By John Schaffner
Members of the Public Safety Committee of Neighborhood Planning Unit B were licking their chops as they listened to presentations by half of the six applicants for alcoholic beverage licenses before the full NPU-B board meeting Sept. 2.
The three applications that caught their interest — and their appetites during the dinner-time meeting — were for Global Diner, the high-energy, high-priced restaurant at the new W Buckhead hotel; Harry Bissett’s Buckhead, the New Orleans-style restaurant going into the former Spondivit’s spot on Pharr Road; and the favorite choice of committee members, F2O Buckhead, opening in the Sovereign building around Oct. 1.
Although its name is Global Diner, the main restaurant in the new W hotel at 3377 Peachtree Road is nothing like the diners some folks are used to. With an opening scheduled for Nov. 1, the Global Diner will be the prime upscale restaurant in the hotel, featuring a two-story dining room area and offering both bar and table service of alcoholic beverages. The concept is from Culinary Concepts, which also has the primary restaurant in the W Midtown Atlanta hotel.
Harry Bissett’s Buckhead is a Cajun/Creole restaurant chain out of Athens. It will open Oct. 1 at 360 Pharr Road, the corner of Pharr and Grandview roads.
On hand for the meeting were Jim White, the founder of the restaurant group, and John Durrett, who holds the franchise rights for the state of Georgia.
Joe Weiland, a former managing partner at Brio in Buckhead, will be the general manager of the restaurant and was on hand to answer questions. He said the restaurant initially will be open only for dinner but has plans for a full day of activity, beginning with 7 a.m. coffee and beignets and free wi-fi. He said live entertainment may be added later on the outdoor patio.
Durrett has said the restaurant hopes to capitalize on the fond memories of University of Georgia graduates toward the Harry Bissett’s that opened in Athens in 1986. A second Athens restaurant recently was added.
Then came what turned out to be the delicacy of the meeting: news that F2O Buckhead will open in about three weeks at 3344 Peachtree Road in the Sovereign mixed-use building, which is almost across Peachtree from the W Buckhead.
Public Safety Committee Chair Kendall Craig declared F2O to be her favorite and said she drives to the Midtown location for her F2O fix. Other members of the committee echoed her sentiment that it is a favorite of theirs and they are looking forward to the Buckhead opening.
Owner/operator Pierre Panos said F2O also will open at 7 a.m. for breakfast and will continue daily until around 10 p.m. He said the restaurant has about 600 square feet for outside seating of 50 to 60 people. He said the stores traditionally sell about 5 percent beer and wine.
Panos said the restaurant group has two franchise units among its six locations but will do company-owned stores from now on.
Panos and several people in the meeting got a bit of an education when they learned that any establishment facing Peachtree Road in Buckhead that wants to sell alcoholic beverages is exempt from the city’s normal distance requirements from single-family residences.
The Public Safety Committee at its 6 p.m. meeting, followed by the full NPU board at its 7 p.m. meeting, approved all six applications for alcoholic beverage sales, including the BP gas station at 3004 Piedmont Road, the Pharr Road food and gas package store at 345 Pharr Road, and Pizzeria Vents, an upscale pizza restaurant at 2770 Lenox Road.
During the meeting of the full NPU board, a zoning adjustment was approved related to the planned Crowne Plaza Hotel, which is scheduled to be built at 2909 and 2915 Peachtree Road and 5 Peachtree Ave., where Moe’s Southwest Grill, an apartment building and the Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital are now.
The NPU-endorsed exception from the zoning regulations would allow the developers of the hotel, Royal/Kennedy Peachtree LLC, to reduce the on-site parking required from 437 to 339 spaces and reduce the loading spaces from three spaces at 12 feet by 35 feet to one space of the same size.
There was no indication when construction on the hotel would begin. A start this fall originally was planned.
Several zoning applications associated with properties owned by Charles and Robin Loudermilk and adjacent to The Streets of Buckhead were deferred until November.