The restaurant known today as “THE CHASTAIN,” began as a country store which once existed alongside Powers Ferry Road in the days when it was still just a dusty dirt trail. Today, swank neighborhoods exist on what once was fertile farmland. An early entrepreneur named John Adam Langford purchased 200 acres in this vicinity to grow corn, cotton, and sorghum cane. He also planted an orchard of apple, plum, pear, and fig trees, and he built a small store where he sold canned goods, flour and other staples. Unfortunately, Mr. Langford was too lenient with credit and when too many customers failed to pay, his store folded. In the 1930s, it was demolished when Powers Ferry was widened. Some years later, another Langford caught the family itch for retailing, and re-erected the store near its original site. In this tiny country grocery—which today is the bar area of THE CHASTAIN— Langford later sold hot dogs and hamburgers and other groceries as he expanded his small business.
Other tenants later operated the Langford store, one of which expanded the site to include a two-pump gasoline service station. By the early 1940s, Bill Daly—who had owned Daly’s Health Club in downtown Atlanta—now leased the little grocery/eatery. Following a round of golf, invariably the hungry players stopped in to buy a sandwich, or homemade barbecue. In 1946, with Daly’s business flourishing from post-war recreationists, he enlarged the store with a dining annex, and the place became a full-fledged restaurant. A passion for horses prompted Daly to furnish his new restaurant (by then called “Bill Daly’s Red Barn”) in a style reminiscent of a stable. Individual dining areas were partitioned to resemble horse stalls, and a variety of horse tack and equestrian gear and Kentucky Derby photos added to the atmosphere.
After Daly’s death in the early 1960s, the Langford family sold the restaurant to Stefan and Kirsten Popescu who had previously helped manage the establishment. The Popescu’s changed little of Daly’s décor, only altering the name to “Red Barn Inn”. They kept the dark, beamed, carefully cluttered ambience which included an eight-point moose head in the foyer, red and white tablecloths; and a cozy fireplace hung with coach lamps and copper kitchen pots.
Steve Alterman purchased the historic eatery in 1994, naming it Horseradish Grill which operated until 2020, earning local, regional and national recognition and working with many people who moved on to become stars in the culinary world such as the famed southern chefs Scott Peacock and Gerry Klaskala. In 2020, Alterman handed over the reins of the property to the current operators, who undertook an extensive updating of the structure, public spaces and décor to ensure its existence for future generations.
Today, THE CHASTAIN continues to service the neighborhood in which it resides by offering refined comfort food in an approachable, yet sophisticated atmosphere where the outdoor gardens seem to make their way into the dining room through the large expansive windows. The Garden has been refurbished from days past and even includes a few fruit trees reminiscent of John Adam Langford’s original fruit trees that he had on the same farmland all those years ago.
Building THE CHASTAIN has been a project of passion and sustainability. Chef Christopher Grossman and his opening team invested much time and expense to maintain the soul of the building while making sure it could be passed to the next generation. As with any relic there were many challenges which sometimes meant they were unable to save certain elements. However, the team feels proud the soul and property is now set up to create many more memories for the generations who follow.