Wednesday, November 1, 2017

[EXCLUSIVE] Micro Food Hall "Crafthall Kitchen" to Debut in Sandy Springs in 2018

A new "micro food hall" is coming soon to Sandy Springs.  Crafthall Kitchen, as the collective concept is known, will be located in Perimeter Center West, which is anchored by REI and Goodwill and already home to such eateries as la Madeleine, Honey Baked Ham and Zo√ęs Kitchen.
Entrepreneur Jennifer Rotondo is the #GirlBoss behind Crafthall Kitchen and brings a background in restaurant marketing to the new concept.  Rotondo, whose husband is  Mike Rotondo, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, was herself previously Director of Marketing for the smoothie franchise.  After her nearly three years at Tropical Smoothie, Jennifer spent time in marketing and "food innovation" consulting roles for a number of quick serve and casual eateries such as Flip Burger Boutique, Stevi B's Pizza Buffet and Tin Drum Asian Kitchen, among others. 

Jennifer tells ToNeTo Atlanta that her husband is not involved in Crafthall Kitchen and that it is 100% "her baby."  

In Perimeter Center West, Crafthall will occupy about 1,600 square feet, according to Rotondo.  The new concept will take up the remaining space left from Genghis Grill, to the left of Tiff's Treats, which occupies the other portion of the failed Asian eatery.  

Crafthall Kitchen will be an incubator of sorts, with an initial plan to debut four unique concepts in the single, compact space.  If successful, additional Crafthall Kitchens could open as could standalone units of some of the concept's brands, according to Rotondo.  Construction began a few weeks ago and Rotondo anticipates that she will be up and running in the first quarter of next year.  

While Rotondo is still tweaking the concept and the brands that will be featured, the current plan to to introduce concepts offering fried chicken [Fowl and Scratch], chicken wings [Sugar Britches], bowls [Bowl Cookhouse] and tacos [Salty Bandita]. 
The idea of a "micro food hall" is not completely new, but to test all unknown brands in an incubator format is definitely new to Atlanta.  In Midtown, the owners of The General Muir, Yalla Fred's Meat & Bread and West Egg, earlier this summer introduced their own micro food hall: The Canteen.  In the case of The Canteen, however, a number of already successful brands, Yalla, Fred's, along with a reduced size The General Muir: TGM Bagel, were brought under one roof and introduced to the Midtown market.  The one new concept within The Canteen is "Square Bar," which at the end of the day, is a bar with little "special sauce" per se.   

ToNeTo Atlanta attended ICSC's RECon this past May in Las Vegas where multiple developers, both in Atlanta and abroad, spoke of the importance of food halls in today's retail landscape.  While their talk was largely concentrated on concepts like Krog Street Market, the idea of a micro food hall could have tremendous appeal for smaller spaces in high-traffic locations where a full-scale food hall isn't feasible.  

Does the idea of mico food hall in Sandy Springs excite you?  What are your thoughts on the initial four concepts for Crafthall Kitchen?  If Crafthall does takeoff, where would you like to see another open?

Please share your thoughts below.  


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3 comments:

Indi said...

This might work but parking will definitely be at a premium. That shopping center is already crowded as is.....

Ham said...

I was at that center this past weekend and was curious what Crafhall Kitchen was. I think it’s a neat idea, but the space looks small for four different concepts. Will each concept have their own area or will you simply order everything from one location/individual? I’m sure they’ll do fine at first with all the lunch crowd in that area, but like any restaurant quality and service will determine long term success.

Anonymous said...

Terrible location but very favorable lease terms