Saturday, June 23, 2018

[EXCLUSIVE] Second Wildleaf Location to Sprout From Atlanta Plaza This Fall

Business partners David Morse and Chef Randy Lewis plan to open a satellite location of their popular salad concept Wildleaf in Buckhead's Atlanta Plaza later this fall.  The eatery, which will open in the renovated lobby of the Buckhead office building, will be about the same size of the original Wildleaf in Terminus 100 which opened last January.    
The original Wildleaf at Terminus 100 in Buckhead

The new Wildleaf, which will be open Monday through Friday for breakfast,lunch and early dinners, will be similar to its Terminus outpost, but with the addition of beer, wine & coffee offered at a separate counter. Co-owner David Morse tells ToNeTo Atlanta that Wildleaf will source their coffee from an as yet undecided local purveyor.

32 story Atlanta Plaza, originally built in 1986, is in the midst of a multi-million dollar renovation following the tower's purchase in August 2016 by Miami-based Banyan Street Capital and Los Angeles-based Oaktree Capital Management for $137.5 million.  The tower is home to notable tenants the US Securities & Exchange Commission, and Rubicon, among others.  Spearheaded by Banyan Street, respected architecture and design firm Perkins+Will was brought in to re-imagine the building's dated common areas including the lobby and front drive along East Paces Ferry Road.

A former lobby level location of Ruth's Chris Steak House, the 15th of the now 100+ unit chain, was the building's primary food offering from 1986 until 2007, when the restaurant relocated to their current home within the Embassy Suites Hotel on Peachtree Road in Buckhead.  A lobby cafeteria has offered food to the building's many workers for a number of years, too, and is expected to remain in business following the renovation. 

Atlanta Plaza is located across from the Lenox MARTA station and is also within walking distance of Lenox Square.  

Permitting for the new Wildleaf at Atlanta Plaza was just filed earlier this week and Morse indicates he is hopeful he will be open by September, but admits that may be optimistic given the usual delays and disruptions of a restaurant build-out.  

An artist's rendering of the new lobby at Atlanta Plaza 

Morse tells ToNeTo Atlanta that he is close to finalizing a third Wildleaf location,in Midtown, that would likely not open until summer 2019.  

Wildleaf's expansion comes at a time when there is growing interest in the salad segment of the quick-serve restaurant industry.  

Houston-based Salata entered the Atlanta market last year with a location in Atlantic Station and has since opened additional locations in Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, East Cobb, Johns Creek, and Downtown Atlanta, with at least one more in the pipeline for Peachtree Corners.   Chopt, one of the earliest concepts in recent years to "innovate" the quick-serve salad concept, launched in New York in 2001 and entered the Atlanta market earlier this week with a location in Toco Hills and another slated to debut this fall in Buckhead near Chastain Park.  Culver City, California-based sweetgreen, another salad-centric quick-serve restaurant, is also planning an imminent Atlanta debut, according to real estate sources.  

Are you excited for the addition of a new healthy eating option in Buckhead?  Have you ever been to Wildleaf?  What salad concept - currently in Atlanta or not yet here - do you think does the best job? Why?

Please share your thoughts below  

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