Monday, July 22, 2013

Finally on Track, Two New Restaurants Coming Soon to Chamblee

Union Hill Kitchen coming soon to historic downtown Chamblee


Union Hill Kitchen is slated to open next month in downtown Chamblee at 5225 Peachtree Road, near the Chamblee MARTA station.  The restaurant is being opened by Chef Alexis Hernandez,who hails from Union City, New Jersey. 

Until I came across the new restaurant, and did some research into who was opening it, I had never heard of Chef Alexis Hernandez.  Research, however, indicates that he was a finalist on The Next Food Network Star, season six, where he was eliminated in week one.  (The Next Food Network Star catapulted Guy Fieri to superstardom when he won season 2, and he has since become the face of the network) 

Additionally, Hernandez' personal website claims "Chef Alexis is a very well sought out celebrity chef in Atlanta, Miami and New York."

The restaurant's website is not yet live, but its official facebook page sheds some light on what guests can expect from the restaurant...

"Union Hill Kitchen is a celebration of thoughtfully prepared, often playful, New American Cuisine by Executive Chef Alexis Hernandez."

With a Latino background, a BA in theology, a love for food and plenty of retail experience, Hernandez is hard at work bringing his dream restaurant to life.  Apparently the hoop jumping with the City of Chamblee started back in January 2012,  and only recently have things started to fall into place. 

If all goes according to plan, the restaurant should open around the second week of August for lunch, and would follow up with dinner service two weeks later.  

Union Hill should open around the same time as another new Chamblee eatery, Southbound

Mike Plummer, Cooper Miller, previously of Livingston and Dennis Lange, formerly of 5 Seasons Brewing,  plan to open Southbound later this summer about a half mile from Union Hill.  The restaurant will open in the space of a former upholstery workroom in historic downtown Chamblee at 5394 Peachtree Road, across from the train tracks.   A representative of the restaurant tells me that they began their process with the city last March and should be open Tuesday (exact Tuesday TBD.)

Among the cool aspects of the two-story restaurant are plenty of exposed brick with updated archways and even an authentic vintage bar, salvaged from The Peabody Hotel in Memphis.  

The vintage bar rescued from The Peabody Hotel in Memphis

In recent years, the only dining additions to Chamblee have come via fast food and casual chains.  IHOP opened in Chamblee Plaza in a former Hardees.  After over a year of delays, Zaxby's opened in an ourparcel of the Lowe's on Peachtree Boulevard and Popeyes will soon meet with the city to discuss plans for their proposed location across from Chamblee Plaza, that would replace a shuttered Checkers.  

There are few sit down, let alone chef driven, restaurants in Chamblee, and hopefully the neighborhood will appreciate the offerings of these two new establishments. 

Do you live nearby and eagerly await these openings?  What would you like to see open in historic Chamblee or perhaps at The Blee on Broad, (the new name of Chamblee Plaza)?    Will  historic downtown Chamblee ever become what historic downtown Roswell has become?  Please share your thoughts and weigh in below.  

29 comments:

Eric Smith said...

This is interesting news - thanks for the great reporting.

I am guessing that the space is a lot cheaper in Chamblee than available locations in Town Brookhaven that it was a no brainer for these guys to pursue Chamblee. There has aways been a lot of potential in the area in which they are opening up due to the increased density near the MARTA station and wide varieties of available properties. Additionally, Chamblee's location is not far from Brookhaven or Buckhead so any eatery which establishes a name for itself has a well-heeled potential clientele.

However, negative factors working against independent, higher-end restaurants are the well known difficulties of working with the Chamblee City government and negative cache of Chamblee itself.

As the economy slowly improves in the area, and the corresponding development/increased density of neighboring Brookhaven, it will be interesting to see if these new places can be sustain and portend future new entrants.

Anonymous said...

Chamblee Bistro, f/k/a Old Chamblee Bistro, has new owners and is now open for dinner as well as lunch. They've spiffed up the interior, though you're still aware you're in an old gas station. Don't miss the leaky roof, but kinda wish the album covers were still on the walls.

