Golden Eagle—the moody Reynoldstown lounge along the BeltLine—is closing its doors for good after service on May 2. The indoor dining challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic just proved too much for the once-packed mid-century-modern bar, says owner Michael Lennox, who also runs adjacent California-casual taco spot Muchacho and Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall down the road. With its counter-service model and handheld fare, Muchacho, on the other hand, is ready to expand.
“The last year has been pretty challenging industry-wide for full-service dining,” Lennox says. “Muchacho has been showing consistent growth for the last couple years. It was bursting at the seams. Golden Eagle was moving in the other direction.”
Come May, the Golden Eagle space will undergo a complete revamp to remove the wall currently separating it from Muchacho, along with lightening and brightening the building. Muchacho will continue to serve breakfast and lunch (think coffee, toasts, and tacos) during the renovation. Once complete, the new Muchacho will include a 14-seat interior bar, a 6 to 8-seat indoor/outdoor bar, and a refreshed patio. A new menu (still in development) will provide dinner options, as well as cocktails made with tequila and mezcal.
“We still want it to feel natural, small, and approachable, as well as deliver the same fun, high-energy experience,” Lennox says.
Meanwhile, at Ladybird, Lennox and team are installing a 24-foot counter, as the counter-service model followed during the pandemic becomes the new norm. A large menu board will replace the map decor, and food offerings will shift to focus more on smoked meats like pulled pork, brisket, and ribs, served as sandwiches and platters. The brunch menu will stay the same, but diners can now order off the lunch menu as well.
“We experimented with counter-service as a survival tactic this past year, and it became clear to us that the quality of the guest experience could be enhanced by speeding it up. That’s what the consumer really wants right now,” Lennox says. “The goal is to get a drink in someone’s hand within a minute of getting their order.”