West Broad Street will see a new barbecue restaurant open at the former Peaches Fine Foods location sometime next year.
Saucehouse Barbecue, a new venture begun by former University of Georgia student Christopher Belk, plans to open in summer 2014, according to Belk’s LinkedIn page and a member of his marketing staff.
Public records confirmed that the original owner of the 133 N. Church St. lot, Juliana Moses, sold the 0.7-acre tract in September to CC Smoke LLC, a corporation for which Belk is the principal agent. The Church Street lot served as home for many years to beloved soul food restaurant Peaches, before it closed in summer 2012. The lot’s current tax value is $407,665. A summary analysis of the property by Whitworth Land Corporation, the listing agency, states the property’s price at $495,000. It includes not only the Peaches restaurant space, but also more than 1,000 square feet of retail space, home to a fashion and jewelry boutique and formerly Huff’s Barber Shop.
Whitworth vice president Grant Whitworth called the sale “a great start” for that stretch of Broad Street, especially on the heels of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity buying the Red Rooster restaurant at 558 W. Broad St.
“We definitely hope to see things continue,” Whitworth said. “It’s a move in the right direction. It really is the front door to Athens.”
Plans are to demolish the existing buildings and build a new structure for the restaurant and retail spaces, according to two sources with knowledge of the designs.
Belk is currently an Atlanta resident, where he worked for nearly eight years as national accounts manager for Red Diamond, a coffee and tea company. He is now devoted full time to opening Saucehouse in Athens, a staff member said. Belk did not immediately respond to email and phone messages Thursday afternoon.
On his LinkedIn page, Belk wrote that Saucehouse “is going to be a blend of some very hot trends in the restaurant industry. We are going to mix the Fast Casual Industry with a customizable feel all related to BBQ.”
“We are building this restaurant from the ground up and hope to open our first restaurant in the Spring/Summer of 2014,” he wrote. No official plans had yet been submitted to the Athens-Clarke County planning department.
Waktinsville-based landscape architecture and civil engineering firm Smith Planning Group confirmed Thursday morning their involvement in the project. Smith cites Athens chain restaurants Steak N’ Shake, Grindhouse Killer Burgers and Hubee D’s, among many others, as past clients.
Follow arts and entertainment reporter André Gallant on Twitter: @andregallant and at www.facebook.com/GallantABH.