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Biz bits: Velvet Hippo opens in Avondale Estates, Lush Plant Co. closes in Decatur

Avondale Estates Business Decatur DeKalb County Food Trending

Biz bits: Velvet Hippo opens in Avondale Estates, Lush Plant Co. closes in Decatur

The owners of Velvet Hippo celebrated their grand opening with the city of Avondale Estates and the Downtown Development Authority on Dec. 7, 2023. Photo courtesy of the city of Avondale Estates.

DeKalb County, GA — A few new businesses are opening in Decatur and Avondale Estates, including Velvet Hippo, a sandwich shop near Avondale Estates City Hall.

Velvet Hippo celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting on Dec. 7. The restaurant offers all outdoor seating and an assortment of specialty sandwiches. The menu has six sandwiches, including a turkey, pepperoni, and provolone hoagie, and a Vietnamese-inspired catfish sandwich, according to a press release. All the sandwiches are served with a side.

The shop additionally offers cocktails, wine, and canned beers, as well as non-alcoholic options.

“You’ll also find a Mediterranean beet pita, several snacks including out-of-this-world crispy fingerling potatoes, a delicious soup, and a salad featuring Tucker Farms lettuces,” the press release states.

Owner Aaron Russell told Decaturish that the vegan beet, and turkey and pepperoni sandwiches have become favorites amongst customers so far.

“We both love sandwiches, and it’s a convenient food to take on the go,” Russell said. “This is a small shop that we anticipate is going to cater mostly to to-go business, since there’s no indoor dining.”

Russell added that the 400-square-foot space felt fitting for the concept. It also has an astroturf courtyard with picnic tables for customers to enjoy eating outdoors.

He added that the first two weeks of business have gone well.

“The people here in Avondale are nice and supportive. They are already making great customers, and repeat customers. It’s been wonderful for us. We’re happy to be here,” Russell said.

Velvet Hippo is currently serving lunch and dinner, and has plans to offer breakfast in 2024.

Russell and his wife, Jamie, also own Poor Hendrix in East Lake, so Velvet Hippo has similar hours. Velvet Hippo is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The shop is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Velvet Hippo is located at 27 N. Avondale Road in Avondale Estates.

In other business news:

– Lush Plant Co. is now closed in Decatur. 

The owners announced their plans to close in October. In a recent Facebook post, Lush Plant Co. thanked the community for their support. The owners also announced they have secured a small space where they will continue to offer services like installations, consultations, repotting services, classes, workshops and more in the new year.

Here’s the full post:

Plant family,

Our shop is officially closed

Thank you to everyone who showed up. Thank you to everyone who shared their love with us. Thank you for reflecting on all of your memories in our shop and for enthusiastically helping us clear our inventory before we move out.

This account may be a little quieter than normal over the next few weeks as we focus on moving out of our building & enjoying the holidays with family. We do still have a few things things left; including exactly 2 plants, lots of larger pots, a few accessories and a couple of our furniture/fixtures. Feel free to reach out to us if you want to coordinate a time to stop by to see what’s left.

We are excited to announce that we have secured a small space not far from our current shop where we will continue to offer many of our services including installations, consultations, repotting services, local delivery, shipping orders, classes, workshops, pop-ups and more! Stay tuned in 2024 for details

Lush Plant Co. started as a pop-up plant shop in August 2020 and is owned Andrea Kidd and operated in collaboration with her sister, Jennifer Martha.

At the time, there weren’t any houseplant shops in Decatur, and the pair felt the city needed one of its own.

Kidd and Martha opened Lush Plant Co in 2020 at Scout Oakhurst as a pop-up on the weekends. The sisters eventually realized they needed more space. They moved into the building at 317 W. Hill Street in April 2021.

Kidd said that the lease is running out and while the landlords have offered month-to-month extensions while she searches for a new space, she doesn’t think she’ll find one soon.

“We’ve known ever since we moved into this brick and mortar it wasn’t a log-term space,” Kidd previously said.

– Hell yeah gluten free bakery is planning to open in Decatur the first week of January. 

According to a Facebook post, the bakery has received its certificate of occupancy and will be located at 308 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., suite G.

Hell yeah gluten free is currently located on DeKalb Avenue in Inman Park.

“We’re not a substitute for better tasting conventional wheat-based products,” the bakery’s website states. “Making an exceptional product with big flavor, satisfying texture, and responsible ingredients is our mission. It just happens to also be gluten free.”

The bakery focuses on achieving the closest results to conventional foods like donuts, swiss rolls and empanadas and biscuits.

“We believe everyone should be able to indulge in things that make your heart feel warm, remind you of your childhood, or serve as a conduit for connecting with the people you love,” the website states.

– Galette, a pastry shop, is opening a pop-up at 110 N. Avondale Road in Avondale Estates in summer 2024. 

Co-owners Ashley Perkins and Ashley Thomas started Galette in 2017 offering in-home cooking classes. In 2019, they began selling pastries at farmers markets and pop-ups, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Currently, they can be found at the Avondale Estates and Oakhurst Farmers Markets.

This will be their first brick-and-mortar bakery. The new space will give Perkins and Thomas a chance to expand their menu with items like ham and cheese croissants along with their regular array of pastries, like seasonal fruit galettes and a variety of croissants.

To read the full story from the AJC, click here.

– A coffee shop with a drive-thru is proposed to be located at 1726 Church Street in Greater Decatur.

Property owner Karim Lakhani is seeking a special land use permit to demolish the existing used car sales business and construct a small boutique coffee shop with a drive-thru. It’s unknown what coffee shop brand will be coming to the area, but the SLUP application says it will be a national franchise coffee shop.

The DeKalb County Planning Commission recommended the application be denied. The DeKalb Board of Commissioners deferred the application until March 28, 2024, during its zoning meeting on Nov. 16.

According to the county staff report, the site is located in a Town Center activity center.

“Although there are existing drive-through establishments along Scott Boulevard and Church Street, the addition of a new drive-through restaurant does not meet the intent and vision of the TC Character Area and Medline LCI calling for higher intensity residential and commercial uses which serve several surrounding communities, in order to reduce automobile travel, promote walkability, and increase transit usage,” the staff report says.

The report also says that the proposed drive-thru is located in the middle of the area where pedestrian-oriented, high-density mixed-use projects are desired.

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