The Howell Mill Road location of La Fonda Latina is now permanently closed, Urbanize Atlanta reports, ahead of its relocation to East Lake later this spring. The Latin food restaurant takes over the former Lake and Oak BBQ space at the corner of 2nd Avenue and Hosea Williams Drive in East Lake.
The property on which La Fonda occupied on Howell Mill Road for nearly 13 years will eventually become an apartment tower called Stella at Star Metals, part of a new phase of the neighboring complex. The restaurant building currently stands in the very large shadow of the first phase of the sprawling Star Metals development located next door at the corner of 11th Street and Howell Mill Road.
La Fonda co-owner Clay Harper tells What Now Atlanta he and his partners ended up selling the Howell Mill Road property and relocating the restaurant to East Lake as they could no longer “hold off the wave of progress” occurring along this corridor stretching from 14th Street to 8th Street.
Harper’s fears over of the property eventually being gobbled up by developers in the name of progress likely began with the announcement of redevelopment plans for the area back in 2015, especially when initial renderings of these new developments didn’t include beloved blues bar institution Northside Tavern across the street from La Fonda. Public uproar over the possible demolition of the bar saw developers finding a way to incorporate Northside Tavern into the ever-changing landscape of Howell Mill Road. The gritty little bar is now dwarfed by new apartment complexes and mixed-use developments like Star Metals, Westside Provisions District, and the Interlock.
All of the planned phases for Star Metals and the Interlock should finally reach completion over the next two years, with new phases already underway. A number of new restaurants are open at both complexes, including Velvet Taco, sushi bar Kinjo Room, Holiday Bar, Puttshack, and rooftop bar and restaurant L.O.A at the Interlock and Sweetgreen, Wagamama, Hayakawa, and Flight Club at Star Metals.
Humble Pie, from Lazy Betty chefs Ron Hsu and Aaron Phillips, opens later this month at the Interlock, with Kura Revolving Sushi Bar, Pinky Promise champagne bar, the X Pot, Five Guys burgers, and Starbucks opening in 2024. Rooftop bar and lounge Patina, from the team behind the Painted Pin and the Painted Duck, should open by the end of 2023 at Star Metals. A location of Shake Shack just opened across from the Interlock in the former Yeah Burger space at Westside Provisions District.
Area residents and Atlanta public transit advocates are calling for dedicated bus rapid transit lanes and more frequent bus service to help ease traffic congestion in the burgeoning dining and entertainment district along Howell Mill and to make the area more pedestrian friendly.