If you’re in Atlanta and you’re looking for a one-a-kind dining experience, with incredibly fresh, locally-sourced food, then you gotta hit Kevin Gillespie’s Gunshow. I can honestly say it was like nothing the Loon and I had ever experienced…and we loved every minute of it.
The concept of the restaurant is pretty simple: “Let the food come to you.” The design of the Gunshow space is almost completely open. It’s really like the entire restaurant is the kitchen. It’s not certainly quiet…but it’s exciting.
In an interview done exclusively for “How to Feed a Loon,” Gillespie explained:
“[My] inspiration for the restaurant came from a number of different things, but the goal was to put the cooks in direct contact with the guests who were the end recipients of their work. This communion of chef and diner gave a more passionate story about the food. It’s my hope that it helps the guests to understand the dish and maybe try something they may not have.”
So, as soon as we were seated, our server came over and quickly explained the concept of the restaurant and also told us the drink cart and bartender would be right over to take our drink orders (yes, a moving drink cart…and believe me, this is no airplane drink cart).
The adventure had begun.
Kevin told us that 5 – 7 times a year, he brings in guest chefs to prepare their own dishes and serve them to guests. He calls this the “Hired Guns Series.” Kevin went on to say:
“When we are looking for a guest chef, we look for someone who will be an inspiration to our team and is doing something different. He or she should be interested in taking the plunge into our style of service and allow us to see the real person behind the chef’s coat.”
Here’s how it works…the chefs – who could be the “Hired Guns”, or amazing on-staff Gunshow chefs, or Kevin himself – prepare the food in the bustling kitchen, the one you’re almost sitting in. Then, they start to bring portions out to guests. The chef, who just prepared the food, gives you a description of the dish, and you decide if you want it or not. If you do, the chef quickly grabs your take-home menu and makes a simple ‘check-mark’ next to the dish. At the end of your dining experience, ‘check-marks’ are tallied (along with the cost of each dish), you pay…and then you stagger out (well, at least we staggered…we were beyond full…it’s hard for us to turn down any food, especially food this good).
Okay…let’s get this Gunshow going:
While our signature cocktails were being crafted, we were were immediately brought: Spring Pea Hummus with a Warm Pita and Fresh Georgia Olive Oil. Perfect start.
Now come the cocktails. I did the Toasted Old Fashioned: Bourbon, Bitters, Burnt Sugar (which was lit at the table), Brûléed Cinnamon, and Flamed Orange (which was lit in front of me at the table). Wow…this isn’t your everyday cocktail…it was incredible.
The Loon went for the Mississippi Rickshaw: Lemongrass Vodka, Dolin Genepy, Tiki Thai Syrup, Cukes, Thai Basil and Coconut. The Loon was happy.
Now onto more food, much more glorious food. The following dishes are the ones we said “yes” to. They had all been delivered to our table within 30 minutes, about 4 -5 minutes between each one. Gunshow is not for the ‘culinary-faint-of-heart,’ that’s for sure. These arrived in no particular order:
Berkshire Pork Belly with Peaches and Creamed Farro and Skillet Roasted Cabbage:
Scallop & White Shrimp Escabeche:
“Dinner in the Everglades” (which included Alligator Sausage) and rissotto:
Re-creation of the Infamous ‘In N Out’ Burger (Everything made from scratch, including buns, pickles and ketchup):
Roasted Palmetto Farms Chicken with Marinated Beans and Peas and a Cornbread Puree.
I know, I know…insane. But also insanely good. I have never gotten so full in such a short amount of time. So, naturally, we ordered dessert:
Warm Old Fashioned Banana Pudding (Amazing):
It is difficult to find words that will adequately describe our dining experience at Gunshow. I think the pictures explain it best. We were in and out in about an hour. Gillespie says he came up with the name ‘Gunshow’ because as a child, his father worked seven days a week to provide for his family. On the rare Sunday off, father and son would go to a gun show.
There are others who might say the name is more closely related to the way the food comes at you in almost rapid fire. Someone said, in jest, and not meant to be critical: “Gunshow kind of makes you feel like you’re at firing range, and you’re the target.” But trust me…you are a target with some of the best food in Atlanta, and across this country. It’s all good…really good.
The menu states: “You are a guest in our home. And we have prepared for you what we love.” You can feel the passion in this place.
When in Atlanta, do yourself a treat, go for an unforgettable dining experience at Award-Winning Kevin Gillespie’s Gunshow. Absolutely amazing.Gunshow 924 Garret Street, Suite C Atlanta, GA 30316 Phone: 404-380-1886 Website: http://www.gunshowatl.com/ Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 6pm – 9pm (Closed Sundays and Tuesdays) Reservations Strongly Advised (make them as early as you can…reservations fill up fast) Dress Code: Very Casual $$$$ Other amazing places to dine in Atlanta are: Watershed and JCT Kitchen.