The team behind The General Muir, Fred’s Meat & Bread, Yalla, and The Canteen is opening Wood’s Chapel BBQ on Georgia Avenue in Summerhill. The 5200-square-foot restaurant from chef Todd Ginsberg, Shelley Sweet, and Jennifer and Ben Johnson will be located at 85 Georgia Avenue in the shadow of the Georgia State University stadium (formerly Turner Field). They plan to open in late 2018.
Wood’s Chapel, named for one of the first churches established in the community following the Civil War, will serve whole hog and brisket barbecue smoked in wood-fired pits.
“Our goal with Wood’s Chapel is similar to what we have done at The General Muir,” Ginsberg said, “[to] honor traditional dishes with a high level of execution while at the same time pushing some boundaries with peoples’ expectations of what this type of restaurant can be.”
Ginsberg told Eater Atlanta that in addition to barbecue plates, Wood’s Chapel will offer sandwiches like fried, smoked catfish, a barbecue-inspired Cuban sandwich, brisket grilled cheese, and lamb belly cemita or torta. Bread for the sandwiches will be supplied by TGM Bread. Desserts from Ben Johnson’s family are slated to be on the menu, and a weekend brunch is planned.
Summerhill was chosen as the site for the group’s next restaurant in part because of its deep roots in the African American and Jewish communities in Atlanta. The area was established in 1865 by freed slaves and Jewish immigrants. The church for which the restaurant is named was founded in 1866. The Washington-Rawson neighborhood, adjacent to Summerhill, later became home to a thriving Jewish community which included The Temple (Hebrew Benevolent Congregation) and Piedmont Sanitarium, the original Piedmont Hospital.
Owner Ben Johnson has a personal connection to the community, “My father was born in Summerhill in the old Piedmont Hospital. I grew up going to Braves games at Atlanta-Fulton County stadium with my father and, together, watched Hank Aaron hit number 715.”
Georgia Avenue is currently undergoing major redevelopment by real estate investment firm Carter in partnership with Oakwood Development and Healey Weatherholtz Properties. The mixed-use district will be anchored by Georgia State as part of an effort to revitalize four blocks of the historic community that will include restaurants, shops, some student housing, and apartments.
Johnson added, “This is a proud area with a rich history that has taken a lot of hits, but refuses to stay down.”
Halfway Crooks Brewing is also slated to open at 60 Georgia Avenue, a couple of blocks down from Wood’s Chapel some time this summer.
- All General Muir news [EATL]
- At Summerhill redevelopment, local brewery Halfway Crooks tapped as debut tenant [Curbed ATL]
- Inside Summerhill’s historic commercial strip as redevelopment begins [Curbed ATL]