The new Colony Square food hall that eventually became Politan Row was first announced in 2017 as part of a $400 million dollar renovation of the half-century-old mixed-use complex in the heart of Midtown Atlanta. Formerly called Main and Main, it was renamed Politan Row last year, and is now run by New Orleans-based food hall operator Politan Group in partnership with Colony Square developer North American Properties.
Its June opening comes as metro Atlanta experiences a food hall boom, beginning with the debuts of Krog Street Market and Ponce City Market nearly seven years ago, to more recent food hall openings, like Chattahoochee Food Works in Underwood Hills, the Collective at Coda in Midtown, Marietta Square Market, and Halcyon in southern Forsyth County. Still more food halls are in the works, including a 21-stall food hall opening at Underground Atlanta, and even a pint-sized version taking shape inside the former Graveyard Tavern in East Atlanta Village.
But what distinguishes one food hall from another nowadays? Are these basically glorified mall food courts? Some would argue food halls are more than that, offering people solid drinks from an actual bar and restaurant stalls centered around local food, beyond the ubiquitous Sbarro Pizza or Orange Julius chains typically found inside the mall.
As for Politan Row, just what does “a food hall for Midtown” Atlanta look like? Consider the five following facts on Politan Row to decide for oneself.
There are nearly a dozen locally or independently owned food stalls
At 20,000 square feet, Politan Row will eventually include 11 locally or independently owned food stalls. Politan Group claims to have purposely chosen “younger stage entrepreneurs” and pop-up and food truck operators rather than established restaurant groups, chains, and franchises to fill the stalls at the food hall. Two more food stalls have yet to be announced.
Food stalls currently open:
Politan Row sort of operates like a restaurant
Politan Row employs “guest assistants” and “guest ambassadors” who act as the food hall’s servers and hosts, helping to bus tables, offer water to seated diners, answer the phones, and even book reservations. Food and drinks from stalls are served on actual plates and in glasses. For large parties who call ahead, tables can apparently be held for up to 20 minutes prior to arrival.
Yep, there’s a chefs table
Starting at $30 per person, groups of up to 12 people can reserve the chefs table for two hours at Politan Row. As with a restaurant, the chefs table here is also a full-service dining experience, serving dishes and specials from the various food stalls. Drinks from the bar at Politan Row are extra, though. The food hall also includes a Jazz-inspired private events space with its own bar called the Blue Room.
Grab cocktails from Bar Politan
In addition to the 11 restaurant stalls, there’s also a 40-seat central bar aptly named Bar Politan. Led by Quinton Anderson, Bar Politan serves takes on classic cocktails (and brunch cocktails on Sundays), wine, and a selection of mostly local beer. A weekday happy hour takes place at the bar from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. There’s a “secret bar” planned for Politan Row, too. More on that soon.
There’s a lot of outdoor space here
A 24-foot sliding glass wall separates the food hall from the outdoor spaces here. The patio offers covered seating and includes a bar and shuffleboard. It faces the plaza area, complete with a stage for live performances, movies, and sports games. The Grove offers more outdoor seating and features shade trees and a staircase leading down from the food hall.
In addition to Politan Row, several full-service restaurants are now open or opening at Colony Square this year. Bar and restaurant Establishment overlooks the Grove and will eventually offer access to the food hall. Chicago restaurateur Donna Lee opened a location of Brown Bag Seafood Company next to Sukoshi, a fast-casual sushi restaurant from Indigo Road Hospitality (O-Ku). Dine-in theater iPic opened in December, with its Italian restaurant Serena Pastificio opening on July 13.
The relocated Holeman and Finch Public House, a location of Atlanta Persian restaurant Rumi’s Kitchen, a new restaurant from the former CEO of Cafe Intermezzo called Saints and Council, and outposts of King of Pops and trendy salad chain Sweetgreen should all open by the end of the summer.
197 Peachtree Street, Atlanta. atlanta.politanrow.com. Open Monday – Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Politan Row is accessible via both the Arts Center and Midtown MARTA stations, although Arts Center Station is closer.