In a phone call today, Federico Castellucci III, president of Castellucci Hospitality Group — Double Zero, Emory Village; Iberian Pig, Decatur; Cooks & Soldiers, West Midtown; Sugo, Johns Creek — revealed the name of his family’s new restaurant in the former Cockentrice space at Krog Street Market.
Bar Mercado will be a casual Spanish tapas concept inspired by the Market of San Miguel, a covered market in Madrid, Castellucci said, noting that he expects the restaurant to open in late April or early May.
“We’re doing a full-service, sit-down restaurant,” Castellucci said. “Square Feet Studio is doing the design. They designed the original Cockentrice space, and they’re coming in to do this new concept for us, which I think is going to be perfect for the Market.
“It’s going to be casual, multi-regional Spanish tapas that are authentic and ingredient-driven but not quite as innovative as Iberian Pig, where we take more liberties with Spanish cuisine in the tapas format. Nor is it going to be as fine dining as Cooks & Soldiers.”
The Madrid market was the inspiration because it is a melting pot of regional cuisine, Castellucci said.
“People moved into the city and brought with them all their rural dishes, so Madrid doesn’t really have its own cuisine,” he said. “It’s all of the regional cuisines under one roof. So my brother John and the chefs from the Iberian Pig and Cooks & Soldiers have been developing the menu, and we really want to focus on doing the classic dishes in a true to form Spanish tapas restaurant.
“We’ve obviously been working in this cuisine for a number of years, but we’ve never really done anything that’s truly authentic. We’ve always done our own creative take on it. This presents a fun little challenge for us.”
In keeping with the casual style of the concept, the prices will be under $10 for most menu items, Castellucci said.
“Portions will be four or five bites, like true tapas dining, designed for one bite for every person at the table, and move on to the next dish. And the plates will be simple, with maybe a protein and a sauce and garnish.
“The beverage program will be very focused on classic, regionally specific Spanish wines, with a concise, by-the-glass selection. Cocktails will be offered, but not nearly as focused as the Iberian Pig cocktail program is.”
As far as the space, Castellucci said the bar, dining room and kitchen configuration will remain. But the entrance will be from the sidewalk, and the decor and seating will be updated, along with an expanded patio that will be covered and heated.
“We’re adding a lot more to the space, as far as furniture and fixtures and almost all of the seating will be at banquettes,” he said. “The decor will be southern Spain, sort of bold and loud with colors and patterns.
“I’m really excited about the space, which was really cool to begin with. And we have a chance to apply our own touches in colors and fabrics and seating arrangements and visual elements.”
The Castellucci Group’s most recent project was the September move of its restaurant Double Zero to Emory Village from Sandy Springs.