Showing posts with label Eateries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eateries. Show all posts

Bits & Bites [Atlanta Commercial Real Estate News]

Barkers Red Hots plans to close on Windy Hill Road in Marietta on Friday June 23rd. Glenn Robins and his wife Vivian started Barkers as a downtown Atlanta, Georgia pushcart in 1984. Barkers Red Hots closed in 1995 and remained closed until Glenn and Vivian reopened their beloved operation in 2007 as a quick service restaurant on Windy Hill Road in Marietta. Since reopening, Barkers Red Hots has racked up a slew of awards, including “Atlanta’s Best Hot Dog.”  The pair added a second location on W. Crossville Road in Roswell in 2011, but it closed in late 2014.   One might have thought the halo affect of the nearby SunTrust Park might have helped the Windy Hill operation, but alas, that seems not to have been the case.

A new Krispy Kreme is planned for the site of a former Conoco gas station at 9420 Highway 92 in Woodstock. The North Carolina based eatery is planning a new 2,827 square foot freestanding restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating on the roughly one acre parcel.

Dr. Mary Millkey plans to open Millkey Way Pediatric Dentistry later this year at West Paces Ferry shopping center in Buckhead.  The dental practice replaces children's boutique Gretchen's, which closed last year after 64 years in business.  Dr. Millkey currently practices at Legacy Pediatric Dentistry in Kennesaw.

Tokyo Grill and Wingstop at Toco Hills were both destroyed in a fire last Friday afternoon.  The two restaurants share a building on North Druid Hills Road that local sources say was many years ago a McDonald's restaurant.  The cause of the fire has not yet been announced, nor has any news on when or if the restaurants will rebuild.  A June 2014 fire destroyed the LongHorn Steakhouse restaurant across the street from last week's fire.  The LongHorn was abandoned and later demolished, waiting for over two years before it was rebuilt, finally reopening last August.  

Mark your calendars for November 20th. "With critical milestones achieved at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and overall construction on track for its opening on August 26th, the process of decommissioning the Georgia Dome has been restarted. The date for implosion of the Dome has been set for Monday, Nov. 20 at 7.30 a.m. The major work of stripping and preparing the Georgia Dome for implosion will begin in earnest over the next two weeks. The Atlanta Falcons will host the Arizona Cardinals in an NFL preseason game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on August 26 as the first major event in the new stadium.   As announced in late April, the site of the Georgia Dome will become a green space known as The Home Depot Backyard. It will serve as parking and tailgating areas on game days for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United of MLS. The 13-acre site will be activated as a community space on non-game days throughout the year once complete.   “Significant progress on Mercedes-Benz Stadium is achieved every day and we’ve hit a few exciting milestones on the roof over the last week,” said Steve Cannon, chief executive officer of AMB Group, LLC. “With strong confidence, we’ve asked the contractors to move forward getting the Georgia Dome ready for implosion on Nov. 20.”"

Cafe Bello, a new kosher restaurant, recently opened on Chamblee Dunwoody Road, just off Peachtree Boulevard. The restaurant, which is basically across the street from Chamblee High School, features a menu of popular Israeli dishes such as falafel, hummus, salmon and shakshouka, a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions, often spiced with cumin.

Delightful Donuts has opened a second location.  The new location is at 1540 Old Alabama Road, in a small strip center, not far from the Connexion shopping center in Roswell.  The first Delightful Donuts is located on Georgia Highway 9 in Milton.

Atlanta based Piedmont Healthcare (dba Piedmont Medical Care Corporation) is taking over a large portion of the former CB2 furniture space in Midtown.  CB2, the sibling brand of Crate & Barrel, closed the store in late 2015, citing "high rent." Several permit applications were filed with City of Atlanta last week to begin converting 8,217 square feet of mezzanine level space at 1080 Peachtree Street NE, into the Piedmont Healthcare primary care facility. The new primary care office with onsite lab will have extended hours and is slated to open in early 2018. According to permits filed by CB2 in 2009 ahead of their 2010 opening, the space is 13,819 square feet in total.  The fact that Piedmont seems to be taking most, but not all, of the space, seems to suggest that the long running rumor that Chipotle Mexican Grill is planning to come to the project could be true.  Piedmont's CB2 conversion is the latest in a trend of restaurant/retail conversions to medical use.   In April, ToNeTo Atlanta was first to report that Harken Health had leased the former Gatsby's Social Club in Mitown Promenade for a new healthcare office and while Emory Healthcare transformed the abandoned former Justin's restaurant in south Buckhead into a primary care office earlier this year. 

