Audacious, dapper and at times controversial, Atlanta native and Carolina Panther quarterback Cam Newton is putting all that on the line at Fellaship, the new upscale restaurant and cigar lounge he opened in Castleberry Hill with his brother and business partner C.J. Newton.
Located just a few blocks from Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and described as a place to “indulge in the luxuries of fine dining, cigar smoking, and socializing,” the 4,600-square-foot space was designed by Will Meyer and Gray Davis of the New York City-based Meyer Davis group. And according to an ESPN report, the total price tag for the property and project was “north of $7 million.”
With high ceilings and soaring windows, the build-out is both elegant and comfortable, featuring the kind of furnishings and appointments you might find in a deluxe hotel or private club. The bar area showcases a walk-in humidor, with top brands such as Ashton, Cohiba and Camacho. Appointed with vivid artwork, comfy couches, coffee tables and TVs, the library area opens to a VIP dining room, hidden away behind a pivoting bookcase.
In the nearby kitchen, chef Bernard Weston, who grew up in Atlanta and went to culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu, put together the menu, fusing elements of fine dining with more casual and comfortable dishes. You’ll find beef barbacoa tacos and a wild rice vegetable bowl alongside ponzu-glazed Scottish salmon and grilled New Zealand lamb chops.
“With this menu, we tried to make sure we hit home with everybody,” Weston said at Fellaship last week. “If you’re vegan or gluten-free or a carnivore, we have something for you, from appetizers and entrees to desserts. With the flavors, we wanted to do comfort food with a twist. We have great pairings when it comes to our cocktails and wines, and we’re doing brunch on Sundays.”
Later, Cam Newton perched on a couch in the library and talked about opening Fellaship.
“The idea kind of stemmed from me being in social settings,” Newton said. “I felt like going to one place it was missing something, but it was good. Going to another place, it was good, but it was still missing something. In Atlanta, there’s great nightlife, great restaurants, great food, but not all together.
“What I wanted to combine was the whole gamut. Being able to not only socialize, but have a good food and drink menu, and being able to smoke cigars, as well. Not only that, but having a place where people feel comfortable and can celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, or have business meetings, or just a good date night on the town.”
Asked about hitting on the location in Castleberry Hill, Newton said he didn’t think “you could get a better piece of property.”
“We’re right across the street from Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and in walking distance of all the big sights the city has to offer,” he said. “We wanted to have a space that embodies comfort, where whenever a person comes through the doors, they feel right at home. Meyer Davis out of New York City did a fabulous job with taking our vision and bringing it to life.
“Castleberry Hill is an arts district in Atlanta. And the art here is a way of me playing homage to the artists. I’m big into art. I’m big into expression, and being uniquely you. We already have a lot of art pieces. But we still have space to put more art here. And I’m planning to do some traveling and find some more art, before my day job gets back kicking along.”
Talking about the food at Fellaship, Newton revealed that he’d recently made a big change in his diet.
“I’m newly vegan,” he said, “and I wanted to have a lot of different things and ways to eat on the menu. I didn’t want it to be so complex that you don’t understand what it is, but I still wanted to have high-quality food. There are vegan options on the menu, and we’re looking to add more as we go along.
“For me, the change came because I’m all about challenging myself. I’ve been pescatarian for seven years, and I got to the point where I need a little bit more of a challenge for myself. I’m feeling great. And vegan, in my opinion, is the food of the future. I would tell anybody to try it out.”
Looking to the future, Newton allowed that there are likely to be more Fellaship locations, but not too soon.
“Obviously, the ultimate goal is to be able to make a model here and take it to different cities, but that’s later on down the road,” he said. “We want to master this one first. We want to get to the point where we know the blueprint, and then who knows where it might take us. We’ve had so many offers from a lot of major cigar companies already. But I think the independent part is something that attracts me to this the most.”
110 Centennial Olympic Park Drive, Suite 102-104, Atlanta. 404-254-4970, fellashipatl.com
Scroll down for more images from a First Look at Fellaship in Castleberry Hill
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.
Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.