The classic French escargot at FSE. All photos by Heidi Harris, courtesy of Foundation Social Eatery

The RundownAtlanta

Atlantans Are Thrilled at Foundation Social Eatery’s Reopening. Here’s Why


Before you go to a restaurant, what do you want — or need — to know most? In our series, The Rundown, we’re sharing all the essentials about some of your favorite restaurants.   

After a long, two-year wait, diners are once again flocking to Foundation Social Eatery (a.k.a. FSE) in its new (and dare we say better-than-ever?) location in downtown Alpharetta. Patrons of the former FSE will recognize some menu favorites, and be delighted by several new and inspired dishes coming out of chef Mel Toldeo’s kitchen.  

We caught up with Nick Hassiotis, operating partner of FSE to talk about what’s new, what’s the same, what’s next (spoiler: a daytime market!), and most importantly, what to order next time you’re at Foundation Social Eatery.  

The Golden Hour cocktail at Foundation Social Eatery.
The Golden Hour cocktail.
A cocktail at Foundation Social Eatery.
More colorful cocktails await on FSE’s “Strong Pours” menu.

1. Happy Hour begins with the Golden Hour.

Just before 5 p.m., guests wait for Foundation Social Eatery to open so they can belly up to the bar for a happy hour cocktail. And what better drink to start with than the Golden Hour, made with Cathead Honeysuckle vodka, white grapefruit, apricot liquor, thyme, and Cocci Americano. “I like to always have an herbal note in our cocktails,” said Hassiotis, who runs the beverage program and crafts the cocktail menu. “It’s a great place [on the menu] to start.” The whole drink menu is progressive, he explained. “It starts light, bright, and approachable, and then moves onto more heavy and intense flavors as you move down the menu.”  

If wine or beer is more your speed, there are plenty of local and national canned and draught beers, plus a robust selection of Old and New World wines from which to choose. 

Mushroom ravioli.
Mushroom ravioli.
Crisp Spanish octopus.
Crisp Spanish octopus.

2. Take it all in steps.

Served with truffled egg salad, caviar, and challah, the shareable smoked salmon belly starts your meal off with a little bit of luxury. “It feels like the fanciest egg salad sandwich you’ve ever had,” said Hassiotis. “Chef almost didn’t put it on the menu — but it’s been one of the most complimented dishes since day one.” If you’re looking for a classic FSE dish to start, the crisp Spanish octopus is another one Hassiotis recommends. Served with fingerling potatoes, chorizo, lemon, cilantro, and chicken, it’s a former FSE favorite that made its way onto the new menu, much to diners’ delight.

You almost can’t talk about Foundation Social Eatery without mentioning the mushroom ravioli. Another menu favorite that makes a grand reappearance on the new menu, the delicate ravioli comes with a Port wine truffle sauce and Grana Padano, and can be served either as an appetizer or entrée size. Whichever size you choose, make sure to also add the bread service, so you can soak up every last drop of that port wine truffle sauce. If you’re interested in a new pasta dish, Hassiotis recommends the turnip and ricotta tortelli. Served with confit duck, pickled mushroom, mustard, and bread crumbs, it’s a light and fresh pasta dish that is a nice complement to any culinary journey you’re taking.  

Also, the gorgeous confit lamb neck for two will inspire you to snap a picture. “It’s one of the most impressive looking plates of food — and it’s delicious,” said Hassiotis. The lamb comes with Pecorino herbed fingerling potatoes, grilled rapini, and Calabrian honey, with lamb jus. 

For a vegetarian option, try the king trumpet “scallops,” made with the stocks of trumpet mushrooms. And in terms of dietary restrictions or requirement, the team at FSE can accommodate, so let your server know any allergies or requests. “Our cuisine as it comes uses a lot of butter; we can sub for oil or vegetable stock easily if we know what’s required,” he added. 

Scallops over celery root purée.
Scallops over celery root purée.
Scallops over celery root purée.
Scallops over celery root purée.

3. Save room for the Red Berries St. Honoré (and an espresso martini). 

A choux pastry with crème diplomat and ruby chocolate, the Red Berries St. Honoré is a fun twist on a traditional dessert — and Hassiotis’ personal favorite. “It’s delectable,” he said. But if you must have chocolate, try to the Opera Cake. Made with almond flour, prevalent in French baking, this dish comes gluten free.   

And that drink list we mentioned? It doesn’t stop when you get to dessert. FSE offers nightcaps like espresso martinis and after dinner drinks like ports, madeira, and sauternes.   

4. Up next: brunch and Petite FSE.

Foundation’s brunch launched on Jan. 29, and takes place Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Look for braised beef hash, seasonal benedicts, and the chef’s take on a Big Mac, alongside brunch cocktails like bloody Mary, corpse reviver, and an apéritif cocktail called Stumbled In from the Hotel, featuring Hotel Starlino and sparkling wine.  

And coming soon, look for a daytime market called Petite FSE with grab-and-go sandwiches, coffee, and takeaway food with counter service.  

The dining room at Foundation Social Eatery.
The dining room at Foundation Social Eatery.
The dining room at Foundation Social Eatery.
All that’s missing from FSE’s tables is you.

5. A new beginning for an ATL favorite.

Overall, Hassiotis and the entire FSE team are thrilled to be in their new home on Roswell Street in Alpharetta and look forward to continued success. “This is the same Foundation but with a step up in execution. We hit the ground running to meet everyone’s expectations — and the response has been great. It feels like the right move and the right call to be here.” 


FSE reservations are open on Resy. Hassiotis recommends booking two weeks out for weekend reservations and 2-3 days in advance during the week. Brunch reservations are available Sundays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.