Revival, the Southern restaurant owned by Kevin Gillespie, closes after eight years on Church Street in Decatur, Decaturish first reported. But Gillespie hopes to reopen the restaurant in a new location some time in the next year.
The closure in Decatur comes on the heels of a January burglary at the restaurant, which led Gillespie to temporarily close Revival. The break-in caused “significant damage” to the building. A safe containing cash from the holiday season was also stolen. Further damage to the restaurant was then discovered after a recent storm. Repairs from both incidences this winter total $250,000 and will take six months or more to complete, requiring the restaurant to remain closed and the Revival staff to be out of work for the duration, Gillespie tells Decaturish. With the lease ending, the chef says closing Revival on Church Street and employing its staff elsewhere within the Red Beard Restaurants group is the right financial decision.
“Our team of incredibly dedicated individuals will largely be absorbed by Gunshow, and we look forward to the talent they will bring to the restaurant,” Gillespie says in a statement provided to Eater “We also feel extremely committed to Revival, as a brand, continuing in the future. We will immediately begin looking for a new location and hope to reopen in a year or so.”
Gillespie opened Revival in the former Harbour House Pub in 2015 offering a menu of Southern classics, including fried chicken, country-fried steak, catfish, and shrimp and grits. Revival is an ode to the Southern meat-and-three, his grandmother’s cooking, and childhood memories of Sunday suppers with his family growing up in Georgia. Gillespie opened a seasonal outdoor restaurant, bar, and beer garden called Communion behind Revival in 2016.
The last year has been particularly rough for Gillespie and Red Beard Restaurants. Gillespie closed his sprawling restaurant Cold Beer on the Eastside Beltline last March, replacing it in April with the much more laidback Slabtown Public House. It closed five months later. Slabtown also served as home base for the restaurant group’s charitable meal program, Defend Southern Food Foundation (DSFF), which subsequently relocated to Revival.
Founded in 2020, DSFF provides meals to children who rely on free lunches served at schools in the Maynard Jackson High School cluster — a district within Atlanta Public Schools (APS) that includes six elementary schools and one middle school. In addition to its meal program, the foundation supports local farmers and seeks to decrease food waste through composting and rescued food.
DSFF now moves to Gillespie’s award-winning restaurant Gunshow in Glenwood Park.