Tuesday, July 2, 2019

[EXCLUSIVE] Joella's Hot Chicken Takes Over Where Pollo Tropical Chickened Out

A new-to-market restaurant has secured the sites of several former Atlanta area Pollo Tropical restaurants to help launch the brand locally.  Joella's Hot Chicken, based in Louisville, Kentucky, is a fast casual purveyor of [Nashville] Hot Chicken.  The growing chain's first location opened in St. Matthews, a suburb of Louisville, in 2015.  Today, there are eight Joella's in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, as well as a roaming food truck.  Joella’s Hot Chicken "was named in honor of two legendary employees of a bygone era, Joe and Miss Ella."

ToNeTo Atlanta first got wind of Joella's planned entry into metro Atlanta this past February, at which point we were told that they were looking to take over as many as seven former Pollo Tropical restaurants.  Pollo Tropical this past December closed its remaining nine locations in metro Atlanta, leaving numerous newly built, freestanding restaurant buildings available for new tenants. 

When we contacted Joella's in February about the planned openings we were told:

"We will be sure to keep you updated with any new store openings in the area" with a company representative further adding..."We are still working through details and will make an announcement once plans are confirmed."

It seems those plans have now been confirmed.  The company has multiple job postings where it is seeking to hire management for new locations in Cumberland, Kennesaw, Woodstock & Newnan.  In all four locations it will reportedly occupy former Pollo Tropical restaurants.

Louisville-based Schulte Restaurant Group purchased the Joella's brand from company founder Tony Palombino in late 2017.  Schulte [Hospitality Group] was primarily a hotel operator before buying the Joella's brand.  The group now has plans to expand the hot chicken chain in the southeast and Midwest with a 10-15 unit per year growth planned.

The Cumberland location at Akers Mill Square on Cobb Parkway is easily the crown jewel of the portfolio of former Pollo Tropical restaurants in metro Atlanta.  The freestanding location provides plenty of Cobb Parkway visibility and is surrounded by good daytime and nighttime populations as well as SunTrust Park.

The Newnan, Woodstock, and Kennesaw locations, like the Cumberland restaurant, are all freestanding and recently built, but the Cumberland location was reportedly the most sought after with multiple other operators having expressed interest in it.  The fact that Joella's took over four locations was appealing to Pollo Tropical, and reportedly enabled the hot chicken chain to get the deal(s) done.

The Kennesaw restaurant is located at 840 Ernest Barrett Parkway, Woodstock at 188 Molly Lane, and Newnan at 580 Bullsboro Drive. 

All four former Pollo Tropical restaurants are roughly 4,000 square feet and provide Joella's with drive-thru capability, a feature the chain is reportedly keen on further exploiting.  

Like other restaurants, most notably Atlanta based Chick-fil-A, many Joella's openings include promotions where the first 100 adults on opening day get coupons good for "free hot chicken for a year."

Former Pollo Tropical restaurants remain available in Tucker, Snellville, Austell and Buford, although real estate sources indicate there are deals pending on many of them. [Pollo Campero last month opened in the former Marietta Pollo Tropical at Marietta Trade Center.]

Joella's is likely looking to emulate the success of other "hot chicken" chains like Nashville's Hattie B's, which debuted in metro Atlanta on Moreland Avenue last July and has seen lines out the door on many days since.  Representatives for Hattie B's are reportedly looking at adding at least one other location in metro Atlanta in the coming years.    

The first Joella's in metro Atlanta could open later this fall.  


Have you ever tried Joella's Hot Chicken?  What is your favorite type of chicken?  Where else would you like to see Joella's open?

Please share your thoughts below  

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chick Fil A, Hooters, Chipotle..... Joella's? Lot of chicken in one S.C....

Anonymous said...

OMG HOT CKN is so overrated!! 4 of them DAMN! Someone PLEASE PLEASE bring Bonchon Chicken to Marietta! Absolutely delicious!!

Anonymous said...

Hope they get the hiring right! Most chicken places.....well they fail.

Anonymous said...

Yawn - is HOT chicken better than cold ?

Anonymous said...

10:00PM knows what he/she is talking about. Bonchon, please.

Anonymous said...

Would rather have Burger King

Anonymous said...

Isn't there a former Pollo Tropical in Lawrenceville as well?

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