President and CEO Federico Castellucci confirmed the closure saying there are no plans to replace Bar Mercado with another restaurant from the group, but will continue operating food stall Recess at the market in partnership with Erik Göranson and chef Whitney Wood.
“Bar Mercado simply has not succeeded. As an entrepreneur, you try to envision a future before it exists, and in that effort to create something of value, you make a series of decisions that at the time feel right, but ultimately turn out to be wrong,” Castellucci tells Eater. “It is painful, but necessary to move on.”
Castellucci says all Bar Mercado employees accepted positions within the group’s other restaurants, which include the Iberian Pig in Decatur and Buckhead, critically acclaimed omakase restaurant Mujo, tapas restaurant Cooks and Soldiers, Italian restaurant Double Zero, and Mediterranean restaurant Sugo in Johns Creek.
Bar Mercado opened at Krog Street Market in 2017, taking over the former Cockentrice space, which was one of the original five restaurants at the food hall when it opened in 2014. The Castellucci group opened grain bowl and salad food stall Recess a year later, replacing butcher shop the Spotted Trotter. Then, in February 2020, the group shifted the menu at Bar Mercado from Spanish tapas to Latin American fare.
With the closure of Bar Mercado and Watchman’s Seafood and Spirits last year, Superica, Ticonderoga Club, and Makimono remain the only full-service restaurants open at Krog Street Market. However, Ticonderoga Club is currently closed for repairs after sustaining major damage to the kitchen and an adjacent dining area due to a burst water pipe just before the holidays in December. The Watchman’s space is set to become a location of vegan restaurant Planta this spring.
Castellucci Hospitality opened two new restaurants in 2022. Mujo, a 15-seat omakase restaurant led by chef J. Trent Harris, opened in February 2022 and has since become one of the hottest reservations to nab in Atlanta. Eater Atlanta also named Mujo the Best New Restaurant of 2022. A second, larger location of Recess opened this past fall at the Hanover Building in Buckhead Village. That location includes both indoor and outdoor seating and a walk-up window for takeout orders. The group plans to open a location of the Iberian Pig in Nashville some time in 2023.