Between construction hiccups, staying on budget, and navigating the quagmire of permits needed, opening a restaurant has never been easy, even in the best of times. The pandemic adds another layer of uncertainties to the mix, not to mention new line items to the budget. Previously unforeseen costs could now include installing a high-tech air filtration system, expanding the patio to allow for more outdoor seating, or adding a takeout window.
After several months of frustrating delays and unexpected prep time, several owners are moving forward with cautious optimism in hopes of finally seeing their long-planned restaurants come to fruition this fall. The following list of 10 anticipated openings will infuse the Atlanta dining scene with everything from seafood boils and platters, Sicilian-style pizza, and juicy cheeseburgers, to a celebrity chef-back food hall, a new neighborhood brewpub, and vegan barbecue.
Location: Reynoldstown, 905 Memorial Drive
Who: Chef Richard Tang
Projected opening: October
After the pandemic delayed the spring opening, Char Korean Bar & Grill owner chef Richard Tang and newly appointed chef Karl Gorline (Watershed) finally debut Girl Diver in October at Madison Yards. In addition to its platters and boils featuring Alaskan king crab, jumbo tiger shrimp, and piles of crawfish, expect a menu filled with Chinese-Vietnamese dishes and comfort foods, like poached shrimp spring rolls, Vietnamese hot and sour seafood soup, a pesce baked egg made with sardines, green curry mussels, and lobster mac and cheese. Tang’s next restaurant, a game bar called Press Start, opens next year in Summerhill. Take a look at the menu for Girl Diver below.
Location: Grant Park, 1039 Grant Street SE
Who: Sam and Sara Kazmer
Projected opening: October
Elsewhere Brewing opens in October at the Beacon in Grant Park. Owners Sam and Sara Kazmer want to create a drinking hall and beer garden with a cafe vibe around the brewery. Elsewhere Brewing plans to open with 11 different beers on the menu, ranging from European classics, like a pilsner, Bavarian hefeweizen, and dark Czech lager, to West Coast ales, IPAs, and special release beers. Executive chef Thomas Stewart created a menu centered around street foods and family-style dishes, including a variety of empanadas and a 24-hour-brined chicken quarter, steak, and guava BBQ shrimp platter. Much like a CSA (community supported agriculture) helps support local farms, Elsewhere Brewing operates partially as a community supported brewery with CSB memberships. Read more about the brewery here.
Location: Midtown, Colony Square
Who: Donna Lee
Projected opening: Late October
Chicago restaurateur Donna Lee opens an Atlanta location of her popular Brown Bag Seafood Company restaurant at Colony Square in Midtown. The counter-serve spot, located next to sushi restaurant Sukoshi at the complex, offers sustainable seafood on its menu at a relatively affordable price point served as salads, tacos, sandwiches, and grain bowls. Customers fill out orders on reusable menus at the counter using dry erase markers by checking off a fish or protein of choice, how it’s served (bowl, taco, sandwich,) and a side to accompany the meal. Colony Square will also feature a new food hall called Politan Row. Read more about the food hall here.
Location: Virginia-Highland, 1023 Virginia Avenue NE
Who: Anthony Spina
Projected opening: October/November
After finding success with his two pizzerias — O4W Pizza and Nina & Rafi — Anthony Spina opens Pizza by the Slice in part of the former Goin’ Coastal space in Virginia-Highland. Spina’s latest pizzeria focuses on Sicilian-style pizza served by the slice or whole pie. The pizza typically features a thick, focaccia-like crust topped with oregano and tomatoes. In addition to pizza, the restaurant will also serve Jersey-style sub sandwiches. The pizzeria, located next door to Paolo’s Gelato, may finally fill the void left behind by the beloved Everybody’s Pizza, which closed in the neighborhood after 41 years in 2013.
Location: Kirkwood, Pratt Pullman District, 225 Rogers Street NE, Building 11
Who: Mike Horn
Projected opening: October/November
Gastropub the Abby Singer opens on Rogers Street at the forthcoming Pratt Pullman District in Kirkwood later this fall. The name refers to the second-to-last shot of the day during on-location filming, and is a nod to the late film production manager Abby Singer. Owner Mike Horn worked in film and television prior to his career in restaurants. The former Minneapolis resident’s new Kirkwood pub features a take on the Minnesota city’s famed Juicy Lucy cheeseburger on the menu — two burger patties filled with hot melted cheese.
