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LONGTIME ATLANTA RESTAURANTS CELEBRATE MAJOR MILESTONES IN 2019
Henri’s Bakery, Johnny’s Hideaway, Taco Mac and Willy’s Mexicana Grill among Those Observing Landmark Anniversaries This Year
ATLANTA (Jan. 24, 2019) – Atlanta’s restaurant scene is one of the most robust in the country, with scores of fantastic options and more popping up seemingly every day. In such a competitive environment, keeping the doors open for more than a few months feels like a major accomplishment. In 2019, a handful of the city’s most beloved eateries are celebrating major anniversaries, marking anywhere from a decade to almost a century in business. Atlanta diners who are looking for a new favorite spot or just want to check in on an old friend should make plans to visit these establishments that have stood the test of time.
Founded by French pastry chef Henri Fiscus, Henri’s Bakery first opened its doors in 1929 at the corner of Peachtree and 10th Streets. While the Atlanta institution has moved quite a few times over those 90 years and has expanded to include satellite locations in Sandy Springs and Upper Westside, one thing has remained consistent: the impeccable quality of Henri’s reasonably priced menu of po’boy sandwiches, cookies, éclairs, cakes and other sweets. Today, the majority of Henri’s offerings are still made from Fiscus’ original recipes, passed down from generation to generation.
“Keeping Henri’s in the family has allowed us to maintain the same exacting standards and passion that Henri himself put into everything he made,” says Fiscus’ great-grandson (and current owner) Anthony DiNardo, who runs the family business with his sisters Kim MacBain and Ashlyn DiNardo. “That extends to his love of his community. We’re very proud and grateful to be able to serve the people of Atlanta, and I hope Henri’s continues to do so for another 90 years.”
In addition, Atlanta landmark Johnny’s Hideaway celebrates its 40th birthday in April. The popular Buckhead dance club and restaurant is marking the occasion by staying true to its roots, offering the same unpretentious good time that loyal over-40 regulars and younger bar hoppers have grown to love. That means a reliably enjoyable mix of popular music from every decade, a warm, inviting vibe reminiscent of “Cheers” and a sturdy menu of late-night favorites. And, of course, there’s the staff, some of whom have been with the club for more than 30 years and feel like family members to many longtime patrons.
“Our guests feel at home here because we don’t put on airs or try to chase the newest trend,” says owner Chris D’Auria.
It’s that down-to-earth attitude that has drawn the attention of actors, athletes and other celebrities, and landed the nightspot in films like “Hall Pass,” “The Front Runner” and “Den of Thieves.” “People like that we treat them the same no matter who they are. We just want everyone to feel good and have a great time. They keep coming back, so I guess we’re doing something right,” D’Auria adds.
Johnny’s isn’t the only Atlanta institution turning 40 this year. Taco Mac enters its fifth decade as the city’s undisputed go-to spot for the Southeast’s Original Buffalo wings and a welcoming place to relax with friends and watch a game on multiple HD TVs. Since its humble beginnings in 1979, this quintessential neighborhood hangout has grown into an empire with more than 25 locations across Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina and won recognition from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and ESPN, which named it one of the five best sports bars in America.
What keeps fans coming back? For CEO Harold Martin, Jr., the answer is simple. “For one, there’s our top-notch menu of starters, salads, wings, burgers and classic entrées—not to mention more than 100 beers on draft,” he says. “But even more than that, it’s the way we treat our guests. Whether it’s being greeted by a friendly team member when you walk in the door or being encouraged to try new craft beers through our Brewniversity program, we strive to create a welcoming environment that everyone can enjoy.”
Willy’s Mexicana Grill got its start in Atlanta in 1995 and is always celebrating anniversaries at over 30 locations across the metro Atlanta area, Athens, Cartersville and Columbus. The super-popular burrito chain’s Marietta restaurant turns 20 in 2019, while both the Kennesaw and Hapeville locations will mark 15 years serving made-from-scratch burritos, nachos, tacos and salads to dedicated guests.
Founder and “chief burrito roller” Willy Bitter doesn’t take such anniversaries for granted. “I’m thankful every day that I get to share the food I love with the community I love,” says Bitter, who created his namesake restaurant after falling in love with California-style burritos in San Francisco. “As long as we keep using the freshest, best ingredients and making our delicious food right in front of the customer, I’m hopeful that we’ll get to keep on serving our guests for another 20+ years.”
Those aren’t the only Atlanta favorites celebrating milestones this year. Three of the city’s most notable spots are each observing their 10-year anniversaries in 2019:
Antico Pizza Napoletana is a mandatory visit for pizza lovers thanks to Giovanni DiPalma’s wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas. Today, Antico anchors Little Italia, a Westside hub of Italian food and culture featuring Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano, Caffe Antico and Bar Amalfi, and has also spawned satellite locations at Avalon and The Battery at SunTrust Park.
The Nook on Piedmont Park offers an award-winning tavern menu served by agreeable staffers on one of the most popular patios in Atlanta; a spacious, inviting enclosure directly across from Atlanta’s largest and most popular green space.
Ormsby’s rests in that unlikely but comfortable spot between speakeasy and neighborhood tavern, with an extensive menu of stylish bar bites, craft beers and classic cocktails—not to mention a game room offering backgammon, bocce, darts, pool and shuffleboard.