Courtesy of Joseph Dreher AIA Architect
Edgewood Avenue is a place rich in history. A staple of the area, the Sweet Auburn Curb Market opened nearly ninety years ago and has survived everything from fires to tornados. The Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Change is just around the corner, attracting tourists and locals alike. But when it comes to dining options, the area has not always been a foodie hangout—until recently.
Spots like Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping-Pong Emporium have attracted nationwide attention, drawing celebrities from all over to play against owner Grant Henry. Down the street, Guy Wong has developed a steady stream of followers at Miso Izakaya, and a stone’s throw away, Ammazza is to the area what Antico is to the Westside. Grindhouse Killer Burgers and Arepa Mia have brought new life to the Curb Market, too.
With the reopening of the Edgewood Avenue Bridge earlier this month, Atlanta BeltLine access planned, and the Atlanta Streetcar in the works—not to mention the proposed Edgewood-Candler Park MARTA station mixed-use development—Edgewood Avenue is attracting a new group of restaurateurs eager to capitalize on the growth of the area.
Tracy Mitchell, owner of Bad Dog Taqueria in Emory Village, is one of them. “I am a city girl who loves diversity and flavor,” she says. “I think the Edgewood corridor has been able to create something new and exciting but is also able to maintain the reason that area has always been so special.”
She is opening a 2,000-square-foot Bad Dog Taqueria at 476 Edgewood Ave in August or September. To take advantage of the foot traffic the Beltline and streetcar are sure to provide, Bad Dog will have a taco window, open 24 hours a day on weekends and from 7 a.m. to midnight on weekdays.
Inside, she’ll serve an expanded menu, including breakfast tacos, burritos, tortas, and Lola Belle gluten-free donuts in varieties such as yellow curry-cinnamon sugar, black-sesame brittle, and kimchee-burnt sugar caramel.
She’s also looking to incorporate the personality of the neighborhood into Bad Dog’s offerings. “We have some really cool plans for a rooftop urban garden, and a free neighborhood CSA coupled with cooking classes for our neighbors who don’t have access to organic produce, can’t afford it, or don’t know how to prepare it in a healthy way.”
Keiran Neely, co-owner of Pizzeria Vesuvius and the Music Room, is also upping his game in response to the changes in the neighborhood. He and his partners are renovating the Music Room, refinishing the bar, redecorating, and expanding the bathrooms. The changes will be made in May. To do this, the entertainment space will be closed Monday through Wednesday each week and reopen Thursday through Sunday.
“Edgewood Avenue has begun to explode based on the streetcar,” says Neely. “It seems like every week there’s a new restaurant or bar.”
To attract pedestrian traffic, he and his team are also working to improve the exterior façade of their building—a project that should be completed in June.
“This area was in complete disrepair for a long time,” he says. “This will be a return to its former glory.”
New places continue to open and older ones re-open. A nightclub called Department Store recently reopened as Erosol. Edgewood Pizza, which closed due to a fire in August, is reopening in a larger space, and the folks behind Joystick Gamebar are rumored to be opening a biergarten in the neighborhood.
Panbury’s Double Crust Pies, a to-go spot for savory hand-held meals, opened recently in the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. “I realize how important it is for the members of a community to support any additions, renovations, and new businesses that will promote tourism and re-vitalize local interest in neglected areas of historic and cultural significance,” says founder Lauren Duxbury. “The Atlanta streetcar is going to change the cultural landscape of Downtown Atlanta, shift the mindset surrounding the places it will be stopping at, and has given Edgewood Ave. the momentum it needs to keep moving forward.”