Photo Credit: Berlyjen/Flickr
Thanks to the Neighborhood Notification Initiative, it was brought to my attention that Daniel Epting, of Epting Events, was looking at modifying a space in the Chase Park Warehouses, on Tracy Street. Could it be a restaurant? Nah, it’s an event rental space, but it has some interesting aspects that could affect the food scene in Athens.
Daniel was kind enough to walk me around the space yesterday as well as give me a tour of the Epting facility around the corner on Chase Street, by the Loop. The former tuxedo factory seems, for now, to have enough room to grow, but Epting is an ambitious company. No fools, they kept bolts and bolts of fabric, plus an unfinished sewing room that could end up being a good opportunity for Athens’ small but blossoming fashion scene.
Shelves upon shelves of chargers, suits of armor, table toppers, miscellaneous decorative items, chandeliers, vases and more present the raw materials. A showroom up front lets the employees stage different scenarios, pulling specific pieces. A tasting room and a large kitchen that can be used for the same supply the venue for regular Tuesday night experimentation with new menu items, to educate the staff.
The new new space is, at this point, a big, open room with a dirt floor, exposed brick and no HVAC. It’s the one on the opposite end from ATHICA, after you walk around the corner, and although it’s raw at this point, the bones are good. Second-story windows let in great light, and Epting plans to keep the graffiti that covers the brick wall. It’s a space with character, something Epting thinks will go over well in the Athens market. It also has enough room to seat 400 people, which few of its competitors do. It doesn’t have a name yet, but they’re working on it, with a goal of having the place in rentable condition before December.
Here’s the best part: There’s plenty of parking and some nice green space just outside, and Epting’s idea is to rent it out to food trucks, plus supply some picnic tables. They have these on hand, of course—German Oktoberfest ones that are sturdy and clean—as well as their own truck associated with Harry’s Barbecue. The mobile eateries would still have to find their own commissary kitchens, but location and consistency have always been the toughest part of starting that kind of business in Athens, and this would help solve both those problems.
It’s not as walkable as downtown would be, but downtown is starved for space and full of restaurants that don’t want more competitors right outside their doors. Cross your fingers.
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