More details have been unveiled about the concept going into the former The Original El Taco space in Virginia-Highland.
Ela, a Pan-Mediterranean restaurant by Fifth Group Restaurants, is slated to open February 2024.
The concept embraces Greek, Moroccan, Israeli and Turkish flavors, celebrating “each culture’s rich culinary history, woven together through their common uses of big and bold spices, open flame technique, complex flavors, and shared regional ingredients that thrive in arid coastal climates,” according to an announcement.
The menu will feature “a grand tour of flavors including olives, chickpeas, eggplant, fresh seafood, marinated lamb, herbs and more.” Expect bold spices and sauces, and charred flatbread for dipping.
The kitchen will be led by executive chef Darragh Dudley. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Dudley started working in fast food around age 15 before eventually landing a job in the kitchen of five-star hotel The Shelbourne in Dublin. After moving to New York City, he worked in Michelin-starred restaurants including Restaurant Marc Forgione, Restaurant DANIEL and Dovetail before landing his first sous chef role at Jean-Georges’ abc kitchen.
Dudley realized his passion for upscale-casual dining. He explored opportunities and learned from some of the industry’s top names throughout the course of his eight-year tenure in New York before moving to Atlanta to be closer to family and, now, joining the Fifth Group Restaurants team.
It was reported in October that the group was seeking an executive chef for the new concept. At the time, the name of the restaurant had not been made public.
The Original El Taco, a Tex-Mex eatery that had been open on North Highland Avenue since 2008, closed earlier this year.
Fifth Group Restaurants, an Atlanta-based hospitality group, is also the team behind La Tavola, Lure, South City Kitchen, Ecco and Alma Cocina.