Madison Yards, a large restaurant and retail development currently under construction on Memorial Drive, will soon be home to a Hooters wing shop called Hoots this summer, according to real estate blog Tomorrow’s News Today. And, some Reynoldstown residents are not happy.
The complex is being developed by commercial development firm Fuqua at the corner of Bill Kennedy Way and Memorial Drive in Reynoldstown, across from Golden Eagle. The complex includes an AMC theatre, Publix, Taqueria Tsunami, Marlow’s Tavern, a second location of Steel City Pops, and a previously announced restaurant from the owners of Char Korean in Inman Park.
This is the second Hoots to open in the nation. The first shop is located in Cicero, Illinois, a suburb west of Chicago. Unlike Hooters, Hoots employs female and male servers who wear polo or v-neck shirts and khakis rather than the “Hooters girl” attire of short shorts and tank top. The wing shop is counter-service only and apparently does a brisk takeout business, selling mostly wings, chicken sandwiches, and fried pickles.
Concern expressed on Facebook, Reddit, and Nextdoor seems to center around not only the Hooters brand — which also serves Pepsi products — but the possible suburbanization of the in-town neighborhood. The general feeling is Fuqua didn’t go far enough with bringing in more locally-owned or diverse restaurants and retail at the complex, or courting local wings brands like J.R. Crickets.
Fuqua states on its website they have a “leadership team that is as vast and diverse as the urban retail mixed-use supercenters they develop” and are “committed to enhancing neighborhoods and communities by investing in what are often considered marginal or transitional areas.”
Other Fuqua developments Atlantans are likely familiar with include Northside and 17th near Atlantic Station, North Decatur’s Decatur Crossing, and Cobb County’s The Battery Atlanta at SunTrust Park.
Some residents are also concerned about the rising cost of housing in the area due to Madison Yards and other nearby developments along Memorial Drive.
This increasingly trafficked and transforming stretch of Memorial Drive is also part of the Eastside Beltline corridor. The trail will pass by Madison Yards. Just three blocks west of the complex, Pace Properties is redeveloping the old Atlanta Dairies to include many local restaurants and retail like a second location of Decatur’s Three Taverns Brewery, Thrive Farmers coffee cafe, a yet-named barbecue restaurant, a concert hall from the owners of Little Five Points’ Variety Playhouse, and a diner from the owners of Bon Ton and King of Pops.
Larkin on Memorial, a low-density complex across from Oakland Cemetery on the edge of Grant Park, is also home to a handful of local restaurants, including Ramen Station, Full Commission, Firepit Pizza Tavern, Kale Me Crazy, and Grant Park Market, from the owners of Candler Park Market.
Eater Atlanta reached out to Fuqua, Hooters corporate, and the Reynoldstown neighborhood association for comment.
Note: Hooters corporate headquarters is based in Atlanta, however, the restaurant was founded in Clearwater, Florida in 1983. The franchise has over 420 restaurants in 42 states and 29 countries.
Madison Yards, 935 Memorial Drive, Atlanta.