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Otis Sallid and Dave Green

Dave Green and Otis Sallid team up for Damsel, a cabaret and supper club at The Works!

Otis Sallid and Dave Green
Otis Sallid and Dave Green

Dave Green and Otis Sallid are quite a pair. The former, owner of The Select in Sandy Springs, has worked in restaurants since high school. The latter is a prolific choreographer, producer and director who has been associated with performers from Debbie Allen and Mariah Carey to Spike Lee and Stevie Wonder. Together, the unlikely duo created a 10,000-square-foot supper club and cabaret called Damsel. Located at The Works in Upper Westside, Damsel offers an immersive theatrical experience with top-shelf food and drinks in a striking atmosphere designed by Atlantan Smith Hanes.

“It’s a feast for the senses,” Sallid says.

“We have amazing Broadway talent and production quality. I don’t think there’s anything like it in the country,” Green adds.

Here they share their story.

Tell me about the cabaret.

SALLID: It’s stories of love, happiness, jealousy, betrayal and lust. It’s about art and culture. Each performance has its own story. It could be a [“Sing, Sing, Sing”] 1940s moment, something by Janet Jackson or something from a tango with a cellist. We have five or six dancers and one singer.

GREEN: It’s not an old-style cabaret with a two-and-a-half-hour show and no time to spend with your guests. Classy and sexy is the approach. At 6 p.m. it starts. There’s a three- to five-minute performance, then 12 to 15 minutes before the next one. In between each, the lights go up and down for food and drink. This goes on until 11 p.m.

How does ordering work?

DG: There’s a constant delivery of food, all elevated share plates. It’s like going to a billionaire’s hors d’oeuvres party. You get a welcome platter with charcuterie, cheese, vegetables and hummus. You can pre-select drinks, and they keep coming. It overwhelms the senses.

What type of food is served?

DG: It’s like a flexible prix fixe with high-end stuff: cucumber cups full of crab, spring rolls with tuna made into a bouquet, truffle arancini, crispy cones of lobster meat and coin-sized beef Wellington. You have a two-hour reservation for the table and can choose items based on the experience [price point] you sign up for. Afterwards, you don’t have to leave. You can go to the bar and watch the show (no reservations needed). There’s an upstairs room for [club] members and a covered/ uncovered rooftop open to the public where you can get dessert like flambé from a cart. At midnight, these chef-manned carts shift to serving breakfast. After 11 p.m. on weekends, the cabaret room turns into a ’70s-’90s dance club.

Where did you get your inspiration for Damsel?

DG: We went to LA and Vegas, St. Barts and Paris—any place that would be informative. OS: Some places had great talent but not great food; some had bad lighting. Here, we bring all the elements together.

How do you two collaborate?

OS: We are so similar it’s crazy. This is a living, breathing, moving project. We had a lot of conversations to make sure we’re on the same page.

DG: I have tremendous respect for Otis as a man and as an artist. We’ve gotten to know each other, and I’ve gotten to know his wife. In LA, Otis surprised me with a visit to the set of “Grey’s Anatomy.” We applied his approach to his art to choreograph the entire experience at Damsel. He brought in the right people for a full, rich sound. You don’t just hear it; you feel it. It becomes part of a very deep experience.


PHOTO: Erik Meadows

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