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the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

The Georgia Student Finance Commission collaborated with 49 Georgia colleges to waive application fees in March. This removed barriers for Midtown students who were previously unable to apply to certain colleges.
Georgia Colleges waive application fees, remove barriers
Brennan FrittsApril 15, 2024

The Georgia Student Finance Commission partnered with nearly 50 colleges throughout Georgia to waive their application fees during March. Midtown...

Painted Hospitality restaurants open new doors

Kate Durden
Painted Pickle restaurant is set to open this month in Armour Yards, Midtown. Following the end of construction, its sister restaurant, Painted Park, will open its doors in April along the east side of the BeltLine in Inman Park.

Atlanta-based company, Painted Hospitality, marked its 10th anniversary by opening two new restaurants: Painted Pickle in Armour Yards and Painted Park in Inman Park.

Painted Hospitality began its entertainment-driven restaurant business in 2014 when it opened Painted Pin, a combination of a bowling alley and an eatery out of an industrial warehouse. Three years later, the company opened its second restaurant, Painted Duck. Painted Pickle is set to open at the beginning of February and Painted Park has a target date for completion in April. 

“We say that Painted Hospitality’s an Atlanta-based company that creates one-of-a-kind entertainment concepts, bars, restaurants and hospitality ventures,” said Justin Amick, president and CEO of Painted Hospitality. “I think one of a kind is a great description of our venues. We go for the wow factor. We always produce beautiful build-outs and aesthetics, which people really are drawn to.”

Gaining experience 

Having grown up surrounded by the influence of his family business, Concentrics Restaurants, Amick described his four years attending Tulane University as eye-opening for his future pursuit in the restaurant business. 

“[New Orleans is] the epicenter of hospitality, food service and restaurants,” Amick said. “In New Orleans, Louisiana I think, triggered what I had grown up in and reminded me just how much I enjoyed restaurants, customer service, hospitality, food and beverage. I really got interested in food living in New Orleans for four years.”

After graduating with a business degree from Tulane, Amick got a job advertising on Wall Street in New York City. After only three months, Amick realized he didn’t belong at a desk and wanted to pursue the food and beverage industry. He went on to work in a management training program under Chef Tom Colicchio, of Crafted Hospitality and made wine with the Trinchero Family Estate before joining Concentrics Restaurants. 

“To go and learn from somebody else and learn on the different positions front and back of the house, not in the family business was definitely the recommended way that I would replicate for my own kids with what my father did for me,” Amick said. “It just gives you an appreciation for learning from somebody else. Being empathetic to every position and knowing anything and everything about the business. That was kind of the start of it, and it kind of just went from there.”

Amick was managing many restaurants for Concentrics Restaurants when he realized it was time to go off on his own. He wanted to create a business that reflected all his interests and created Painted Hospitality. 

“Being a former Division I athlete, loving competitive games and sports, being an advanced only MA, certified 1 educator and really being passionate about the beverage side of things, it made sense to open up something that fits all of those different interests,” Amick said. “I was tired of the manatry of the traditional landscape of what people perceive as a restaurant or bar.” 

Growing hospitality 

Painted Pickle is the newest restaurant opened under Painted Hospitality, replacing the original Overhead Doors headquarters in Atlanta. Amick describes the industrial warehouse space as “high in Pickleball Competeory.”

“We trademark the term competeroy, which means a place to compete, eat, drink and be social,” Amick said. “We’re trying to capitalize on one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States, which is pickleball. We want to bring pickleball to the masses and introduce it in more of a recreational social way. We like food and beverage places that have other alternative revenue streams. We’re firm believers that pickleball has that social X factor, it’s got demographics energy, and it appeals to anybody and everybody.”

Along the east side of the BeltLine in Inman Park, Painted Park is replacing the former restaurant Parish, owned by Concentrics Restaurants, where Amick and many others met and gained experience to build Painted Hospitality.

“I think [Painted Park’s] the most beautiful building on the Eastside trail,” Amick said. “It’s like how could I pass up this space once I realized my dad was going to move on from the space and not renew his lease after a 15-year run there? It was a no-brainer combined with the fact that it’s a great story just because other senior leaders and I in my own company cut our teeth and all met there. It’s like coming full circle. We feel like we’re coming home to that specific building.” 

While in college working as a server at Parish, Jessica Rucco met Amick. With the opening of Painted Pickle and Painted Park, she’s now the director of hospitality. Having only started the company with four people, including Rucco, she said she’s been able to see the company grow into the “empire” it is today as it opens two new locations.

“The good thing about these spots is that you open immediately to busyness,” Rucco said. “Justin’s spots are always very anticipated. People are always very eager to go to them right away. You open the doors, and there are people.”

Pedestrian connectivity 

While keeping the exterior of the former office of the Atlanta piping factory, Painted Hospitality is making several renovations to the building, including an underground tunnel from their outdoor greenspace to the interior structure to increase its connection to the BeltLine.

