Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks, a popular Philly-style cheesesteak eatery situated in a Shell gas station, is expanding to two full-size restaurants to meet growing demand.
The first location, which could open in as little as five weeks, will be situated in the Peachtree Pavillion shopping center, at 6035 Peachtree Boulevard, in Doraville.
Owner Derrick Hayes will close the original Big Dave’s, at 5020 Winters Chapel Road, and “reopen” in Doraville simultaneously.
“We’re simply moving to a bigger location with more parking down the road,” Hayes in a telephone interview Wednesday told What Now Atlanta.
“Our wait time can be three hours or more because we only have one grill and one fire. Our new restaurants will have three grills which will speed up production and lessen wait times.”
In downtown, Hayes is about to begin construction in the Healey Building, at 57 Forsyth Street NW, for a second Big Dave’s.
Assuming there are no hiccups with permitting, the cheesesteak joint could open in as little as eight weeks.
The 3,200-square-foot space near the newish Mocha Pops is Hayes’ “dream location.”
“I’m going to make this location an Atlanta landmark,” Hayes said.
“It’s situated at a midpoint and can accommodate people coming from all over the City.”
White subway tile with specs of red and blue will line the restaurant’s walls.
Its flattop grills will be viewable from the street so bystanders can “watch the cooks make cheesesteak through the window.”
In downtown, Hayes is adding a Salmon Cheesesteak Egg Roll to the menu and a beer and wine program to both new locations.
“When restauranteurs expand, they tend to make everything commercial. I want to keep Big Dave’s authentic. I don’t want to make it too fancy. People from Philly will feel like they’re home when they walk in.”
A private room for “celebrities, VIPs, and events” will finish off the space.
“I feed everybody including basketball players, rappers, and movie entertainers,” Hayes said.
The private room, which allows occupants to look out without anyone looking in, will provide those “special guests” with some privacy at Hayes’ discretion.
Hayes, a Philadelphia native, launched Big Dave’s in honor of his late father who passed away from lung cancer.
“Before he died, I promised my dad I would open the restaurant and be successful. Everything I do is for him and my two girls.”