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From Ford Fry to Pop-Ups to Golden Corral, Readers Share Their Grant Park Gateway Restaurant Suggestions

The results of our survey on what should open at Grant Park Gateway are in, and readers have a lot of thoughts 

Some readers want to see a cocktail bar, wine bar, or an all-day cafe that transitions from coffee and breakfast to wine and cocktails and small bites.
Kimball House
Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for 12 years.

The results of our Grant Park Gateway survey are in, and readers have a lot of thoughts on the restaurants that should open there.

City of Atlanta is finally moving forward with plans to fill the vacant Grant Park Gateway building on Boulevard with a restaurant. The city is seeking proposals through mid-March to place a restaurant in the space by the end of 2023, more than two years after construction on the building was completed.

The $48 million Grant Park Gateway building and its 2.5 acre park sit atop an underground parking garage near Zoo Atlanta and the Beltline, which features over 1000 parking spots below street level. But it’s the coveted real estate above the parking garage and what might occupy it in the future that have Atlanta residents buzzing.

Restaurant proposals are due to the city’s Department of Procurement by Thursday, March 16.

The rooftop restaurant space and park atop the underground Grant Park Gateway parking deck in Atlanta, near Zoo Atlanta. Google Maps

We asked Eater readers what they thought should open in this prime piece of Grant Park real estate. Over 100 people chimed in on our survey to provide suggestions, ranging from chefs like Ford Fry, Kevin Rathbun, and Eddie Hernandez opening new restaurants at Grant Park Gateway to a wine bar, Caribbean restaurant, and a pop-up incubator taking up residence in the space.

Below are the top ten suggestions shared by readers on our survey.

  1. Several people polled say Atlanta chefs like Ford Fry, Kevin Rathbun, Kevin Gillespie, Jarrett Stieber, Eddie Hernandez, Anne Quatrano, or Zeb Stevenson should take over the space. Most feel the restaurant should be casual and family friendly.
  2. A pop-up incubator with different chefs and restaurants rotating in and out or a brewery with rotating pop-up chefs serving food.
  3. A cocktail bar with small bites and an outdoor bar. “There aren’t enough cocktail bars in Atlanta!”
  4. “Homegrown on Memorial Drive should open there.”
  5. More than a few people say this space should be family friendly, affordable, and, mostly importantly, offer to-go options for picnicking at nearby parks (i.e. soups, breakfast biscuits, sandwiches, salads, and grab-and-go market with prepared meals and picnic fare.) “Some place I can get a reasonably-priced meal (under $20/person TOTAL), quickly, and enjoy inside, outside, or to go.”
  6. “Not basic American fare, diverse owners, coffee a plus.” Others mentioned wanting restaurants serving Caribbean, Cuban, Vietnamese, Puerto Rican, Uyghur, or Greek food or even a small food hall.
  7. A wine bar or an all-day cafe that transitions from coffee to cocktails and wine in the afternoon and evening with live music. “Little Tart [Bakeshop], similar to their OG concept with Octane on Memorial — something that offers breakfast, lunch, and light dinner, along with a morning-to-evening, coffee-to-alcohol transition.”
  8. “Would love to see another New American restaurant like Kimball House open. There isn’t really a solid one-two punch of amazing cocktails and a bit more upscale food anywhere nearby Grant Park. And for the sake of the Atlanta food scene, it absolutely should not be a West Midtown-type corporate takeover or any ‘for the ‘gram’ restaurants that seem to be popping up everywhere. Maybe it’s time for Sean Brock to put a new concept back in Atlanta.”
  9. “There’s hundreds of roller skaters who hang out in this space, and I’m one of them. We’ve established a culture at the park because this space was vacant for so long. Our events are inclusive and safe spaces for roller skaters in the community to gather. It would be much appreciated if our skate group can work with management. Similar to Pullman Yards, and we’re having a lot of success.”
  10. Golden Corral

Interested restaurant owners and chefs can read up on the particulars for proposal submissions via the city’s Department of Procurement portal by clicking “Solicitations” and searching for “RFP/DPR/2212-1230183”. Restaurant proposals are due by Thursday, March 16.