Manuel's Tavern seeks Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport expansion
One of the city's busiest watering holes is looking to expand to the world's busiest airport. In a press release this week, Manuel's Tavern owner Brian Maloof announced that the 55-year-old Poncey-Highland institution is participating in a pair of bids seeking to add a Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport location to the family-run business.
According to the release, Manuel's Tavern is party to a proposal by Take-Off Concession, LLC for space in Concourse A, a proposal that also includes a Figo, a Jujubee's Italian Yogurt and a Domino's Pizza. It is also a party to a proposal by Creative Food Group, LLC for a space on Concourse D in a deal that includes Herschel Walker Sports Pub, Crosby & Hatch (a concept by Atlanta chef Ford Fry), Vino Volo and a Subway.
In the release, Maloof states: "Our plan is to bring to Hartsfield-Jackson the charm and character of Atlanta and Georgia wrapped in the ambience, excellent service, food and drink that Manuel's is widely known for. Both locations in the airport would reflect the same unique atmosphere and history as the original tavern."
On Thursday morning, Maloof told Intel: "I've been super involved in this from the get go. If we're going to do a Manuel's Tavern at the aiport, it's going to look and feel like Manuel's. I made a list of artifacts from the tavern, from the portrait of my father to the light fixtures, and every bit of it was signed off on."
Intel, meanwhile, is trying to determine how exactly Maloof plans to replicate the original tavern's well-worn century-old bar (originally rescued from his father's Pryor Street pool hall by Manuel Maloof himself), cigarette scarred tables, the nicotine-stained walls and that downright creepy portrait of JFK hanging behind the bar at a new space in the comparatively pristine, smoke-free airport. Or for that matter, the close proximity of the King of Pops location at Buddy's convenience store just across Highland Avenue. Time will tell if the airport signs off on the proposals.
This much will be retained: The watering hole's famous left-leaning liberal political philosophy (Jimmy Carter first announced his intention to run for governor there). "We had a long discussion about that," Brian Maloof told us. "I told them, 'We have a political lean here that we don't apologize for. They told me, 'If we had a problem with that, we wouldn't be talking to you.' "