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Throughout Cooks & Soldiers, Spanish design elements mix with French sophistication and Southern style.

A small region that lies between France and Spain, the Basque country is a land rich with culture and flavor. It’s a land known for its culinary expertise, a celebrated blend of French sophistication and Spanish passion. Until recently, Basque cuisine has been underrepresented in Atlanta’s restaurant scene. However, with the opening of Cooks & Soldiers on the hip west side of town, Atlanta will have a slice of San Sebastian to call its very own.

The newest member of the Castellucci Hospitality Group–which includes the Iberian Pig, Double Zero Napoletano and Sugo Kitchen–Cooks & Soldiers is a dramatic setting that finds creative common ground between the romance of Basque culture and the familiarity of Southern hospitality. It's the dynamic outcome of a collaboration between the Castellucci family and the designers at ai3.

Cooks & Soldiers is a large space in a prominent location and one designed to exude drama and to draw guests in with its rustic warmth and energy. The design is largely influenced by Basque pintxos bars, which serve small hand-held snacks, reminiscent of Spanish tapas. The space accommodates over 130 guests in a combination of open and private dining rooms, a cocktail bar, a pintxo bar, an inviting patio and even streetside dining.

Throughout Cooks & Soldiers, Spanish elements mix with French sophistication and Southern style. The open dining room features custom cider-barrel walls comprised of horizontal wood beams held together with a series of vertical steel strips. It’s a setting that evokes Basque cider barns, and all the while maintaining some Southern familiarity. Spanish tiles on the floor of the bar and entry provide a warm welcome to guests as they enter and remind them that they are in for a culinary adventure.

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The design team at ai3 pushed aside their drawing boards and built the restaurant’s interior on-site with cardboard at full size. They examined different experiences to understand what they would subsequently reinvent.
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