The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead has quietly named Stephen Toevs the Executive Chef at the hotel and its upcoming Mediterranean-influenced restaurant, Trade RootStephen Toevs is a veteran of Marriott International, and according to his LinkedIn, was most recently Executive Chef at The Ritz-Carlton Aruba.  Trade Root is expected to debut later this fall while the hotel is expected to be re-flagged later this summer. 

Taqueria del Sol’s new location in Chamblee’s Peachtree Station opens for lunch service today! The restaurant is located within the soon to be Whole Foods anchored center on Peachtree Boulevard at Johnson Ferry Road.  The Chamblee location will be open for lunch only today through Saturday, June 17. After June 17, the restaurant will be open for regular lunch and dinner service.  The Chamblee location will operate for lunch Monday through Friday 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and Saturday 12:00 until 3:00 p.m. Dinner will be served Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30 until 9:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday dinner service will run from 5:30 until 10:00 p.m. The location will be closed all day Sunday and Monday for dinner service.  The Chamblee location is the chain's fifth in Georgia joining existing locations on the Westside, Decatur, Cheshire Bridge Road and Athens.  Another Taqueria del Sol is planned for Memorial Drive's Larkin on Memorial project in early 2018.   

HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern plans to open their second location at TOWN Brookhaven July 10th. Hobnob's original location is in Midtown where owner Sean Yeremyan  renovated a former Caribou Coffee at the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and Monroe Drive.  Hobnob's Brookhaven location opens in place of Smash Kitchen & Bar, which closed in 2015 as part of the Here to Serve restaurant collapse.  The space was originally occupied by Stir Crazy, a short-lived Atlanta location of the national Asian chain.

Broadway Cafe, a popular kosher restaurant in Toco Hills, has been sold.  Broadway is the second kosher restaurant to change hands in recent months following the sale of Fuego Mundo, in Sandy Springs, earlier this year. After closing on the restaurant, business partners Christina Laurie and Julie Meni closed Broadway Cafe in order to complete "extensive renovations."  Sources say the duo plan to tweak the menu and its offerings as well as updating the kitchen and dining areas.  There is no official word on when the restaurant will reopen or if a name change is coming.   Steve Josovitz of The Shumacher Group, Inc represented the sellers in both the Broadway Cafe and Fuego Mundo restaurant sales. 

Metro Atlanta's newest Zoës Kitchen opened yesterday at the new Parkside West Cobb shopping center on Dallas Highway adjacent to the Avenue West Cobb in Marietta.  In the past few months, Zoës Kitchen had added three new locations to metro Atlanta including eateries in Decatur at Decatur Crossing, Kennesaw at Kennesaw Marketplace and Chamblee at Peachtree Station.  Another new Zoës Kitchen is planned for The Plaza at City Springs in Sandy Springs. 

BlueTop, a new "American fast casual" restaurant first proposed in 2015, is targeting an August 1 opening in historic downtown Chamblee.  The restaurant, located between Union Hill Kitchen and Southbound on Peachtree Road, is being opened by Atlanta native and former Portofino Executive Chef Matt Marcus and his business partner Andy Lasky.  According to a variance filed by Lasky with the City of Chamblee in 2015, the 1930s era building was only 800 square feet but was enlarged by the addition of a 1,343 square foot covered patio space for the restaurant.  The variance goes on to describe the concept as a "casual counter service restaurant that will promote a vibrant atmosphere."  BlueTop will be open for lunch and dinner and will seek to attract Chamblee's growing number of families and young professionals.  The BlueTop restaurant building was originally home to the BlueTop Taxi Cab company which is where the restaurant gets its name.  

Gymboree, the San Francisco-based children's apparel retailer, announced plans earlier this week to shutter between 375-450 stores in wake of their Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.   The company started in 1976 and has gone through a number of changes in ownership/management over the years, most recently being purchased by private equity firm Bain Capital in 2010 in a deal valued at $1.8 billion.  Last July, Gymboree agreed to sell its Play & Music educational entertainment division to Singapore-based investment group Zeavion Holding for $127.5 million.  The Play & Music unit, with franchised metro locations at Toco Hills, Sandy Springs, Alpharetta and Lawrenceville, is not part of the bankruptcy filing and is not slated to see any closures. Gymboree has 1,281 locations, including 582 Gymboree stores, 172 Gymboree Outlet stores, 149 Janie and Jack shops and 378 Crazy 8 stores as of April 29.  In metro Atlanta, Gymboree has retail stores at Lenox Square, Perimeter Mall, The Forum, Cumberland Mall, Gwinnett Place Mall, Avenue East Cobb, Avalon, The Shoppes at Webb Gin and Town Center at Cobb.  The company also operates a Gymboree Outlet at Sugarloaf Mills.  Gymboree also operates Janie & Jack boutiques in Phipps Plaza and Avalon.  There is no word yet on where or when store closures will occur.  

