Atlanta-based Fifth Group plans to open a third outpost of its popular Ecco restaurant, this time in Buckhead. The new restaurant would open adjacent to Nordstrom at Phipps Plaza, at the corner of Wieuca and Peachtree Roads in an as yet undeveloped, freestanding building. The restaurant would open on property where currently the construction trailer for the new AC Hotel by Marriott under construction sits. (The new hotel is being developed in partnership with Atlanta based Noble Investment Group on property owned by Simon Property Group.)
Current plans call for the AC Hotel to open in late spring, which would be followed soon after by the beginning of the construction process of the new restaurant building. If all goes well, Ecco plans to open in mid-2017.
I spoke to contacts at both Fifth Group and Simon Property Group who both said that they were in talks for the property, but that a lease had not been finalized. Both parties seemed confident that they would have an executed lease imminently.
When the deal is finalized, Atlanta's The Johnson Studio has been tapped to design the restaurant. Locally, The Johnson Studio has designed a number of popular restaurants including KR SteakBar in Peachtree Hills and the redesign of Polaris at the Hyatt Regency downtown.
When it opens, Ecco, which features a "Mediterranean-inspired" menu, would be in direct competion with St. Cecilia, located about a block away in the bottom of the Pinnacle office building.
Ecco's Buckhead location will seat 240, including an 80-seat private dining room and 50-seat patio. Additionally, while Ecco Midtown serves dinner only, the Buckhead location will also offer lunch seven days a week.
The original Ecco opened on 7th Street in Midtown Atlanta about ten years ago. In early 2013, HMSHost opened a licensed location of the midtown hotspot in the Terminal F, in the International Terminal of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Fifth Group, which has been in business in Atlanta since 1993, today operates seven restaurants around the city, as well as restaurants at the airport and catering, event, and design operations. The group's South City Kitchen restaurant, already with locations in midtown and Vinings, is slated to open in late April or early May on Peachtree Road in Buckhead. The restaurant is opening in the lobby level of the Capital City Place building, next to the Buckhead MARTA station.
Are you excited at the prospect of Ecco in Buckhead? If you've been to both, do you prefer St. Cecilia or Ecco? What other Fifth Group restaurant would you like to see expanded?
Please share your thoughts below.