Location: Underwood Hills, 1235 Chattahoochee Avenue NW
Who: Andrew Zimmern and Robert Montwaid
Projected opening: Rolling food stall openings throughout the fall
The first restaurant stalls inside forthcoming northwest Atlanta food hall Chattahoochee Food Works begin opening later this fall. So far, nine of the 31 stalls planned for the food hall are preparing to open over the coming months. The 22,000-square-foot market and test kitchen is a collaborative effort between James Beard Award-winning chef and “Bizarre Foods” host Andrew Zimmern and Robert Montwaid, the creator of luxe food hall Gansevoort Market in New York City. Expect food stalls serving ice cream, Thai food, pasta and pizza, South African fare, breakfast dishes, Lebanese barbecue, along with a bakery, bubble tea bar, and a taqueria. Read more about the food hall and its stalls here.
Location: Midtown, 1010 West Peachtree Street NW
Who: Takashi Otsuka
Projected opening: November
Takashi Otsuka, the owner of the popular Wagaya ramen restaurants, Japanese market Wagaya Grocery, and robatayaki and sake restaurant Chirori, plans to open a fourth restaurant called Nagomiya in Midtown. Nagomiya, located at the Hanover West Peacthree apartment complex, will serve ramen, rice bowls, and sushi rolls on its menu. Otsuka just opened Wagaya Grocery underneath Wagaya on 14th Street in Midtown over the summer. The market features mostly Japanese food products, candies, sake and beer, and ingredients, but does offer a wide selection of Chinese and Korean items. Wagaya Grocery also includes prepared foods, like a katsu or tamago sandwich and individually wrapped onigiri, too.
Location: Castleberry Hill, 333 Peters Street
Who: Daniel Brown
Projected opening: November/December
A second location of Stone Mountain-based Gilly Brew Bar, part of Gilly Brewing Co., opens inside Castleberry Hill gallery and event space Peters Street Station later this fall. Owned by Daniel Brown, Gilly Brew Bar is known for its innovative cocktail-like coffee and tea drinks, referred to as “elixirs”, including a fat-washed cold brew with bitters, balsamic, and lemon-fig marmalade or hibiscus tea comprising lemon and honey, egg white, bitters, and an aromatic mist. The shop will feature a few tables and seating for up to 16 people at the bar. Brown also plans to expand his Stone Mountain Village coffee shop to include a bar and kitchen next summer. The kitchen will also serve as an incubator with a rotating lineup of Atlanta-area private chefs.
Location: Stone Mountain, 5385 Five Forks Trickum Road
Who: Terry Sargent
Projected opening: Late November
After opening at We Suki Suki’s Global Grub Collective food market last November, then moving to Orpheus Brewing in Midtown earlier this year, vegan barbecue pop-up Grass VBQ Joint opens a permanent location Thanksgiving week near Stone Mountain. Located on Five Forks Trickum Road, Grass VBQ serves smoked jerk wingz, veef brisket, sandwiches like smoked pulled jackfruit, a reuben with corned veef, and an oyster mushroom po’boy, alongside desserts such as mini sweet potato pies and vegan cupcakes. Check out the menu here.
Location: East Atlanta, 714 Moreland Avenue SE
Who: Corban Irby
Projected opening: December/early January
Okonomiyaki popup OK Yaki becomes a permanent restaurant when it opens in the newly renovated Seville complex on Moreland Avenue. Owned by Corban Irby, expect a menu offering Osaka-style street foods like yakisoba noodles, gyoza dumplings, and okonomiyaki — a savory, onion and cabbage-filled griddled pancake topped with meats and okonomi sauce. Irby plans to expand the menu further to include other dishes such as karaage Japanese fried chicken and Japanese curry. At full capacity, OK Yaki will seat 45 people between a 15-seat bar, four booths, and six bar stools along the wet bar in back. OK Yaki should be open five nights a week, from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., serving food and sake, shochu, whiskey highballs, and Japanese-style draft beers in frozen mugs.