Haven and Valenza founder Michel Arnette is opening a “classic American restaurant” called the Royal in Chamblee later this year. It will be located in the old Brown Auto Service on Peachtree Road, which was previously a gas station. The food will be inspired by the 1950s and ‘60s diner-era, while the atmosphere will have a “warm and cozy retro vibe.”
Haven and Valenza executive chefs Stephen Herman and Matt Swickerath will design the menu and work in the kitchen training an executive sous chef for the first six months the Royal is open. Their menus will focus on comfort food and include several hot dogs and burgers, a chicken club sandwich, pastrami Reuben sandwich, and classic crispy fish sandwich, as well as salads, shakes, and malts. Comfort food entrees like Southern oven-roasted meatloaf with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and the Royal double stack bone-in pork chop with mac n’ cheese will also be available.
“We want this place to be casual in how people perceive it, but the food is top notch,” Arnette says. “There’s a certain opulence and regal nature to the word [Royal].”
He adds that a petroleum company in the 1970s was called Royal, and his wife’s grandfather—who owned the only gas station in his area—was also named Royal.
Jay George, formerly of the Johnson Studio, will design the restaurant. It will seat about 80 diners inside and 40 on a covered patio. There will be an indoor/outdoor bar with signature drinks, adult shakes, and malts, American wines, and local beers. The space will have rustic wooden beams, industrial furnishings, and both booths and tables. A large black and white photo of a vintage pickup truck that Arnette is restoring will be on the wall.
Arnette is also in discussions with his landlord about creating a Neapolitan pizzeria next to Valenza. “If everything works out, it could open this year,” he says.