Monday, September 14, 2020

[UP IN SMOKE] Restaurateur Reopens Buckhead Pizzeria, Adds Hookah Lounge

The owner of Silvano Pizza in Buckhead Village will soon [officially] reopen his restaurant as "Sauce," described on newly installed signage as a Pizza Bar, Restaurant & Lounge.  Located at 25 Irby Avenue, the building in which Sauce is opening has been several restaurants in its more than 50 year history, having had the most success as a spot for barbecue.  

Home for many years to Texas State Line and later One Star Ranch, both popular barbecue restaurants, it was more recently home to Buckhead BBQ, a far less popular barbecue eatery that closed last April after less than two years in business.  Marco Betti, owner of Buckhead's Antica Posta, signed a 15 year lease on the space last spring, and opened Silvano, named for his father, last summer.  Silvano operated under some of the strangest of hours.  It was always a mystery whether the business was open, if it was selling whole pies or slices, and what it was.  Several months ago, Silvano began to morph into "Fe Hookah Lounge," for late night revelers.  COVID-19 later caused it to close indefinitely. 

In recent weeks, however, life returned to the space as Betti had the building painted, new scenic artwork added to the exterior to make diners feel like they were somewhere other than Buckhead and additional outdoor seating was added, too.  

Sauce "soft opened" Friday, with plans to celebrate with a "grand opening" October 1.  For now, Sauce will be open Thursday through Saturday from 6 PM until 2 AM, with plans for it to be open six nights a week after its grand opening.  Despite zero mention of it on its website or Instagram page, Sauce will, like Fe before it, offer hookah in addition to food and drink.  Hookah, a heated/vaporized tobacco product, offers operators tremendous profit potential, but also tends to attract large, and at times unruly, crowds. 

The conversion of Silvano to Sauce marks the second such conversion in Buckhead in just the past year.  Flying Crust, also offering pizza, opened last summer on Roswell Road.  Earlier this year, Flying Crust became Hide Kitchen & Cocktails.

Longtime ToNeTo Atlanta readers might liken the moves made at Hide and Sauce to one of the most outrageous "restaurants" we have ever reported on: Scenario.  Located in north Buckhead in Chastain Park, Scenario claimed to be a restaurant, but was in reality a lounge & nightclub.  Scenario has since closed and its space is today home to Pho Dai Viet, a Vietnamese restaurant and a welcome addition to the community.  

The fact that both Hide and Sauce are primarily hookah lounges masquerading as restaurants, brings to mind one of the most notorious businesses in Buckhead: Instanblue aka Blue aka Lucca.  Located at 264 Pharr Road in the street level of the Eclipse condo building, Blue tends to attract droves of people and traffic on the weekends and has been the scene of several shootings in recent months. Lucca, along with neighboring "restaurant" Copper Cove [Bistro] both offer hookah in addition to food, and both seem to ignore social distancing policies set forth by government officials.  

It would be unfair to assume that the behavior and shenanigans present at Blue, Copper Cove and Hide would follow at Sauce, so we waited until Monday, after the businesses first weekend, to publish this post.  

Patrons of Sauce illegally parked on Irby Avenue, lining the road from Early Street to Roswell Road, and remained at the business long past its 2 AM closing time.  The crowd, while small in comparison to what we witnessed at Lucca the prior week, was still incredible considering the business was both new and not yet publicly promoting their hookah offerings.   

While Sauce and other nearby lounges and bars might in years past have been able to skirt the rules and laws, new luxury highrises such as Hanover Buckhead Village, which opened in early 2018, and The Irby and Gentry, which opened earlier this year, will no doubt make things difficult for such businesses to continue to operate as they do today. 

What are your thoughts on the proliferation of hookah joints in Buckhead?  Are you a hookah fan?  What is your findest memory of the "old" Buckhead Village?

Please share your thoughts below  

7 comments:

Unknown said...

Buh bye

StojBoj said...

I'm not one to question people following their dreams to open businesses, but man, I sure don't get some of them.

Anonymous said...

Good lord - ANOTHER hookah lounge concept in Buckhead? This is a hybrid pizza/hookah???

Will the last one out of Buckhead please turn off the lights - I am not sure I've seen an area of Atlanta change so much in 6 months since Ray Lewis was out there getting involved in stabbings.

Alex said...

You know your neighborhood is in decline when a hookah lounge opens up near it.

Anonymous said...

I stopped reading at hookah.

Unknown said...

You mean Marco is trying to open up yet another business that ignores the laws b/c he thinks he's above it- shocker... unless you have an iron stomach don't eat there- no amount of liquor will kill what he sells. Only plus side is most likely he won't be there to kill any positive vibes. Excellent use of paying for marketing w/ no substance to back it up.

3 Putt said...

When the sign says "lounge" no fiber in my being has the slightest resemblance of desire to consume food provided by such an establishment.

I would imagine that tips will be baked into the tabs, knowing the crowd that it will attract

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