Airport recommends Varsity, Varasano’s, Real Chow Baby, other local eateries get spots in aviation hub

Council meeting underway to discuss lucrative proposals


The Varsity, Varasano’s Pizzeria and The Real Chow Baby are among several local and new restaurants and retail outlets that evaluators have recommended the city allow to set up shop in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as part of its new vendor concession program.

Other eateries include Shane’s Rib Shack, Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint, TWIST, Yeah! Burger, Willy’s, Chin Chin, ECCO. Retail locations include Spanx, Kiehl’s, New York Times Bookstore, Sweet Auburn Market. (View a table of the recommended vendors — and the groups who would operate them — here (PDF). If you notice anything interesting, send us a line or opine in the comments.)

“The new food and beverage program at Hartsfield-Jackson will offer our travelers many new and exciting dining options while showcasing an array of familiar Atlanta and Southeastern-based restaurants and eateries,” said Aviation General Manager Louis Miller in a statement. “The food courts will be redesigned using colors, natural light and innovative textures to capture the look, feel and spirit of our city and region.”

In addition, Miller says, the main level of the international terminal, which is scheduled to open next spring, will include retailers such as Ferragamo, Omega, Bvlgari, Swarovski, and Tommy Hilfiger and a “full-scale sit-down restaurant and a sleek, futuristic tapas bar.”

The city released the recommendations early this morning via email. Several Atlanta City Councilmembers, who must sign off on the list before it’s approved, expressed concern that they were not given information about the proposals much earlier.

“This information should have been made available to us much earlier,” Councilwoman Felicia Moore said during today’s Transportation Committee hearing (which you can view live here). Councilmembers, staffers, and the public should have been given more time to digest the details, she said.

The program to find new vendors has been called one of the largest in North America. The city restarted the entire process in September after many vendors failed to comply with e-Verify regulations. More to come.