City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Ebony Austin of Nouveau Restaurant & Bar

A New Kind of Boss

Article by Kristen Wright Matthews

Originally published in SOFU Lifestyle

It has become a trend for large employers to build affordable housing nearby job sites to attract and retain workers. But one Southwest Atlanta restaurateur has taken an enormous order and is taking it a step further. Ebony Austin, the owner of Nouveau Restaurant & Bar, which currently has locations in College Park and Jonesboro, is building a community for her team while simultaneously building the communities she serves. 

Recently closing on development property, Austin plans to build a community of affordable homes to help her team members realize the dream of homeownership. The project's first phase will consist of 12 new townhomes slated to open in Fall 2023.

"By the time this phase is done, they will be qualified and ready to move in," says a proud Austin.   

Team members are currently participating in workshops to teach them about debt, helping them to purchase their own homes. Driven by gratitude for all she has accomplished and the faith of a mustard seed, Ebony Austin says she strives to be the change she wants to see in the world. But she doesn't just talk the talk—this serial entrepreneur and extraordinary human being also walks the walk, and the giving doesn't stop with her employees. 

"Every month, I make sure Nouveau is giving back," says Austin. From discounts to residents, delivering free meals to those in need, holiday toy drives, and scholarships for HBCU students, Austin puts philanthropy and friendly service at the forefront of her businesses.

"Everything I do, I try to make it an experience," says Austin. From the ambiance of her establishments, music and decor to her interactions with customers, she pours her all into making everyone feel special and want to return.

"The Nouveau Experience is a vibe," says Austin. "I am interested in building relationships with customers like on the show, ‘Cheers.’" When she gives, she takes pride in going above and beyond just providing to creating a WOW factor.

"When I give kids toys for Christmas, I don't just want to give them anything; I want to make their dreams come true," says Austin.  

An HBCU grad, Austin hosted a simple Instagram challenge with no restrictions for students attending HBCUs. Everyone who participated was granted gifts ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 toward their college tuition. Twenty-eight winners received over $60,000 last summer, bringing this initiative's total to over $100,000 in scholarships. Additionally, in March Austin launched a new line of stone-ground grits available nationwide via Shopify and on-site at both locations. The first product under Ebony's Nouveau Creations umbrella comes in three flavors: Original, Garlic and Herb, and Jalapeño and Cheddar, and all proceeds go to support HBCUs.

"It's my way of giving back and thanking God," says Austin.  

With a team of over 100 employees, Austin understands what excellent leadership is, and it's not about wearing a crown but building up the people around you. To do that, you must trust and empower your team members so every part of the ecosystem can grow.

"The key to having a successful business is having a great team, and I am so grateful for the team that sits right beside me." Ebony Austin is an absolute boss who realizes there is no I in TEAM. Because of that, she will keep winning in business and life.  

The food is also spectacular at Nouveau Restaurant & Bar, as the brand has gained buzz as an Atlanta hotspot on the lounge and fine dining landscape. Try the restaurant's signature dish, the Seafood & Grits, Nouveau Creation's stone-ground grits topped with shrimp, salmon, crab, bell peppers and onions, and Chef Ebony's signature Cajun sauce served in a martini glass.

For more information, visit 

Kristen Wright Matthews is a publicist, author, wife and mother of two young changemakers, CJ (15) and Kollin (6). When not working on projects for clients, she is busy building her family's legacy with Blankies 4 My Buddies.