NEWPORT RE today announces that Liz & Leon’s, a new concept by Atlanta chef Bella Jones, will join the lineup of restaurants and retail on the revived Historic Hotel Row in South Downtown, targeting a fall 2023 opening.
“Liz & Leon’s is a culinary love letter to my grandparents, especially my grandmother, Elizabeth,” says chef Jones. “Everything I know about family, love, tradition, and African-American food comes from her, and the restaurant will have centuries of my ancestors’ stories wrapped up in every dish.”
With a mission to tell the stories of the African diaspora through elevated and unique flavor profiles, Liz & Leon’s will offer top-notch service combined with a comfortable, homey atmosphere, and a focus on ingredients that are carefully and sustainably sourced. At the restaurant, Jones aims to bring a fresh perspective to the phrase ‘soul food’ – honoring Black cuisine and educating guests about its importance, history and cultural significance.
“It’s my mission to reveal stories of victory and triumph through food,” continues Jones. “These stories focus on how, even when stripped from their homeland, the enslaved created a cuisine that came to be the most recognizable food in America.”
A secret bar (also by Jones) dubbed Sweet Gigi’s will operate downstairs, while Liz & Leon’s holds the main floor, and is connected to a shared terrace. Both concepts join a lineup of exciting retail and restaurants opening on Historic Hotel Row in 2023: TydeTate Kitchen, Spiller Park, Pizza Clementine, Thirteenth Floor and @Twelve80, among other to-be-announced tenants. Hotel Row was once an epicenter of travel, business, tourism and restaurants within the city, and Newport’s transformation of the block aims to bring life back into the neighborhood, honoring the buildings’ pasts by transforming them into walkable, grab-and-go food stores, full service restaurants and bars, boutique shops and creative office space – similar to what would have been open on Hotel Row during its prime in the early 1900s.
“It’s an honor that Chef Bella has chosen Hotel Row as the home for Liz & Leon’s – an incredibly important, culturally relevant project,” says April Stammel, senior VP of NEWPORT. “She has big plans, and we are proud to have her as a founding neighbor in South Downtown. I can’t wait to enjoy – and learn from – her cooking alongside the rest of the city.”
On choosing Historic Hotel Row as the future home for her restaurant, chef Jones shares, “With the mission of Liz & Leon’s and the importance of telling the story of African-American foodways, I wanted a location that felt like it had history wrapped in its walls – but also reminded me of walking into my grandmother’s home. When I first entered the space at 231 Mitchell, I could feel the history – and to say that we are in a building that's over a century old is my favorite part. As a history buff, choosing South Downtown and Hotel Row was a no-brainer.”
Liz & Leon’s will span nearly 3,000 square feet at 231 Mitchell Street plus an additional 2,800+ square feet of terrace level space. The JLL Brokerage/Leasing team, led by Director of Retail Agency Leasing Coleman Morris, is facilitating retail leasing efforts for the project in partnership with NEWPORT. For more information, visit https://southdwntn.com/.
ABOUT SOUTH DOWNTOWN
The largest collection of historic commercial buildings in the country, NEWPORT’s South Downtown consists of more than 50 buildings and six acres of surface parking positioned for future infill across ten contiguous blocks of Atlanta’s historic downtown. The revitalization of the neighborhood will include more than one thousand new apartments, creative and Class A office, diverse and experiential retail and restaurant concepts, places for artists, and vibrant public and community space. The first renovations began with Historic Hotel Row and 222 Mitchell as a catalyst to launch NEWPORT’s long term vision. Hotel Row was once an early epicenter of travel, business, tourism and restaurant life within the city and has been transformed to house walkable, grab-and-go food stores, full service restaurants and bars, boutique shops and creative office space. Across the street 222 Mitchell spans a full city block and is the combination of a 1909 brick building and two mid-century modern buildings. Formerly home to Citizens & Southern Bank, the property boasts some of the best 360-degree rooftop views of downtown and will deliver a curated Class A office experience, new pocket park, exciting ground floor retail and multiple rooftop restaurant spaces. Coupling its resurgence of Hotel Row and 222 Mitchell with the revival of a centerpiece of South Broad Street, NEWPORT will add 650 new neighbors and more than a dozen retail and restaurants as part of its first residential buildings. The two new towers at 18 and 21 stories, contain 300 units (West building) and 350 units (East building), and will both include a mix of studio, one-, and two-bedroom homes in a variety of configurations, many with private outdoor space. Further projects are planned in South Downtown including multi-family, retail, restaurant, grocery, office and hotel through the decade.
Current storefronts filling Hotel Row, targeting an early 2023 opening, include: favorite Atlanta coffeehouseSpiller Park and its team of hooligans (as they call themselves), opening its fourth Atlanta-area location – serving its beloved coffee, small breakfast bites and occasional pop-up food vendors plus, a ready to eat & drink cooler station, alongside Mitchell Street neighbors, @Twelve80, a decor shop with built-in floral storefrontWarren + Forrest, specializing in flower arrangements, classes, dinner parties and retail items like flatware and stationery, andTydeTate Kitchen, the brother-sister duo, Sai Untachantr and Bank Bhamaraniyama, serving up homestyle comfort Thai dishes, inspired by family recipes plus. In addition, twoSlater Hospitality concepts will be joining Mitchell Street -Pizza Clementine, featuring a walk-up window and a menu of square-style pizzas & slices situated above Thirteenth Floor, the basement cocktail lounge centered around an original OutKast mural.