Wood Fire Grill, the fast casual restaurant started by former NFL quarterback Nate Hybl, is opening a second location. The eatery has secured the freestanding building located at 782 Ponce de Leon Avenue. The Original Chow Baby, which has occupied this space since late 2010, closed last night to make way for gusto. Chow Baby's closure brings an end to the brand with prior closures in west midtown, Mall of Georgia and at the Galleria, where the restaurant was rebranded Big Chow Grill.
The gusto! concept focuses on grilled proteins (chicken, shrimp and Portabella?) and "gustos," flavor profiles in the form of sauces, fresh vegetables and fruits. The menu offers build-your-own salads, rice bowls, sandwiches, and wraps.
Gusto plans to take advantage of the existing patio to offer outdoor dining.
The building offers limited parking, which had led me to place its predecessor Chow Baby on my "DeathWatch."
The first Gusto opened in October 2014 at 1935 Peachtree Road, across the street from Piedmont Hospital.
Interestingly, each Gusto location will now occupy a former (read: failed) Raving Brands concept. The Buckhead location was at one point the first Mama Fu's Asian House, a once promising concept that still exists, but is without any locations in Georgia. The new Gusto, was previously home to the original location of Doc Green's gourmet salads, prior to Chow Baby opening.
Hybl, who previously worked for developing chain Maki Fresh, eventually became server and shift leader at The General Muir, where he met, and later lured away, their Executive Sous Chef, Shawn Grodensky, now "Culinary Leader" at Gusto.
Since Gusto's initial launch, Hybl has stressed his desire to turn it into a chain and that plan appears now to be in motion.
Are you a fan of Gusto? Where would you like to see Gusto open next? Will you miss The Real Chow Baby?
Please share your thoughts below.