Though COVID put plans for a fall 2020 opening on hold, celebrity food personality Andrew Zimmern and Robert Montwaid have at last soft-opened Chattahoochee Food Works, giving Atlanta its newest food hall and something for the industrial Westside to celebrate.
The 22,000-square-foot food hall, which will have 31 tenants, is located in The Works, an expanse of industrial warehouses turned mixed-use retail and residential properties. It’s just off Chattahoochee Ave, not far from the intersection of Ellsworth Industrial Blvd — you can see the Topgolf nets from inside the lot.
While residences are not yet completed, there will be 500 of them when the development is finished, along with plenty of retail shops, a hotel, a full-service Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, and 13 acres of greenspace. Prior to the food hall’s opening, the 80-acre property’s main draw has been Dr. Scofflaw, a second location of the Scofflaw Brewing, whose first location is just further west of The Works.
Although Chattahoochee Food Works is a “globally-inspired” food hall, the talent behind its tenants are as local as can be, described as “99-percent local” by Zimmern himself during a recent preview visit.
Zimmern told Eater Atlanta two years ago that he wanted Atlanta’s diverse dining scene to be represented at CFW’s stalls. Along with his partner, Montwaid he also said providing opportunities for immigrants, women, people of color was important, as the early chance to grow and experiment could be a major benefit to up-and-coming food business entrepreneurs, or at least help them get past “previous barriers to access.”
Montwaid, who owns the food hall and is known for creating Gansevoort Market in New York City and world-famous nightclub The Pink Elephant, told Atlanta Magazine in September he and Zimmern made the food hall, set in an historic rail building restored with emphasis on open air and communal space, to be comfortable and homey.
“A lot of food halls have become very commercialized and slick. We leave a lot of the design to the vendor because it creates diversity,” Montwaid said to Atlanta.
And he and Zimmern said they chose their tenants the old-fashioned way: They ran around Atlanta eating everything in sight.
“We spend a lot of time thinking about our mix of vendors,” Zimmern told Atlanta. “Having people who exemplify the values we want to see extends the longevity.”
Food is big business in Atlanta. And it hasn’t been an easy time for restaurants and the wider food service industry since the pandemic began last year, but there continue to be new restaurants and bars opening frequently these days.
TL;DR: It appears that The Works is gunning for that #1 spot when it comes to food halls in Atlanta. It’s easily beating Ponce City Market’s Central Food Hall, and could present a formidable challenge to Krog Street Market when more stalls come online, although with Krog’s selection of anchor restaurants and consistency of quality, they’re definitely the place to be(at).
One thing Chattahoochee Food Works will need, ASAP, is people to move into The Works, because getting there from either side is getting more difficult by the day. Traffic on 75 North has never been friendly in that area, Marietta Boulevard can become a nightmare around rush/happy hour, and Howell Mill traffic? Ha! Good luck keeping your car in motion.
But an associated name like Andrew Zimmern, and food like the pizza at Pomodoro and the beef dish at Tyde Tate are making a strong case for Chattahoochee Food Works to work out quite nicely for industrial westsiders, and maybe even Atlantans from further away.
While several tenants continue preparing for their opening days, here’s the list of stalls that open today, and a quick idea of what they’re serving and what you should try:
Turning breakfast into culinary art, this Black-husband-and-wife-owned stall has brilliant day-starting dishes with unexpected twists, from French toast topped with Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, to a variety of stuffed waffles, which can have all sorts of things inside: berries, sausage and eggs, even a soul food joint with mac and cheese, fried chicken and greens. #YEET
Delicious noodles for your soul, by the bowl, as well as a variety of yakitori (chicken thigh, pork belly, duck, vegan shrimp…), bao buns, and even a Japanese take on lemon pepper wings! The tonkatsu ramen is quite awesome.
This family-run Thai food stall began as a catering service in Lawrenceville, and is using the stall as a first step towards going full-fledged into the restaurant biz. The opening menu will feature curry puffs, Thai fried rice, pad Thai and more, but whatever you do, don’t miss the luxurious Panang curry beef dish if you’re a carnivore — it’s outstanding.
Pho is served here, along with other great Vietnamese street food from shaved beef salad with fish sauce to spring rolls (fried and unfried).
Ridiculously good sushi from the folks behind Atlanta’s long-established MF Sushi line of restaurants. It’s fresh and high quality, which you can especially taste in the nigiri and sashimi, and is probably the same for their tataki appetizers. The samples of tuna and salmon they provided were exquisite.
Started in Duluth, this is where to find all the teas, from daily-steeped, premium loose leaf to 100% Japanese matcha, and of course boba, made in a variety of flavors, including black milk tea, green tea with housemade grapefruit puree, and sweeter sips like cookies and cream, or purple yam blended with ice.
Buy Japanese whiskey, sake, wine and beer for the house.
Seriously good pizza is what comes out of the fancy wood-fired Forno Bravo oven at this Italian concept, led by two longtime catering partners, one of whom ran the kitchen at Cru Food & Wine Bar in the Alpharetta retail development Avalon. They’ll also have pastas, meatballs, and of course they didn’t forget the cannolis.
More tenants will open stalls in Chattahoochee Food Works throughout 2021, including Baker Dude (cakes, cookies, sandwiches, etc.) this month, Philly G Steaks in May, and a gang of others, from Morelli’s ice cream to Cubanos ATL in the coming weeks.
We’ll see y’all there.