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Ponce City Market announces its first restaurants

Anne Quatrano and Linton Hopkins are in, among others; Jamestown's Michael Phillips hints at what's more to come

Ponce City Market has announced the first batch of vendors set to open in its Central Food Hall. Dub’s Fish Camp (Anne Quatrano), H&F Burger (Linton Hopkins), Jia, Honeysuckle Gelato, and Simply Seoul Kitchen (Hannah Chung and Grace Lee) will open in one of the largest brick structures in the Southeast. Openings will be staggered: Dub’s, H&F, Honeysuckle, and Simply Seoul are aiming for spring 2015 and Jia is aiming for winter 2014.

Details on each are limited, but here are the highlights:

  • H&F Burger, which will highlight Hopkins’s famous burger, will also share space with an outpost of H&F Bread Co.
  • Jia will be a Szechuan-inspired restaurant from Dahe Yang and chef Jiguo Jiang of Tasty China and Peter Chang’s Tasty China 2.
  • PCM will be the first brick-and-mortar locations for Wes Jones’s Honeysuckle Gelato, which will expand its menu to popsicles, sandwiches, and floats, and for Simply Seoul Kitchen, which will serve artisanal kimchee, sauces, and Korean steamed buns.

We spoke with Michael Phillips, COO of Jamestown Properties, to hear more about PCM, future vendors, and opening dates.

What’s the split in terms of restaurants to groceries to specialty vendors?

Most everybody who has a food offering will have a raw food offering. If you have seafood at your oyster bar, there will be a seafood shop; a meat restaurant will also have a meat counter. An Indian restaurant will have an Indian spice area. It’s imperative that you can walk through and buy enough raw ingredients to make a meal. There will be about twelve to fifteen restaurants and twenty-five to thirty vendors over the course of the whole project. It’s thirteen acres. Not all will be in the food hall. Some will be in the service building, some on the rooftop.

Should we expect to see any talent not from Atlanta?

We’re working diligently with a creperie called Bar Suzette in Chelsea in New York City and with other Southern chefs in regional cities. Generally speaking, I don’t think restaurants from New York do well in Atlanta, historically. Atlanta is not a place that welcomes not-homegrown talent. It’s important that where we do that, it’s done artfully and in the context of largely being a market that is representative of people who are here in the South. So that means lots of different food—Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Japanese, as well as Southern vernacular and farm-to-table.

We’re in development on a dynamic diner that’s from a local restaurateur. We are interested seasonally in doing carnival food as interpreted by local chefs for our rooftop. We’re working on a woodfire pizza concept, and then on an innovative music and entertainment venue that has food attached to it. There’s a Black Box theater. We feel like with Anne Quatrano, Linton Hopkins, Wes Jones—we’ve made a nice statement about the kind of artisanal quality and scale that we’re trying to present.

When is PCM officially set to open? Or are we looking at rolling openings?

It will be rolling but will start to take shape in spring 2015. A lot of the office and residential and some retail will be opening in the fall of 2014, but the robust experience will be articulated in spring in 2015.

What’s been the toughest criteria you’ve held vendors to?

Being owner operators—not being chains and not being big food companies. While Dancing Goats doesn’t have an owner standing behind the counter, owners are in every week. That’s important. We have prided ourselves in picking tenants who been long-term contributors to the neighborhoods they’re in. They’re not the trendiest, but they’re somebody you can count on—not people who have a short-term flash of popularity.

For you, what has been the most unexpected obstacle during this project?

We have been very careful, historically, in the way we make choices around tenants. The building is so big and there’s so much excitement that’s it’s hard to say ‘no’ to people. The biggest obstacle has been being able to wait for it to take shape. It’s so massive. It’s hard to see the forest through the trees. You want to make the right choices for the culture we’re trying to commit. The other piece is trying to keep it intimate. And in a historic structure, [Jamestown Properties] has done an office on top of retail or residential over retail. But to do office, residential, and retail has all been a challenge.