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Restauranteurs Aïda Lemma and Jacob Ilkner will soon open Verdure Kitchen, an African fusion restaurant along the Beltline and in the heart of Morningside-Lenox Park. On Wednesday, they purchased the former Piedmont Bar & Grill on Dutch Valley Road, near Piedmont Park, according to Steve Josovitz of the Shumacher Group, Inc., who brokered the deal.
Their menu will include well-known Western dishes using African ingredients. “We want to do an Afro Western fusion cuisine, but fine dining,” Lemma told What Now Atlanta. “Incorporate fresh African ingredients into Western dishes, like steak and lobster.”
Lemma will source these ingredients from suppliers in Lawrenceville and Marietta; she has been working with them for about six years through her other restaurant, Ace Atlanta on Buford.
“I’m Ethiopian, some of my partners are Nigerian, and then we have Guinean partners. We’re Africans,” said Lemma. “We want to bring awareness to our culture, more so introduce the Western world to the African culture.”
The conceptual design, created by Lemma, intends to live up to the restaurant’s name: Verdure. The 3,700-square-foot space will have an outdoorsy ambience with lush greenery, and green and white colors. Lemma, a designer herself, will also redesign the 850-square-foot wraparound patio to include an awning.
These renovations kickoff next Monday, April 4. Since the restaurant space comes fully equipped, they will only need to make cosmetic changes.
Verdure will likely create 30 new jobs in the area, according to Lemma. Currently, they are in search of a chef who has a background making African cuisine.