is expected to open early next year.

To catch a glimpse of ai3’s dining designs in progress, check out ai3’s Soapbox Blog at For more information on ai3 and its architecture, interior and product design services, please visit

About ai3, Inc.
ai3’s multi-disciplinary design services reveal the stories that give meaning and value to design. Through the exchange of ideas and thoughtful client dialogue, ai3 creates energetic, compelling designs across a wide spectrum of industries and geographies. To learn more about ai3’s architecture, interior and product design services, please visit

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Hannah Bower
Bower Communications
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