In early 2020, the Stone Mountain Village was on such a roll, in terms of investment, longtime locals and recent entrepreneurial arrivals were calling it the “next Decatur” and Georgia’s most promising municipal gem, hidden in plain sight of the state’s most-visited tourist attraction.
Then came the pandemic’s commercial curveball. Business delays, closures, and cancelled concepts thwarted momentum along historic Main Street and surrounding blocks.
But this week, in a sign the worst times could be behind the revitalizing village, the Stone Mountain Downtown Development Authority provided Urbanize Atlanta with a list of new business concepts set to open—or finally reopen—in coming months.
Each venture is by a Stone Mountain native or current resident, noted Jelani Linder, Stone Mountain’s DDA chairperson. “We’re excited about the continued energy pulsing through our city’s veins with these new businesses opening,” Linder said.
Ranging from upscale barbecue to a wine bar with a bookish twist, the businesses will join a village roster of longstanding boutiques and eateries that operate alongside relative newcomers bullish on the area’s prospects.
The latter category includes Outrun Brewing Company, Stoned Pizza Kitchen, and Gilly Brewing Co., a hip coffee and teahouse in a historic former home once used as a Civil War hospital for casualties from both sides.
The first of four businesses to open doors came this week when Stone Mountain Public House, a popular locals hang for years, reopened following a COVID-19 shutdown last year with a tweaked concept as a “cigar and piano bistro,” with an added emphasis on the piano part.
The Public House originally opened in 2014 as a nonprofit coffeehouse but quickly morphed into Main Street’s de facto Cheers.
Owner Jonathan Hartnett, a Stone Mountain native, describes the restaurant as a modern take on downhome barbecue with upscale décor, cocktails, wine, and smoked pork, seafood, and vegetables.
Slated to open downtown in May, The Vibrary is described as an intimate wine and “bookbar” where “both experienced and novice wine drinkers can meet up with friends over a delicious glass of wine or a page-turning book." Book signings and reading events with authors are also on tap.
“I’m excited to bring a new concept to the area where you can not only drink wine, but be immersed in wine culture,” Candace Walker, another native, said in a prepared statement. “Our focus will be on serving all organic wines in a welcoming atmosphere.”
Lastly, a block off Main Street near Outrun Brewing’s patios, a concept called The Mailroom Lounge is expected to open this summer in the village’s historic Old Stone Mountain Post Office.
The renovated space is expected to incorporate a “postcard feel” with throwback blue-and-gold décor and a wall mural of an antique mailbox.
“I want our space to bring people together to share bold flavors and photogenic memories” in a “culturally diverse atmosphere,” said Mailroom Lounge owner Shemeka Maddox.
“Finally,” noted DDA officials in a press release, “Downtown Stone Mountain is quickly developing into a city known for businesses that not only survive but thrive.”
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