Babalu gets it right when it comes to dressing the pork belly taco, a fatty, rich, tender concoction. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Photo: For the AJC
Photo: For the AJC

Latin-meets-Southern restaurant Babalu closes in Midtown

The Atlanta location of an eatery that served “Latin-inspired dishes with a unique Southern flair” has closed after a little more than two years.

Babalu Tapas and Tacos, which reportedly shuttered at 33 Peachtree Place, opened in June 2017, the seventh location for the Jackson, Miss.-born restaurant company that had its eye on expanding around the south as part of Roswell-based Eat Here Brands.

A second metro Atlanta location that was slated to open in Roswell earlier this year never materialized. Eat Here Brands filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July after expanding too fast, Atlanta Business Chronicle reported.  

According to a representative for Eat Here, The Spell Restaurant Group won the bid to acquire Babalu, “and due to lease issues and costs to operate the Atlanta location, elected not to include it in the sale. They also did not take over the remaining construction and lease on the (Roswell) Canton Street property.”

The remaining five Babalu locations will all be acquired this week.

Spell Restaurant Group is owned by the father-daughter team of Rick Spell and Christy Spell.

“We are thrilled to add Bablu  to our family of restaurants,” Christy said in a press release. “We have been big fans of the concept ever since the Babalu location opened in Memphis’ Overton Square. When the opportunity to bid came open, we crunched the numbers and decided this would be an excellent addition to our collection of restaurants. As we visited all the locations and met the team, we became even more sure of it.”

The restaurant group owns restaurants in Tennessee and Florida.

Former AJC food writer Wyatt Williams gave Babalu one out of four stars when he reviewed it in November 2017, calling it “a Latin restaurant that has lost its accent.”

The menu featured items including tacos, guacamole made tableside, sandwiches, tapas-style dishes such as Creole shrimp and grits and pan-roasted redfish and shareable sides.

Read the AJC Fall Dining Guide: The Noodle Edition

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