Sweet Auburn Barbecue's second location will be on North Highland Avenue in Poncey Highland, in place of Pura Vida, which closed in late 2012 after 12 years in business. (In case you missed it, Pura Vida's Hector Santiago has been Executive Chef at Abbatoir since last July, and is working with his team from his former Latin sandwich shop, Super Pan, to create the menu for the forthcoming Big Sky in Buckhead, scheduled to open "soon." Santiago will reportedly maintain his post at Abbatoir while also manning the kitchen at Big Sky.)
The original Sweet Auburn Barbecue opened in the Sweet Auburn Curb Market in 2011. The business also exists as a food truck.
It's strange for such a prime location to have remained vacant for a year, but I know for a fact that at least one other restaurant, Egg Harbor Cafe, was interested in the space and decided against it, largely because of the parking situation. Rather than Poncey Highland, Egg Harbor opted to open next in south Buckhead at the Brookwood.
Sweet Auburn's jump to bricks and mortar follows the successful expansions of fellow Curb Market restaurants, Grindhouse Killer Burgers and Bell Street Burritos. Today, Bell Street operates within the Curb Market and its new freestanding home on Peachtree Street. Grindhouse operates within the Curb Market in addition to full service locations in midtown and Athens as well as a licensed location at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Howard Hsu, co-owner of Sweet Auburn Barbecue, plans to open his Poncey Highland location in mid-to-late March but given its location within the City of Atlanta, that timetable may be aggressive.
Howard Hsu is also co-owner of Atlanta Food Truck Park on Howell Mill Road.