Remember when MetLife was trying to undertake a giant mixed-use development at the corner of Haynes Bridge and 400 in Alpharetta? And remember when they said that their goal for the retail portion was to have a kind of Krog Street Market look and feel? Well, let me tell you about the Krog Street Market.
Just 1.5 miles from downtown Atlanta’s Peachtree Street, via the gentrifying Irwin Street area, or an 18 minute walk from the Inman Park MARTA station, is the Krog Street Market. This restaurant and retail specialty market, developed by Paces Properties, is built “into” an old 1920’s warehouse. The building is a mix of old and new, re-furbished and add-on. It is the Big Kids Food Court, where interior, community tables meet craft beer, liquor, $5.00 single servings of ice cream, and enough chef-inspired food to please everyone.
Around the exterior of the Krog Street Market are the sit down, full service restaurants like Superica (Chef Ford Fry), Cockentrice (Chef Kevin Ouzt) Craft Izakaya (Chef Jey Oh), The Luminary (Chef Eli Kirshtein)and most recently The Ticonderoga Club. Here and there throughout the Krog Street Market are retail stalls and shops that sell things like flowers, soap, dog treats or butchered meat (The Spotted Trotter). Inside the interior of the Krog Street Market are the food “stalls” that feature a variety of options from a variety of creators and owners. Upon getting your food, you can sit at any one of the community tables in the Krog Market and that is what most people do.
My cohorts and I visited Krog Street for a lunch outing recently. This was my second trip there, having already visited Superica. For this outing, we wanted the self-serve and large tables that Krog offers. The “community dining/drinking hall” theme of Krog Street Market is one you are also seeing at Ponce City Market and Sweet Auburn Curb Market, both of which I have reviewed here at the Post. Krog Street Market’s restaurant stalls include: Gu’s Dumplings (Asian), Fred’s Meat and Bread (burgers are their specialty), Yalla (middle eastern), Frankly (for hot dogs) and Grand Champion Barbecue, yes, the same brand that is in Crabapple. Soon to arrive will be Urban Pl8 and Richard’s Southern Fried.
Winners of the day for my group included Fred’s, for their outstanding cup of fries. The Pommes Frites came smothered in a persillade with aioli on the side and were tantalizing, garlicky and yet not too heavy. Similarly, a friend tried the Old Bay Fries that came with a homemade tartar sauce – equally tantalizing. Also among the winners was Gu’s Dumplings, for the best dumplings I’ve ever had and Yalla, for the hummus bowls and everything that Yalla puts on top of them (there is much to choose from). Losers included Fred’s (yes, you saw it among the winners) for putting a not quite edible and un-manageable, liver tasting piece of chicken on an otherwise delicious Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich. It had so much potential! Also, the word at our table regarding G.C. Barbecue was “annhh” – meaning, “so-so”. I already knew from visiting Grand Champion in Crabapple that it was overpriced for a basically average barbecue. Speaking of overpriced, my bill for lunch was around $20.00. This is not an inexpensive food court-ish lunch spot, particularly when you add in The Little Tart for dessert or Jenni’s Ice Cream, both of which you really should do. But, the customers in suits or heels were pouring in by the time we left.
Krog Street Market is an easy drive for downtown workers and certainly close to Peachtree Street. But my guess is that over 50% of the draw to the Krog Street Market is the emphasis on drink, because consuming craft beers and cocktails is the lunch break and after-work activity du jour for today’s hip, virile and Millinnial-y work force as far as I can see and as far as the eye can see. Krog Street recognizes this, as do the menu-makers – the chefs. And if a bar is all you want, Krog Street offers that too, at the Hop City Bar.
Krog Street Market is a really interesting, UP-priced collection of chef specialties with a little retail thrown in and there is no shortage of craft beers and cocktails. It works based on this, but also based upon the community feel of a giant beer hall, which is why I dub it Food Court for Grown-Ups – with the magic elixir being the alcohol. Certainly, children come to Krog Street, as well as Sweet Auburn and Ponce City, but there is a very definite grown up and at-the-party feel to these places. Perhaps this is the experience-driven place that the Millennials are demanding. For that reason, these places will succeed where the Millennials live. And for that reason, it is not necessarily translatable to the ‘burbs. It might be good that MetLife dropped that project.