By Mary Margaret Stewart, contributor
Manuel’s Tavern, located at 602 N Highland Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30307 is slated to reopen on or around August 6 for its 60-year anniversary.
As of right now, all construction should be complete by July 23, the company said in a Facebook post.
On June 17, Manuel’s Tavern’s Facebook page posted a series of updates on the renovation process:
“Tile floors are in, the coolers are in, most of the electrical is in, the new roof is complete, the vent hood is up, all the plumbing is roughed in, the windows are in, the new siding is going up, sheetrock is up, new insulation is in, all the TV, computer and wifi cables runs are complete, new duct work is hanging,” the post says. “A whole lot more is complete.”
The restaurant, an Atlanta institution, started a renovation at the end of 2015. When regulars heard of change – some who’ve been hanging out at Manuel’s Tavern for over 40 years – many raised concern about tarnishing its historic value.
Anticipation for the tavern’s revamp is high, though.
In 2015, Samantha Skewes and her family were traveling back to Stone Mountain when they stopped for their first time at Manuel’s.
“We were so done with the city. We had left the aquarium and were trying to find a good place to eat, but the city was packed,” she said. “So I Googled places along the drive back. I have always loved bar/grills type places, and my husband and I decided wherever we travel, we will eat in a small town place – not a chain restaurant – and I found Manuel’s, and so we went.”
Skewes said that she didn’t expect to love Manuel’s at first glance, but said she “couldn’t have stumbled on such a great place.”
“They had a menu to fit everyone in my picky family, and every single thing was hot and delicious. The whole staff was amazing. Our server kept apologizing because our food was taking longer than 20 minutes,” she said. “Honestly, we didn’t realize we waited that long. It was a happy atmosphere, and a great way to end the day.”
Whether customers have been eating at Manuel’s since the ‘60s, ‘80s, or last year, their reviews rave about friendly employees, a great bar scene and a popular place for reunions.
So, when will more raving reviews appear? Owner Brian Maloof makes sure to keep Tavern followers up-to-date via Facebook.
“An update,” a July 1 Facebook post says. “The pace of construction has my head spinning. Every trades profession you can think of is on site simultaneously…It’s amazing that nobody is in anybody else’s way. It’s so well-orchestrated it’s astonishing.”
Between floor and roof gurus, electricians, carpenters, painters and sheetmetal duct installers, the progress is well on its way.
While the restaurant will display a range of changes, the menu, food and prices, is remaining the same.
The only difference will be a “greater focus on draft beer.”
“Draft beer is the Ultimate Green Way To Go. The glassware is reused, the kegs are reused and the beer is fresher . . .” a Facebook post says. “We’re going to have 40 faucets using all new draft equipment . . . Five faucets will be dedicated to seasonal rotation.”
Manuel’s staffers took the system for a test run on Aug 1.
“The very first beers poured through the new system,” another Facebook post says. “From left to right is Bill McCluskey Greg Maloof, Amanda Maloof, Angelo Fustar, Adam Lowe and Joe Ward they had the honors of pouring the first beer. However only Amanda and Angelo got to drink it.”
With “six months out of practice” to face, Maloof plans to ease back into the flow with “a series of soft openings,” or opening for 4-hour windows of time.
“I think I would do everyone a disservice if I just swung the doors open and find out the hard way we were not prepared. Everyone that works here wants to impress, no one wants to disappoint a customer,” a post on the Facebook page says. “I want to give every employee the time they need to get back in the swing of things. There’s a lot of new equipment to get used to.”