Westside Motor Lodge

The march of intown gentrification continues with swath after swath of previously unused or blighted areas being repurposed into hip and dazzling new playgrounds. The newest entrant is the new Echo Street West project, a 19-acre reimagining of an area near Mercedes Benz Stadium and the historically Black neighborhood of English Avenue. The redo will soon include a bevy of live-work-play options including retail, office, restaurant and hotel along with multi-family housing and even an artist colony.

Within the burgeoning new mini-city comes the Westside Motor Lodge, a 3-acre campus that converted three vacant auto repair shops, four shipping containers and even an abandoned 1982 Mercedes Wagon into a restaurant, bar, cocktail lounge, event space, game room, beer garden, shuffleboard courts along with cabanas, fire pits and a food truck. And it's all near the Atlanta Beltline's westside trail so you're connected to other parts of town as well.

Attitude abounds—it's got that roadside motor lodge feel but also feels high-design with just enough bougie not to be pretentious. Elizabeth Feichter (formerly of Atlanta Food and Wine Festival) and Kelly Campbell of Southern Culinary and Creative (Gather 'round, Epicurean Atlanta) are behind the project so they understand how to put on a show and curate up some good stuff.

The restaurant offers up Southern comfort food fare like burgers, meat-and-three plates, hearty bowls and southern veggies like okra and collards. With a talented bar staff led by bar manager Kelsey Kenny and Kellie Thorn expect cocktails shaken, stirred and even on draft, loosely named for iconic rock songs. The event and retail space, Idlewild, occupies the other part of the building and features dart boards and lounge areas used for meetings, dart leagues, and pop-up shops. A game room with ping pong, foosball, and tabletop shuffleboard adds to the fun and live music comes off a stage created out of the three remaining shipping containers, with the courtyard beyond the beer garden featuring shuffleboard courts, cabanas and picnic tables, fire pits and Adirondack chairs, and space for a food truck.

The ambitiousness of the project is commendable—the indoor/outdoor sprawl of the compound will be in full splendor when the spring warmth returns but there are plenty of indoor escapes in the coming weeks to enjoy this new retreat on what was just recently a dead zone.

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