Ponko Chicken opening in Decatur and other dining news from the week

Ponko Chicken’s signature “Amer-Asian” chicken tenders are shown here with a side of “steamed and sticky” white rice and, in the background, sweet-potato fries and a house salad. CONTRIBUTED BY WENDELL BROCK
Ponko Chicken’s signature “Amer-Asian” chicken tenders are shown here with a side of “steamed and sticky” white rice and, in the background, sweet-potato fries and a house salad. CONTRIBUTED BY WENDELL BROCK

These are the stories that created a buzz on the metro Atlanta dining scene this week:

•Ponko Chicken franchisee Johnny Esposito bought the space at 312 Church St. in Decatur, previously home to Steel City Pops, with plans to open a Ponko. Steve Josovitz of The Shumacher Group brokered the sale.

Esposito, a native Atlantan, also owns the Midtown Ponko Chicken franchise with partner Shane Godfrey.

Ponko was founded by sisters Reiko Clark and Maggie Antoine, who opened the first Chamblee location in 2017 after previously operating now-shuttered Stone Mountain eatery Food Ease, where they first developed a following for their panko-crusted, sweet-soy-sauce-drizzled chicken tenders. A second franchise location opened in Midtown earlier this year, and another is slated to open in Marietta Square.

•Halal Guys will open a new location at 3455 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. in Duluth on Saturday.

•The team behind Dutch Monkey Doughnuts in Cumming are planning to open The Dutch at the intersection of GA-141 and Bell Road in Johns Creek this spring, Tomorrow's News Today reports. The new concept will offer doughnuts, frites, soft serve ice cream and coffee.

•Jekyll Brewing is now open in Alpharetta City Center, Eater Atlanta reports.

•A restaurant called Europe Atlanta is slated to open at 2320 Marietta Blvd. in Atlanta, What Now Atlanta reports.

8Arm owners Nhan Le and Skip Englebrecht, along with artist George Long, plan to open two concepts at Pratt Pullman District, Atlanta Business Chronicle reports. They will open a 1,200 square-foot restaurant called Bellsmouth and relocate their 3 Heart Coffee Roastery from Paris on Ponce to a new 2,000-square-foot building at the project.

•Mikkey's Retro Grill, is set to open in Smyrna in Village Pavilion this month, Tomorrow's News Today reports. The restaurant, which has locations in Chicago, serves a variety of burgers, sandwiches wings and other menu items. Another metro Atlanta location is slated for Atlanta University Center.

MidiCi pizza restaurant has closed at 999 Peachtree St. NE in Atlanta, What Now Atlanta reports.

•Freshii is now open in Colony Square, in Building 100 across from the new Starbucks. The fast-casual restaurant is owned and operated by Atlanta native Dustin Saboorian, who owns Graveyard Tavern in East Atlanta Village.

Freshii will offer “nutritious meal options inspired by global health trends,” including bowls, burritos, salads, wraps, soups, smoothies and juices, as well as gluten- and dairy-free products. Colony Square marks the brand’s second location in Georgia, with the first in Alpharetta. Frehsii will partner with WE Charity, an international charity and educational partner dedicated to empowering impoverished communities, to develop a special menu that will benefit children in countries including Kenya and India.

•Thrive Farmers Coffee is set to open in the Tech Square CODA development, What Now Atlanta reports. Other tenants in the develop are set to include Aviva by Kamell, Poke Burri, El Burro Pollo Burrito Kitchen and Wildleaf.


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