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5&10 Serves Up Diversity in the Five Points Neighborhood

By Elisha Neubauer

Athens, Georgia is full of life, art, culture, and of course, plenty of exciting food. So, in this menagerie of unique eateries, what does 5&10 have that sets it apart? To start, it is situated in a beautiful Southern house in the Five Points neighborhood, giving it a stunning vintage appeal. Secondly, this renowned restaurant blends authentic Southern flavors with a modern twist. It is this combination that creates a distinctive palatable encounter unlike any other.

In the tail end of 1999, Melissa Clegg stumbled upon an aging restaurant space in the eclectic Five Points neighborhood in Athens. It was then that she decided to reach out to her former business partner, and up-and-coming Chef, Hugh Acheson, regarding the space. "Melissa and I had a shared vision of creating a community restaurant serving great food and beverage," explained Acheson. "I was in San Francisco at the time and wanted to make a change. Pretty simple!"

Clegg and Acheson set to work, designing a one-of-a-kind menu and ambiance for the starter restaurant. When it came time to name their project, they both quickly agreed upon the perfect nomenclature. "The name is an ode to the neighborhood but also to a 5 & Dime store that was next door to where the restaurant opened," Acheson tells us. Since opening in March of 2000, the quaint dining spot has moved, upgrading to a larger, yet cozier, location, although opting to remain in its original neighborhood.

The main draw to 5&10, however, isn't its history, but its menu. Unlike any other, 5&10's menu has been painstakingly crafted by the best in the business. Owner and Chef, Hugh Acheson, has been in the industry since he was fifteen years old. Since then, he has been granted a multitude of awards, including Food & Wine's Best New Chef (2002), the Atlanta Journal Constitution Restaurant of the Year (2007), a James Beard winner for Best Chef Southeast in 2012, a 2007 Rising Star and 2012 winner of the Mentor Chef award from StarChefs.com. Acheson competed on Bravo's Top Chef Masters and has since returned as a judge in seasons 9 through 12.

Acheson isn't the only rock star in the 5&10 kitchen, either. He is joined by Executive Chef Jason Zygmont and Pastry Chef Mike Sutton. Zygmont learned the art of cooking on a globetrotting expedition that took him into some of the best kitchens across the world. Sutton studied the art of Pastry under the tutelage of Shae Rehmel and adopted a passion for using local, seasonal ingredients in his productions.

Since launching 5&10, Acheson has gone on to open The National, Empire State South, The Florence, and Spiller Park Coffee, but his flagship restaurant continues to uphold his original intentions from when it all began. "It represents our continual quest to provide a community restaurant within our town," Acheson details. "Athens is a fantastic town. It is full of life and art and culture and is the perfect size. It is circled by wonderful farms and has a very engaged population. We like feeding those wonderful people."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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