Anonymous said...

Wonder what the parking situation will be? I think it is amazing that so many places open with very little parking.

Anonymous said...

I know that Southbound will be putting in new parking in the back of thier lot in order to accommodate the parking situation.
Union Hill Kitchen has 15 spots for parking on thier property and also have access to the Marta parking lot which is about 600 - 700 feet away. I think that both will have sufficient parking for thier establishments.

Anonymous said...

"Union Hill Kitchen has 15 spots for parking on their property and also have access to the Marta parking lot which is about 600 - 700 feet away."

That's going to be a problem. I would not predict many patrons will be willing to walk the length of 2 football fields to use the cramped MARTA lot on Peachtree before AND after eating. That is not a very pedestrian-friendly section, especially at night. Good luck (sincerely) to Alex and his staff.

Anonymous 10:25

Bob Christiansen said...

WellPet Humane is next to Union Hill Kitchen. WellPet has tried on many occasions to work with Mr. Hernandez regarding parking. Although he is not yet open he has chosen to tow 3 of our clients cars. So, as a result, we will find it necessary to tow or boot any of his customers cars that park in our limited parking areas. Please do not patronize this establishment. This man needs to go back to New Jersey and take his belligerent attitude with him.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 9:56:

You know what's a great idea for something to do after eating? Walking the length of two football fields. More people should do it.

Anonymous said...

i don't like anyone that messes with Wellpet Humane! will not patronize his restaurant if this is true!

Anonymous said...

vintage pizzeria has a lot of parking, even across the street. won't they share some of it or is the owner still a pompous ass as well?

Anonymous said...

wow, towing is a jerk thing to do. I'm within easy walking distance to these new restaurants... will skip the UHK for sure.

Anonymous said...

Very cool to have new sit-down restaurants in Chamblee. Live in the Mid-City area and can walk to these.. but towing is a jerk thing to do.

Anonymous said...

Wellpet Humane is not innocent in this affair. For 2 years patrons have illegally parked not only in what is now Chef Alexis spaces, but also in the alley behind the building. "No Parking" signs were ignored, taken down, and finally just taken. This problem is not caused by the owners of this property or by Chef Alexis. There are always two sides to every issue!

Anonymous said...

Good to hear the other side of this parking issue. Hope this gets resolved! Looking forward to these new restaurants.

debalew said...

Super excited about Southbound, even more so now that I read that Dennis Lange it in on it. I am also excited that I am one of thousands of downtown Chamblee residents that don't have to worry about parking. Chamblee hosts a major festival every year - Taste of Chamblee - and parking is not an issue, so I suspect we'll all find ways to get along.

Buen Provecho!

Anonymous said...

If either of these restaurants plans to be successful, they better do some powerful marketing. Yes, Chamblee is a great location with a ton of potential. But being just off busy Peachtree, many people still don't know what exists in their own backyard.

I loved Get Coffee and Steam Coffee but most people I know never heard of them before they closed.

Does anyone know that Fresh 2Go is along this same stretch?

The Frosty Caboose and Vintage Pizza have done well but they have worked hard to let the locals know where they are.

Blake Hornick said...

I am so glad to finally see some restaurants that are down town in my area. I live in the area and own our place and it would be great to walk to some places instead of driving to Brookhaven of Buckhead. I like Buckhead and BrookHaven but it would be great to have a choice for dinner from Vintage Pizza, to Chamblee Bistro and to the two new places opening soon. TONETOATLANTA.com thank you for posting this. I was excited when I saw CHAMBLEE in the title.!!! :)

The more things to do at night here in Chamblee and places to eat during the day will help our area increase in value. We can be the next Decatur etc. This is a great town where I am excited to live and own property and live with my family. I love the police and how dedicated to my community. The police is always visible and we feel safe and they are friendly.


