The Team

Chef Sam Herndon - Head of Culinary, Travel Chef

Sam grew up in Tucker, GA right outside of Atlanta. He began his career in food washing dishes and delivering food for a catering company when he was 19. While earning his degree in Economics at Georgia State University he worked at Bacchanalia, one of Atlanta’s quintessential restaurants. After college, he spent time as the executive chef at a seasonal restaurant in Northeast Harbor, ME, taught English in Madrid, Spain and was a consultant with a restaurant group in Washington D.C.. With his return to Atlanta, he joined the team at Empire State South where he worked as Chef de Cuisine for three years. After that, he moved on to the highly acclaimed Staplehouse in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood of Atlanta, where he joined their team as Chef de Cuisine. Hugh is happy to have Sam as a part of his team and believes him to be one of the smartest chefs he’s ever known.

Steve Grubbs

Steven Grubbs is Wine Director and Sommelier for both Empire State South in Atlanta, GA and Five & Ten in Athens, GA. He has worked with Chef Hugh Acheson since Five & Ten's beginning in 2000--first hired as a busser, then moving up to server. Eventually, Acheson handed him the reins of the wine program, and in 2010 they partnered in opening Empire State South, for which Grubbs was named Sommelier Of The Year by Food & Wine Magazine. He has since been named a James Beard Award Semifinalist seven times and is a writer, published in Food & Wine, Time, and Punch.



Kathryn DiMenichi

Before taking on the role of Beverage Director at Mount Royal and Spaceman Kathryn DiMenichi owned and operated Cardinal and Third Street Goods, sister companies located in Atlanta’s Grant Park neighborhood. Third Street goods, a market with a breakfast and lunch counter. Cardinal, a cocktail bar and restaurant nestled behind the market, was featured in the May/June 2020 issue of Imbibe magazine “Generation Next - Atlanta’s cocktail culture shifts into next gear”. Prior to opening her business she ran notable cocktail programs at Octopus bar and LEONs full service, as well as the food program at Spiller Park Coffee. 

Alongside her 20+ years of restaurant experience in every front of house and back of house position, Kathryn has strong interest in design, art and gardening.