Monday, September 17, 2012

Del Frisco's Grille Heating Up Buckhead With Bi-Level Patio

A rendering of the bi-level patio at Del Frisco's Grille on Peachtree
Dallas, Texas-based Del Frisco's will open their new restaurant on Peachtree Road next month. Del Frisco's Grille, its more casual concept, is seen as the growth segment for the brand and followsthe company's public filing in July.  Seen by some restaurant observers as simply another Houston's or J. Alexander's type restaurant, Del Frisco's Grille will be far more approachable than its flagship eatery, Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse.

The bi-level restaurant located in front of the new Mandarin Oriental Atlanta (formerly The Mansion on Peachtree, A Rosweood Hotel), is being designed by Atlanta-based design firm the Johnson Studio.  The company is responsible for some of the most well known restaurants in Atlanta including Aria, Bistro Niko and Canoe.

I, myself, had reservations about the success of the restaurant but new information gives me hope they will make it.... or at least last longer than their predecessor craft / craft bar did.

A few weeks ago I noticed a large apparatus positioned outside the second level window of the restaurant that gave the appearance of basically a box seat at the Braves game.  An extension of the restaurant, over Peachtree Road, created what  appeared to be pseudo-patio seating.  Turns out that while this apparatus was simply being used  to transport equipment to the second floor, it also foreshadowed what was to come.

In the coming days, drivers in Buckhead will begin to see a bi-level patio seating arrangement begin to take shape.  Seen above is an artist's rendering of what the new patio feature will look like when complete. (click the image to enlarge it)    A drive by the building early this morning showed the beginnings of disruptions to the exterior wall clearly being prepped for construction of the patio.

If you asked me, this patio seating will provide Atlantans and visitors with some of the most dynamic views of Peachtree Road.  While the former Nava soon to become Ford Fry restaurant at West Paces and Peachtree is by far the best patio in Buckhead, Del Frisco's decision to add patio seating, to not one, but two levels of its restaurant, may prove to be their saving grace.  The restaurant becomes far more appealing when patio seating is available, and in doing so, differentiates their offering from others in the market.

The Buckhead area is home to a total of three Houston's restaurants (one of them, in south Buckhead, is actually now branded Hillstone) and a Bricktop's, started by former Houston's employees.  Each of the three Houston's had sales in excess of $7 million in 2011 according to the ABC, but industry sources say their numbers are likely in the $5 million range.  Atlanta-based Chops Lobster bar raked in $14.5 million in 2011, and was the number one restaurant in terms of sales with Bone's, another Atlanta-based steakhouse, bringing in just shy of $9 million.

Given these figures its easy to see why so many restaurateurs salivate at the chance to be in Buckhead and steak their claim to a share of the pie.

What do you think?  Will patio seating and an approachable menu make Del Frisco's Grille your next favorite or will it be just another steakhouse in a crowed market.  Weigh in, be heard and sound off.  Comment...

1 comment:

John Stoj said...

I think it's a great idea. The facade of the building as it exists is so uninviting that I'm surprised they were ever able to attract anyone to the space.