Part of the redevelopment plans for the historic 222 Mitchell building in South Downtown now include a rooftop diner open late night with a pie bar and cocktail lounge by Slater Hospitality, the restaurant group behind Nine Mile Station and Skyline Park atop Ponce City Market and forthcoming Leave of Absence (L.O.A.) at the Interlock.
In addition to Slater’s diner and cocktail lounge, a location of Ohio-based arcade and game bar Pins Mechanical Company will also open at 222 Mitchell, to include 16 lanes of duckpin bowling, a rooftop patio, a courtyard, and three bars. The Slater Hospitality establishments and Pins Mechanical should open in 2023.
Newport Holding, the private real estate investment firm redeveloping 222 Mitchell and Hotel Row, plans to fill old commercial storefronts in the district with local and independent restaurants and retail shops, artist studios, and creative office spaces over the course of the next two years. Hotel Row is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The facades of many of the structures in the district remain relatively unchanged since being built over a century ago.
While yet to be named, Slater Hospitality co-owner Mandy Slater tells Eater the diner will lean classic in both its design and vibe, with leather booths and wood paneling. Expect unobstructed views of much of the downtown Atlanta skyline and a traditional pie bar offering daily cakes, pies, and desserts on display in the dining room. The building’s original mechanical closet becomes part of the interior space, which connects the diner to the patio overlooking Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Centennial Yards.
“My first job at 15 was waitressing in a local diner, so I am partial to them and have been dreaming about this concept for years,” Slater says. “A pie bar is a traditional diner feature and one I think will be welcomed back into dining, and especially into late night.”
Located just one floor below the diner, a cocktail lounge on the opposite side of the building should feel luxe and exclusive, serving classic cocktails and a few “surprises” from Slater Hospitality beverage director Randy Hayden.
As for the group’s Hotel Row pizzeria Pizza Clementine and underground cocktail bar Thirteenth Floor across the street at 219 Mitchell, Slater expects both to open by next summer.
Pizza Clementine, named for Slater’s grandmother, will feature some seating inside and a walk-up window and a menu of square-style pizzas and slices. Seating just under 50 people, cocktail bar Thirteenth Floor centers around the OutKast mural in the basement beneath the pizzeria.
What does this redevelopment mean for South Downtown?
In 2016, Newport purchased 48 buildings in the South Downtown district with the intention of opening new businesses in the area by restoring and preserving much of the historic architecture of existing structures, while also developing vacant parking lots into new mixed-use complexes.
“We’re very focused on preserving and honoring the soul and rich history of the buildings. 222 Mitchell is a strong concrete structure built with mid-century details,” Newport senior vice president April Stammel says. “We intend to keep the newly exposed, concrete waffle ceilings that we discovered were cast in place and have a unique curvature to them.”
Newport also hopes to retain other historic design elements at 222 Mitchell, including the metal grid screen on the exterior of the building, opening up the archways along the street, and uncovering the glass storefront.
Earlier this year, Eater spoke with Kyle Kessler, South Downtown resident and policy and research director for the Center for Civic Innovation, about the redevelopment of the historic commercial district by Newport. Kessler said most residents of the neighborhood and nearby Castleberry Hill welcome the revitalization and preservation efforts by Newport, but remain wary of the company’s plans.
Promises to bring in new businesses while retaining the historic charm of these buildings have been made before by other developers. Changes in ownership, the 2008 recession, and the pandemic all contributed to companies abandoning unfinished projects in South Downtown.
“Residents here want more activity. They want things to do and to walk to. They don’t necessarily want businesses and restaurants that only cater to tourists and conventioneers or a weekday workforce,” Kessler told Eater in June.
Over at Underground Atlanta, now owned by Shaneel Lalani, a 21-stall food hall opens at the downtown landmark next year. The historic below-ground shops along Lower Alabama are also beginning to see new life. Currently, six local businesses are temporarily set up in old store fronts and at carts across from the Banksy art exhibition, including Kroy Korn Gourmet Popcorn, Dolo’s Pizza, Diamond Rule Coffee, charcuterie and snack board company the Bougie Grazer, and Boomers BBQ.
The former Norfolk Southern Railroad building on Ted Turner Drive, renamed Centennial Yards, will eventually feature two levels of retail and restaurants, offices, apartments, and a location of LaGrange, Georgia, brewery and distillery Wild Leap. Businesses and restaurants there begin opening in 2022.