First Look: Rose + Rye is open in Atlanta’s historic Castle


Rose + Rye restaurant and bar opened in mid-October in the Castle , a unique Atlanta landmark that’s perched on a hilltop above 15th Street in Midtown, and notable for its stone facade and storied history.

The Castle was designed and built in 1909-1910 by wealthy inventor and businessman Ferdinand McMillan, who called his retirement residence Fort Peace.

Later, it became a bohemian hub for the burgeoning Atlanta arts community. And with its prominent location near the High Museum and Arts Center complex, Rose + Rye aims to tap into that energy.

Owner Thaddeus Keefe — a native Atlantan, who owns 1KEPT Kitchen + Bar in Buckhead , and is the former owner of Tuk Tuk and Mosaic — is transforming the Castle’s past lives into an ambitious contemporary vision of drinking and dining.

“We started working on this project about a year ago,” Keefe said, “and knowing the history of the building as a safe haven for Atlanta painters, writers and artists of all kinds, there was a lot of personal overlap with my interests.”

The design focuses on many of the building’s original, often quirky architectural elements, including stacked stone walls and window arches, and ornate chandeliers.

Staircases connect the three primary spaces, with the street-level entry doubling as a bar dubbed the Grotto.

A cozy three-sided bar, a dramatic banquet-like dining room, and an open kitchen occupy the second floor.

The third floor retains a lived-in character, connecting rooms for private dining and events to a series of terraced outdoor patios overlooking the cityscape.

Though Keefe said it wasn’t part of the master plan, Rose + Rye is headed by an all-female culinary and management team.

In the kitchen, executive chef Lindsay Owens and chef de cuisine Anu Adebara oversee a menu described as “refined American fare with a global reach.”

Among the current dishes, there are starters such as glazed Cheshire Pork Belly with pate a choux gnocchi, fennel and green apple slaw, and entrees such as Chilled Rare Yellowfin Tuna with haricot vert, cured olive puree and cold smoked yogurt.

Owens, who is from Texas, moved to Atlanta from Minneapolis, where she worked at several restaurants, including the Lynhall, Tilia, and Unideli.

“I’ve worked a lot in Texas and Minneapolis, and here I’m kind of fusing the two,” Owens said. “Minneapolis is kind of like a smaller Chicago, with amazing talented chefs I learned a lot from.

“I’m mixing some of that fine dining experience with some of the flavors and producers down in Texas. It’s a really interesting mashup. And with Anu bringing in some African influences and really robust flavors, we have some really creative dishes.”

For her part, Adebara said her West African heritage can be seen in dishes such as Joyce Farms Chicken Mole with crispy rice patty, and wilted kale.

“That’s one of my favorite dishes,” she said. “I grew up eating a lot of very spicy food, and mole is one of the things that was created from convenience but can bring a lot of richness to many different things.

“On the lighter side, the cold seared tuna is a play on salad nicoise, which is very approachable. But we elevated it a little bit with the dried cured olives and cold smoked yogurt for a nice contrast. And you get green beans tossed in a red wine anchovy vinaigrette to make a perfect bite.”

In keeping with the food, the beverage program features quality wines and spirits and a cocktail list that takes its names from the writings of Ernest Hemingway.

Rose + Rye general manager Jessica Schilling had a hand in designing the drinks menu.

“For the opening, we really wanted to have some solid, well-balanced drinks with fresh ingredients,” Schilling said. “We wanted them to be approachable, with some twists on the classics, and we’re creating a separate cocktail list for the Grotto.

“We also wanted to take a little twist on the usual wine list, so along with more recognizable things, we’re adding wines from Croatia and Greece and Lebanon to bring in some more global influences.”

Summing up the Rose + Rye experience, Keefe said the Castle presented a unique opportunity, but it also created a sense of responsibility.

“I think everybody on the team understands that it was going to get a lot of attention, just by virtue of being open,” he said. “I’ve opened five or six restaurants in the Atlanta market, and this one feels real different. There’s a sense of importance to this.”

87 15th St. NE, Atlanta. 404-500-5980,

More images from a First Look at Rose + Rye






More First Looks at metro Atlanta restaurants

Explore where to eat in Atlanta with the AJC’s Fall Dining Guide

Read more stories like this by  liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook , following  @ATLDiningNews on Twitter  and  @ajcdining on Instagram .

Reader Comments

Next Up in Atlanta Restaurant Scene

Puff pastry caps creamy mushroom soup
Puff pastry caps creamy mushroom soup

From the menu of … Chicago’s Steak and Seafood, 4401 Shallowford Road, Roswell; 770-993-7464. My husband and I love the mushroom soup at Chicago’s on Shallowford. We would really like to make it at home for company because it’s so unique and delicious with the puff pastry top. We would be very grateful...
Atlanta chefs’ international holiday recipes
Atlanta chefs’ international holiday recipes

The traditional American Christmas dinner calls for a table laden with turkey or ham and all the trimmings, from stuffing, potatoes and gravy to casseroles and cranberry sauce. But American immigrants have always introduced international flavors into the mix, brightening the holidays with dishes from around the world. To celebrate this year, we asked...
Take a load off at some Atlanta's best hotel bars 
Take a load off at some Atlanta's best hotel bars 

There's something special, something iconic, something romantic about hotel bars. Perhaps it's the feeling of exclusivity or maybe it's being treated like a guest − whether you’ve reserved a room or not. Maybe it's the allure of people from all over the country (and perhaps world) coming together inside the city’s finest inns to toast...
Jingle Ball at Krog Street Market, photos with Santa and more in metro Atlanta this week
Jingle Ball at Krog Street Market, photos with Santa and more in metro Atlanta this week

Families can enjoy everything from free cookie decorating to photos with Santa this week. Put on your ugliest Christmas sweater and win a prize. There are several fun, food events happening in metro Atlanta, so add one or all four of the following activities to your calendar. Be prepared to eat, drink and be merry.    Now through Dec. 16...
Try something new with an Australian specialty from this Atlanta eatery
Try something new with an Australian specialty from this Atlanta eatery

What the whitetail deer is to the American South, the kangaroo is to Australia. Despite the fact that they’re both relatively large animals that appear exotic from afar, they’re very common in their native regions. In some areas, they’ve become so common that they’re almost considered pests. Local government often encourages...
More Stories