Tal Baum opened her first concept, Bellina Alimentari, in Atlanta’s bustling Ponce City Market in 2015. Since then, she’s built Oliva Restaurant Group with Rina, Aziza, and Falafel Nation, all of which are fresh riffs on Middle Eastern fare. In January, Baum returned to Ponce City with a new concept: Atrium.
The modern American eatery serves elevated, seasonal fare, such as foie gras pâté with peach gelée and trout with basil-caper salsa, alongside craft cocktails. The 5,200-square-foot space is equally vibrant; the cozy yet colorful environment features floral installations, murals, and hand-painted tiles—all created by local artists. The culmination of the food and atmosphere have made Atrium a quiet haven in an otherwise busy marketplace.
A market getaway
We wanted to create a space that will provide a reprieve and escape from the hustle and bustle of the market. Ponce City Market is a very busy property. When you come on a Saturday, there are people everywhere, and it’s really hectic—in a good way. But we wanted to create something that is completely different and provides a quieter space. That’s how Atrium was born.
It all starts with me standing in the space and closing my eyes and envisioning what it will become. I’m heavily involved in the design process. I’m the one who usually puts together the look book for the project and knows exactly where we will be heading from day one.
The best of both worlds
The restaurant is divided into two separate areas. We have the parlor where it’s first come, first serve; then we have the restaurant on the other side. You usually have to make reservations, and it’s more planned. If you’re walking around and you want to grab food but you haven’t made a reservation, you can always go to the parlor area. If you want to celebrate something or come for a date night, you can do that at the restaurant. It’s beautiful because it allows people to experience the space in different ways.
Room for everyone
I think us knowing the Ponce City Market and understanding what might be missing definitely equipped us with the information to create Atrium. The goal was to create a space that would be complementary to our other restaurant Bellina, which is a lot more casual. There is room in the market for both that casual atmosphere and the more upscale dining experience. We feel Atrium doesn’t compete with guests who want to eat at Bellina.
Word to the wise
Believe in your inner energy, and just let that be the guiding force. There is so much noise. There are so many voices around, and there are so many people who will critique you and will advise you to do things differently. But at the end of the day, the moments that I find to be the most successful are the ones where I pause and listen to my gut.