Atlanta-based F2o (Fresh to Order) is finally opening their long rumored location at CNN Center downtown.
The "fast fine" restaurant will open in place of a former Waldenbooks, and subsequently a generic bookstore in the food court of CNN Center. This will mark the growing chain's eighth location in Atlanta, and 9th overall, including their lone out of state location in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The chain that I often describe as "a step above Panera Bread" has significant growth plans. Through franchising, the company hopes to have 50 locations open by 2015, with another 50 in various stages of development.
Earlier this year, Nation's Restaurant News named F2o one of their "50 Breakout Brands for 2013"
I'm keeping up hope that when the chain opens its 10th location, they will make the "grown up decision" to remove Brookwood Grill from their website. I realize the same ownership is behind both the growing chain and the single restaurant, but it just looks bad.
With the recent opening of their Hartsfield-Jackson location, the chain is clearly trying to adapt to more restrictive spaces. The Moe's Southwest Grill in CNN Center was one of the chain's first food court type locations, and it proven to be a viable alternative prototype for the brand. F2o has a much larger concept in terms of offerings but is perhaps testing a new, scaled down version of their restaurant. Given the availability of shared seating within the large atrium, not having their own seating should be less of a concern.
Strangely, F2o's neighbor will be the soon to open Five Guys which is replacing Don Juan's Mexican Cantina. Don Juan's was a full service restaurant with their own seating and even a small patio on Centennial Olympic Park Drive. The former bookstore space would seem to be a better fit for Five Guys while the Don Juan's space would seem to fit better with the F2o concept.
I first broke news of Five Guys planned CNN Center opening this past October, while only within the past few days was "coming soon" signage for F2o posted. A source tells me that the Five Guys should be opening in "a few weeks," while according to the F2o website, its restaurant will open "late summer 2013."