Upscale food hall Politan Row debuts at Colony Square

The dining area of the new Politan Row at Colony Square in Atlanta features nontraditional "food court" eating areas, including soft seating and a central bar. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
The dining area of the new Politan Row at Colony Square in Atlanta features nontraditional "food court" eating areas, including soft seating and a central bar. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Last week, Politan Row opened at Colony Square in Midtown, hosting a series of press, public and ticketed events designed to create excitement around the new upscale food hall from the award-winning New Orleans-based Politan Group.

Shaking Beef from Bun Mi at the new Politan Row food hall at Colony Square in Atlanta. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
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Shaking Beef from Bun Mi at the new Politan Row food hall at Colony Square in Atlanta. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Two modern pizza ovens that require no complicated outside venting systems cook the pizzas at Belli Pizzeria at the new Politan Row at Colony Square in Atlanta. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Two modern pizza ovens that require no complicated outside venting systems cook the pizzas at Belli Pizzeria at the new Politan Row at Colony Square in Atlanta. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

So far, there are nine food stalls spread around the perimeter of the space, with offerings ranging from sushi and Neapolitan pizza to bubble tea and Vietnamese shaking beef. The stunning 40-seat Bar Politan anchors the center, with twin pillars and a latticed canopy of warm wood and glowing lights. Besides offering all manner of libations, the bar serves as a kind of axis mundi for surrounding arrangements of comfy couches, tables and chairs, where you can sit down and enjoy food plated on china, and drinks poured in proper glassware.

ExploreIntown Atlanta dining news
Politan Row at Colony Square also features outdoor dining areas. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Politan Row at Colony Square also features outdoor dining areas. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Additionally, front-of-house staff are available to assist guests at their tables or answer questions about dining in the food hall. They’re also responsible for busing tables and offering water service. As welcoming as the interior is, more than half of the square footage at Politan Row is dedicated to outdoor dining. The food hall features a 24-foot indoor/outdoor glass wall that opens the interior space to Colony Square’s outdoor areas, The Plaza, The Patio and The Grove.

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Rose Black Milk Tea from Unbelibubble at the new Politan Row at Colony Square in Atlanta. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
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Rose Black Milk Tea from Unbelibubble at the new Politan Row at Colony Square in Atlanta. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Yoon Soo (Alex) Kim (left) and Mindy Kim of Unbelibubble talk about their offerings at Colony Square's Politan Row, such as high-quality bubble tea, crafted with fresh boba and house-made syrup. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
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Yoon Soo (Alex) Kim (left) and Mindy Kim of Unbelibubble talk about their offerings at Colony Square's Politan Row, such as high-quality bubble tea, crafted with fresh boba and house-made syrup. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

“We have room for 11 fabulous vendors, and we have a little something for everybody in Midtown,” said Kirstin Moburg-Davis, who was a producer at the Food Network before becoming the culinary director at Politan Row. “It’s for the lunchtime office person, but also for the neighborhood to start with happy hour and stick around for dinner.

210623 Atlanta, Ga: Food preparation area of Yom. Media tour of the new Politan Row (food hall) at Colony Square, 1197 Peachtree Road, Atlanta Ga. Photos taken Wednesday June 23, 2021. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
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210623 Atlanta, Ga: Food preparation area of Yom. Media tour of the new Politan Row (food hall) at Colony Square, 1197 Peachtree Road, Atlanta Ga. Photos taken Wednesday June 23, 2021. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

“We really focus on making a beautiful environment. And because we’re from New Orleans, we take our bar program very seriously, with great wines and cocktails. We do a variety of seating, because it’s really how people want to dine now. So whether you just want to meet for a drink and a snack, or buckle in for a full 10-item tasting menu, the format works, and the seating speaks to that.”

Beverage director Sophie Burton puts the final touches on a couple of drinks at the centrally located bar in the new Politan Row at Colony Square in Atlanta. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Beverage director Sophie Burton puts the final touches on a couple of drinks at the centrally located bar in the new Politan Row at Colony Square in Atlanta. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Politan Group founder and CEO Will Donaldson started the company in 2014, and soon debuted St. Roch Market in New Orleans. Since then, the group has opened food halls in Chicago, Miami, Houston and Jackson, Mississippi. Three of its concepts have been nominated for James Beard awards, and Colony Square marks its seventh and largest food hall.

The new Politan Row food hall at Colony Square features a central full bar with surrounding unique food offerings and nontraditional "food court" soft seating. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
The new Politan Row food hall at Colony Square features a central full bar with surrounding unique food offerings and nontraditional "food court" soft seating. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

“I grew up in Birmingham, right down the road, so I don’t know what took me so long to get to Atlanta,” Donaldson said, smiling. “But it was really finding the right partner and the right location. Atlanta is booming, and has been for a long time. This used to be Atlanta’s original food court, so it was kind of a fun connection.”

