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If a unique menu and 360-degree views of downtown Alpharetta sounds like a great place for dinner, then Up on the Roof will be the ideal destination by late summer.
Nancy Oswald, co-owner with husband, Mark, their son, Wilson, and others announced that the second outpost for the successful independently owned-and-operated modern restaurant concept will soon call downtown Alpharetta home. The eatery and rooftop bar is set to open later this year at 33 South Main St. Like the song “Up on the Roof,” originally recorded in 1962 by The Drifters, the lyrics are a fitting description of the restaurant, Nancy Oswald said during a phone interview with What Now Atlanta on Tuesday.
“On the roof it’s peaceful as can be/And there the world below can’t bother me,” the lyrics read. “Right smack dab in the middle of town/I found a Paradise that’s trouble-proof/And if this world starts getting you down/There’s room enough for two up on the roof.”
Perched on the highest building in downtown Alpharetta, Up on the Roof will overlook City Hall and the Town Green at City Center, with Kennesaw Mountain visible in the distance.
The Oswalds also own 11 Ruth’s Chris franchises, including four in metro Atlanta.
The first Up on the Roof location, in downtown Greenville, S.C., above the Embassy Suites at Riverplace, opened just over four years ago. It’s has been incredibly well received in Greenville, Oswald said. It’s been noted in multiple rankings as one of the best rooftop restaurants in the country and a favorite southern hotspot.
The small plates can be shareable and often feature interesting twists on southern culinary classics. It’s a very unique menu, Oswald said.
Highlights include Humpty Dumpties, the daily deviled egg with different toppings, and charcuterie block, the chef’s selection of cured meats and cheeses.
Some more interesting menu items include: Grilled alligator sausage with chow-chow, tomato jam, and mustard; beer-brined frog legs with garlic butter infused buffalo sauce (called “Swamp Wings”); and deserts like fried apple pie egg rolls with fireball creme anglaise and sweet potato cheesecake with marshmallow fluff brulée. Up on the Roof also has a very cocktail-centric drink menu, many of which also feature fun twists on classics.
“They’re southern classics, but all with a fun twist,” Oswald said.
There will be many of the same menu items in Alpharetta, but the sourcing will be different.
The plan for the Alpharetta location is to be open nightly for dinner and brunch on weekends.
Up on the Roof evolved naturally after having a great working relationship with the landlord of the building in Greenville. He was developing a hotel the Oswalds planned a Ruth’s Chris inside. When the owner approached them about a rooftop concept, they were excited to start their own venture.
Wilson Oswald, who has traditionally been director of beverages for the family’s Ruth’s Chris franchises, wanted to really mix things up behind the bar and the rooftop concept provided the right opportunity. As a certified level two sommelier, Wilson Oswald really wanted to do something creative, mixology-wise, for Up on the Roof, Nancy Oswald said.
They love being franchise owners of Ruth’s Chris, so they were excited to add Up on the Roof to their lineup of restaurants under their name.
They started considering a second location in Alpharetta about a year ago, it’s a wonderful community and the downtown area is vibrant and exciting, she said. But COVID-19 put all of that on hold. They recently had the opportunity to look at it again and thought “this is where we need to be,” Oswald said.
There is still lots of build out to do and the permit process to complete before the grand opening, she said. The complete indoor/outdoor space is nearly 7,000 square feet, which includes dining, kitchen and “the whole nine yards.”
The majority of the gathering space will be outside, mostly under a louvered roof, which allows the covering to be opened or closed. There will also be some seating under an awning and some in the open space, as well as some inside.
“We are so thrilled to be in the opening mode,” Oswald said. “It’s an uplifting and positive and exciting time.”
Up on the Roof, in addition to being a restaurant with great food and drinks, will be a gathering spot, Oswald emphasized. The time is coming when that will be something people can do again, and Up on the Roof will be ready. It will have a great energy and vitality, with an industrial chic aesthetic, she explained. The focus will be on extraordinary, but comfortable food, with amazing beverages. The mission is to elevate the palate and spirits of guests.
“I look forward to the time when people can gather again and I think we’re getting closer,” she said. “(At Up on the Roof), people will be able to really enjoy a dynamic gathering spot… The spirit will be a place where you can relax and enjoy. The sky’s the limit.”