First Look: Full Commission offers Southern gastropub fare in Grant Park

Full Commission, the new restaurant and bar in the Larkin on Memorial development on Memorial Drive in Grant Park, began serving dinner in late September. But since July, the cozy spot's coffee and light breakfast menus have been drawing regulars from the neighborhood.

Full Commission owner David Traxler bought in Cole Younger Just and Layla Walk of Just Walk to help out with the new dinner and beverage menus.

Traxler, who is a Mississippi native and a first-time restaurant owner, describes the concept as “Southern gastropub fare,” with variations on regional favorites such as deviled eggs, boiled peanut hummus, fried chicken, North Carolina trout, and a vegetarian country captain. Early buzzed-about items include a Southern breakfast sandwich and a homemade pop tart.

The beverage program features riffs on classic cocktails, such as the Penicillin-like scotch, honey and ginger drink dubbed Death of a Salesman. The international wine list includes selections by the half glass, glass, carafe and bottle, while the beer list leans toward Southern and local breweries, with some two dozen offerings on draft and in cans.

The coffee counter is managed by Austin Hewitt, previously of Octane, using beans from East Pole Coffee Co. to make pour-overs, espresso, nitro and cold brew. The build-out is keyed to Full Commission’s positioning as an all-day destination, with counter service before 5 p.m. and full bar and dinner service after 5 p.m. The design by Pattern r+d includes a 45-seat dining room with a 10-seat bar, and a covered patio with tables and outdoor furniture.

Last week, Traxler sat down at a table on the patio to talk about his transition from the business world to the restaurant world, and what his hopes are for Full Commission.

“My background is not in this business, but I always wanted to do this,” Traxler said. “I played football at the University of Mississippi, and I saw all the great restaurants in Oxford, like John Currence had with City Grocery and Big Bad Breakfast.”

After graduating from Mississippi with a master’s degree in accounting, Traxler worked for a talent agency in Los Angeles, founded a social media company in Memphis, Tenn., and took a job in sales in Birmingham, Ala., before moving to Atlanta in 2013.

In 2017, he made the big decision to follow his dream and open Full Commission, choosing the name as an homage to his last IT job.

“Originally, I wanted to do a coffee, wine and beer bar, but when we got the space here at Larkin, it needed to be zoned as a restaurant,” Traxler said. “We opened in waves. But as soon as we got our certificate of occupancy, I knew we could open with coffee and breakfast.

“The Southern Sandwich just took off with the neighborhood, and it got where we were selling 60 of those in the morning, so we obviously made that a staple. And the homemade pop tart became such an Instagram thing. But we’ll be adding a few more lunch options, too, so we’ll have a full cafe menu until 3 in the afternoon. At 5, it goes to a full-service dinner restaurant.”

Traxler said it was always important to him to have what he calls “an elevated cocktail program” to go along with the kind of food he envisioned.

“That was kind of where we wanted to start,” he said. “And when we started working with Cole, I realized we were going to do a really well-thought-out cocktail program, and I wanted to bring in things that I knew from a Southern food standpoint. I grew up cooking with my grandmother, and that inspired the conversation about what we wanted to do at dinner. The pink deviled eggs are something I had every holiday at my grandmother’s. And most of the other dishes come from things I had growing up, too.”

Besides opening a business in the neighborhood, Traxler said he’s really happy that he and his wife decided to live in Grant Park.

“The neighborhood has adopted us, and it’s just been great,” he said. “The neighborhood’s coming in. We’re seeing people over and over. And that was always what I wanted to create. A place you could go two, three or four times a week, morning or night.”

519 Memorial Drive SE, Atlanta. 404-941-9102,

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