I am exited for both Restaurants South Bound and Union Hill Kitchen and anyone else who is taking a chance on my town. Those two restaurants and other businesses are taking a chance on my town so in return, I will patronize them to help them because their presence makes my home area worth something and it helps us residents who live here. I have supported Vintage Pizza from when we moved here and Cabouse with their lovely ice creams and good service because they work where and contribute to my town where I live. For years they have contributed a pulse to our city.

As a resident and someone who wants my city to be vital community, It makes me sad that Bob Christiansen from Wellpet and others are airing being negative about the happenings in our town.

Bob Christiansen the owner of Wellpet commented on this site:

"WellPet Humane is next to Union Hill Kitchen. WellPet has tried on many occasions to work with Mr. Hernandez regarding parking. Although he is not yet open he has chosen to tow 3 of our clients cars. So, as a result, we will find it necessary to tow or boot any of his customers cars that park in our limited parking areas. Please do not patronize this establishment. This man needs to go back to New Jersey and take his belligerent attitude with him."



So let me get this straight, WellPet aks Bob Christansen , you are here in Chamblee bad mouthing the business next to you because:

1. They are not open yet and you somehow think you should be able to have your clients park there? Why do you think you have that right? I don't get it.

2. You are shocked that they towed your customers? Have you done your due diligence and tell your customers when you are making appointments not to park there when it was clear that they did not want to "work" work with you and let you use their lot? What is not clear?


Blake Hornick said...



In amazes me and it makes me upset that as a resident of Chamblee Bob Christiansen aka Wellpet and others are making negative comments about vintage Pizza because of them not sharing parking and Chamblee Bistro because of a leaky roof. Come on guys, so easy to post negative stuff without showing your face! Why would anyone want to put a business here when people do put businesses here.


All of this negativity on this great news about two new places coming to Chamblee started because of Wellpet's inability to have their clients park on a property that does not belong to them.

Mr. Christiansen, with all due respect, If you don't own the property next door on your left or your right or across the street does not give you the right to feel entitled to it; Those who don't want to share it or "work" with you as you state have the legal right to do so. Those business pay for their property and don't have an obligation to you or to anyone to "share" their parking or "help" anyone out with their parking situation and that does not make them the devil. I passed by these properties last night as I walked my dog and there was a car parked in one of the bays of your neighbors bay doors and there was a sign right in front of the vehicle that said you will be towed private property. It was als obvious that your neighbor, had signs everywhere that communicates to everyone that no one is to park there or they will be towed. I proceeded to get ice cream at the cabouse and when I reutrned, I saw people in the restaurant space.... and the evil people from the restaurant did not tow the vehicle. In fact I saw the person come out of your office and get into the car I am speaking of. So you must not be doing a good job of letting your customers know not to park next door, but if they do, you demonize the business next to you for towing.
I would not like to be towed but if signs are up and I get towed it's my fault.

Blake Hornick said...

If you feel so bad that your clients were towed, I think you should post a sign in your office or notify clients prior to their appointment about the parking situation you created by not having enough parking for your clients. I see your point that you are upset that they won't "work" a solution with you but they don't have to work out any parking agreement with you. I don't care if it's not being used or they are not open or what ever, if it is not yours you don't have the right to decide its use. But I feel you do have the obligation as a courtesy to your valued customers to notify them that they should not park in the adjacent lot.


If you didn't do your research when you rented your retail property and now your business is being arrested by the parking situation - that is your fault- not your neighbors, not Vintage Pizza or the restaurant next door. From the posts on this sites, it claims that you parked on the adjacent lot for almost two years- taking down signs bla bla whatever. I don't really care if you took signs down and I don't know if that is true or not. But if it is true that you parked there incessantly for two years and reaped the benefits of that,- then you should be thankful that you have been able to grow you business while that space next door was vacant.

Great for you! You have grown your business. Now that the property next to your office is rented you should respect their business and notify your clients that they are not to park there. Demonizing a new business and encouraging people not to patronize it is so absurd to me and shooting our town in the foot.


Blake Hornick said...

