In January 2009, my husband Ryan and I started an underground supper club called Staplehouse. Every Sunday, we hosted 10 guests for dinner at our home in Grant Park. We built many strong and lasting relationships—and shared some pretty amazing food and stories along the way.

On Labor Day weekend of 2009, we hosted ‘Tacos at Hidinger’s’ and had 200 guests over for a whole pig roast in our backyard. We served handcrafted drinks, fresh tacos, and scratch pazole. It was a memorable night that kicked off a series of successful dinner parties and events. The next year we teamed up with Brick Store Pub to host an intimate 40-guest family style dinner. That fall, we partnered with Love is Love Farm to create a feast for 45 people. We had so much momentum, and we dreamed about opening a restaurant one day.

Then, everything changed.

On December 21, 2012, Ryan was diagnosed with Stage IV gallbladder cancer. The cancer had spread to spread to 90% of his liver and a portion of his lungs. He had a less than 5% chance of survival and only 6 months to live. He was 35. Overnight, everything we were working toward came to a screeching halt. Nothing else mattered. Staplehouse was put on permanent hold.

In the weeks that followed, our friends, family, and Ryan's cancer treatment family surrounded us with a tidal wave of love and support that forever changed our perspective on life. We started talking about the restaurant again, along with Kara Hidinger and Ryan Smith. A middle of the night email from Ryan Turner of Muss & Turner’s, where Ryan had been chef for 8 years, added the final jolt of energy we needed to revisit the dream. 


He offered his support, and we knew that Staplehouse had to become a reality. But this time, it would be re-imagined to tell a story of hope and positivity, and to help support the industry that had been so good to us.

So we got to work finding the best care for Ryan while Ryan Turner, family and friends did what people in our industry do best, they formed a committee and planned an event called Team Hidi that raised $275,000 to aid in our medical battle, thanks to the generosity of our community. It was that night that propelled the intent for The Giving Kitchen which we co-founded in 2013. The Giving Kitchen provides emergency assistance grants to Metro-Atlanta restaurant workers who face unexpected hardship.

We lost Ryan in January of 2014, however his legacy is alive in Staplehouse and The Giving Kitchen. We officially opened the doors to Staplehouse in September of 2015, and every bit of the restaurant’s profits after taxes go to The Giving Kitchen.

Staplehouse isn’t meant to be the one and only place you go to eat or drink, but when you come in, we hope you’ll feel like a guest in our family’s home. We want to offer you an experience, matched with great food and beverage that you’ll remember for years to come. And we’re doing it all for cause we care deeply about.


- Jen Hidinger