Kevin Gillespie to open Slabtown Public House in former Cold Beer space

A new concept from Kevin Gillespie’s Red Beard Restaurants is coming to the Eastside Beltline next month.

Slabtown Public House is set to open April 22 at 670 DeKalb Ave., in the space previously occupied by Gillespie’s Cold Beer, which closed at the end of January after nearly three years.

The new restaurant’s menu will “feature casual pub food using high-quality ingredients,” according to a press release. Look for nachos, a burger, and Gillespie’s Closed on Sunday chicken sandwich, as well as weekly and seasonal specials and a selection of “greatest hits” from other Red Beard restaurants.

On the beverage side, Slabtown will offer a variety of draft, canned and bottled beers and a selection of craft cocktails.

“One of the things we learned from Cold Beer was that people out on the BeltLine would text their friends to join them and a four-top table would turn into an eight-top,” Red Beard president and chef Marco Shaw said in a prepared statement. “But when their friends arrived, and they looked at the menu and saw octopus, that created a barrier. With Slabtown, we wanted to create a menu that is accessible to all.”

The Slabtown space will continue to feature a year-round rooftop and beer garden.

“Slabtown is going to be easy on you,” Gillespie said in a prepared statement. “We want this to be a place where you go and hang with your friends multiple times a week. If the pandemic taught us anything, we learned we all need to relax and have more fun. Slabtown will be conducive to that.”

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Credit: contributed

Credit: contributed

The restaurant’s name comes from the former neighborhood where that section of the Eastside Beltline is now located. In 1844, mill owner Jonathan Norcross gave away slabs of wood to his neighbors in need, who used the building materials to construct homes for themselves and their families.

The history of the neighborhood ties in to Gillespie and Shaw’s new nonprofit. Slabtown will also serve as the headquarters and kitchen for Defend Southern Food, started to address food insecurities that arose during the pandemic. The program will deliver more than 500 meals a week to families in the Maynard Jackson High School cluster whose students receive free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch.

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“We had thousands of pounds of food we needed to give away, and no one to give it to, yet we knew there were hungry people right around us,” Gillespie said. “I wanted to create food stability for the entire family.”

5% of gross revenue of food and beverage sales from Slabtown, 100% of merchandise sales and 20% of event revenue will go to Defend Southern Food. Guests also have the option to donate directly.

Slabtown will be open from 5 p.m.-close Thursdays-Fridays and 11 a.m.-close Saturdays-Sundays. Red Beard Restaurants is currently hiring for a variety of positions. Interested candidates can apply online.

In addition to Slabtown, Red Beard Restaurants also operates Glenwood Park restaurant Gunshow, downtown Atlanta eatery Ole Reliable, Gamechanger at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Revival in Decatur.

Gillespie was recently named a James Beard Award finalist in the Best Restaurateur category. He has been a finalist or semifinalist eight times in the Best Chef: Southeast, Rising Star Chef of the Year and American Cooking Cookbook categories.

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