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UPDATE: Kevin Gillespie’s Revival restaurant closes in Decatur, may reopen in new location

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UPDATE: Kevin Gillespie’s Revival restaurant closes in Decatur, may reopen in new location

Photo by Revival

Decatur, GA — Revival, a Decatur restaurant started by celebrity chef Kevin Gillespie, abruptly closed on Jan. 14.

A reader noticed a sign on the door. A message on the restaurant’s answering machine indicates the closure is temporary.

The restaurant’s voicemail says, “Unfortunately, as of Jan. 14, 2023, due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to abruptly close the restaurant. We are sorry for the inconvenience, and we hope to see you soon.”

Gillespie told Decaturish that the restaurant is unlikely to reopen in Decatur and said a combination of things led to the restaurant’s demise.

“You are probably aware of the theft we suffered at the new year,” Gillespie said.

He said someone broke into the restaurant and stole the safe. The safe contained all deposits from the holiday season, and the break-in caused “significant damage” to the building.

“Unfortunately, this came at quite possibly the most inconvenient time possible, as we had just learned that our space suffered severe storm damage and is in need of significant repairs,” Gillespie said.

The damage from the break-in and the storm would’ve cost $250,000 or more to fix and would put the restaurant out of business for at least six months, if not longer, he said. Gillespie said the restaurant was at the end of its lease, and he decided it didn’t make financial sense to continue.

“Thankfully, we have amazing landlords who were there to help, but the scale of the repairs prevents my team from working inside the building safely during the six to nine months timeframe estimated to complete the project,” he said. “Either of these setbacks would be difficult to handle financially, but the two coalescing transform difficult into impossible. As much as we do not like the decision we have made, we also know it’s the only path forward.”

Kevin Gillespie in his Atlanta restaurant Gunshow. He plans to open Revival in Decatur, Ga. this summer. Photo by Jonathan Phillips

Gillespie also founded the popular Gunshow restaurant in Atlanta’s Glenwood Park neighborhood in 2013. That restaurant will take on much of Revival’s current staff.

“On a positive note, our team of incredibly dedicated individuals will largely be absorbed by Gunshow, and we look forward to the talent they will bring to the restaurant,” he said. “We also feel extremely committed to Revival, as a brand, continuing in the future. We will immediately begin looking for a new location and hope to reopen in a year or so. We are resolute in our belief that continuing to offer honest Southern food and heartfelt hospitality is something we should be doing. Revival was built in the image of the women who informed our view of great cooking and welcoming service, and we will continue to honor their memory in every way we can.”

He thanked loyal customers who supported the restaurant over the years.

“We sincerely appreciate everyone who dined with us in Decatur, and know we will miss being part of such a special community,” Gillespie said. “For the last eight years we have called 129 Church Street our home, and it will be difficult to say goodbye. God willing, we will be back sooner than expected and look forward to serving you all again. Until then, please come see us at Gunshow, and follow us on social media for updates on our progress.”

Revival opened on Church Street in 2015. It offered family-style dining and a menu that reflected Gillespie’s Southern roots, reinterpreting favorite meals from his childhood. Gillespie rose to prominence following an appearance on Top Chef in 2009, and since then, he has racked up accolades. He was named a 2015 and 2017 semifinalist and 2016 finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: South award, and his book Fire in My Belly was a James Beard finalist. His restaurants have been featured in GQ and Esquire Magazines.

This story will be updated when more information is available.

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