Just four months after opening their seafood market and cafe Fishmonger in Poncey-Highland, Skip Engelbrecht and Nhan Le (8ARM, Octopus Bar) and chef Bradford Forsblom announced a second location is headed to Kirkwood this fall. Fishmonger should open in mid-October at the Pratt Pullman District.
Taking over building number seven next door to restaurant Dailies and Sides on Rogers Street, this second Fishmonger seats close to 50 people inside and features a raw bar and full bar serving beer, wine, cocktails, and frozen drinks. The patio also seats a whopping 100 people outside.
As in Poncey-Highland, expect the Pratt Pullman restaurant to be counter service. However, servers will float around the dining room and patio to take additional food and drink orders. Engelbrecht describes the Kirkwood Fishmonger as “super family friendly” with a dog friendly patio and the signature vibe for which he and Le are known for creating at their other restaurants through the music, relaxed atmosphere, and design.
One big difference between the two Fishmonger locations is the absence of a seafood market at Pratt Pullman. Engelbrecht says he and his partners may consider introducing a market if demand is there, and have even planned for the possibility of a retail arm in Kirkwood as part of the design.
“There’s plenty of space. We just don’t want to start with it,” says Engelbrecht. “A market isn’t as easy as one might think because it’s very much a process and quality control is so important. We want to make sure that’s in place and the neighborhood and families here really want it first.”
With construction on the building completed and all of the necessary permits in place, Engelbrecht says they’re currently free to focus on the design of the restaurant, including carrying over key elements from the Poncey-Highland location such as the purple, pink, and red neon lighting, carefree decor, and casual seating arrangements.
Like the menu in Poncey-Highland, Forsblom’s Kirkwood menu won’t feature much in the way of fried fish, but rather focus on delicate filets of blackened grouper, crudo, fresh oysters, and seafood salads, soups, and sandwiches. Look for six to seven food specials on the menu each day, too.
“We knew we wanted to open multiple locations of Fishmonger when we came up with the idea, and then to see how well it’s doing in Poncey-Highland, that just made the decision easier,” Engelbrecht says. “We’re looking at possibly opening a total of four locations in Atlanta, with new Fishmongers in Buckhead and on the west side. There could even be a fifth in Sandy Springs.”
Engelbrecht and Le originally intended to open Three Heart Coffee cafe and restaurant Bellsmouth in the building now slated for Fishmonger. The pandemic halted those plans. Then, last December, Pratt Pullman District owners Adam Rosenfelt and Maureen Meulen announced they planned to open a restaurant called Homage there with Dailies and Sides chef Chris Hughes, but decided instead to again offer the space to Engelbrecht and Le to open Fishmonger.
“I really appreciate what Maureen and Adam are doing here because they’re not necessarily real estate people. They’re in the entertainment business,” says Engelbrecht. “They came into Pullman, realized its potential and jumped on the opportunity. There’s so much creative stuff going on here and it’s so cool, and we’re excited Fishmonger is going to be a part of that.”
Later this fall, Engelbrecht, Le, and Forsblom will open Small Fry at Atlanta Dairies on Memorial Drive, a counter-service restaurant with a walk-up window serving fried chicken and fried fish sandwiches, falafel burgers, fish nuggets, and shrimp baskets.