KC Pit BBQ closed at the end of July. Federal authorities have indicted seven people on drug and money laundering charges, including restaurant owners Jiles and Shannon Johnson.

A year after KC Pit BBQ on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs closed because of the arrest of its operators on federal drug charges, a Sandy Springs man is bringing the restaurant’s old location back to life.

Jeff Landau, CEO of Metrotainment Cafes, said the boarded-up shell of KC Pit BBQ will be a Hudson Grille, a high-end sports bar concept, and will be the company’s biggest in the Atlanta region. The restaurant is slated to open in October and will employ about 50 people, he said. Customers will be able to watch games, drink beer and play darts, Landau said.

Renovators are currently busy at the old KC Pit BBQ location, working behind windows covered in plywood. Landau said the company liked the physical condition of the restaurant.

Metrotainment’s three other Hudson Grille locations are in Alpharetta, Brookhaven and Mid-Town.

“I live in Sandy Springs … and we like Sandy Springs as a location,” Landau said. “We like the demographics and we think there’s a demand for a concept like Hudson Grille in Sandy Springs.”

He said the building’s frontage on Roswell Road and ample parking were also lures for the company. Landau said the building’s tainted past as the scene of a high-profile federal raid did not give him any reservations about moving in. The raid occurred in June 2010 and the business shuttered about a month later.

“We think it’s a good site and a good location and from what we gathered, KC Pit BBQ was doing very well,” he said.

Its former owners are still seeing their cases resolved. The U.S. Attorney’s office said five of the seven people indicted in the drugs conspiracy – owner Jiles Johnson, Laverne Simone, Shawn Wortham, Shannon Johnson and Thallas Amie – have pleaded guilty in their cases and are awaiting sentencing. Jacques Degaule and Mark Walker are awaiting trial.

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com