2014 Preview: Atlanta's Most Anticipated Openings
What is there to look forward to when it comes to Atlanta dining and nightlife in 2014? So, so much. As the city continues its upward, post-recession swing, exciting things are going on both intown and in the suburbs. In the city limits, the Beltline and Edgewood streetcar are two promising influences turning derelict buildings into untapped (for now) potential. And of course, the unpredictable developments, surprises and openings in 2014 should surely delight. But when it comes to what'll be hot in 2014, it looks like the large-scale developments bring the financial clout to develop spaces both large and small for culinary entrepreneurs to set up shop in
Krog Street Market: Scheduled for a spring opening, this development between Inman Park and Cabbagetown will span the existing Stoveworks and the neighboring space at 99 Krog Street that housed Tyler Perry Studios up until 2008. Expect traditional restaurants - Superica from restaurateur Ford Fry (King + Duke, The Optimist, etc.), The Cockentrice from the Spotted Trotter team and Eli Kirshtein's The Luminary - as well as counter-service stalls from a number of new and existing restaurants (Little Tart Bakeshop, Gu's Dumplings, Fred's Meat & Bread from The General Muir, and more).
Buckhead Atlanta: Set to open in the summer, the Buckhead Atlanta megadevelopment that comprises six city blocks and replaced the scrapped Streets of Buckhead project, will house 1.5 million (yes, million) square feet of mixed use properties. A Georgia outpost of NYC's Shake Shack is one of the tenants, and Southern Gentleman and Gypsy Kitchen are new efforts from local restaurateurs.
Ponce City Market: The massive former Sears building (finally!) gets a makeover, and is set to open next year. While Buckhead will receive a Shake Shack, word is one may open in Ponce City Market in late 2014. Anne Quatrano (Bacchanalia, Quinones, etc.) has been announced as one of the tenants, and other locals are expected to join, whether with full-service restaurants or stalls in the food-hall style market.
Avalon: With an eye on a fall 2014 opening, this sprawling Avalon (pictured above) sits on land cleared years ago but only now being developed. A Whole Foods will anchor part of the development and national chains like Pinkberry and Kona Grill are confirmed as tenants. Local restaurants also plan to expand into Avalon: a Ted's Montana Grill, a burger-centric concept from Bocado, another restaurant from Ford Fry's Rocket Farms group.
Developments aside, a number of standalone restaurants should make 2014 a good year for eating. We're particularly looking forward to Cinco y Diez, the new Athens undertaking from restaurateur Hugh Acheson (Empire State South, Five & Ten) and executive chef Whitney Otawka (ex-Farm 255, Greyfield Inn), plans to give Mexican cuisine a chef-driven interpretation. And St. Cecilia, the next restaurant to open from owner Ford Fry and executive chef Brian Horn will give Buckhead a seasonal, Italian-inspired eatery focusing on Northern Italian pasta and seafood. Big Sky Buckhead, from Hector Santiago (Abattoir, ex-Pura Vida, Super Pan) and several Athens-based investors, will be one to watch when it opens early next year.