A concept that’s been seven years in the making has finally found a home on Ponce De Leon Avenue — but it’s not a forever home.
Motorboat, a sandwich shop from Bantum Pub owner Tim Catalfo, will open at the former 8ARM space at 710 Ponce De Leon.
Catalfo filed a liquor license permit in Atlanta for the location and confirmed the plans in a phone call Thursday.
8ARM closed in August after the building where it was housed was sold to Cartel Properties.
Now, Atlanta developer Portman Holdings is planning a big redevelopment of that property and the adjacent block that includes MJQ Concourse and Bookhouse Pub. Portman wants to build a mixed-use project with office, residential and retail space.
Catalfo knows Motorboat doesn’t have a permanent home in the 8ARM space, but he sees opening there as a “proof of concept” opportunity.
“I believe by getting in that location, it will set us up to find other communities,” he said. “We’re launching a couple of great products out there.”
That includes a new retail product, although Catalfo wouldn’t divulge too much info about it.
“I have a deli-style product we’ve been working on for quite a long time. We have completed our first run, and we really like it. It’s kind of under wraps now.”
Catalfo said Motorboat should open at the end of January. He foresees it having about two years in the 8ARM space as the redevelopment plans get underway.
“It’s just a good opportunity for product development, launch and proof of concept,” he said.
The menu at Motorboat will include a bunch of “big eats,” Catalfo said. That includes hoagies, gyros and piled-high New York-style sandwiches. They will serve housemade chips and a variety of salads, including macaroni and potato.
“We’ve got like a New York Minute where we can do a piled-high pastrami that we actually make in house. We’ve got a great Reuben with super nice corned beef that we also do in house … We really just have a great array of sandwiches.”
Previously, Motorboat had planned to open at a different spot on Ponce, the former Marco’s Pita space at 752 Ponce De Leon Avenue. But those plans never came to fruition.
“I wanted to launch on Ponce seven years ago,” Catalfo said. “I’ve had three concepts … It’s been brutal.”
He’s now hopeful for the future.
“Fingers crossed that it just works great and we get as much time as we can and then forge forward. From the time we are in there, we’re going to be looking for our second spot for when we have to retire this one.”