“We don’t have a body of water, so we don’t have a beachfront,” Amick said. “The BeltLine kind of serves as Atlanta’s beachfront. It’s our boardwalk. It’s the path that connects all of our in-town neighborhoods. To have real estate located directly on one of the busiest, most popular, walkable streets in the city of Atlanta on Highland Avenue, we’re like party in the front and party in the back. Lots of pedestrian traffic on the front on Highland Avenue and then all of the pedestrian foot traffic, cyclists, bikers, skaters, etc, on the rear of our property.” 

The BeltLine encourages businesses such as Painted Park along the trail to increase pedestrian connectivity, BeltLine spokeswoman Jenny Odom said. 

“We work with developers and business owners along the multi-use trails and encourage welcoming and pedestrian-friendly interfaces to restaurants and storefronts,” Odom said. “It benefits us all to have more walkable, whole communities where people can come together.”

Painted Hospitality is also building a 1000-square-foot interior addition overlooking the BeltLine and the new green space, replacing a parking lot. 

“The biggest change that we’re doing is connecting the beach to the ocean,” Amick said. “If you look at BeltLine real estate as beach real estate like I was using as an association, the one thing that was troublesome or inconvenient about the terrace space is that yes it was located directly on the Atlanta BeltLine, but there was a small surface parking lot located behind the building that acted as a barrier between the building structure and the BeltLine path. We’re connecting the beach to the ocean. We demolished the old surface parking lot, and that’s what we converted into our BeltLine frontage green space namesake park.”

Learned lessons

Emerging from the pandemic, Painted Hospitality wanted to ensure that its future entertainment concepts balanced both interior and exterior designs. After starting work on Painted Park before the pandemic, Amick said the projects to open the two restaurants are finally making headway. 

“[We have been working on] Painted Pickle for almost two years,” Amick said. “Painted Park has been in the works pre-pandemic. We had that building signed, were about to turn a lease and start construction and then the pandemic hit so we had to put things on hold and reevaluate. It’s not intentional that we’re opening these concepts back to back; it’s more just the way that things fell in terms of being delayed from the pandemic for Painted Park and the Painted Pickle; it’s more such a large concept. There was so much construction both interior and exterior that needed to be invested in the building, so it just took a little bit longer than we had hoped to get it open. We know they’re both going to be well worth the wait because they’re just amazing locations and amazing unique concepts.”

Investing in people is the most important attribute Rucco said she has learned over the past 15 years of working with Amick. As she continues to help open locations, interview, hire and train staff, Rucco uses this advice to create a consistent culture and style at the two new restaurants. 

“Justin is the ideal human being to learn hospitality from,” Rucco said. “He’s a phenomenal hospitality professional. He’s taught me how to manage people and that you have to manage everybody individually. My staff that I have now have all been with me for years, and it’s because they feel heard, loved and appreciated. Justin has taught me how to invest in people and make sure that it’s a pleasant work environment for everybody; I don’t know anyone who could have taught me that better.”

In addition to having confidence, Amick said teamwork is one of the most important lessons he’s learned after 10 years of working to build Painted Hospitality. 

“‘Teamwork makes the dream work,’” Amick said. “It’s an old adage, but it definitely rings true. You’ve got to trust and rely on others. There’s such large venues; there’s so many moving parts; there’s so many different things going on that you can’t do everything by yourself. It’s all about building a great team around you [and] trusting their abilities to do what they set out to do. I would say that our biggest strength is our team and what I’m most proud about is the team that we’ve built here at Painted Hospitality.”

Full circle

Having met her husband, Amick and other relationships while working at Parish, Rucco feels there’s a full circle moment with Painted Hospitality acquiring the restaurant that spurred the connections and started the company. Just as the hospitality industry changed her life, Rucco hopes Painted Hospitality can impact the communities they call home. 

“Hospitality is really important,” Rucco said. “Everyone needs to be taken care of. Everyone needs to have somewhere to celebrate or commiserate or get together to celebrate and form these memories that are very important to them. It’s a very important job. I know it’s usually just doing a passing job when they’re in school, but I really fell in love with that aspect of changing lives in a very real way. It might be a little way, but it’s a very important way. Justin really embraces that philosophy.”

While celebrating Painted Hospitality’s 10th anniversary and introducing Painted Pickle and Painted Park to Atlanta, Amick said he hopes people have an experience to remember when spending a night at one of their restaurants. 

“We really understand the food and beverage side and those energies that flow between the aesthetic and social activation piece of gaming and recreational aspects,” Amick said. “We feel like we’re the entertainment experts of Atlanta, and we’re looking forward to continuing to grow new entertainment-driven brands.”

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About the Contributor
Kate Durden
Kate Durden, Lifestyle Associate Managing Editor
Kate Durden is a junior and this is her third year writing for the Southerner. She enjoys volunteering at an animal shelter, attending 21st Century Leaders meetings, making films at Midtown's cinema club and hanging out with her friends.

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