To the poster who wrote:

"vintage pizzeria has a lot of parking, even across the street. won't they share some of it or is the owner still a pompous ass as well?"

I say to you that if Vintage Pizza own the rights to the lot and they don't want to share it or let anyone else park in it, it is their right. I am not sure what you don't understand about that concept? If that makes the owner pompous then YES, I guess he is very pompous. Good for Vintage Pizza! Vintage Pizza you are Pompous congratulations.

Perhaps for you to understand the concept of "what is not yours is really not yours," I should feel entitled to something you have such as second car you own or perhaps you own a second home that you are not using. And maybe if you won't share it with me because I don't have a vehicle at this time or need a place to stay and you won't make an agreement to let me use your second home, I'll go on this site like a coward and post something negative - ... At least the owner of WELLPET was brave and showed who he was when he posted his grievance. I respect him most of all the people who posted something negative on this site.


To the people or same persons who posted:

" wow, towing is a jerk thing to do. I'm within easy walking distance to these new restaurants... will skip the UHK for sure.

July 23, 2013 at 10:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Very cool to have new sit-down restaurants in Chamblee. Live in the Mid-City area and can walk to these.. but towing is a jerk thing to do. "


I say to you, I am sure the restaurant doesn't want your business. So skip the place walk down the street and enjoy your night somewhere else. They won't be missing you or your negative entitled attitude.




The the person or commented on this post who I assume is WELLPET because they are referring to "Alex". I am not sure if that is the owner or the manager or the evil devilish hellion who towed the vehicles from the soon to be restaurant:


"That's going to be a problem. I would not predict many patrons will be willing to walk the length of 2 football fields to use the cramped MARTA lot on Peachtree before AND after eating. That is not a very pedestrian-friendly section, especially at night. Good luck (sincerely) to Alex and his staff"


In closing I say to you BOB CHRISTIANSEN since you are the only one who would have the motivation to pen what is written above:

NOW, THAT YOU CAN'T ILLEGALLY PARK AT YOUR NEIGHBORS LOT ANYMORE, AND NOT THAT YOU FULLY ARE AWARE THAT THEY WILL REMOVE VEHICLES FROM THEIR PROPERTY THAT DON'T BELONG THERE---


I HOPE YOUR CLIENTS ARE WILLING TO WALK THE LONG LENGTH OF ALMOST 2 HUGE FOOTBALL FIELDS TO YOUR OFFICE. AND ESPECIALLY IN A NOT PEDESTRIAN-FRIENDLY SECTION, ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT ( SINCE IT'S SO DANGEROUS HERE AT NIGHT). GOOD LUCK (SINCERELY) TO BOB CHRISTIANSEN AND WELLPET AND HIS STAFF.


AND WITH THAT -

My family is heading to Chamblee Bistro for a beer say hi to our new friends there and hopefully the "horrible ceiling won't be leaking" and maybe I won't miss the old album covers. Then after we leave Chamblee Bistro and maybe we will stop and look at furniture at Consignment Despot. That place is so great always have great stuff.... And maybe make an appointment to take that yoga class at the yoga studio across the street. Then for dinner head over for some pizza at our FAVE Vintage PIZZA and talk to our favorite server......and for dessert head over to the the cabouse for some ice cream and walk home. And maybe this time as I get close to Pierce Drive I might meet the evil devilish people next door to WELLPET and say HI Welcome to Chamblee! We are excited to have you here and have your doors open!

Anonymous said...

I was so excited to read this article. I grew up near downtown Roswell, and have seen the changes they made to have a specific clientele. I believe that downtown Chamblee can be the same way. It is great to see that some people are breaking through all of the politics it takes to get any restaurant into the area. Hopefully this will just be the beginning of the new higher end developments. I purchased in the area, with the expectation that Chamblee would have to grow, because it is the last pocket ITP, which has yet to establish an identity. Sooner or later, the city will have to grow more like its Buford highway side, or like its Brookhaven/Buckhead side. I prefer the later, and seeing the incredible transformation of DTR (Downtown Roswell) proves that it can be done with community and city council support!

debalew said...

