Waffle restaurant, sushi and ramen stalls added to tenant lineup at The Works in Upper Westside

Praise the Lard from the menu of the Waffle Experience. / Courtesy of the Waffle Experience
Praise the Lard from the menu of the Waffle Experience. / Courtesy of the Waffle Experience

A restaurant specializing in waffles and food stalls offering sushi, ramen banh mi and Japanese drinks are joining the roster of food tenants at The Works mixed-use development in Atlanta’s Upper Westside neighborhood.

The Waffle Experience will open its first east coast location in summer 2021 in a 2,200 square-foot space in the development’s Chattahoochee Row area. The Atlanta location will join two others in California.

Founded in 2014 in Sacramento, California by Marine Corp veteran and executive chef Michael Donoho, Waffle Experience specializes in sweet and savory dishes anchored by waffles, including breakfast plates, sandwiches, salads and desserts, with ingredients sourced from local growers. Several items Southern-influenced menu items will only be available at The Works location.

The design plan for The Waffle Experience includes an “industrial farm aesthetic,” according to a press release, featuring an open kitchen and production kitchen, indoor and outdoor seating and a walk-up bar.

“Atlanta is the right next step in our plan to bring The Waffle Experience to new places," CAO Tina Isbell said in a prepared statement. “This is such a fun concept that we feel is a gamechanger in the region’s culinary world.”

Located on Chattahoochee Row, which comprises 60,000 square feet of “main street” retail and restaurants, the eatery will be neighbors with a forthcoming location of Atlanta barbecue restaurant Fox Bros Bar-B-Q and the newly-opened Dr. Scofflaw’s brewery from Scofflaw Brewing Company.

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Also joining the tenants at The Works are four food stalls that will be part of the development’s Chattahoochee Food Works, set to open in early winter 2020.

Flying Fish, from Christine Nguyen and Johnny Cho, will be open for lunch and dinner and will offer Japanese appetizers, nigiri plates, sushi rolls and robata. The pair is also behind Banh Mi Station, serving traditional Vietnamese dishes including bánh mì, pho and vermicelli noodle bowls for lunch and dinner.

Anna Grace will open Sakura Ramen Bar, which will offer a variety of ramen options, yakitori, traditional izakaya dishes and a monthly tasting menu with sake pairings. Sakura Gift, also from Grace, will showcase rare Japanese whiskey and Japanese sake, beer and wine.

Ngyuyen, Cho and Grace have hired Atlanta restaurateur Alex Kinjo, who owns eateries including MF Sushi in Inman Park, as brand curator and designer for all four stalls.

Chattahoochee Food Works is being curated by four-time James Beard award-winning chef, host of Travel Channel’s ‘Bizarre Foods,’ and Food Network star Andrew Zimmern. Zimmern is serving as culinary advisor to Robert Montwaid, creator of New York’s Gansevoort Market. The pair previously collaborated on The Dayton’s Food Hall and Market in downtown Minneapolis.

Zimmern stated in 2019 that he was “interested in seeking out people who have otherwise been excluded or need the opportunity. I don’t want the chain taco place. I want the young, spirited entrepreneur who is first-generation or recent arrival to this country who is looking for a place to succeed,” he said. “I’m excited to present a diverse group of culinarians to that project. I think food halls can be business incubators.”

At full capacity, Chattahoochee Food Works will be home to 31 food stalls and an indoor/outdoor bar.

Other announced tenants include Morelli’s Ice Cream, TydeTate Kitchen, Babakabab, Unbelibubble, Graffiti Breakfast, Taqueria La Luz, Pomodora Bella, Baker Dude and Baked Kitchen South African Street Food.

In addition to Chattahoochee Food Works and Chattahoochee Row, The Works development -- developed by real estate firm Selig Enterprises -- will also include The Camp, a one-acre park, and The Spur, a 970-foot linear pedestrian gathering area. Tenants are opening throughout Fall and into 2021.

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