Restaurant replacing iconic Shillings in Marietta could open in June

April 29, 2020 Marietta: Mayor Steve Tumlin (left) talks with contractor Gordon Brans (right) while stopping by to look over the finishing touches on Mac’s Chophouse restaurant on Wednesday, April 29, 2020, on the square in Marietta. While renovations are almost done at the space that once housed Shillings on Marietta Square owner Randy McCray has said he won’t open the new restaurant until he feels comfortable things are better. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Randy McCray hopes Mac’s Chophouse will become what longtime Mariettans grew to love about the previous restaurant that occupied the space on the city’s square for more than four decades.

McCray and his wife, Kelly, will soon open his steakhouse-style eatery in the same location as Shillings on the Square, which closed in November after 41 years.

Plans for the new restaurant at 19 N. Park Square are materializing in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that has not only taken 1,000 lives in Georgia, but has stalled the local economy.

McCray told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that work on the space is about 90% complete, and could open by the middle of June.

“I do believe that people are going to be nervous and that’s understandable, but I feel like we all have to take care of ourselves,” he said, add the restaurant will take the necessary precautions to make sure customers and employees are safe.

McCray said the restaurant will mostly be a steak and seafood spot with main courses like shrimp and grits, short ribs and chicken.


RELATEDAfter 41 years, Marietta Square mainstay Shillings has sold


McCray’s leap into the Marietta restaurant scene isn’t a step taken by a novice. He and his brother, Scott, own and operate restaurants such as The Mill Kitchen & Bar in Roswell and McCray’s Tavern in Lawrenceville.

McCray said he and his wife moved to Marietta two years ago and felt “the area was missing something.” After he heard that Shillings owner Dave Reardon was interested in selling, the pair met and the deal fell into place quickly.

“We are excited about being part of the downtown Marietta community and hopefully we will create a neighborhood restaurant that people will go to and frequent,” he said.

April 29, 2020 Marietta: Contractor Gordon Brans opens the original windows in the early 1900s hardware store while putting the finishing touches on Mac’s Chophouse restaurant on Wednesday, April 29, 2020, in Marietta. While renovations are almost done at the space that once housed Shillings on Marietta Square owner Randy McCray has said he won’t open the new restaurant until he feels comfortable things are better. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

The building, which sits on the north side of Marietta Square, overlooks Glover Park and is owned by former Marietta Councilman Philip Goldstein.

Frederick E.A. Schilling, a native of Hamburg, Germany, came to America in 1870 and ended up in Marietta in 1875, later opening a hardware store, Schilling’s.

A fire destroyed the building in 1930 but another structure was built in its place to house the hardware store until 1972. Reardon opened his restaurant named Shillings — without the C — in 1978.

Shillings on the Square in Marietta closed in November after 41 years in business.

Credit: Edgar Treiguts

Credit: Edgar Treiguts

Shillings grew to become the go-to meeting spot for doctors, judges and average Joes. Any politician who came to Cobb County knew that a stop at Shillings was part of the visit.

“It was like home for a lot of people,” Reardon said.

Reardon said he hopes McCray’s venture will operate in the space for another 40 years.

“He’s a very knowledgeable gentleman and he’s a real nice guy, so he knows what he’s doing and he’s done a wonderful job on the space,” he said. “I wish him luck and I think he’s going to do great there.”

April 29, 2020 Marietta: Former Cobb County Commission Chairman and Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens leaves after stopping in to check out the finishing touches on Mac’s Chophouse restaurant on Wednesday, April 29, 2020, in Marietta. Renovations are almost done at the space that once housed Shillings on Marietta Square. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Mayor Steve Tumlin said the addition of Mac’s Chophouse on the Square will also compliment the lineup of eateries the city has in its downtown and allow McCray to distinguish himself from the shadow of Shillings.

“It’s going to be first class,” he said. “He’s a pioneer in an area we need.”

McCray added he hopes the pandemic won’t put too much of a dent in his plans.

“I think people right now are extremely nervous, but at some point we have to get back to our regular lives,” he said. “And we can do that, but we just have to do it in a different manner and a little more cautiously.”

AJC reporter Jennifer Brett contributed to this story.

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