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Founding Diners

At this time of year thoughts turn, inevitably, to fireworks, tea being tossed into the Boston Harbor, and men in wigs declaring that they wanted a more perfect union. We take a look at five of the Founding Fathers, and try to figure out which restaurants in Atlanta they might enjoy.

Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson was a farmer, so it’s safe to assume that he’d have been all about farm-to-table. He opened new borders to the West, bought Lousiana from the French, and designed his sprawling mansion, Monticello. We think that if Jefferson came through modern-day Atlanta he’d head directly to Miller Union, where Steven Satterfield is committed to sourcing local ingredients for his menus. On top of that, Satterfield studied architecture at Georgia Tech, and, like Jefferson, spent some time in Paris. But the real kicker? In an interview with Mara Davis at the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, Satterfield admitted that Jefferson would be his dream dining guest.

John Adams

The second President of the United States was born and raised in Massachusetts, studied at Harvard, and was, briefly, a teacher. Father of the sixth president, John Quincey Adams, we figure that Adams Sr. would appreciate another father and son team — and so 4th and Swift, where Jay Swift and his son, Jeb Aldrich, run the kitchen, is where we think you’d find the Adamses.

Benjamin Franklin

Philadelphia’s most famous son, this mullet-wearing, kite-flying book-lover is one of the founders whose portait is on our currency who was never president, but served as Ambassador to France, a country he loved. Franklin was a renaissance man who invented bifocals and lightning rods; he was a visionary who helped define what post-Revolutionary American culture would be like. Ford Fry is renowned for his production line of developing chefs and then trusting them to helm his new restaurants (which open at an alarming rate — since you started reading this, Ford has opened two new restaurants). And so with a hopeful eye to the future, it’s perhaps fitting that Benjamin Franklin would find himself at The Optimist. At least that’s what we think.

Alexander Hamilton

When it came to duels in the 18th century, it was thought to be enough to show courage by simply turning up and having your opponent take a shot, often the shot was directly into the ground. The important thing was to demonstrate that you had the courage of your convictions. Hamilton is the first and only president to die by duel, and the other non-president on our currency. If he came to Atlanta he’d probably seek out a chef who exemplifies that kind of conviction. We think he’d end up at Gunshow. Kevin Gillespie could have worked for the rest of his career at Woodfire Grill if he’d wanted to. But the dissonance of making food that wasn’t in his heart was unsatisfying, and so Gillespie risked everything to redefine what dining could be in Atlanta. We’re pretty sure that’s the character Alexander Hamilton would be looking for.

George Washington

The first Commander-in-Chief was always a planner and thinker. As a young man he contracted smallpox…and survived. As a leader he was able to inspire acts of courage, and as the first president, he shaped every presidency that would follow. Washington the man is as much a symbol for freedom and independence as the national anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, or fireworks on the fourth of July are. While it’s not open yet, we have no doubt at all that Ryan and Jen Hidinger’s Staplehouse, and the Giving Kitchen, bear all the characteristics that would bring Washington to the table.

But no matter where these guys would eat dinner, we know that they’d start at Revolution Doughnuts, and finish up at the Republic Social House.