Richard Blais to open Tech Square restaurant in former Globe/Waterhaven space

richard blais to open restaurant in tech square ~ what now, atlanta?
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‘Top Chef’ partners with Concentrics Restaurants to open Midtown restaurant.

UPDATE (August 10, 2011): Richard Blais’ new restaurant to be called The Spence

Richard Blais, the recent winner of “Top Chef All-Stars” and the executive chef behind the chain of Flip Burger Boutiques, is opening a Midtown restaurant that will serve “simple American food that tastes great,” says John Kessler with the AJC.

Currently unnamed, Blais’ new Midtown restaurant will reportedly take space of the now shuttered Waterhaven restaurant, Globe before that.

Waterhaven closed for unneeded renovations only to never reopen in their Technology Square location.

The restaurant at 75 5th Street will open under partnership with Concentrics Restaurants – the hospitality group behind One Midtown Kitchen, Two Urban Licks and Tap.

Blais is also in the process of opening a “gourmet hot dog restaurant” in the Poncey-Highland neighborhood of Atlanta. That restaurant will be called HD for “Haute Doggery,” and is scheduled to open this summer (godawful name, if you ask us).

The “Top Chef” hit a speed bump in April when his newly opened FLIP Burger Boutique Buckhead failed a random health inspection.

For Kessler’s entire report, click here.



Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak (CJS) is the Founder of What Now Media Group, Inc., the publisher of What Now Atlanta and What Now Los Angeles.

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  1. I wish him luck. Georgia Tech students and the Tech Square office/lab dwellers are dying for more options. We were quite upset when the city shut down the spot Yumbii was squatting at last summer.

    That said, there’s a reason beyond just the food that Globe and Waterhaven didn’t succeed- students are only willing to pay so much for their meals. And Georgia Tech students, in particular, love fast, no-nonsense, quick-and-go service.

    I’m sure Blais’ celebrity will bring in folks from other neighborhoods, but he has to remember who his immediate potential audience is. It’s a great urban area, and it would be a shame for him to miss the point like the previous two.

  2. More good news for Midtown.

    I never ate at Waterhaven, but it should be noted that, although Georgia Tech is right across the highway, there’s also the neighborhood of Midtown that surrounds this location on three sides. The neighborhood of Midtown has a much larger population and pocketbook than Georgia Tech and its students do.

    This restaurant will hopefully cater to the thousands of young, relatively wealthy people that live in Midtown, and the thousands of new residents that will come into the neighborhood in the coming years, not a bunch of kids on an allowance. There are more than enough places in Midtown already, and on their way (Itza), that will cater to the college crowd.

    Any idea on timeframe to opening?

  3. I look forward to walking over here to this restaurant. WaterHaven was good, and I missed it when it closed. As I posted on another site, this area of Midtown is missing a restaurant above the level of fast casual, especially with Pacci’s demise with the reflagging of the Palomar to the Renaissance.

    Concentrics concepts to me are just ok, but hopefully this one will be executed to a higher level because of the Blais collaboration.

    I’m excited!

  4. Tech Square really isn’t the ‘go to’ spot for Georgia Tech students. The College of Management is the only classroom building there. It is also only convenient to students living on the East side of campus. Tech students are just as likely to go to West Midtown/Howell Mill or north of campus for dining out.

    However, Tech Square does have a high concentration of working professionals and professors, as well as MBA students with bigger pocketbooks. The hotel hosts large academic conferences pretty frequently. There is a real dearth of decent places over there for this group. There is also a gastropub opening soon called the Barrelhouse near the Starbucks.

  5. Globe was decent, Waterhaven was mediocre at best. The space is cursed. Luckily for Blais, he doesn’t put a dime of his own money anywhere. That’s the beauty of a consulting chef, get your name attached to a place with zero investment and the masses are none the wiser. Did Concentric not get the memo from Tom Catherall? Does anyone remember Home? or Element, Fuse Box, Fishbone Piranha Bar? Funny how food tastes different in real life than on a TV screen. I hope Concentric has a backup plan 6 months after this unnamed place opens and it ain’t better be called Coast. Chefs who can’t cook, go on TV or open up burger joints. If the food sucks, you can go back and edit it out. Sam Talbot, another TC contestant, got a dose of reality for his new restaurant in the NY Times, a no rating. But for Atlanta, good taste is an after thought, it’s more about the scene. And that’s why Blais is a success here and not in NY, it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond.

  6. Urbanist, you have a point about the young wealth in the surrounding neighborhoods, but if you’re observing what I’m observing, they still *drive* to dine even though they live in a walkable area. Even if they enjoy Blais’ restaurant, as a spot on a college street they’re not going to go there frequently enough to keep the place open.

    “I can tell you it will cost less than it should.” – Blais in CL with Besha Rodell.

    I think that pretty much sums up their attitudes from a business perspective. They may be kids on an allowance, but that allowance can come in the form of a large loan at a school with the one of the highest ROI’s in the nation.

  7. @ Dimitri – That’s not true at all. Shaun Doty, who is in charge of Yeah burger, was previously in charge of one of, if not the, best restaurant in Atlanta – Shaun’s. He closed it down, unfortunately, to focus on Yeah burger. That said, Shaun Doty is one of Atlanta’s best chef’s and he runs a burger joint.

    @ Felix – They drive to dine, because the only decent, higher end, chic place in the walkable neighborhood is Ecco – which does consistently strong business.

  8. I miss Shaun’s dearly.

    Urbanist: Ecco is a unicorn. A delicious, delicious unicorn with honey balls of cheese.

    Noon, Chocolate Pink, Cuerno and several others were more than decent, higher end and chic, but didn’t make the cut.

    I wish Blais well, but I guess for my own selfish reasons, I wish the place was to be located higher up the Peachtree corridor closer to 14th.

  9. Ecco is a unicorn? What the F does that even mean?

    Noon was a busted business model. If you’re going to try to run a business, you should at least be able to decide, with some regularity, what your operating hours are going to be, and whether or not you’re going to be a restaurant or a caterer. Food was decent, management was moronic.

    Chocolate Pink – you’re right. Place was awesome

    Cuerno – beat.

  10. I love it when people take Doty for his word when he says he shut down Shaun’s to “focus on Yeah burger.” He shut down Shaun’s because he was losing money like crazy. The place was overpriced, the food was weird while at the same time being hit and miss.

    Doty runs a burger place. I’m sorry–if he ever was one of Atlanta’s “best chefs”, he no longer is. He’s a burger flipper now.

  11. @ Inman – you’re probably right, re: Shaun’s losing money. It was in an odd location. It also had a distinctively urbane feel, creative menu, and incredible food. We all know that’s not what Atlanta really goes for.

  12. @ urbanist–the food was far from incredible at Shaun’s. As for “what Atlanta goes for” some places that I would define as “urbane” with a “creative menu” that have managed to make it (or seem like they will make it because they are always packed, unlike Shaun’s) are Rathbuns, Abattoir, Bacchanalia, Sotto Sotto, Empire State South, etc.

    My point is, I ate at Shaun’s a couple of times and never once did the thought cross my mind that his menu or his food was anything above ordinary.

  13. Parents paying those high tech out of state prices and staying at the tech hotel will love it! I know I did! There for the last 5 days! Will be sharing the meal on my blog very soon! Look forward to many more memorable meals at The Spence, as I am sure to be visiting often over the next 4-6 years! Also visited two on the above list which were good, but not nearly as delicious as our meal in Midtown at The Spence!

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