Saturday, August 26, 2017

Ford Fry Goes Fast Casual For New Piedmont Heights Restaurant

Yesterday, Lauren Lestin, Director of PR for Ford Fry Restaurants, distributed a brief statement confirming that Ford Fry will be opening a new restaurant at 1878 Piedmont Avenue in Atlanta.  Interestingly, ToNeTo Atlanta has been inquiring about this exact property for over a year, with Lestin (who took the position in January) asserting for the past eight months that she had no knowledge of any plans for a Ford Fry restaurant at this location.
Yesterday evening ToNeTo Atlanta had an opportunity to speak with Ford Fry at the grand opening of the new Cook's Warehouse in Chamblee and inquired about the confusion.  According to Fry, he has been "looking at" the property for quite some time, but "was in and out of the project" a number of times, as rent, among other things, seemed to fluctuate.  

In May, Merritt Lancaster, a principal at Paces Properties, the firm handling the leasing of the property, appeared before the BeltLine Design Review Committee with plans to renovate the existing structure, a former bank, into a new restaurant.  

Paces and Ford Fry Restaurants have apparently come to a mutually agreeable lease, as according to Fry, a lease was finalized earlier this week.  

Originally constructed in 1955, the building at 1878 Piedmont Avenue has housed a number of businesses over the years, first a series of banks, then in the early 2000s, a RE/MAX office, and most recently tattoo shops, first Inkaholiks, and later The Anchor Bar & Tattoo.  
The side of the building currently features a detailed dragon tattoo 
The photos in this post were taken August 4, 2016, in preparation for this post and that post, and long before Paces Properties fenced in the property, likely in an effort to keep out squatters.  

The 3,669 square foot building is located on Piedmont Avenue where Piedmont Circle meets Cheshire Bridge Road. The property sits on about 1.2 acres and a has a surprisingly plentiful amount of onsite parking, as well as vehicular access from both Piedmont Circle and Piedmont Avenue.   

The new restaurant will in many ways be a unique concept in Fry's ever growing roster, in that it will not only be quick serve, rather than a full service restaurant, but it will also be open for all three day-parts: breakfast, lunch and dinner, something that no other Ford Fry concept does.  

Fry tells ToNeTo Atlanta that while up until recently he had settled on a name, because the restaurant name he selected is already in use in Austin, Texas, he went back to the drawing board.  

Stopping short of confirming immediate growth plans for the as-yet-unnamed eatery, Fry and his team are being especially strategic in choosing a unique name in case they expand the concept in the future.  

The restaurant's signature item will be wood-roasted “chicken al carbon,” says Fry.  The menu will also feature handmade tortillas, breakfast tacos and family style whole chicken al carbon.  Fresh margaritas will also be offered, as well as a curated selection of other beer and wine.  

According to Fry, the restaurant will be like Taco Cabana, the Texas-based chain restaurant that once stood across the street from Fry's upcoming restaurant, and is today home to the Modera Morningside apartment complex, as well as Sprouts Farmers Market. Fry further clarified that it will be like Taco Cabana, but better, with higher quality ingredients, and will likely not stay open all night, as Taco Cabana did. The new concept will likely be open until 10PM during the week and perhaps as late as 11 or so on weekends.  

Despite the release referencing the location as the "Morningside area," it will actually be in Piedmont Heights, a community originally founded in the early 20th century.  

While Fry does intend to renovate, not replace, the existing building, a number of components of the current structure will be removed for the upcoming restaurant.  Fry tells ToNeTo Atlanta that the rear patio was "illegally installed" and will be replaced, and that the front of the building with the arch and the four columns will also be removed.  
The large and illegally constructed back patio 
According to the City of Atlanta, no building permits have been filed at the 1878 address in over three years.  Fry tells ToNeTo Atlanta that the building in "rough" shape, and that "there is plenty that needs to be done."  He hopes to be up and running by next summer.  

Fry's other upcoming Atlanta area restaurant, The El Felix at The Battery Atlanta, is expected to open in October, delayed in part by a limited construction schedule related to work stoppages on game days.  

Ford Fry's other Atlanta area restaurants include Beetlecat, The Optimist, St. Cecilia, Marcel, The El Felix, Superica, No. 246, JCT Kitchen and King + Duke.  In addition to his Atlanta ventures, Fry also owns State of Grace in Houston, and has plans to open a Superica there as well.  Earlier this year, Fry also confirmed his plans to bring The El Felix to Charlotte, and confirmed last fall that he plans to open three restaurants in Nashville's Germantown neighborhood.  

Are you excited for the opening of this new Ford Fry concept in Piedmont Heights?  What is your favorite Ford Fry Restaurants concept?  Do you think breakfast tacos will become the next poke and froyo?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

awesome that he's coming to the neighborhood, but I'm worried about traffic congestion in that area. Piedmont/Cheshire is a mess in that hood...

Anonymous said...

Who goes in to a bank anymore? Besides the ATM, I truly can't remember the last time I went to a bank to go in to the building. And I don't even go to an ATM very often.

Anonymous said...

People with this thing called Money use banks frequently. There are many that don't have a bank that when receiving a check they must go to the bank the check is written off of to cash. Businesses use banks daily to make deposits and get change for their registers. People gets a wide variety of loans in banks, currency exchange, and safety deposit boxes. I am sure there are other services I failed to mentioned as well. Just because you don't use a bank doesn't mean many others do not. And No, I don't work for a bank for any affiliated financial institution. More bank locations in your community simply means your area is thriving economically.

Anonymous said...

Brick & mortar banks preferred by 87% of customers

Anonymous said...

I hope he has that awful paint job sandblasted off and restores the natural brick. And I don't believe that it will make traffic any worse than it already is.

Unknown said...

Very exciting for Piedmont Heights and the surrounding community!

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