In the mix: Chef Jacob Hunter of The Daily

Chef Jacob Hunter

We caught up with Chef Jacob Hunter, who heads the kitchen at The Daily in West Midtown. The go-to coffee shop and coffee place serving hearty breakfast burritos, avocado toast, vegetable bowls and more is expanding to Inman Park later this year and to Buckhead in 2023. Hunter dishes on the ambiance of his kitchen, where he loves to hang out with his family, and shares his playlist selected, which you can listen to below.

What drew you to The Daily and how has your previous experience as a chef/culinary director informed the menu?

I loved the fact that it’s a place you can visit every day, no pun intended. Deli has something for everyone. Small, narrow menu with healthy options, but you can still get bacon, eggs and cheese, albeit pimento cheese. I draw from all of life’s experiences – from past positions as a food truck and burger shop owner to eating out at unique and funky fresh joints. At The Daily, we strive for a mix of healthy, fun, seasonal, accessible and delicious foods.

The Daily has been known for its delicious food menu, but also for hosting popups on a regular basis. How do popups complement your list and do you think these types of collaborations are here to stay?

I think the popups are a nocturnal extension of our menu because we are open during the restaurant’s “banker hours”, as I like to say. They’re a great counterpart to The Daily – serving the same ideals as our food, but in an evening environment. We’re looking for people who have similarities to us about food and drink – local when possible, sustainable, fun, healthy, intimidating and most importantly delicious.

Popups are here to stay if we can find people who want to appear. We love to make space for ideas to take shape and happen, and that’s what the popup is for me. We are here to support local businesses and we want to see concepts grow. You haven’t fully named the mortar space you want to open as you try things out before you take the plunge while you’re finishing your menu, lively, serving, etc.

When you’re not in the kitchen at The Daily, what are some of your favorite restaurants and hangouts at ATL?

Well, since I have two young children, my wife and I don’t go out as often as we’d like. But I would say #1 on my list of favorites is Little Bear in Summerhill. Jarrett is one of the most creative chefs I have truly met. The ambiance, food, and decor at Little Bear is the complete package. If we’re with boys, we frequent Zoo Atlana or O4W Skatepark (my 6 year old son loves to skate). We love Lloyd’s and always try to get to Buford Highway when we get the chance – many great food options and endless supply of dumplings and pasta for me and my boys, Cash and Teddy.

What is a must-visit landmark where you can visit friends or family?

Georgia Aquarium. I’m a sucker for an aquarium. Or the Atlanta United game – so much fun. I always say Buford Highway Farmers Market, too. I know it’s not seen as an attraction, but for anyone visiting in the industry (or not), I try to take them to see all the cool items from around the world.

Do you listen to music in the kitchen? What is your taste in cooking?

I generally don’t unless I cook at home. While in service, it can be distracting from calling in requests. Plus trying to play something that six different people and characters agree on can be a daunting task.

The cooking atmosphere is very relaxing. As I get older, it gets simpler and simpler but always the goal is delicious. At home, we try to set up a different kitchen every night to see what the kids will try.

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