Patel is the co-owner of SP2 Hospitality, which operates The Pine, The Root, Pub on Main, 11th Pin and upcoming tequila and taco bar El Barrio. He also co-owns Five Points Bottle Shop, voted best liquor store in Athens by readers of The Red & Black.
Tell us about your newest project.
Our tequila and taco bar in Five Points is called El Barrio, which means “the neighborhood” in Spanish. Our big thing has always been eating and drinking together, because at the end of the day our job is to be hospitable.
How has Athens changed since you entered the food scene?
Because you have a college population of 30,000 that never grows old, it’s pretty spectacular. The scene is flowing, often with a trend of what that year’s crop is bringing.
Where do you go when not at one of your restaurants?
I try to keep it low-key. The gas station taco joint or the corner hole in the wall, those appeal to me. I think those restaurants offer the best value for your dollar, and they are often family run.
This article originally appeared in the spring 2019 Visitors Guide