Intown resident Jason Waller has launched an indiegogo campaign to open Dad's Coffee Bar. The Medlock Park resident had his eye on a space that reportedly recently went to another tenant.  Waller is actively looking elsewhere in/around Medlock Park with hopes of the serving the "greater Decatur area."  About a week into the fundraising effort, Dad's has raised just over $1,000 of the overall $25,000 goal.  

From the Indiegogo page:

"My name is Jason C Waller. As of today I am a 38-year-old dogwalker/musician/booking agent/band leader/ Father of 3/ Husband of one/songwriter/amateur Bird Watcher/ wood carver/ hammock maker, just to name a few of the things I do.  Late last year I decided to get proactive about my depression. I started talking about it. I began shooting a video series called DAD Presents. These videos paired conversations with songs and featured local songwriters in the Decatur Area all focused on breaking the stigma attached to mental illness. I looked into Nuci’s Space, which is an Athens-based coffee shop that also rents out band equipment and connects local musicians to the health care that they need. There are summer camps and fundraisers all in the name of Mental Health. I looked for something like that in Atlanta. I couldn’t really find what I was looking for so I decided to create my own.  

This is what I am looking build:  A successful coffee bar/music venue in Medlock Plaza. I plan to book acoustic bands Thur-Sat evenings.  I want to continue the DAD Presents videos and release them on regular intervals. I also plan on reaching out to local radio stations to produce and stream regular interview/performances from regional artists.  When The Back Room of Dad’s Coffee Bar isn’t hosting performances, it can be used by the community for daytime activities and events that support the DAD mission to promote community development and mental wellness.  I’m thinking yoga, meditation, family movie nights, support groups,  and community meetings, and more."

d'Vine Wine Bar & Shop abruptly closed at The Shops of Dunwoody near Dunwoody Village Monday.  The restaurant, opened by retired IBM/PeopleSoft employee Bob Leavey, had been open about 15 years and seemingly closed without any notice to patrons.  A number of ToNeTo Atlanta readers shared with me a sign posted on the restaurant's front door indicating it was evicted by the DeKalb County Marshal's Office.    Sources close to the property indicate the space may already be leased to a new tenant. There is, however, no word at this time as to what precipitated the closure.  Vintage Pizza opened a new restaurant in the center last month, joining existing eateries Co'm Vietnamese Grill and J. Christopher's.    

[ALERT] 5 Seasons Brewing Has Closed in Alpharetta

"We got an offer we couldn't refuse." 

Owners of Alpharetta's 5 Seasons Brewing announce the restaurant's closure.

"Hello friends of the 5! We have some big news to share. We have sold the property here at 5 Seasons North and so we are closing down this location. {5 Seasons Westside will remain open and is not involved - so don't panic, you can still get your 5 fix!} First we want to thank our dedicated and talented staff as well as our many guests who have become such good friends over the last 10.5 years. It has been such a pleasure serving everyone and getting to do what we love to do. We love creating great food and great beer. We will certainly miss all of the guests we have been so blessed to serve this last decade.  

We bought this really cool log cabin back in 2006 and wanted to bring a great restaurant and great brewery to an area full of chains and a beer wasteland. We wanted to bring a restaurant focusing on local foods, innovative menus and to constantly create new and exciting beers all the time.  

Since we opened in 2006 we have been approached on numerous occasions to sell the property. It's a great building in a fantastic area. We never really took any of them seriously though. Alpharetta is a growing community with so much going on. We've loved being a part of it. But over the past two years the offers came more and more often. Recently a friend of ours from the Atlanta restaurant community approached us with an offer we simply couldn't refuse.  

Although it was a difficult decision to accept the offer, it was the best thing to do for our families and for us. As sad as it is to say goodbye we are very excited.  

We always love to throw a party! So Tomorrow, Thursday, June 15th, will be our last day and we want to go out in style! We hope all of you will swing in to say goodbye. There's still plenty of beer to drink! And we will have some fun foods on the menu for sure. HALF-PRICED BEERS ALL DAY LONG!!!!! We hope to see you here! Noon -10 PM.  

