Thursday, October 12, 2017

S&W Seafood Drops Anchor in Johns Creek

A restaurant that traces its local history back to 1934 is returning to metro Atlanta after a nearly 30 year absence.  S&W Seafood, which started as a raw market in downtown's Municipal Market, today known as the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, is planning to "soft open" next Monday October 16 in Johns Creek. 
The restaurant was originally slated to open in August, but typical restaurant delays caused owner David Weinberg to push the opening.  Weinberg says the restaurant will be worth the wait.  

David Weinberg, 44, the restaurant's co-owner along with his father Robert, 77, are "putting the band back together." David, a lawyer by trade, provided me the "short" story on his family's restaurant history in Atlanta.   

1890s: Papa Joe Weinberg immigrates to the Atlanta area and starts a meat & seafood business in what is now Underground Atlanta. Papa Joe had thirteen kids, one of which was Sam Weinberg, David's grandfather.  
1934: S&W started by unrelated guys as raw market in Atlanta's municipal market.  
1940: David's father Robert Weinberg is born.  
1942: Sam Weinberg acquires S&W Seafood. He operates it continuously and becomes a well-known raw seafood, meat, and poultry business in Atlanta's municipal market 
1973: David is born 
1974: Sam, Robert and Fred opened “Skipper Sam’s,” a seafood restaurant ITP on Buford Highway across the street from Old Sarge military surplus store. They were too busy for that location and sold it 9 months later.  
March 1977:  Sam, Robert and Fred Weinberg opened the 5,000 square foot S&W Seafood Restaurant in Sandy Springs near the corner of Hilderbrand Drive and Roswell Road.  S&W Seafood Restaurant operated at that location until it was sold at the end of 1989. It had expanded in the same strip center to 12,500 sq ft, including three full bars and seating for 300 people.  (The original 5,000 sq. ft. restaurant was later home to The Brickery, another local restaurant.  The entire shopping center in which S&W was previously located was demolished last year, and is being replaced with a new luxury apartment complex including ground floor restaurants.) 

Between 1974 and 1994, David's family operated a number of restaurants in the Atlanta area including Skipper Sam's the original, and the rebirth in Roswell (1992-1994), S&W’s Chesapeake House in Dunwoody Village, S&W Seafood, Jr., one of the first restaurants in the Perimeter Mall food court, a sports bar, a comedy club, and a burger concept called Mack Marvin’s. 

Now, S&W Seafood is located in the Medlock Corners shopping center anchored by Publix at the corner of State Bridge Road and Peachtree Parkway. The new S&W Seafood occupies the old El Tenapa Mexican (and for a short time after that, Pueblo Mexican) restaurant space immediately to the right of Publix.   

The restaurant is 2,800 square feet with seating for around 70.  Weinberg plans to operate S&W as a fast casual eatery during the day, but plans to flip to a full service model, with an elevated menu, in the evenings. "It's a hybrid concept we’ve been talking about for years, and now we get to fine tune it. We have plans to grow through corporate owned and/or franchised units.” 

Despite the long hiatus, Weinberg says his family's commitment to quality remains unchanged.  "What has always remained the same is our dedication to using high quality ingredients prepared with recipes so our guests taste and enjoy the quality and flavor of the seafood and meats. We're doing the same at the new location, and I think we're doing it affordably. I want people to enjoy a lunch as long or short as they need to, and I want my neighbors to be able to dine and relax with beer or wine in the evening."  

Some of the restaurant's offerings will include Chowder Fries, “Catfish and Friends” (gator tail, frog legs, shrimp, and whole, wild-caught catfish), "Loaded” Tacos, Famous Seafood Gumbo and New England Clam Chowder, Lobster Rolls, Seafood Boils, Softshell Crabs, "The Moby Dick" - a family feast, and Certified Angus beef burgers and Bone-In Ribeyes.  

ToNeTo Atlanta reported this past March that Nancy's Pizza was also opening in Medlock Corners.  The restaurant opened in late August, and will soon be followed by a Buckhead location.  Pollo Tropical closed a few of their metro area locations this past April, including one in an outparcel of the Medlock Corners shopping center.  

Did you ever dine at one of the original S&W Seafood locations?  Are you excited for the addition of a local seafood eatery in Johns Creek?  If the concept does take off, where would you like to see the next S&W open?  

Please share your thoughts below. 

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