Hip Hop and southern food have been a long-time staple in Atlanta’s diverse culture. So, it comes as no surprise that Westside natives Michael “Killer Mike” Render and Clifford “T.I.” Harris have returned to their hometown in order to bring back a classic neighborhood favorite – Bankhead Seafood. This restaurant has been a part of Atlanta’s Westside for over 50 years, that is until it’s abrupt closing in January of 2018. The community was quick to form a call-to-action for Render and Harris to save this neighborhood landmark.
The pair had already considered purchasing the business located at 1651 Donald Lee Hollowell Pkwy. NW as they each already own numerous properties in the area. “We’ve been around the world, we’ve had a lot of fun, but essentially we’re two kids from the westside” Render told WSB TV. “We grew up seeing black ownership in our community, and we felt like if the city was going to develop, we should have some ownership stake.” Render and Harris partnered with Noel Khalil, founder and principal of Columbia Residential LLC. They purchased the business almost a year ago, including the name, trademark and recipes. They plan to remodel the entire establishment, making it even bigger and better than before. The newly remodeled establishment is expected to open this time next year, but in the meantime a stylish food truck sporting Bankhead seafood’s new logo will begin rolling in early April.
There are plans to turn the restaurant into a sit-down style with approximately 130 seats and a rooftop dining area! Render was recently granted permission by a Grove Park neighborhood to rezone a nearby property in order to create more parking spaces for the restaurant. Fans will recognize most of the famous recipes on the menu such as fish boxes and hush puppies. But there will also be some new additions, including vegan dishes and a fish sandwich dubbed the “dope boy po’ boy” by Render. These dishes are expected to be offered at a reasonable price, increasing accessibility to those who live in the neighborhood. The rapper’s even plan to pursue a liquor license as they intend to operate a full bar. Render and Harris have big plans for this establishment – they are already planning to expand Bankhead Seafood into a chain. “Once you successfully run one, you know what to do with two, three, four more” Render stated. We may even see the chain appear in airports and the southern regions across America.
Render and Harris hope to capture the essence of Bankhead Seafood and add to it. They are also dedicated to giving back to their community by providing new jobs and opportunities to the natives of Atlanta’s westside. This endeavor is not just about selling fish and hush puppies, it’s much bigger than that. It is about reinvesting in a community that helped produce businesspeople such as Render and Harris. The pair are committed to nurturing the next generation of leaders from Atlanta’s westside.
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