Health food, Vietnamese cuisine and spin-offs of the popular Café Vendôme and Paces & Vine are among the first restaurants announced as tenants in City Springs.

“We had high expectations” for restaurant tenants, said Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul at the April 11 unveiling of the restaurants at his city’s massive new civic center. “We wanted this to be a place where people would come and linger.”

Banners unfurl to reveal Café Vendôme and Vida-Flo as tenants in City Springs’ Market Square on April 11. (John Ruch)

The restaurants are still being built out and more may be named by Selig Enterprises, the private partner on City Springs’ retail side. The restaurants are going into storefronts along City Springs’ Market Square section at Blue Stone and Johnson Ferry roads.

The new restaurants include:

Café Vendôme: The French pastries, bread, sandwiches and quiches shop currently operates at 4696 Roswell Road in southern Sandy Springs; this is a sister location.

Flower Child: A health-food restaurant with “bowls, wraps, grains and greens.”

Nam Kitchen: A Vietnamese restaurant from Alex Kinjo of Atlanta’s MF Sushi featuring a full-service bar with craft cocktails. The executive chef is Thuy Bich, who will use recipes from her mother, Ahn Hoang, previously of Nam Midtown.

The Select: From the team behind the Paces & Vine restaurant in Vinings, this will offer “a light interpretation of contemporary American comfort food with an outstanding wine list. Think comfort food with a slight French accent – light, bright and casually dressy.”

Mayor Rusty Paul, joined by JoAnn Chitty, Selig Enterprises’ chief operating officer, welcomes local leaders to the April 11 City Springs unveiling. (John Ruch)

Paul said that one of The Select’s owners has moved into City Springs’ Aston apartments, a sign of how seriously they are taking the restaurant launch and a vote of confidence in the site’s mixed-use approach.

The April 11 event also unveiled some retail tenants, including the “hydration” clinic Vida-Flo, which also has a Buckhead location, and the previously announced fitness centers SculptHouse and TURN Studio.

City Springs is a 14-acre mixed-use civic center bounded by Roswell Road, Mount Vernon Highway, Sandy Springs Circle and Johnson Ferry Road. Besides the housing and retail, it features a new City Hall, a large park and a large Performing Arts Center. It is opening in phases this year, with City Hall expected to open May 7 and the Performing Arts Center in August.

Speaking at a fountain in the heart of Market Square, Paul described the City Springs site’s history as the former site of a long-shuttered big-box store. In some of his trademark phrases, he said the city “tore down a parking lot and built paradise,” with the aim of creating “connective tissue” and “everybody’s neighborhood.”

Selig’s JoAnn Chitty, joined by Mayor Rusty Paul, speaks to a group of local officials and business leaders at the April 11 unveiling. (John Ruch)

Paul noted City Springs’ mixed-use strategy and said the city hopes it will attract every resident to visit at least once per year. “I grew up in rural Alabama and they got a saying over there: ‘We’re gonna treat you in so many ways, you’re bound to like one of them,’” Paul said.

In an interview afterward, Paul said the city wanted to see that type of diversity within the restaurant mix as well. He said negotiations with Selig over suggested tenants had some back-and-forth: “We said, ‘You’re getting closer. Keep looking.’” The final list, he said, meets the city’s expectation of high-quality, family-friendly businesses with variety.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.