California quick-serve restaurant opens second East Coast location in Chamblee

Neal Starling was in Los Angeles when he first tasted the food at Bruxie, and he recalls being immediately impressed. “I told my wife, ‘This place is great. I love the food, I love the atmosphere, I love the concept. We’ve got to do something with this.’”

Already a restaurant owner, Starling said he had previously purchased franchise locations of a national hamburger restaurant for similar reasons—he tried it and felt that what it offered stood out from other eateries of its type.

In the wake of the pandemic, Starling said he considered retiring in 2020 but was persuaded by Bruxie’s corporate office to remain in the industry.

Alabama native Starling made the bold move of bringing a California-based restaurant with fried chicken as a central menu item to the South, where fried chicken restaurants are as ubiquitous as magnolia trees—and, he said, it worked. He introduced the first Bruxie in Georgia—in fact, the first on the East Coast—in Athens. It was such a success, he said, that he decided to open a Bruxie in the Atlanta area, choosing the rapidly growing “food centric” Parkview on Peachtree development on Peachtree Boulevard in Chamblee.

Bruxie offers what its website describes as “chicken and waffles reimagined.” Photos by Kathy Mithcell

“Some of my children live in this area,” Starling explained. “My daughter urged me to consider the Chamblee area when I was looking for an Atlanta location. This location, which previously housed another restaurant, became available and we decided to go for it.”

The Chamblee Bruxie is the 10th in the chain. The eight locations outside Georgia are in Southern California. Launched in 2010, Bruxie—on its website—attributes its success to its efforts to “invest in the best people, processes, and ingredients to ensure guests have a memorable experience with every visit.”

Although the grand opening for the Chamblee Bruxie is April 6, the restaurant had a soft opening in mid-March and is attracting a steady stream of customers, Starting said. “We’re not a widely known brand yet, but word is getting around. People who eat here come back and they tell others.”

In addition to the fried chicken tenders, menu offerings include waffles, which are available in hand-crafted waffle sandwiches, or Belgium style with deep indentions filled with sweet or savory toppings. Bruxie’s website calls the innovative menu “chicken and waffles reimagined.” Starling explained that the Belgium waffles are the inspiration for the restaurant’s name. Bruxie, he said, is a popular nickname for a person from Brussels, Belgium.

The restaurant also offers artisan custard shakes made with Wisconsin custard, a buttermilk chicken salad available with fried or grilled chicken, and a Bruxie burger.
With a concept described as “culinary casual,” Bruxie serves what Starling said is chef-inspired food in a quick-serve style in which customers order from the counter then have the meals brought to their table.

“Everything’s fresh and high-quality,” Starling said. “We make our own sauces and dressings and the batter for the waffles is the type used at the top hotels.” The Belgian-inspired waffle batter, he said, “was designed to achieve a delightfully light and airy texture with a crispy finish.”

“We take great pride in bringing our unique menu to the dynamic Chamblee community, infusing it with a distinct riff on the classic Southern staple,” said Starling, who opened the Chamblee location with partner Brett Gibson. “With our doors open, Bruxie is poised to establish itself as an integral part of Atlanta’s culinary scene, offering an unparalleled dining experience to Chamblee and its neighboring areas.”

“We are beyond excited to see how Bruxie will contribute to the ever-changing culinary landscape of Atlanta,” said Bruxie CEO Scott Grinstead. “Bruxie offers a refreshing and innovative restaurant experience that Atlantans deserve. From our distinctive waffle sandwiches and hand-crafted chicken tenders to our homemade sauces and indulgent shakes, we’re thrilled to be joining Atlanta’s creative and esteemed food scene.”

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