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Braves try bringing a little bit of Atlanta to SunTrust Park with 'The Battery'

When the Braves move from the Atlanta to Cobb County in 2017, they’ll bring along some of Atlanta’s best restaurants, or at least approximate facsimiles of the beloved originals.
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?At a VIP and press event held at the SunTrust Park ticket office on Wednesday, the Braves announced the first round of five restaurants that will open in the $400 million mixed-use development the team is building alongside the new stadium.  
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?The team also announced the name of the development: The Battery Atlanta, a subtle nod to an old baseball term that refers to the pitcher and catcher as a single unit. (When asked if the name had anything to do with the Civil War Battles of Atlanta and Kennesaw Mountain, CL was told, “No, I think you thought of that. You made that connection, but I’m not sure that we did.”)
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?Derek Schiller, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Braves, said the team chose to announce restaurants first as the development’s “coming out party” because, “A destination has a lot to do with the restaurants you’d find at that destination.”
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????Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q was the first partner to be announced. The restaurant offer the same award-winning BBQ they now serve at their Inman Park location out of a new brewpub called the Tomahawk Taproom. Located inside the stadium, the Taproom will be open year-round, and will smoke meat and brew beer on site. Neither of the Fox brothers would divulge the local craft beer partner, however.
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?“I’m sure that will come out,” Jonathan Fox said, “I’ve heard some things, but nothing’s official.”
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?Serial restaurateur Ford Fry will bring Superica, the “Mex-Tex” concept he developed for Krog Street Market, to The Battery. Giovanni Di Palma will open his third Antico location here. And as he’s done at his pizzeria in the Avalon in Alpharetta, Di Palma will make the dough at his Home Park flagship location and ship it OTP. The national chain CRÚ Food & Wine Bar, which also has an existing location in the Avalon, promised its new Cobb location would excel in “demystifying the world of wine in an elegant, casually hip environment.”
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?The one truly unique restaurant announced yesterday was a steakhouse concept by Chef Linton Hopkins, best known for Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch in Atlanta. Hopkins, who has previously partnered with Braves with his H&F Burger stand at Turner Field, promised the yet-to-be-named steakhouse will serve “great beef,” “great black pepper,” “the perfect wedge salad,” and a “wonderful wine list.”
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?It was clear from the repeated use of the word “authentic” that the Braves aim to capture the magic of Atlanta’s food scene and bring a bit of intown Atlanta’s “soul” to the Cumberland area.
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?“One of the things we’ve said from the very beginning is we want it to be authentic, authentic to Atlanta, authentic to the region,” Schiller said. “We picked restaurants that are not only world-renowned, known well outside of Atlanta and the southeast, but they’re also locally acclaimed. It helped really cement this concept of becoming really authentic to this region, to Atlanta.”
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?Di Palma said his new Antico outpost will be a “little more rustic, old school, and neighborhood-y” compared to his Avalon location.
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?“In a conversation I just had with Terry McGuirk, Atlanta Braves Chairman and CEO,” Di Palma added, “he sort of implicated he wanted me to try to stay in my lane and have a more authentic, organic feel in here.”
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?Going forward, the Braves will make additional restaurant and retail tenant announcements every month or two. They eventually plan to have 20 restaurants and 40 retail locations within The Battery Atlanta complex.
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?This project is the first time a professional sports team has attempted building a large mixed-use development and a new stadium simultaneously. Ultimately, the Braves hope to attract visitors to the stadium area 365 days a year, which in turn could spark greater economic activity in the area and lead to the “generation of additional sales and property tax revenues” for Cobb County.
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?The Cumberland CID has previously forecasted the development alone would bring in $6 million in new tax revenue for Cobb, whose taxpayers are on the hook for paying back the $397 million in bond financing being used for the new stadium. (On the team's project site, the Braves point out the mixed-use development, unlike the stadium, is 100% privately financed. )
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?The Battery Atlanta represents a gamble for Liberty Media, the national conglomerate that owns the Braves, because the plan’s early success will depend on whether the team can turn things around by 2017. As they suffered through their worst season in a quarter century, they experienced a significant decrease in attendance and a 36 percent year-over-year drop in the TV ratings.
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?The team said both the stadium and the development are on track to open in Spring 2017. McGuirk pointed to the “bubbling cauldron of activity, construction, and building” going on at the sites of the previously announced Omni Hotel and Comcast office building. The team plans to start soon on the construction of The Roxy Theatre, a 550-unit apartment building, and hundreds of thousands of square feet of new restaurant and retail space.



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