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Can a BBQ Joint Help Eliminate East Lake's Food Desert?

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The simple answer: Well, no. But, maybe? Until recently, there's been little-to-no news about an East Lake restaurant development planned at the intersection of Hosea Williams Drive and Second Avenue, which is slated to include a Greater Good Barbecue and two other restaurant or café concepts. All four corners of the intersection were purchased by Mike Nelson and Clay Harper, the owners of Fellini's Pizza and La Fonda Latina, earlier this year. Decaturish reports the developers are moving toward securing land disturbance permits for the proposed sites so work can begin. And the changes could mean more than barbecue plates and lattes for those who call The E.L. (no one actually calls it that) home.

New food options of any stripe would be good news for East Lake residents who, despite their proximity to a hyper-exclusive golf course, have extremely limited food options. (According to the AJC, the area qualifies as a bona fide food desert). Almost no restaurants operate within a mile of the Second Avenue intersection, and the list just outside that boundary includes three Subways, three coffee shops, two Philly cheesesteak shops, two barbecue spots and two taco places. Granted, one mile may not seem daunting to most people, but in an area where the median income is still well below the national level and access to a car (or any consistent transportation) is not a guarantee — it's kind of a big deal.

Sure, three new restaurant concepts don't constitute "a supermarket or large grocery store" that might alleviate food-desert status according to USDA rules (and the area hardly needs a third barbecue option). But the development does signal a vote of confidence for the area and represents a drastic improvement over the empty buildings that occupy two corners of the site and the slabs of concrete on the other two. Would a multi-purpose shop like Candler Park Market or Little's in Cabbagetown be out of the question?

— By Curbed Atlanta contributor Jason Flynn

· Where are metro Atlanta's food deserts? [AJC]
· Fellini's Founders Plan New Restaurant Concepts in East Lake [EL Foundation]