Rapper T.I. Opening Restaurant in ‘Landmark’ Downtown Building

Hip hop artist reveals plans for 'upscale Southern' concept.

Hip hop artist reveals plans for ‘upscale Southern’ concept.

[UPDATE (Jan. 7, 2015): T.I.’s forthcoming restaurant will be called Scales 925, a spokesperson shared exclusively with What Now Atlanta (WNA) in an email Wednesday. Scales’ website has yet to be developed but the restaurant’s Facebook page is live. Developing…]

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Atlanta-born rapper T.I. (Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr.) in a press release Tuesday announced plans to open an “upscale Southern” restaurant downtown.

The hip hop artist acquired the space formerly occupied by Vibe Restaurant and Lounge, at 30 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd., for conversion into the undisclosed concept.

“Historic Downtown Atlanta will be home to T.I.’s first restaurant venture,” according to the announcement.

“The renovation and refurbishing process of the landmark property is well underway, as plans for the new upscale Southern cuisine restaurant unfolds.”

A company spokesperson told What Now Atlanta (WNA) in a telephone interview Tuesday additional details will be shared within “the coming weeks.”

Hip hop artists Ludacris and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs both had Atlanta restaurants that have since shuttered (Straits and Justin’s). Can T.I. go from rapper to restauranteur? Leave your thoughts in the comments!


Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

10 Responses

  1. I hope I’m wrong, but I predict that it will do well for perhaps a year, based on the celebrity/novelty aspect. Chances are that the food will be overpriced versions of things you could make at home with a little patience and a cookbook, while TI’s association with it will attract a lot of flashy wannabes, who will in turn attract people who want to mug them. That will be followed by the appearance of guys in “Security” t-shirts, metal detectors and the police coming around, which will cause the place to be branded, “ghetto” and “dangerous” and eventually result in the people running it deciding it’s not worth the trouble, making it the third venture to flame out in that space since FAB closed just a couple of years ago.

    Some people will attribute the closure to the fact that there’s “nowhere to paaaark”, despite the big fat lots at Ivan Allen and Williams, and at Ivan Allen and Peachtree. Others will say that it’s because too many of the “wrong kinds of people” were able to get to it so easily, due to its proximity to the Civic Center MARTA station. You know how it goes.

    As I said, I hope I’m wrong. Maybe it will last as long as Justin’s did. If someone is going to open a restaurant there, it’s good for it to be someone who has the money to keep it afloat and hire people to run it well. Maybe its success will persuade someone to open a business in the never-used retail space directly across the street as well as the one at Ivan Allen and Williams. But I think that space, that block, that whole area needs businesses that are functional and active day and night, and that serve the people who live and work in the neighborhood rather than something that will mostly rely on a sheen of celebrity flavoring to draw people to it.

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  3. If I was investing in this, three things would jump out at me:

    1) the building has had limited success where restaurants are concerned. Wasn’t this FAB before Vibe or am I confused?

    2) I think upscale Southern cuisine is getting to be old hat for a new restaurant, if it has not already jumped the shark. It has been a theme for over a half decade if I’m not mistaken. I don’t see anybody improving over SCK or ESS.

    3) Celebrity-driven/sponsored restaurants seem to have limited success in Atlanta. I don’t even know if a Gordon Ramsey restaurant would succeed and he actually knows how to cook. I jest, I know T.I. would hire a management team to plan this place out.

    The industry is a tough business, especially for a full-service establishment. From a financial standpoint, I’d try to develop fast-casual places first but then that market is often saturated. At least T.I. stayed away from the 595 Piedmont Avenue property, that might have been awkward.

  4. I work across the street from VIBE and hope the new concept can do well. Most of the people who eat in the area are office workers and tourists who wandered up from Centennial Park. Mellow Mushroom and Jimmy Johns are the only restaurants on this strip that stay open on weekends and after work hours.

    I do know that the lease on that space is extremely high. I’ve watched it change hands 3 times. The people who leased it after FAB completely destroyed the wooden bar and details by painting over them.

    I went to the restaurant opening last year when they were just a restaurant and not throwing club parties at night. They had a full staff but zero customers. This was during the day. A few of my coworkers went later that evening for drinks and the power was shut off.

    My office looks directly at VIBE. I have never seen anyone eat at that restaurant. I think it was either run by a very wealthy fool that bled money or it was money laundering front.

    I just can’t see a Southern concept restaurant doing well there. It needs to be something fast and casual. I could see a Taco Mac doing well with the after work/tourist crowd, though.

  5. Good job T.I we need one of those here in D.C. Will definitely check you out everytime i come to the ATL. Much success to you

  6. Its great to do different things. T.I. is a wise man. This is going to be one of his greatest ventures of many. Hats off to you & bring it T.I.. I know this is going to be a place for all to get some good soul cuisine!

  7. I visit TI restaurant this April and I really enjoyed it. I like the different levels you can visit and relax!!! Great job TI

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