Poor Hendrix team opening the Velvet Hippo in Avondale Estates
Fresh on the heels of landing a recommendation in Atlanta’s inaugural Michelin guide, the team behind Poor Hendrix announced plans to open a second restaurant by the end of December. The Velvet Hippo will serve hot and cold sandwiches, soups, and salads from a 400-foot-space on North Avondale Road. Like Poor Hendrix, owners Aaron and Jamie Russell named the restaurant after one of their dogs.
The Velvet Hippo is counter service only, with all of the restaurant’s seating outdoors on the front patio. The restaurant is being built for quick service and takeout ordering with a minimal staff and will also serve cocktails, beer, and wine.
Japanese restaurant Sozou and Omakase by Ito are opening in Midtown
The Spring Quarter development, backed by Portman Holdings, just landed two new restaurants. Japanese restaurant Sozou and Omakase by Ito are both expected to open at Spring Quarter by the end of 2024.
Backed by former Umi chef Fuyuhiko Ito, Sozou is located on the ground floor of the Spring Street development and will serve a variety of Japanese dishes and feature a robata grill and sushi counter. Pastry chef Lisa Ito, formerly of Umi and MF Sushi, will create desserts for the restaurant. Up on the eight floor of Spring Quarter, Ito will also open private omakase bar Omakase by Ito.
Hippin Hops Brewery shutters in East Lake and heads to Charlotte
The East Lake location of Hippin Hops Brewery is now closed. Clarence and Donnica Boston closed the brewery earlier this month and plan to open a Hippin Hops location in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Hippin Hops Brewery opened at the Hosea and 2nd complex in February 2022, a year after opening the first location on Glenwood Avenue in East Atlanta Village (EAV). Hippin Hops became the first Black-owned brewery with a permanent location in the state of Georgia when it opened in EAV.
As for the reason behind the closure in East Lake, the Bostons say part of the decision to open in Charlotte comes down to Georgia not allowing self distribution for breweries and distilleries and the state’s strict three-tier distribution system.
“You can’t sell a keg to the restaurant next door to you,” the Bostons wrote in the comments on the Instagram post. “It all has to go through a distributor. North Carolina allows self distribution.”
The East Atlanta Village and Stone Mountain locations remain open.
Hippin Hops Brewery is one of a handful of breweries to close over the last year, including Orpheus Brewing in Midtown and Second Self Beer Co. in Underwood Hills. Earlier this year, Atlanta Brewing Company, nixed plans to reopen at Underground Atlanta due to lack of interest from investors to help fund the brewery’s relocation project.
“It was very difficult with the current state of craft beer to really attract investors who were willing to take the risk, not just in a craft beverage company, but with Underground,” Atlanta Brewing Company CEO Alton Shields said at the time. “They expected more activity at the development and more progress and announcements [of new businesses and restaurants]. We were on Upper Alabama, and most of the development is below ground on the Kenny’s Alley side.”
Shields and business partner Dave Peterson are now eyeing new brewing opportunities in Atlanta.