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Hugh Acheson Talks Italian Cooking

Photo credit: Taylor Oxendine.

In an interview with Atlanta Magazine, Five & Ten founder Hugh Acheson talks about his new Savannah restaurant, the Florence, and the similarities between Italian cuisine and the Southern cooking he’s known for.

When you use Southern ingredients for Italian fare, what do you end up with? There will be three to four pizzas, and a lot of extruded pastas and hand-cut pastas, small plates, appetizers, contorni’s or sides like stewed chickpeas, and an extravagant main course section. We’re still working on the menu. It will be like all of the restaurants—moderate but can be deemed fine dining or deemed a place you go for a quick pizza and a beer. We’re serving dinner six days a week.

Tell me about the bar. What’s the focus? Italian cocktails: a lot of amaro and vermouth and sherry. Sherry and port and Madeira and vermouth have a big history in Charleston and Savannah as port cities. We’ll focus on lighter, hot weather cocktails. Of course, we’ll have an Italian wine program and local beers. Kelly Thorn from Empire State South is setting it up. We haven’t figured out who is leading it yet. Alli Crumpton from Empire State South will be the general manager and wine director. We’ll have about 100 to 120 in the collection with seven or eight whites and seven or eight reds by the glass, rotating heavily. There will be some pretty obscure wines from Italy.

Read the whole interview here.