3 ways Atlanta chefs build their restaurants

Building a restaurant is...tough. Like, really tough. Chefs and restaurateurs devote years developing concepts, gathering money and putting their all into this passion. And with so many things that can go wrong, it's amazing that so many put themselves out there.

However, in the last few years, technology has enabled them to think outside the box. There are countless ways to build your dream and invite people in to live it with you. From crowdsourcing to pop-ups, here are just a few ways that the new crop of restaurants are going from dream to reality.

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In Johns Creek, Oswald Morgan has a thriving gastro pub called Kozmo. From juicy burgers to craft cocktails and a little bites of heaven called chocolate lava balls, it's a taste of the ITP outside the perimeter. His dream, though, is to build out the adjoining space into a speakeasycalled Next. To allow the community to take part in building this community space, he is crowdsourcing with Kickstarter. They are looking to raise $69,000 for the build out. For a full list of rewards, head here.

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He is certainly not the first to go to Kickstarter for help in building out an Atlanta restaurant. This year Illegal Food raised money to refurbish an older building, and Cockentrice in Krog Street Market successfully raised seed money a few years ago through crowdsourcing.

Pop Ups

A few years ago, pop-ups began, well, popping up in Atlanta. Sometimes they are restaurants within a restaurant, like the recent West Egg pop-up, Oddbird. This chicken and waffles theme is full of fried chicken - both hot and not - savory waffles, biscuits and some of the best chocolate pie we've ever eaten. Seriously, don't skip dessert here. Oddbird takes over the West Egg space Wednesday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Sometimes it's not a restaurant in a restaurant, but a nomadic chef that wants to feed every person they possibly can. Such is the case with burritos that make our mouths water at the thought. Hector Santiago, formerly of Pura Vida (R.I.P.) has been serving up burritos for years. His masterpieces are giant charred tortillas stuffed with beautifully braised chicken and a crunchy slaw. He used to serve on Saturday mornings near Pura Vida. Now, as he prepares to open up a new space at Ponce City Market, he is back at it. You can find his El Burro Pollo at various farmer's markets and sometimes other restaurants. Keep up with him here.


Somewhere between pop-up and a permanent food menu, lies what Joystick Gamebar calls a "restaurant incubator." This Edgewood bar filled with old school games like Street Fighter and NBA Jam needed something to feed the hoards of 20 and 30 somethings that packed in on the weekends. A few years ago, Illegal Food started cooking up their famous Hank Burger and quickly became the talk of the town. Illegal Food now has a stand alone restaurant in Virginia Highland that is thriving. Now, Joystick is playing host to Junk Food: The EP. They are turning out treats like kimchi popcorn and oxtail tacos to the hungry and tipsy masses.

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