David Abes has not always planned to work in the restaurant business.
In fact, the mind behind the upcoming new entertainment complex in Dunwoody Village started in a much different and much less flashy path – accounting.
âOriginally, I wanted to be an accountant,â said Abes, who now owns Dash Hospitality Group. âI worked in an accounting firm and I was so bored. Like, it’s not for me.
After this slight detour, the Dunwoody native swerved into the restaurant and hospitality industry, where he remained for around 30 years. After graduating from Arizona State University, he returned to Atlanta in 1991. He served as General Manager of the Atlanta Fish Market during the 1996 Olympics, then Director of Operations for the Here to Serve Ownership Group. Restaurants. for 14 years, helping to grow the business from three to 14 restaurants.
He then served as COO for Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, but in 2018 Abes decided to go his own way and started Dash.
âStarting Dash Hospitality Group has been truly amazing for me,â he said. âBeing the owner, and the team that I have involved, taking care of our customers, [is] so rewarding.
Abes said what really brought him back to the restaurant industry after this accounting attempt was energy. If bookkeeping was boring, running a restaurant was the exact opposite.
âIt’s a business, but it’s really about making it all work,â he said. âIt’s almost like a game in a way, where you’re so excited when you’re doing a great job, people are smiling, having fun. It’s like that energy – I love the energy in the restaurant business.
This energy is part of the reason he came up with the idea of ââcreating an entertainment complex in the center of Dunwoody Village, a shopping and retail center at 1317 Dunwoody Village Parkway. The complex will be located in an open courtyard in the village, next to a fresh market at 5515 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road.
Abes said he was inspired by a project he consulted on in Florida, The Hub 30a at Watersound Beach.
âYou look at downtown Roswell, Woodstock, Alpharetta – everyone has their downtown, and Dunwoody just didn’t have that entertainment hub,â Abes said. âMy wife and I were literally standing in Dunwoody Village and I said, ‘You know what that would be a perfect place for a mini Hub.’â
Abes said the process began about two and a half years ago when he pitched the idea to real estate investment firm Regency Centers, which owns Dunwoody Village. When Regency responded positively, he brought the idea to the city.
âThey were super excited about it,â he said. âEverything was fine. And then here is COVID. ”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in early 2020, Abes put the project on hiatus. But more than a year later, construction of the first phase of the project is already underway. The plan calls for a total transformation of the space, including four new restaurants, a bar, an outdoor stage and enough seating and space to host concerts, festivals, etc. Abes said the first part of his vision – Bar (n), a rustic community bar serving wine, craft beer and whiskey – is expected to be completed in October. The menu will include light snacks, such as cold cuts, and on weekends the bar (n) will also serve coffee and pastries.
âWe are delighted that [Abes] is moving forward with its first restaurant, âsaid Michael Starling, Dunwoody business development manager. âThe inauguration of Bar (n) is a great first step. We look forward to future developments – not only in the courtyard, but in other areas of the village.
Customers can also expect a food truck to appear in the village around mid-October. Two future restaurants in Abes’ plan – Morty’s Meat Supply and Cuco’s Cantina – will begin serving from a truck. Mexican barbecue and street food joints are expected to open physical locations in 2022.
Later, two more restaurants will join the scene: Yoffi, which will offer fresh Mediterranean street food, and Message in a Bottle, a chic seafood restaurant. Yoffi and Message in a Bottle are slated to open in fall 2022.
Abes said feedback from residents of Dunwoody was mostly positive.
âThe positive feedback has been tremendous,â he said. âThat’s what they want. They want something where they can walk. Everything revolves around the community.