Already home to a freestanding Walgreens, new openings at the center will include Zoёs Kitchen, Newk's Eatery, Sprint, a nail salon and Mattress Firm.
The corner parcel was previously home to a church and Crown gas station but both were razed to make way for what was supposed to be a Hibachi style Asian eatery and other food options. The Asian eatery never opened, and the Walgreens opened instead. At one point Children's Healthcare of Atlanta was said to be in talks to build on the vacant land, but apparently that deal fell apart. CHOA has since purchased and plans to renovate a long vacant 19 story building nearby.
Marietta based Columbia Properties is developing The Village at Druid Hills with a planned opening later this fall. A brief check of Columbia's website shows no mention of the project, but does list the many other properties they operate. It would appear this is Columbia's second ITP project, with their current roster of shopping centers OTP in cities like Marietta, Suwanee, Douglasville and Peachtree City. Columbia's lone ITP project is Tri-Cities Plaza in East Point.
Birmingham based Zoёs Kitchen offers approachable Mediterranean fare in a casual environment and was started by Zoё and Marcus Cassimus in 1995. The chain began to expand significantly outside its home state in the late 2000s. Zoёs first entered Atlanta in 2009 with a location at Peachtree Battle, and has since grown to a total of seven locations in Georgia, most recently in Emory Village. In 2009, the chain had about 20 locations, and today is nearing 100 in only 15 states. Last month Nation's Restaurant News named Zoёs one of the Top 50 Breakout Brands of 2013.
Express Cafe Eatery has three locations in Georgia, in Lawrenceville, Brookhaven and Newnan. The restaurant chain was started by the founders of McAlister's Deli and offers a menu similar to Panera Bread, at slightly higher prices. Additionally, Newk's offers pizza, making their menu more diverse than others in the same segment.
In less "sexy" news, Sprint will add to its constantly growing retail network, Mattress Firm will open yet another store and the neighborhood will get another nail salon.
Personally, I'm a big fan of Zoёs Kitchen, but have been less than thrilled on my two attempts at liking Newk's. I'd love for places like The Melt of Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, both NRN Breakout Brands, to make their way to Atlanta, but have heard no upcoming expansion plans for either.
How 'bout you, which casual eatery do you feel is a must for Atlanta? Have you tried Zoёs and or Newk's? What were your thoughts? What is your favorite sandwich shop in Atlanta?