A staple of Chastain Park since its opening in 1994, Horseradish Grill is set to undergo some significant changes under new ownership. ASH Ventures, led by Andy Heyman, is buying the romantic Southern dining restaurant from current owner Steve Alterman who will continue to run the business through the end of the year. Atlas chef Christopher Grossman and general manager Geno Drew have been enlisted to breathe new life into the neighborhood eatery. The team hopes to update the concept without compromising the historic charm of the business and desires of the vibrant community that surrounds it.
“You’ve got a really interesting and diverse community which is highly pedestrian now in terms of enjoying Chastain Park,” explained Heyman who has been a fan of Horseradish Grill for more than 20 years, ever since he first tried their signature fried chicken. “Our goal is to create one of the greatest neighborhood restaurants in the country that can be relevant for the next 25 years just like Steve Alterman did over the last 25 years.”
Small Building, Big History
The site where Horseradish Grill sits today has seen several iterations of business concepts through the years, including a tiny two-pump gas station and small grocery store. Originally the site hosted a country store started by farmer John Adam Langford who bought up 200 acres of land in what is now Chastain Park where he planted corn, cotton, sorghum cane, and orchards full of fruit trees. He then built a small shop there for selling his canned goods and produce, but Langford’s leniency with lines of credit ultimately led to the shop’s demise and closure in the 1930s. Soon thereafter the original building was demolished during the widening of Paces Ferry Road.
Years later, another member of the Langford family opened a small grocery store at the site operating in the area that is now the bar of the restaurant. In those days the grocer was known for selling hot dogs and hamburgers. The shop came under the ownership of several other businessmen throughout the years before owner Bill Daly who operated Daly’s Health Club Downtown purchased the site and capitalized on the influx of diners who visited after playing rounds of golf in the adjacent Chastain Park Golf Course. Under Daly’s leadership the business– at the time called the ‘Red Barn Inn’ and decorated with trappings of equestrian barns– truly began to flourish.
Changing hands yet again, the restaurant was purchased by Stefan and Kirsten Popescu after Daly’s death in the 1960s. The Popescues embraced many of the designs and aesthetics of Daly’s Red Barn Inn, maintaining its historic charm until they sold the restaurant to Steve Alterman in 1994 who renamed it Horseradish Grill.
With Alterman’s guidance Horseradish Grill has established itself as one of Buckhead’s most esteemed restaurants known for elevated, elegant Southern cuisine. Beginning in early 2020 the restaurant is set to undergo another evolution as the team at ASH Ventures seeks to modernize the restaurant and the dining experience for its patrons.
Though the exact changes in store are yet to be revealed, Heyman was able to confirm that the building itself would not be added onto or removed from the site. His goals include enhancing the connection between interior and exterior dining spaces, providing a better flow to the restaurant, and aiming to “serve the community really from the time they wake up until the time they go to bed,” which means more breakfast and take-out options. Alterman will stay on as an investor, offering his 25 years of insight and wisdom during the venue’s transformation.