Mega-restaurateur Ford Fry has another Atlanta restaurant up his sleeve. Fry, whose empire has stretched beyond the Peach State to Texas, Tennessee, and North Carolina in recent years, is working on a new Tex-Mex spot in Piedmont Heights. The restaurant will take over the former Anchor Bar & Tattoo space at 1878 Piedmont Avenue NE.
Fry hasn’t decided on a name yet, but it won’t be Superica or The El Felix, his existing Tex-Mex brands. This project will be more casual with counter service and an eye toward cuisine that is a bit healthier. Lunch and dinner menus will be centered around wood-roasted chicken for al carbon tacos, housemade flour tortillas, fresh salsas, and “nutritious sides.” Playing off Superica’s weekend-morning hours, Fry is considering a selection of breakfast tacos throughout the week.
“I just don't see places in Atlanta really doing breakfast tacos,” Fry tells Eater Atlanta. “In Austin, you find them everywhere. I think Atlanta could use that.”
The beverage program be a simple list of beers, margaritas, and other Mexican cocktails. Orders will be taken at the main counter, but there will be a secondary service bar or window that will allow thirsty patrons to skip the food line and order refills.
To-go service will be a big part of the business model: whole chickens and fixings for dinner and packs of breakfast tacos to take to the office in the morning. Whether diners are eating in or taking away, the idea is to get a good meal quickly.
“Growing up in Houston, there were a lot of places where I could go, and you'd walk through a line and they'd call your name,” Fry says. “The food was just fantastic, and it was very easy to get in and out.”
Fry and his team are planning an extensive renovation to the space, which covers around 3,500 square feet. The restaurant will have a distinct “Austin vibe,” which translates to painted brick walls, lush landscaping, patios, and lots of open-air seating. It will start as a one-off, but if its successful, expansion plans will likely follow in the footsteps of Superica and El Felix. The early timeline calls for a summer 2018 opening.
Fry currently operates 10 restaurants in Atlanta: No. 246 in Decatur; The El Felix in Alpharetta; BeetleCat and Superica in Inman Park; Marcel, JCT. Kitchen & Bar, and The Optimist in Westside; and St. Cecilia, King + Duke, and a second Superica in Buckhead. A second El Felix outpost is opening soon at Cobb County’s Battery development that lies adjacent to SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves.
Correction: Fry’s forthcoming restaurant is in Piedmont Heights, across Piedmont Avenue from Morningside.
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