After three years of talk, development, and construction, Dunwoody’s first food hall, the Hall at Ashford Lane, opened in late May. Then, just over a month later, the Hall abruptly closed in a bizarre story that involved several employees accusing the owner of failing to pay owed wages, among other accusations. Will Donaldson, CEO of food hall operator Politan Row had been following the Hall’s progress as a competitor and now, the 17,000-square-foot space will not stay empty for long. Slated to reopen in October as Politan Row, the Ashford Lane location (4500 Olde Perimeter Way) will feature some of the same vendors as the Colony Square location, as well as some new options.
“The mission of our company is to support these entrepreneurs,” Donaldsons says. “Food halls are fertile testing ground for a chef.”
This is the first time Politan Row is moving into an existing food hall space rather than designing from scratch. As such, Donaldson says the company is working with most of the infrastructure put in place by the Hall but adding signage and new decor. They’re removing the center walls in the Hall to create clean sight lines for diners to stalls. They’ll build a banquette around the center, similar to that at Colony Square, repaint the ceiling (which is currently painted black), add rugs and sconce lighting, and remove the ornate chandeliers. An enclosed patio will be created near the garage-style doors to create an area for Bar Politan, which will sell drinks to the whole food hall.
“It will look markedly different,” Donaldson says. “A lot of people in Dunwoody don’t know there’s a food hall there to begin with. There was no marketing. We’re painting the side of the building with a giant mural sign.”
Diners will order from the individual food stalls and sit anywhere they’d like. (At the Hall, diners could order from a single menu at the table that featured items from all stalls.) Colony Square stalls coming to Dunwoody include Pretty Little Tacos, Gekko hibachi and ramen, and Tandoori Pizza & Wings. New stalls include 26 Thai, Smokehouse Q, and Sheesh Mediterranean. Three additional vendors will be announced in the future.
One of the highlights of Politan Row at Colony Square is 1970s speakeasy JoJo’s Beloved. In Dunwoody, however, Politan Row will take JoJo’s ten years into the future, creating a 1988-1992-era bar with decor and drinks to match. “JoJo’s was a lot of my parents’ nostalgia. This era is when people in my age group bought their first records,” Donaldson explains. Located in the back of the space, the bar will be separated by a heavy theatrical-style curtain and serve “garish drinks” while playing music by Salt-N-Pepa and Bobby Brown. “1989 was the year of the sequel [like] Ghostbusters II and Back to the Future II. We decided to lean in to the idea and make this a sequel,” he says. “You’ll feel like you’re in a time machine.
Politan Row at Ashford Lane will also have a sister to its Blue Room events space in Colony Square. Parking will be free—no validation necessary.