RCP Companies, an Alabama-based real estate firm, announced its partnership with Southern Fried Hospitality to provide both hospitality management and restaurant development services at the company’s premier, master-planned, mixed-use communities currently under development in Huntsville. Under the leadership of Executive Chef Marc Taft, the Atlanta-based company will partner with RCP Companies to provide hospitality services at both MidCity, currently the city’s largest mixed-use development and the nation’s fourth largest commercial real estate project; and CityCentre, a $100 million, mixed-use development in the city’s rejuvenated urban core; both currently under construction.
“Marc Taft’s reputation along with his countless hospitality successes and what is undoubtedly a vast depth of industry knowledge, make this partnership a hands-down win-win opportunity for us as well as Huntsville—especially our growing foodie population,” says Max Grelier, co-founder, RCP Companies. “With both of these projects, our intention is to create places that inspire social interaction, celebrate our culture and shape memories through culinary and entertainment experiences. Taft and his young and innovative team get this and are ready to take it to the next level.”
Southern Fried Hospitality is owned and led by Marc Taft, an award-winning chef and seasoned hospitality executive—who happens to be an Alabama native. Most notably, the 2012/13 Zagat Survey recognized Southern Fried Hospitality’s metro Atlanta-based Chicken and the Egg as one of the “Top Five Best New Restaurants in Atlanta,” while AirTran’s GO magazine named the restaurant one of five culinary destinations for an upscale meal in Atlanta. Southern Fried is also known for Brine Seafood Shack at Avalon in Alpharetta, Ga.; FEED—Fried Chicken + Such at The Battery at SunTrust Park in Atlanta; along with CO-OP Community Table + Bar and Best Burger, two new concepts debuting next year at HALCYON in Forsyth County, north of Atlanta. “Brine and FEED are two brands that we plan to grow,” says Taft.
“The opportunity to deliver and manage restaurant concepts at these two developments is incredibly humbling,” continues Taft. “Partnering with RCP will enable our company to embark on new ventures and create unique concepts while continuing the success of our established flavors that carry our Southern heritage.” Although Taft grew up in Alabama and has been a proponent of Southern fare ever since he first tasted his grandmother’s fried chicken at the Sunday dinner table, he looks forward to spreading his wings and showcasing his other culinary abilities with the creation of new restaurants under the Southern Fried Hospitality umbrella.
Initial Southern Fried plans for MidCity include two to three chef-driven concepts for The Camp, a music and arts outdoor entertainment venue that launched last summer. Taft and his team will open and manage additional restaurants throughout the mixed-use development, including a food hall that will align with regional and national concepts already lined-up at MidCity. At CityCentre, Southern Fried is expected to open several concepts adjacent to and inside the AC Hotel as well as a 12,000-square-foot artisanal culinary market, both of which will showcase Taft’s approach to southern delicacies.
“We intend to infuse the food hall craze with our unique approach to food and flavors of the South and introduce it to Huntsville’s culinary scene,” says Taft. One aspect of Taft’s chef-driven restaurants to remain consistent is their dedication to bringing only the finest sourced ingredients to the table, whether it is sustainable seafood outlined by the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch at Brine Seafood Shack; hyper-local ingredients found at Chicken and the Egg; fresh local poultry at FEED Fried Chicken or freshly ground burgers at Best Burger.
Located on Williams Avenue between Monroe Street and Lowe Avenue, CityCentre is slated to include 40,000 sq. ft of retail and restaurant and 10,000 sq. ft. of commercial space surrounded by 270 upscale apartment homes and a 125-key AC Hotel. MidCity is a $350 million redevelopment at the 140-acre site of the former Madison Square Mall with plans for 345,000 sq. ft. of street-level retail and dining, 200,000 sq. ft. technical and creative office space, 500 hotel rooms and 900 residences. The development is situated at the intersection of two of Huntsville’s primary commercial corridors—University Drive and Research Park Boulevard.
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