New owners of Little 5 Pizza to bring French Market and Tavern to Vinings

Food from French Market Tavern.

Food from French Market Tavern.

Mike and Meagan Buss have been looking for a space to launch a second location of his Locust Grove restaurant French Market and Grill for more than two years.

They finally found it in Vinings, in the home of Crispina Grill at 3280 Cobb Pkwy. SE. Crispina Grille is the sister restaurant to Crispina Ristorante and Pizzeria in Cobb County.

“We hadn’t been able to find a good location for whatever reason,” Mike Buss said. “But the vibe and environment here matches up very well with what we needed.”

The 2,000 square-foot space will provide a smaller footprint than its 7,000 square-foot older sister restaurant, which means the home goods retail component of the business will be very limited. But the Creole menu, which will see a revamp within the next six weeks, as well as a full bar, will remain the same. The 1,700 square-foot restaurant will seat about 65, with a “nice sized” outdoor patio.

Buss has fairly extensive renovation plans for the space, set to begin next week. He plans to open the Vinings location at the beginning of November. Meagan will oversee the menu and most of the conceptual work.

“We’re envisioning it as a perfect place for a date night or a business lunch,” Buss said.

Assisting Meagan on the design and renovation will be American Craftsman Homes, who Buss said will create a “Southern, welcoming feel” for the building. Once open, French Market and Tavern will offer lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, as well as carryout and delivery.

Food from French Market and Tavern.

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The couple also has big plans for its other recent purchase, Little 5 Pizza in Little 5 Points.

Both deals were brokered for the Busses by Steve Josovitz of The Schumacher Group.

Buss, who previously worked on the corporate side for Pizza Hut and Wing Street, said he and his wife left the pizza spot almost completely intact, including its recipes.

“It was already fantastic pizza, so we’re leaving it as it is,” he said. “People love pizza, and it’s a way for us to really connect with people.” Longtime customers might notice that Buss recently brought salads back to the menu, and added baked wings.

In addition, the couple is opening a fifth location of its Peach Pit Bar and Grill concept in a 3,500 square-foot location in Johns Creek, in the space previously home to Brooklyn Cantina.

Buss knows some might think he’s crazy to tackle so many new projects at once, especially during a pandemic. But he thinks it’s the ideal time to move forward.

“I think there are three different schools of thought,” he said. “There’s the ‘Hey, we need to go run and hide, things are bad,’ camp. There’s the ‘Let’s do a little bit and see how it all shakes out, but we’re not too hopeful’ camp. And then there’s the school of trying to make the best of a bad situation. While everybody’s looking down, let’s look up. And that’s where we are.”