Florida-based Smokey Bones Bar and Fire Grill is Making an Atlanta Market Push

Fast-casual barbecue concept is looking to be neighbors with Target, Home Depot, and Lowes.

Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill intends to increase its Atlanta market footprint and is looking for free-standing, second-generation spaces with patios to call home.

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“Atlanta is one of Smokey Bones’ target markets for growth,” James O’Reilly, the company’s current CEO, in an email Monday told What Now Atlanta.

“Our guests in Atlanta love our house-smoked barbeque, fire-grilled steaks, and craft cocktails. We are actively working in the Atlanta market to find the next exciting Smokey Bones locations. We look forward to welcoming even more guests to Smokey Bones as we move forward.”

The regional push began in 2015 when Smokey Bones’ parent company Barbeque Integrated Inc., under the umbrella of Sun Capital Partners, Inc., brought on private investment firm principal, Ryan Esko, as CEO, and tasked him with brand and geographical expansion.

“With Ryan now on board, we plan to move quickly to continue our growth plan by adding new stores, completing major remodels, and looking at potential acquisitions,” Anthony Polazzi, a member of the Smokey Bones Board, said in a statement at the time.

During Esko’s tenure, which ended earlier this year in May, Smokey Bones operated 66 locations and employed 3,700 people nationally, including three locations in the metro Atlanta area in Lithonia, Peachtree City and Buford, according to the company’s website.

And here’s the gristle: ideal sites for the growing brand are at least 7,000 square feet and have Target, The Home Depot and/or Lowe’s as anchor area retailers–a notable change in strategy from their first class of stores that are anchored by the Stonecrest Mall (Lithonia), Twigs Corner (Peachtree City), and The Mall of Georgia (Buford).

“We seek high potential areas where our guests live and work, and are increasing our focus on areas that include high traffic retailers,” O’Reilly said.

Their additional ask: a 70,000-plus residential population (30,000-plus daytime traffic) with median household incomes of at least $60,000 annually, which signals their demographic positioning remains the same; as will their tagline, “Good food, good drinks, and good times.”

Kamille D. Whittaker

Kamille D. Whittaker

Kamille D. Whittaker is an Atlanta-based journalist, editor and researcher.
Kamille D. Whittaker

Kamille D. Whittaker

Kamille D. Whittaker is an Atlanta-based journalist, editor and researcher.

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