It took the New York City-based Five Napkin Burger chain three long years to find the perfect Atlanta location. In the time spent scrutinizing locales, Richard Blais built his Flip Burger Boutique franchise and Shaun Doty opened a pair of Yeah! Burgers. Ditto for Grindhouse Burgers.
But Five Burger Napkin partner Kathy Tuchman isn’t worried about the city’s current glut of ground meat emporiums. “We’re a completely different style,” Tuchman told Dish last week at a private preview “friends and family” event. “We’re offering waiter service, an extensive bar, sushi and fish on the menu as well as burgers. We’re offering people a night out instead of a quick bite.” Atlantans can judge for themselves when Five Napkins officially opens to the public tonight. It’s located in the former Nickiemoto’s space at 990 Piedmont Avenue on the corner of Piedmont Avenue and 10th Street.
The success of Five Napkin Burger in Atlanta may well rest on its location. Tuchman will admit to being a little obsessed with securing the Nickiemoto’s space, first approaching the restaurant three years ago about acquiring the location. Two return visits and one tanked economy later, Tuchman was able to snare the space that has been transformed by Atlanta’s Johnson Studio. Brown paper covered the eatery’s windows last week, adding an air of mystery for sidewalk shoppers peering in.
The Five Napkin chain grew out of a single menu item at Andy D’Amico and Simon Oren’s Nice Matin restaurant in Manhattan’s Upper West Side shortly after it opened in 2003: The popularity of the restaurant’s Five Napkin Burger, 10 ounces of fresh ground chuck topped with gruyere cheese, caramelized onions and a rosemary aioli. Price tag: $14.95. After the success of the original Five Napkin Burger in Hell’s Kitchen, the concept has been added in Boston and Miami.
Tuchman said Five Napkin almost signed a deal over on Crescent Street in Midtown but she had her heart set on this pedestrian-friendly stretch in the heart of Midtown.
“There aren’t a lot of places to walk in this city,” she explained. “Rathbun’s is a beautiful restaurant, for example. But like most restaurants in this city, it’s set back off the street. We wanted to combine the vibrancy of this corner and the energy of Five Napkin Burger. When the brown paper comes down, it’s going to be a beautiful view.” The brown paper officially descends Monday night for dinner service.