Schlotzsky’s is undergoing an evolution, and it’s happening right here in metro Atlanta. The franchise restaurant chain, which operates more than 350 locations worldwide, is unveiling a new concept that shifts it from a fast-casual sandwich shop to a more edgy eatery aligned with Schlotzky’s roots in Austin, Texas. The concept, called Schlotzsky’s Austin Eatery, will open in Duluth on Dec.15.
Located in a new build-out at 2260 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, the first Schlotzsky’s Austin Eatery prototype will feature design elements, menu items, alcoholic beverages and ordering systems that mark a new positioning for the brand, which debuted in 1971.
“It started with one sandwich, one size. That was it,” said Schlotzsky’s president Kelly Roddy. Each day, the shop made sandwiches until those sold out and would then shut doors for the night. “It was very much a cult following,” he said.
Over time, the sandwich shop grew to a national brand, expanding its deli options and evolving into the bakery-cafe it is today.
“The new positioning of the brand is about going back to our roots,” Roddy said. “The original sandwich shop on South Congress is the epicenter of coolness today. We want to bring that Austin vibe to anywhere in the country."
At the Duluth location, Schlotzsky’s regulars will find its standard sandwiches still on the menu. However, additions include fare inspired by Austin’s bustling food truck scene, Roddy said. Traditional deli meats like ham and turkey will be offered alongside new proteins like chorizo, pulled pork and shrimp – available on sandwiches, in tacos, and on sliders and flatbreads called Flats.
An open kitchen and bakery will enable patrons to see salads assembled, bread made from scratch or meat sliced fresh. These changes, Roddy said, are an attempt to be as transparent as possible with customers.
Schlotzsky’s Austin Eatery will also offer alcohol. That menu will include local craft beers such as brews from Monday Night Brewing and Jekyll Brewing along with big brewing names like Budweiser, plus domestic wines that are “not mass produced,” according to Roddy.
The company will also be testing ordering systems beyond that of traditional counter ordering. The Duluth location will have a drive-thru, a self-ordering kiosk and will offer table order service for customers who want to order additional food or beverages once seated.
The interior design will hold an eclectic feel that captures the indie Austin vibe, Roddy said. Decor will feature found objects amid texture of brick and corrugated metal.
The restaurant will also offer live music at least three nights a week.
The company moved its headquarters to Atlanta one year ago. Roddy stated that Duluth was chosen as the test site for the new concept due to its proximity to company headquarters and because “Duluth mirrors what a Schlotzsky’s community looks like.”
Schlotzsky’s Austin Eatery will open to the public on Dec. 15 at 10 a.m., after a ribbon cutting ceremony. The first 100 guests who purchase a CinnaPack of six Cinnabon Classic rolls will receive one free small The Original sandwich every week for an entire year.
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