Monday, March 19, 2012

Full Speed Ahead! NaanStop Opening in Downtown Atlanta

Although I broke news in January  that NaanStop, a new fast casual Indian concept, would be opening their first brick and mortar location in Atlanta, only today can I announce they have found their first space.  Many former or current Georgia State University students will recall Michael's Deli on Broad Street, which for the past year or so has been operating as Ren's.  This past Friday marked the last day
of business for Ren's as later this year, Samir and Neal Idnani will open NaanStop in its place.

Broad Street is home to a number of local restaurants.  Local chain eatery Tin Drum Asia Cafe has a location on Broad as does Atlanta-based Moe's Southwest Grill.  There was a KFC that later became a Checker's and also a Taco Bell / Pizza Hut dual branded store, but all have since closed.  I'm told, however, that the former Checker's will soon reopen as Dua Vietnamese, offering take-out only, as opposed to their other nearby location that is dine-in only.  

Michael's Deli, and later Ren's, served a smorgasbord of menu items ranging from gyro wraps to subs and even a chicken biscuit.  Michael's was a favorite of mine and had what I thought was a damn good gyro for the cost (under 5 bucks with my student discount.)  Neighboring eatery Rosa's Pizza is a magnet not only for students, but nearby white-collars as well.  The line for Rosa's often stretched well into the restaurant itself, at times leading would-be diners to other options, like Michaels. The funny thing is, neither Michael's nor Rosa's have a whole lot of seating, but each share in a large seating area below the restaurants themselves in a lower lever of the historic Healy Building (in which both restaurants are located).  

NaanStop will  seat about 35 or so in the restaurant itself, but will share the underground seating.  

With plans for major interior renovations, the brothers hope to have the restaurant open by late July.

A recent graduate of the  Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality at GSU, I, myself would have loved to have had this open during my lunch break but now I wish them success in my former stomping grounds and am hopeful for their next location to be in Decatur or the surrounding area.  At one point, the brothers were contemplating opening in the Prado on Roswell Road  but  luckily they came to their senses and later found the downtown site. The Prado has been far from kind to new restaurants with both Larry's Giant Subs and Yoreka having closed and evos struggling.  The one exception is Fuego Mundo, which has carved out a nice niche in the Kosher market after plenty of marketing hours (and dollars)

Neal and Samir hope that NaanStop will follow in the footsteps of other successful fast casual eateries  launched on or near college campuses.

A few of the more well known brands with such origins include :

Chipotle Mexican Grill (1993  near University of Denver) - now more than 1200 locations)
Zaxby's (1990 near Georgia Southern)- now over 500 locations
Jimmy John's ( 1983 near Eastern Illinois State University)- now over 1000 locations)
Pita Pit (1995 near Queen's University in Canada) - now over 350 between the U.S. and Canada)

The brothers tell me they plan to have a second location in the works by early next year and plan to have it open by the spring or summer.  Feel free to comment below with suggestions for the new locations.  I'm hoping for Decatur myself, but basically anything but the Prado is an option.  

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7 comments:

Darin said...

Cool! This is my neighborhood and I've been wanting an Indian food option here for a long time. I can't wait.

JonC said...

Sounds great! Always glad to see Fairlie-Poplar getting something other than a Checkers/KFC/Taco Bell. Although I've always thought a Chick-Fil-A would do gangbusters on Broad Street.

396 said...

Any word on what's planned for the two empty storefronts just opposite that space?

mindspringyahoo said...

bummer. I won't be able to make it down that way. I'm kind of surprised at the choice of location...

Neal said...

Thanks for the enthusiasm guys! We are lookin forward to seeing you when we open up this summer.

Dana said...

Don't know if you got this.

Revolution Doughnuts, soon to open next to Ale Yeah! on College Ave. a block east of Wahoo in Decatur.

Doughnuts, beer and Avellino Pizza in one little strip mall. Leading names being bandied about are "Carb Corner" (mine) and "Homer Simpson Plaza" (everyone else).

Anonymous said...

Darin: You should check out Chutney's on Mitchell St.