Jamestown’s Michael Phillips on Ponce City Market

ATL Food Chatter: July 18, 2011
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The potential for positive economic impact dominated conversation at last week’s announcement that the Jamestown Properties developers had bought City Hall East to turn it into Ponce City Market, targeted to open in early 2014. But for food lovers, the buzz is about what the project will bring in terms of restaurants and purveyors. Michael Phillips, managing director of Jamestown Properties, stated at the press conference that “in the U.S. today, there [are] three truly relevant food halls: Pike Place in Seattle, the Ferry Building in San Francisco, [and] Chelsea Market in New York [which was developed by Jamestown]. We are focused very much on putting a peg in the ground for Atlanta to have the fourth nationally relevant food hall.” He said that in addition to the food hall, which will be located in the center of the two-million-square-foot building (replacing the current exhibition hall), the project will also include organic rooftop organic gardens where local restaurant operators can grow food for their own use.

Phillips, who founded the popular Sunday Supper events at Chelsea Market and White Provisions and is a James Beard Foundation board member, chatted with me by phone from New York about his vision for the food element of the Ponce City Market project:

Q: How will Ponce City Market compare to Chelsea Market in terms of restaurants and food halls?
MP: Chelsea Market was founded as a place where local and artisanal food purveyors could sell their wares. Ponce City Market will follow the same principles in terms of the food vendors. We are looking to attract the best local, regional, and national restaurants that we believe will thrive in this market. We have a real commitment at Jamestown to high quality food and a culture of supporting and incubating local businesses.

Q: What types of restaurants will you be looking to attract to Ponce City Market?
MP: I would like to see restaurants that emphasize local or regional cuisine. I also would like to see old-school Italian and good Tex-Mex, as well as some good Colombian food. We are working with Anne Quatrano on developing an organic cafeteria.

Q: What about food trucks: Will there be room available for them at Ponce City Market?
MP: Yes. With six-and-a-half acres of roof and some good heavy freight elevators on hand, we may place some food trucks on the roof.

Q: What about events like Sunday Supper/Killer Tomato Festival currently held at White Provisions: Will you consider moving them to Ponce Market?

MP: No, Ponce City Market will have its own events. For example, Atlanta singer-songwriters Indigo Girls and Shawn Mullins will perform in the building at an October 1st Fundraising event for Georgia Organics and the Atlanta Beltline—which will let folks to tour the building one last time before construction begins.

Q: Besides the restaurants in your developments, where do you enjoy eating here in Atlanta?
MP: La Grotta, Steak ‘n’ Shake, Watershed. I love what Steven Satterfield is doing at Miller Union. And I love eating breakfast at the Thumbs Up in the Old Fourth Ward.


Bacchanalia and Miller Union were listed among America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants of 2011 by Wine Enthusiast magazine.

Truffles can and are being grown and cultivated here in Georgia. According to a South Georgia news report, the much prized European fungus has a relative called the Pecan Truffle that is currently being harvested in Tift County Georgia. Research is now being conducted to determine how best to market the homegrown delicacy.

Alpharetta. What Now Atlanta reports that Dulce Chocolat, featuring fine chocolates, is slated to open in September at 3960 Old Milton Parkway.

Buckhead. According to his website, former Oprah personal chef and Southern cuisine specialist Art Smith will open his latest restaurant, Southern Art, this fall in the Intercontinental Buckhead Hotel.

Downtown. What Now Atlanta is reporting that Pacific Rim Bistro is renovating and will close temporarily from July 29 until August 12 for major construction. The upscale pan-Asian bistro’s website has a rendering of the new look and describes one of the main features of the renovation as an “open air conversation bar.”

Marietta. Thrillist reported that Botekim Brazilian Bistro has opened at 1410 Terrell Mill road SE.

Midtown. Bhavesh Patel, formerly of Spice Market, is the new executive chef at Table 1280. The new job is a promotion from his previous post at 1280 as executive sous chef.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle is reporting that Jim ’N’ Nick’s, the Alabama based barbecue chain, has signed a letter of intent for a Midtown location, its first store inside the Perimeter.

Westside. Ford Fry, fresh off of launching No. 246, will open a seafood restaurant—tentatively named Georgia Fish Camp—on the Westside in the spring of 2012. The menu will focus heavily on regional and sustainable seafood and will include items prepared in wood-burning ovens. Adjacent to the new restaurant, Fry will also open a more casual oyster bar to give guests a “fish shack” experience.

FIGO on Howell Mill has added a new feature, the Meatball Bar, that presents a gourmet menu boasting made-from-scratch pastas and sauces, antipasti, insalate, zuppe and dolce and, of course, meatballs: six versions created by owner Sandro Romagnoli. The Meatball Bar has its own space with communal tables for an Italian family-style dining experience.

Question of the Week: What two Morelli’s Ice Cream flavors were named among the most inventive in the country by Newsweek?

PS. The answer to last week’s QOTW—What ATL attorney counts Richard Blais, Grant Achatz, Steven Satterfield, and other celebrity chefs among his clients?—is Steve Sidman of the Sidman Law Firm, LLC.

Do you have restaurant openings, closings, or other news to share? Email James Oxendine at atldiningchatter@gmail.com