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Russian Renovations: Nikolai’s Roof in Atlanta Gets a Makeover

Nikolais Roof
Image used with permission by copyright holder

In case you didn’t know, the Atlanta culinary scene is expanding and progressing at a rapid rate.  Over the past year, innovative restaurant after innovative restaurant have opened all over the city, which has created a highly competitive and creative atmosphere in “Hotlanta.”

To keep up with the field, the famed and iconic restaurant, Nikolai’s Roof, located on the 30th floor of the Hilton Atlanta is undergoing a $1 million dollar renovation to update their look. Nikolai’s is known for its panoramic views of the city, ambiance, impeccable dining staff, as well as a traditional, ruby red and gilded aesthetic that is akin to New York’s Russian Tea Room. After nearly forty years of business, the restaurant has decided to go out with the old and in with the new.

The renovations will still keep in line with the Russian theme. The restaurant’s manager, Daniel Rudiger, explains that the new design (drawn up by Atlanta architecture firm CMMI) will call to mind “icy Russian winters”, featuring decorative tiles that give the appearance of cracked ice and a color palette with plenty of “whites and cool grays” for a relaxed feel. Nikolai’s long-standing clients (of which it has many) will be “astonished and amazed” by the all-new look of the restaurant—especially the intertwining glass chandeliers that hang overhead, adding to the icy, calm aesthetic.

However, patrons have nothing to fear where the menu is concerned. Rudiger says that Nikolai’s will still be serving such mainstays as their famous pierogies, borscht, herb-crusted rack of lamb, and the Grand Mariner soufflé. But Stephanie Alderete, the restaurant’s chef, wants to update and improve the overall presentation of each of her dishes to more fully align with the forward-thinking cooking that is occurring all over the city. In addition, all prices on the menu are going to be lowered 15% upon the restaurant’s re-opening.

Nikolai’s closed late in 2013 and the plan is for a soft re-opening at the end of February. Diners can look forward to new “dining niches”, one of which, Rudiger explains “will be surrounded by floor to ceiling wine cabinets for wine dinners and larger party functions.” The restaurant will now also be offering three, four and six course prix fixe menus in addition to their standard, top-level, a la carte fare.

Classics are classics for a reason, but improving on a tried and true aesthetic is something all the more admirable. That’s what Mr. Rudiger and Ms. Alderete are looking to do with the renovation of Nikolai’s rooftop. For all you ATL natives out there, we’ve already got a good feeling.

Matt Domino
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Matt Domino is a writer living in Brooklyn. His fiction has appeared in Slice and The Montreal Review, while his non-fiction…
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