A hallmark of Politan food halls has been gathering creative chef-owners who are “first- or second-time entrepreneurs,” Donaldson noted.

Grilled Corn from Locale Cafe at the new Politan Row at Colony Square. Locale Cafe will specialize in jerk chicken and offer other Caribbean dishes. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
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Grilled Corn from Locale Cafe at the new Politan Row at Colony Square. Locale Cafe will specialize in jerk chicken and offer other Caribbean dishes. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

At Colony Square, that includes Taylur Davis, who is from Atlanta, but worked in Los Angeles as a private chef and personal assistant, before relocating to open Locale Cafe at Politan Row. “I was born 10 minutes down the street. I returned nine months ago to open my first restaurant,” said Davis, who is specializing in jerk chicken, and offering other Caribbean dishes, including Jamaican meat patties, jerk wings, chicken platters, and grilled corn.

Oxtail Birria Tacos from Pretty Little Tacos at the new Politan Row at Colony Square. Pretty Little Tacos started at a food truck park. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
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Oxtail Birria Tacos from Pretty Little Tacos at the new Politan Row at Colony Square. Pretty Little Tacos started at a food truck park. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Hospitality veteran Michaela Merrick originally launched the lively Creole-Mexican street taco concept Pretty Little Tacos at Atlanta’s Triton Yards food truck park. “I started my company at the very beginning of the pandemic, but I knew I had something good, and now I’m here,” Merrick said. The menu features birria tacos, stuffed with stewed meats such as oxtail, dipped in broth, and finished on the grill. Look for street tacos, dessert tacos, ramen, and vegan options, as well.

Archna Becker of Tandoori Pizza & Wing Co. talks about her food offerings at the new Politan Row at Colony Square. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
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Archna Becker of Tandoori Pizza & Wing Co. talks about her food offerings at the new Politan Row at Colony Square. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Besides first-timers, Politan has a couple of longtime Atlanta chefs in the mix, too, including Archna Becker, who closed her Buckhead restaurant Bhojanic during the pandemic. Becker’s stall is a spinoff of her ghost kitchen, Tandoori Pizza & Wing Co., which serves up the likes of mango chile wings and chutney marinara and mozzarella cheese pizza. And there soon will be grab-and-go items from her Bhojanic Market.

Mango Chile Wings from Tandoori Pizza & Wing Co. at the new Politan Row at Colony Square. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
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Mango Chile Wings from Tandoori Pizza & Wing Co. at the new Politan Row at Colony Square. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Becker explained that she’d been asked to open in food halls before this, but the time and place were never quite right. “They asked me to do Ponce, they asked me to do Krog, but none of them made sense,” she said. “This is a really good place because it’s not only weekends or nights, it’s people all the time, and there’s a hotel here. To me, this spot out of all of them is the best. We want to try to franchise this model, so this is kind of a really good test run.”

Shaun Doty is the owner of Federal Burger, which offers grass-fed hamburgers with traditional and nontraditional sides at the new Politan Row at Colony Square. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
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Shaun Doty is the owner of Federal Burger, which offers grass-fed hamburgers with traditional and nontraditional sides at the new Politan Row at Colony Square. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Shaun Doty, who is well known both for fine dining and casual restaurants around Atlanta, said he always wanted to have a burger stand at Colony Square. His newest concept, Federal Burger, features Georgia ingredients, including grass-fed beef from Stone Mountain Cattle Co. and cheese from Sweet Grass Dairy.

Federal Burger's Cheese Burger and Fries with Truffle Aioli is among the many offerings at the new Politan Row at Colony Square. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Federal Burger's Cheese Burger and Fries with Truffle Aioli is among the many offerings at the new Politan Row at Colony Square. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

From opening day, Doty has been amazed by how much traffic there’s been in the food hall. “We say location, location, location, but this is really like a whole other level,” he said. “The redevelopment is phenomenal. I couldn’t have visualized Colony Square being so attractive, because I’ve known it for 30 years. The aesthetics, the marketing, it’s been a real triumph.”

Vendors at Politan Row at Colony Square:

Belli Pizzeria

Bun Mi Grill

Federal Burger

Gekko Sushi

Locale Cafe

Pretty Little Tacos

Tandoori Pizza and Wings Co.

Unbelibubble

Yom

Hibachi Chicken Bowl from Gekko Sushi & Hibachi at the new Politan Row at Colony Square. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Hibachi Chicken Bowl from Gekko Sushi & Hibachi at the new Politan Row at Colony Square. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Politan Row at Colony Square

11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays.

1197 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. colonysquare.com/politan-row.

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