Loved your comments Blake. Congrats on being brave enough to say what you want in a public forum. We moved to Chamblee 2 years ago, and are also excited (and waiting patiently) for it to explode. It will. I know it!

And, hey, JOIN that yoga studio across from Chamblee Bistro. I'd love to see more people in the classes with me (I'm a member, otherwise, no affiliation). Hope to meet you someday, neighbor...

Anonymous said...

vintage pizza is in a condo/loft building.. would be inappropriate to just share and bring excess traffic for the residents.

maybe this will nudge Wellpet to get their Wellpet Campus built sooner than later.

both these restaurants sound pretty cool. thanks Blake for your input.


Anonymous said...

I live in the homes above Vintage Pizza. So excited to have not one but 2 Chef driven restaurants within walking distance. I did research on Union Hill Kitchen's Chef and I have eaten the Chefs food at Atlanta GLAAD media awards. Amazing bites Chef Alexis pulled out of that make shift kitchen. Also I found photos on Facebook of the Chef and old rock legend Ted Nugent together when he cooked for him in Louisville. As well Latin Pop Star Andres Cuervo and other clients like Bank of Anerica, Crown Royal Whisky. He also did cooking segments on CNN International. He may not be known in the restaurant scene in AtL but i think he is sought out by corporate and private entities. So my husband and I are excited for these two new places to open now.

Anonymous said...

Also Chef Cooper worked as the executive chef at The feed store and before that at Livingstons. So I think all of us in Chamblee have lots to look forward to with these two new places. Can't wait to have a drink on the deck at southbound.

Carl Muth said...

I spoke with Alexis and heard his side of the story on the parking situation. It seems like the WellPet guy is throwing a tantrum because he can't strong arm his neighbor and get his way. None of Union Hill Kitchen's other neighbors have a problem with the parking. There was adequate signage warning that people would be towed if they parked in their lot, and I don't know about y'all, but when I see signs like that I take them seriously. So the WellPet owner must have told his clients to disregard the signs and park there anyway. Chef Alexis even told me that he had been talking to the Wellpet guy and had warned him that it would happen. You would think that anyone with any brains (and any consideration for their clients) would have put up signs in their office warning people to park in WellPet's own parking spaces. If they don't have adequate parking, it's THEIR fault, not the restaurants.

Anonymous said...

How dare Bob Christiansen and Welpet make any negative comment regarding any business in Chamblee. Mr. Christiansen's ignorance of small business is astonishing. Does this buffoon not realize that small business owners are the back bone of America? Business gets business and all the business owners need to make nice and get along with each other. For pet owners out there, do what I am going to do, find a new place to take my pets. Just down the road a mile or so are three vet's you can use. Time to give Bob Christiansen and Welpet a dose of their own medicine and avoid/boycott them all together. For the owners of Southbound and Union Hill, I applaud you and wish you great success, Welpet, not so much.

Anonymous said...

I think Blake Hornick's off his Meds.

First of all its obnoxious to tow cars when the place isn't open and using the spots.

But putting that aside. The last thing the world or Chamblee needs is more paved surfaces. I hope the pet store and the restaurant can come to a shared parking arrangement. After all It would seem the peak times for a restaurant are after when Wellpet closes and visa versa. So why not share the space!

As to the nice restaurant, Southbound, what a great room and the work they've done on the building is great. As to parking don't forget there is parking in front of that strip of stores and a huge parking lot behind the entire strip of stores - and the rest of the stores are closed at night, so hopefully its shared parking. And Blake if the Parking lot isn't owned by all then they can work out a payment arrangement.

Anonymous said...

Of course they should share parking! there peak times are at different times. Its stupid to build more parking when there is parking next door.

When open the restaurant will need WellPet's parking at night. So its a nice trade off.

As to the nice restaurant Southbound there is a ton of parking behind the back of that strip of stores that it sits at the end of.

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