Between construction issues, staying within budget, and navigating the red tape of permitting, opening a restaurant has never been easy. The ongoing health crisis only exacerbates these uncertainties, adding previously unforeseen costs to the mix like expanding a patio to allow for more outdoor seating, upgrading air filtration systems, or installing a takeout window. But with vaccine distribution slowly expanding now to more people across the state, hope is finally on the horizon for Georgia’s beleaguered restaurant industry.
Despite several months of frustrating delays and construction and equipment supply shortages due to the pandemic, many owners are preparing to open their long-planned restaurants around Atlanta. Eater is tracking the progress of the following eight restaurants and brewpubs planning to serve everything from Tex-Mex burritos and beer paired with oyster po’boys to pollo asado, collard green ramen, and a food hall offering Thai food, pizza, and Lebanese barbecue at its stalls.
Location: East Atlanta Village, 1308 Glenwood Avenue; East Lake, 2368 Hosea L. Williams Drive
Who: Clarence Boston and Donnica Boston
Projected opening: March/early April
Hippin’ Hops Brewery and Oyster Bar opens soon next door to Holy Taco in East Atlanta Village. Owned by EAV residents Clarence Boston and Donnica Boston, Hippin’ Hops features a three-barrel brewhouse with five-barrel unitanks producing several styles of beer for on premise consumption and retail sales. As for food, expect dishes using a variety of East Coast oysters on the menu from chef Jamarius “J.” Banks, including po’boys and other seafood plates. When it debuts in EAV, Hippin’ Hops will become one of the first Black-owned breweries to open a permanent location in Georgia. The couple also plans to open a second location focused more on food from Banks at the Hosea and 2nd complex in East Lake later this spring.
Location: Kirkwood, 2233 College Avenue NE
Who: Chef Nick Melvin
Projected opening: April
After nearly a year of selling hundreds of handmade Tex-Mex breakfast burritos on Saturday mornings from his Lake Claire neighborhood driveway, chef Nick Melvin opens Poco Loco as a takeout restaurant inside the tiny cottage space on College Avenue once home to Dish Dive. Poco Loco will sell Melvin’s fresh and frozen burritos as well as batched salsas, fresh tortillas, prepared soups, cookies and cookie dough, coffee, and agua frescas. Seating will be available at picnic tables outside in front of the restaurant. Look for Poco Loco to pop-up in the parking lot of the forthcoming Farm Burger in Virginia-Highland later this year.
Location: Old Fourth Ward, 670 DeKalb Avenue NE
Who: Chefs Todd Richards and Joshua Lee
Projected opening: May
A new restaurant from Lake & Oak Neighborhood BBQ and Soul: Food and Culture owners Todd Richards and Joshua Lee called Kuro opens in the former Hazel Jane’s wine bar this spring at the Edge complex along the Eastside Beltline trail. “The word Kuro means Black in Japanese. Bringing this unique style of food to the Beltline while expanding its list of Black-owned dining opportunities is something to be proud of,” Lee said of the restaurant. Once open, expect the menu to feature seafood dishes and a makimono sushi experience with Soul food dishes incorporating Japanese ingredients and techniques. Dishes likely to make the menu include a vadouvan-spiced cauliflower steak and Richards’ collard green ramen, listed in his cookbook “Soul: A Chef’s Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes.
Location: Underwood Hills, 1235 Chattahoochee Avenue NW
Who: Andrew Zimmern and Robert Montwaid
Projected opening: Rolling openings throughout spring and summer
The first restaurant stalls inside the forthcoming 31-stall food hall Chattahoochee Food Works begin opening this spring. 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: Virginia-Highland, 1025 Virginia Avenue
Who: Myles Moody and Rachael Pack
Projected opening: May
Opening in the circa 1920s VA-HI building this spring, Kinship brings a butcher shop, marketplace, and cafe serving coffee and coffee drinks from Academy Coffee to Virginia-Highland. Owned by Myles Moody and Rachael Pack, Kinship will also feature a cheese counter, refrigerated cases selling daily meats and cheeses, a small wine shop, and a kitchen offering fresh stocks and broths, along with breakfast and lunch sandwiches. Moody worked previously for Atlanta chef Linton Hopkins at both Holeman & Finch Public House and Restaurant Eugene and trained in the kitchens of restaurants like Eleven Madison Park, Atera, and Aska in New York City. Pack previously worked as a food writer and recipe editor for online travel and culture site New Worlder, before working as a sommelier for the Beatrice Inn and as the beverage manager and later general manager for Aska.
Location: Glenwood Park, 925 Garrett Street
Who: Julian Wissman and Brian Holloway
Projected opening: May/June
The pop-up mixing Vietnamese flavors with central Texas barbecue opens as a Glenwood Park restaurant this spring. Owned by Julian Wissman and Brian Holloway, Pho Cue takes over the former Festivals Jerk Chicken Grill space on Garrett Street. Wissman, a pitmaster at Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, uses many of his wife’s family recipes from Thailand and Vietnam to create a variety of dishes for Pho Cue. The menu for the restaurant should be similar to the pop-up, featuring barbecue-based banh mi and pho with protein choices like pulled pork, smoked brisket, or smoked mushrooms. Until the restaurant opens, catch Pho Cue popping up at breweries around Atlanta.
Location: East Atlanta, 792 Moreland Avenue SE
Who: Chefs Nhan Le and Duane Kulers
Projected opening: May/June
Chefs Nhan Le (Octopus Bar, 8ARM) and Duane Kulers (Supremo Taco) once again partner to open Pollo Supremo this spring in East Atlanta. Opening for lunch and dinner, the counter-service restaurant features a 40-seat patio and a drive-thru and will serve pollo asado dishes with sides like rice and beans and elote, soups, family meals, and churros and flan for dessert. Expect aguas frescas and horchata, and possibly beer and wine on the drinks menu. Kulers plans to lead the kitchen at both Pollo Supremo and Supremo Taco in Grant Park.
Location: Decatur, 308 W Ponce de Leon Avenue
Who: Rhett Caseman and Josh Johnson
Projected opening: Late May/early June
Brewery and taproom Inner Voice Brewing opens later this spring in the former Big Tex restaurant space in downtown Decatur. Owned by Rhett Caseman and Josh Johnson, the brewery will feature eight to 12 beers on tap and food from local pop-ups, along with to-go beer sales. Caseman and Johnson, who met at Monday Night Brewing and worked together at Variant Brewing in Roswell, plan to brew IPAs, stouts, and experiential beers for Inner Voice. Construction is currently underway to expand seating options inside the taproom and on the brewery’s front patio.