Executive Chef and Owner
Chef Nick Leahy is the partner and Executive Chef behind Nick’s Westside Neighborhood and Bar and Chicken Out, the new chef-inspired, delivery-only chicken concept in Atlanta.
Spending much of his childhood in France’s Provence region, Chef Nick likes to say that his earliest memories were of flavors. The French half of his family followed the age-old custom of eating with the seasons, selecting only fresh, local ingredients. But, over time, the South of France has also absorbed cultural traditions from Italy, Spain and North Africa. It’s the perfect place to appreciate the multi-cultural nuances reflected in Chef Nick’s approach to cooking. Add His time spent in Bermuda and London and you begin to understand the timeless techniques Nick celebrates in his kitchen today.
In 2018, Chef Leahy opened the Provencal-style restaurant, AIX, and adjoining wine bar, Tin Tin, in Atlanta’s hot West Midtown neighborhood. Both AIX and Tin Tin brought the flavors of his beloved French countryside to Atlanta’s Westside, offering twists on classic Provençal dishes with a Mediterranean flair.
While AIX and Tin Tin were popular fine dining restaurants since opening, the COVID-19 pandemic challenged Chef Leahy to think about the needs of the neighborhood, which like the rest of the country, changed dramatically, with many restaurants shifting to simpler concepts conducive to take away or delivery.
In October 2020, Chef Leahy closed AIX and Tin Tin, partly due to the impact of the pandemic, but also to pivot away from occasional fine dining. Seamlessly and in the same month, Chef Leahy opened Nick’s Westside in the space previously occupied by AIX and Tin Tin.
The new restaurant, the interior of which was thoughtfully updated by Atlanta-based Starling Studio, was born out of the desire to create more of a neighborhood place for guests to gather regularly to enjoy good food and make everyday memories.
Chef Leahy was lauded for his ability to create inventive, globally influenced, and locally sourced cuisine throughout his culinary career. At Nick’s Westside, Chef Leahy has created a more approachable, broad-appealed menu that highlights Georgia’s small producers and features fresh, sustainably sourced ingredients.
Nick’s Westside also features special events, such as a pop-up beer collaboration with local brewery Creature Comforts and an international wine dinner series.
In December 2020, to meet the demand for local meal deliveries and capitalize on the growing trend of ghost kitchens, Chef Leahy launched Chicken Out. This chef-inspired, delivery only chicken concept operates out of Nick’s Westside kitchen and utilizes a Big Green Egg outside of the restaurant to smoke wings.
The all chicken menu featuring Springer Mountain Farms chicken also includes a slate of six side dishes from mac and cheese, caramelized onion, and cheddar bechamel to sauteed seasonal vegetables.
Prior to Nick’s Westside, Chicken Out, AIX, and Tin Tin, Chef Leahy was the chef-owner of Buckhead’s popular tapas-style restaurant, Saltyard. His illustrious career also spans some of Atlanta’s most iconic restaurant groups, including Concentrics Restaurants and Fifth Group Restaurants.
Chef Leahy is a passionate supporter of many charitable and local organizations such as Georgia Grown, No Kid Hungry, The James Beard Foundation, and The Giving Kitchen. Most notably, Chef Leahy holds the honor of being the first chef ever to be elected to Meals on Wheels Atlanta’s Board of Trustees.
In his free time, Chef Leahy enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife, Danielle, along with his two daughters and their dog, Lilly Bean.
General Manager and Beverage Director
As the General Manager and Beverage Director for Nick’s Westside, Matthew Gibbons plays an integral part in the development of the restaurant’s extensive beverage program as well as the management of day-to-day restaurant operations.
Gibbons showcases his passion for cocktail artistry while overseeing an expansive list of rare and unique wine offerings, including creatively pairing varietals with various cuisines.
At Nick’s Westside, he is responsible for curating a robust local beer selection, and a number of custom cocktails utilizing a diverse range of liqueurs, fortified wines, organic sodas, and flavored CBD sparkling waters. He also develops wine pairings for the international wine dinner series that has become a fixture at Nick’s Westside since its opening in October 2020.
Gibbons first joined Chef Nick Leahy’s bar team at the Provencal-style restaurant, AIX, and adjoining wine bar, Tin Tin, in December 2018. He quickly caught the eye of Chef Leahy after he created a French-driven cocktail program for AIX and a celebrated wine program for Tin Tin paired alongside lower-ABV cocktails. He was appointed Beverage Director in June 2019.
During the COVID Pandemic, Gibbons created the takeout wine and infused-spirits program for AIX. When Chef Leahy made the decision to close AIX and Tin Tin and open Nick’s Westside, Gibbons worked closely with Chef Leahy to develop the new restaurant’s cocktail, beer, and wine program.
In December 2020, Gibbons was named General Manager of Nick’s Westside, while also retaining the title of Beverage Director.
Gibbons is a respected voice in the mixology community, having led more than 50 virtual wine tastings and mixology demos during the pandemic for leading companies, including Google, Spotify, and Apple.
A Georgia native, Gibbons was first introduced to the hospitality industry while working at acclaimed Decatur restaurant, Cakes & Ale. It was there he was first fully immersed in the world of wine and craft cocktails. Gibbons would go on to serve as a bartender at multiple Castellucci Hospitality Group concepts including Cooks & Soldiers, Double Zero, Sugo and the Iberian Pig in Decatur.
When he’s not creating cocktails behind the bar, Gibbons can be found listening to podcasts, taking care of his two cats, Frida and Frederic, and dreaming of a time when he can once again travel across the country to attend music festivals.