Jul 22, 2022 - Food and Drink

Farewell to Gato

Gato
Photo: Emma Hurt/Axios

This is the last weekend for Candler Park's beloved Gato restaurant.

Why it matters: Gato, which takes its name from the Spanish word for cat, jump-started Atlanta's pop-up dining scene more than a decade ago. Its owner, Nicholas Stinson, has given a platform and a home to Atlanta chefs since taking over the restaurant in 2012.

Driving the news: Gato's current Italian pop-up, Gigi's, will take over its Candler Park space full-time next month when Gato itself retires.

The big picture: Stinson told Axios the pop-ups have largely been about bringing food to the city that wasn't already present. When he hosted Gato Arigato, a ramen pop-up with chef Allen Suh, there was no other place to eat ramen inside 285, Stinson said.

  • "It's really beneficial both for me and the rest of my staff to be inspired, to have whole other crews coming through," he said. "It's good for the culture of the restaurant. It's good for the culture of the neighborhood."

Catch up quick: He took over the restaurant, first known as Gato Bizco, in 2012. He's moving to Santa Fe but will stay on behind the scenes to work with Gigi's for a few years.

🍳 Of note: Saturday's final dinner service will be a breakfast menu.

What's next: Gigi's has vowed to continue hosting other pop-ups and mirror the Gato ethos. Most of Gato's staff will even stay on at Gigi's.

  • "I can't think of a better way to hand it off and move forward," Stinson said.

😥 Emma's thought bubble: If Gato had to go I suppose this is about the best way because Gigi's is lovely. But I will sorely miss those shrimp tacos and tequila cocktails.

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