Authentic Mexican street tacos and a tabletop Korean barbeque experience will soon complement traditional upscale Thai cuisine at Uptown, the 47-acre mixed-use community anchored by the Lindbergh MARTA Station and undergoing a transformative redevelopment effort.
Rubenstein Partners, L.P. (together with its affiliates, “Rubenstein”) Wednesday announced El Gordo and a new concept by the culinary team behind Miss Gogi will join the restaurant lineup along with Uptown’s reimagined Main Street, with a renewal and renovation planned for 26 Thai Kitchen and Bar.
“We knew that we had a unique opportunity to bring the best of Atlanta’s vast array of authentic and global cuisine to Uptown,” George Banks, founder of Revel, Rubenstein’s leasing partner at Uptown, said in a press release. “This is just the beginning of the dynamic experiences we have planned for Uptown.”
This fall, the Pineda Family, the owners of the wildly popular Birria El Gordo in Marietta, will debut a new restaurant, El Gordo, at Uptown. Opening in a 2,200 square-foot space along Main Street across from 26 Thai, El Gordo will blend the authenticity of a classic taqueria with a modern, lively setting. The menu will feature a variety of traditional street tacos from carnitas to Mexico City-style al pastor carved from el trompo.
The community can expect to experience many of its favorite dishes from the original location, including the Guadalajara-based family’s signature recipe for birria. The space will feature a lively patio activated with weekly live music from mariachi bands to DJs. A cocktail expert from Jalisco, Mexico will curate the bar program with new and unique tequila cocktails.
“Our family has always been inspired by the incredible collection of international restaurants along Buford Highway, and when we learned of Rubenstein’s vision to create this type of environment at Uptown, we knew this was the perfect opportunity to introduce El Gordo to the community,” Nestor Pineda with El Gordo said. “We’re looking forward to inviting Atlantans to experience an old-school taqueria and try some OG street tacos and tequila at our new Uptown location.”
Local Chef Vincent Jung has partnered with the team behind Miss Gogi, a popular Korean barbecue restaurant in Doraville, to open a new concept at Uptown. Chef Jung will introduce an authentic, upscale, and intimate dining experience as well as curate an a la carte menu with Korean flavors and premium meats.
Spanning 5,000 square feet, the space will feature an expansive patio fronting Main Street, an indoor-outdoor bar, and a dry-aging room where guests can experience the authentic aging process while they dine.
Additionally, 26 Thai Kitchen and Bar has renewed its lease at Uptown. Founder and owner Niki Pattharakositkul first opened 26 Thai at Uptown and has since expanded the award-winning concept to Town Brookhaven, The Battery, and Midtown. In the coming months, 26 Thai will refresh its patio to feature an enhanced outdoor dining experience along Main Street.
Rubenstein, alongside its design partners ASD|SKY and Gensler, is driving the transformation of the transit-oriented development into a “hyper-accessible hub of activity.”
The team recently started construction to revitalize Main Street, complete with outdoor patios for dining that spill into the sidewalks, punched out office balconies that create indoor/outdoor spaces for office tenants, and a connection with the street-level energy, as well as new building facades that incorporate steel, glass, and fresh paint to create a warm and inviting patchwork of buildings that exude character and personality. The transformation of Main Street will be complete this spring.
“Our plans for Main Street are focused on creating human-scale spaces that are full of energy and activity and break up the large building masses, ultimately enhancing the pedestrian experience,” Mahesh Mani, senior vice president of asset management for Rubenstein, said. “For far too long, the community has lacked a central destination between Buckhead and Midtown. Uptown will finally be that gathering space for the community, bringing together the many nearby neighborhoods, commuters and businesses in one walkable district.”
Other components of the redevelopment underway include a renovated hardscape for the office entrance from Morosgo Plaza; reimagined 35,000-square-foot office atrium with modern amenities and collaborative spaces; directional signage and wayfinding in the parking garages and various points around the property; updated streetscapes along Piedmont Road; and improved landscaping and gathering spaces to the park-like greenspace known as The Lawn.
Once completed, Uptown will encompass nearly 1 million square feet of office space, 120,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and a variety of community gathering spaces, all with connectivity to the city’s major pedestrian trails, such as the forthcoming Atlanta BeltLine and the South Fork Trail.
Cushman & Wakefield is leading office leasing at Uptown with a focus on attracting companies who value working in a vibrant, highly connected mixed-use environment. Skillshot Media, a leading turnkey esports provider, recently joined forces with Ghost Gaming to create Resurgens Gaming which will foster competitive gaming at all levels and establish its headquarters at Uptown. The Uptown esports campus includes a state-of-the-art esports production studio, studio set, competitive areas for team scrimmaging and practice, content creation and a classroom where gaming and esports classes are taught for college credit in partnership with the Georgia Film Academy. In the coming months, Skillshot will program Uptown’s office atrium to become Atlanta’s premier venue for esports events.
In addition to the ongoing construction, Rubenstein is incorporating art throughout the property through installations and events. As part of this, The Hambidge Center debuted the Cross Pollination Art Lab, a 12,000-square-foot space along Piedmont Ave. for art galleries, studios and performance spaces. Since the launch, Hambidge has engaged the community through artful activations, including its annual fundraiser event The Hambidge Art Auction + Virtual Performance Show and Second Saturdays, an event series designed to bring artists and the public together.
Uptown has also launched a series of community events aimed at infusing the property with energy and unique experiences. The mixed-use destination’s expansive greenspace, The Lawn, has played host to dozens of events, including gnome picnics, llama pajama parties, artist markets and Uptown’s Signature Events Series, featuring free comedy performances, yoga flows and movie screenings each week.
That entire development has become a huge eyesore ever since Avana burned down a few years ago (and it was trending down even before then).
Chili’s, Urban Flats, Five Guys, and even Taco Mac have left as crime, homelessness, and a general lack of upkeep have made Lindbergh entirely unsafe for families (there have been multiple shootings in the apartments just across the street by Home Depot too). They can open as many new concepts as they like, but until people feel safe walking around there to grab a bite to eat, I am not sure how successful these efforts will be.
These restaurant concepts sound exciting. The elephant in the room is the criminal activity will not go away just by making the space look great and having new restaurants. It may make it worse. I hope they can figure it out.
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