Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Village at Druid Hills Lands Two Casual Eateries

The Village at Druid Hills will soon start to take shape at the corner of North Druid Hills & Briarcliff Roads. 

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.

Newk's 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?

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Shocking that you don't like a restaurant that is currently at Town Brookhaven.

SB said...

I know some of the folks at Columbia, they are good people.

This land was too valuable for its own good. It demanded good tenants with pretty high rent otherwise it didn't make sense to break ground.

Anonymous said...

They should put a gas station there instead so that there is one on both sides of NDH. If you drive through that intersection at rush hour regularly, you know what I'm talking about.

Anonymous said...

You cannot throw a rock in this town without hitting a Mattress Firm. How do they support so many stores for a product you only purchase "every 8 years". I work at Ansley Mall and every time I walk by that store it is empty. Given I am a little bitter since a MF replaced my favorite Cuban restaurant on Sidney Marcus Blvd

Anonymous said...

"...a long vacant 19 story building nearby."

I'd like to hear more about that. How did this building at that locale remain vacant that long?

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon RE: 19 story building.

That building is the old Executive Park Motor Hotel. The building served as a training facility for BellSouth in the 90s but had been vacant for years.

http://www.amazon.com/Executive-Motor-Hotel-Building-Atlanta/dp/B005DGX0YY

Thanks for the question and for reading the blog.

Anonymous said...

For more on the old Executive Park Hotel, see The Atlanta Business Chronicle's 1/03/13 article "Children's Healthcare buys former 19-story hotel", and the North Druid Hills-Briarcliff Patch's 1/08/13 article "Children's Healthcare Moving Into Old 19-Story Hotel".

It is, indeed, surprising that such a high-profile site has remained vacant for so long. When viewed from a distance it doesn't particularly look vacant and it's not that noticeable.

Anonymous said...

Atlantan99, I'm surprised you didn't mention anything about the intersection improvements currently underway at that location. See the March 13, 2012 (yes, 2012 -- things are moving slowly!) North Druid Hills-Briarcliff Patch's story "County Addresses North Druid Hills Road Construction". The new lanes, especially the new turn lanes, should greatly reduce congestion in the area.

Anonymous said...

I think Newks will kill it in that area. They're packed every time I'm in the one at Town Brookhaven. The options over there, for such high traffic counts, are lacking.

Carl said...

Your memory astounds me! I remembered the Lutheran church well but had forgotten all about the gas station.

I never understand mattress stores. Who shops there? Every time I go to Rainbow and see that big space that used to be a bookstore (now full of bright florescent lights and mattresses), there are three people working and never a customer.

Atlantan99 said...

@Carl,

Thank you on the memory note. I do try and keep a mental map wherever I go.

I too wonder why we need so many Mattress stores. I just bought my mattress from the Simmons outlet on the westside for a fraction of MF prices.

Also, on the North Decatur note, I totally went to Words Worth Books and later E Land when I was young. So awesome!

If ever you find yourself in Arizona, check out Bookmans. Its like Oxford, Book Nook, BackTracks and Words Worth all in one.

Thanks as always for your comments and readership.

Georgia Girl said...

I'm just wondering if there is room for a Trader Joe's, my dream grocery store?

Atlantan99 said...

@ Georgia Girl,

Sadly no Trader Joes coming.

Tamara said...

Trader Joe's would be an awesome addition in that area. We should start a petition.

Tamara said...

Trader Joe's would be an excellent addition to that area. We should start a petition to get them there!

I would also be thrilled if Ria's would open a location nearby.