A new Caribbean restaurant is coming to Midtown.
Negril Village, a Caribbean restaurant with one existing location in New York's upper west side, plans to open a location in Atlanta on North Avenue. The new restaurant will open at 30 North Avenue in place of what was most recently Engine 11, a casual bar and restaurant. Engine 11 closed this past January and the unique space was vacant.
If the Atlanta location has a similar menu and format to New York, expect a casual but lively atmosphere with main entrees ranging from about $10 to $25.
Marva Layne opened the first Negril Village over ten years ago, and operates the restaurant with her husband Carlton Hayle, business partner Peter Best, and son Sim Walker. Her son Sim, along with Peter Best and Malissa Brown, opened SoCo, described as a "Southern style eatery with Caribbean influences" in 2011, in Brooklyn. Sources say Sim is spearheading the expansion of Negril Village in Atlanta and has been spotted checking out restaurants in Atlanta, most recently 1Kept.
It would seem challenging to be involved in so many restaurants, in two separate (distant) states and try to maintain the same local, family feel that has made the two in New York successful and popular. As we have seen with Craft and Emeril's, restaurants popularized by the chefs / owners that created them, that open in Atlanta with "absentee" owners don't fare so well.
Negril has quietly been doing work on the space since late November, and plans to open early next year. According to Craigslist ads seeking FOH and BOH employees, Negril Village is a "Caribbean Fusion concept."
Not far away, Poor Calvin's Absolute Fusion opened on Piedmont Avenue, and while I'm not fond of the word fusion being attached to so many restaurants, I dined there recently and the food was actually quite good.