Annual Sales: $13 million
• Frederico “Fred” Castellucci III, president/c.e.o.
• Stephanie Castellucci, owner/v.p.
• John Castellucci, chef
• Cooks & Soldiers (Basque-inspired menu)
• Double Zero (Southern Italian menu)
• The Iberian Pig (Spanish tapas)
• Sugo (Mediterranean-inspired menu)
• Two restaurants in development
WHY WE THINK IT’S COOL: When you’re creating a multi-concept company, it’s probably best to play it safe, which explains why so many restaurant groups create tried-and-true eateries that give customers what they want (burgers, fried chicken, etc.). On the other hand, the best way to stand out in a crowd is to move against the grain, and that’s what the Castellucci siblings have done in Atlanta. The Italian restaurants provide an anchor of familiarity, but the Spanish ones offer excitement and off-the-beaten-path adventure. Their risk has paid off and Atlanta has responded, as has the James Beard Foundation, which last year named Cooks & Solidiers’ executive chef Landon Thompson a finalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year. Sure a great burger is satisfying, but how about Thompson’s Berkshire and Iberico meatballs with pimento and Manchego espuma instead? Yeah, that’s what we thought.