Negril Village: Caribbean Restaurant brings “Fire” to the Firehouse
Jerk, Rum, Reggae & More…. only begins to tell the story of Atlanta’s newest transplant, Negril Village ATL. An offshoot of New York’s famed upscale Caribbean standard, Negril Village ATL is nestled in the heart of Midtown Atlanta in the historic fire station on North Avenue (30 North Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30308). The perfect setting where spicy meets spacious, caliente meets charming. Restoring the interior beauty of the 1907 firehouse to reveal a Colonial Caribbean aesthetic, in which beautiful wood and true craftsmanship shine through, provides the perfect backdrop for Chef Kingsley John’s innovative approach to food, especially in redesigning fine dining with Caribbean cuisine filling the broad canvas.
“The choice of a historic firehouse is no accident,” says Jamerican co-owner? Sim Walker, whose mother, a Kingston native introduced him to high-end Caribbean dining. “With the heat we invariably generate, not just because of our natural tropical flair, but also in the vibrant fusion of spices of the dishes that emerge from our kitchen. We knew that only a firehouse could contain these explosive flavors.”
By mixing island panache with Southern charm, Negril Village continues its savvy approach to Caribbean dining initiated in New York to Atlanta. The mash-up results in foodie-forward menu items like Calypso Lobster Shrimp & Grits, prepared in a coconut milk, with the lobster and shrimp sautéed in a mild creole sauce, which puts an island twist on a Southern classic. Turning tropical fare on its head, the popular Red Snapper Tacos are a re-imagining of traditional Caribbean escovitch. But traditional and authentic Caribbean offerings, including Oxtail Stew and Curry Goat, which are seasoned a day in advance and carefully braised by a “stew chief,” and the jerk meats and fish that have become renowned the world over.
But the Caribbean is also known for its many fine rums and other spirits. So no Negril dining experience would be complete without inventive cocktails that mine those spirited centuries-old creations. Led by Sim Walker, Negril’s cocktail program boasts a re-working of The Painkiller, a classic Caribbean cocktail now imbued with a striking purplish tint from hibiscus, its primary ingredient. On tap, find Negril’s top secret, Village Island Rum Punch, and herb-infused Sangria. In all, there are eight cocktails on tap and another featured eight crafted cocktails. There’s also a strong lineage of beer, with Caribbean beers on sale in the U.S. well-represented, as well as American faves, including established and emerging craft stars.
Equal parts urban chic restaurant, cocktail lounge, banquet space and historian dream, Negril Village, in the historic Firehouse, is a versatile space that can accommodate many different vibes and experiences. Up to 75 people can occupy the main dining room, which is set off by a rich glazed brick-and-wood interior featuring a 30-foot marble bar, which handles 30 comfortably, as well as intimate lighting, modern banquettes in eye-catching colors. Immediately outside is a spacious patio that allows patrons to soak in Midtown’s eclectically cool energy, as well as take advantage of Atlanta’s generally great weather. On the second level, the banquet space, also smartly-designed is the ideal destination for more intimate dining, catching the game, lounging or all. The 60-foot flat screen and projector also makes it a perfect choice for corporate and highly selective social events.
Currently in the soft open phase, Negril Village ATL hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 4pm to 10pm, for dinner. Regular hours, however, will be Tuesday through Thursday, as well as Sunday, from noon to 11pm, with Friday and Saturday hours extending until 2am. In addition, brunch will also be served Saturday and Sunday.