Tailgate Taqueria and Bar, a new concept from local restaurant group Melkonian Fine Foods, is set to debut at Springs Landing shopping center in Sandy Springs later this summer, according to co-owner Geoff Melkonian.
“The vibe is meant to be like a neighborhood pub feel, with the menu being heavy on tacos and Mexican fare, and then we’re also going to have other menu items that are a little more tailgate-oriented,” Melkonian tells What Now Atlanta, while the focus of its bar will be signature house-made margaritas.
Melkonian says that the concept was “born out of” conversations he and his kitchen manager, Eduardo Hernandez, have had over the years.
“[Hernandez] is an incredible cook of Latino food, and for years we talked about opening a restaurant together – where he heads up the kitchen and the menu and the program. So we’re finally doing it,” says Melkonian. “We’re building from our staff within, basically.”
Tailgate will neighbor another Melkonian Fine Foods concept, Breadwinner Cafe and Bakery. According to construction documents reviewed by What Now Atlanta, plans for the former Blue Grotto space include completely demolishing the interior of the existing suite and creating a new space that will be both functional and visually appealing. The new walls, doors, and interior finishes will be carefully selected to create an inviting atmosphere that reflects the restaurant’s brand and style.
The expected start date for the project is late May/early June 2023.
Melkonian Fine Foods is owned and operated by area residents Geoff and Katie Melkonian, along with Geoff’s sister, Wendy. The company’s humble origins can be traced back to 2005 when Geoff and Katie began baking bread in their kitchen. By 2010, Melkonian Fine Foods had opened its first brand, Breadwinner Cafe and Bakery, followed by the now-shuttered Farm to Ladle, which initially opened in 2016 but was forced to close in the wake of covid.
“We certainly have enjoyed a nice run with Breadwinner for the last 13 years,” says Melkonian. “We’ve built a great following here in Sandy Springs where I grew up and continue to live with my family, and we certainly are banking on building off of our Breadwinner customer base. ”
With additional reporting by Drew Pittock.