Rendering courtesy of Star Provisions
Anne Quatrano, one of the pioneers of the Westside’s resurgence, will move Bacchanalia, her flagship restaurant, a mile further west next year, away from the hopping (and congested) Westside Provisions District but closer to the BeltLine. Star Provisions—the gourmet specialty shop—is going, too. Both will occupy a soon-to-be-constructed building on Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard.
When she and her husband, Clifford, first moved Bacchanalia from its original location in Buckhead to the Westside in 1999, the neighborhood was hardly a neighborhood at all. “It was desolate,” Quatrano says. Seventeen years later, Howell Mill Road is prime real estate, hot with new apartment complexes, boutique clothing stores, and hip coffee shops. Details about the move:
What, exactly, is moving?
Bacchanalia and Star Provisions are moving. Little Bacch will close. The only thing to stay in the current space is the deli—Star Provisions To-Go—which will continue to offer sandwiches, dessert, coffee, and bread. Seating will be outside only.
Why are they moving?
Star Provisions’ lease expired at the end of last year, and Quatrano was not able to come to terms on a new lease with her landlord, Michael Phillips, who owns Westside Urban Market, home to Star Provisions and Bacchanalia, as well as to Sid and Ann Mashburn’s shops, JCT. Kitchen and, across the pedestrian bridge over the train tracks, Billy Reid, Room & Board, and Marcel, among others. (Phillips may be known better these days as president of Jamestown Properties, the owner and developer of Ponce City Market.) Phillips wouldn’t comment on the lease negotiations with Quatrano, but did say, “We wanted to make sure that we had the best foot forward for the next 10 years.” Phillips added that he’s been planning to renovate the space “for some time” and that his goal was to keep Westside “fresh.”
Said Quatrano, “I don’t want to say that the issue was just rent, but I think we found another option that’s more interesting and better for us.”
In particular, Quatrano said she had more space than she needed. Of the 16,000 square feet in her lease, customers barely saw half of it, the rest being subterranean kitchens and storage. “There’s so much space downstairs that isn’t really usable for us to generate income,” she said
Where are they going?
Just 1.4 miles northwest to Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard, across from Daltile Tile & Stone Gallery. “I looked at a development on the Eastside, and I looked at Buckhead,” Quatrano said. “What was so important for Star Provisions was to have free and accessible parking. Our people want to buy a piece of cheese or bread, and they don’t want to valet or walk a mile. All of these new developments have parking decks, and they’re not that close [to the building].”
Perkins+Will is designing the 10,000-square-foot complex, which will resemble an upscale barn with a wrap-around patio. Much of the structure will be sheathed in glass. Star Provisions and Bacchanalia will occupy separate ends (and have separate entrances), with kitchen and storage in between. Parking and a garden will span the perimeter. The entire complex is about 350 yards from the Westside portion of the Atlanta BeltLine.
What does Quatrano have planned for the new Star Provisions?
Look for a wrap-around counter with meat, shellfish, and cheese cases; coffee and pastry stations; and a place to order food. In addition to wine, beer, and maybe even soda on tap, Star Provisions will also serve plated dishes. “It’s going to be more efficient,” Quatrano says. “I was thinking it’ll be a little bit Floatway and Little Bacch-esque, combining our favorite things, with some sandwiches and pizza as well.”
Can we expect any changes to Bacchanalia?
Aesthetically, Quatrano is sticking with a “stark” interior. The new space will be open, up to the rafters, and guests who sit at the bar will be able to see across the dining room out the window. Seating will increase to 130, up from 97. That includes a large private dining room and smaller ones designed for groups of 10. Joe Schafer will remain executive chef.
But what about Little Bacch?
Sadly, Little Bacch didn’t make the cut. The quiet, boxy room just didn’t generate enough buzz, in spite of positive reviews. “I don’t think it has anything to do with our food. I think it’s our physical location. That’s been a struggle from the beginning,” said Quatrano, who might incorporate dishes from Little Bacch into the new Bacchanalia. “I don’t think that means there’s not a place for Little Bacch in our future. Maybe we have Little Bacch here on Sunday. It’s not going to disappear because we love the food and the idea.”
What’s the timeline for all this?
Quatrano had initially hoped to open January 1, 2017, but construction isn’t expected to finish until mid-January. If they time it right, the transition from Howell Mill to Ellsworth should be seamless, with one opening the night after the other closes. Star Provisions, in its current place, will remain open until then, possibly as late as March 2017.
What tenants will be replacing Star Provisions?
The location, not surprisingly, is in high demand, according to Phillips, but he’s not announcing new tenants until Quatrano has a clear timetable on her new building. Currently, the parking lot is a construction zone while Design Within Reach finishes its new headquarters. “There are two more tenant spaces there we’re soon to announce. The plan will reveal itself as soon as we have a clear timeline for Anne’s move,” Phillips said.
Phillips did say that multiple tenants would fill the space, blending “dynamic local businesses with great micro brands,” and that there would be a food component in addition to Star Provisions To-Go. “I think it’s important that the food not be an imitation of what’s there. It needs to be something else,” he said.