Sincerely and with deep gratitude,  

Crawford & Dave"

The freestanding, roughly 9,000 square foot, log cabin style restaurant located at 3655 Old Milton Parkway officially closed last night after about 10 and a half years in business.  5 Seasons remains closed today, but will reopen for a customer appreciation party tomorrow.  

Sources say the buyers of the restaurant plan to open a barbecue concept in the space, likely sometime next year. 

Additionally, while the email to customers welcomes patrons to the Westside location on Marietta Street, it does not mention the (original) location at The Prado in Sandy Springs.   Real estate sources confirm that The Prado location is on "borrowed time," and that the restaurant is currently on a month-to-month lease.  While the location is not closing any time soon, it's probably best to learn the route to the Westside location.  

Are you surprised that 5 Seasons decided to close their Alpharetta location?  Does the idea of a BBQ replacement sound good?  Where is your favorite place for beer in Atlanta?

Please share your thoughts below.   
| June 14, 2017 |

Dunwoody's Village Burger Ventures to Tucker For New Location

Local burger joint opening in Tucker.

Village Burger plans to open a new location in Tucker later this summer.  The restaurant, which replaces The Tucker Fountain on Main Street in downtown Tucker, will be the third location for the local restaurant.  The original Village Burger opened in place of a former Bruster's in Dunwoody in 2010. A second Village Burger opened in Johns Creek during the summer of 2014 in a former Yoforia.   

The Tucker Fountain, which had been a popular Main Street eatery since 2005, closed last month and has since reopened on Lilburn/Stone Mountain Road inside the Smokerise Shell station.  

The Tucker Fountain space has a long history in the community having been previously occupied by Fountain Drugs and Tucker Coffee Club in the 1960s.  Mike Holcomb, an Atlanta native and owner of The Tucker Fountain, made some upgrades to the space but was somewhat limited in what he as a single operator could financially handle.  

The owners of Village Burger will reportedly invest heavily in the space with plans to renovate the building itself in addition to the dining area and a completely new kitchen. 

The Fountain featured a menu of assorted burgers, Sabrett hot dogs, BBQ and Mayfield ice cream. Village Burger is somewhat similar.  Village Burger's menu focuses largely on assorted burgers (including turkey & veggie) along with chicken sandwiches and tenders, salads, frozen custards, beer and wine.

Village Burger joins a growing list of Main Street eateries including The Local No. 7 and M572 in addition to mainstay Matthews Cafeteria. 

Just north of Main Street, on Hugh Howell Road, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Magnolia Room Cafeteria have both opened since the first of the year.  North Carolina-based Cook-Out, a wildly popular fast food burger joint, also opened on Hugh Howell Road last year.  

While parking issues were cited by Holcomb in his decision to close, hopefully Village Burger can find success in the space even if valet parking has not made its way to Tucker the way it has to other OTP cities like Alpharetta.  

Have you been to Village Burger in either Dunwoody or Johns Creek?  Are you excited for the addition of Village Burger to Tucker?  What is your favorite burger in town?

Please share your thoughts below  
| June 11, 2017 |

Mandolin to Open in Place of Maya in Sandy Springs

New restaurant to replace Maya in Sandy Springs. 

Restaurateur Okan Ozyurteri plans to open Mandolin Mediterranean Kitchen in place of the freestanding former Maya Steaks & Seafood in Sandy Springs.  Maya, which closed this past weekend, opened  in January 2015.  

Maya Steaks owner Mimmo Alboumeh reportedly did not plan to sell the business, but with worsening  traffic on Roswell Road and a buy out offer, he opted to focus on his successful pair of Red Pepper Taqueria restaurants in Buckhead and near Emory University.  (Alboumeh is also planning to bring his Red Pepper concept to Sandy Springs.)

Alboumeh and his ME Restaurant Group also previously operated Coldbrew's Sports Bar & Grill in Roswell.  

Mandolin Mediterranean Kitchen will feature a variety of Turkish and Mediterranean fare, similar in some ways to nearby Rumi's Kitchen.  

When Maya opened, it replaced the short-lived SeaBass Kitchen, which itself replaced Rumi's Kitchen. Rumi's relocated to a larger, more accessible location just north of their previous location.  

Ozyurteri tells me that his restaurant will feature only organic meat and seafood and that he will feature Dorade and Branzino, both popular Mediterranean fish.  

Mandolin, which gets its name from the stringed musical instrument by the same name, will be an "upscale, full service restaurant" that will feature live music on weekends.  

The menu at Mandolin will include classic Mediterranean dishes such as gyro and falafel plates, as well as many hot and cold mezze (tapas) options.  

Ozyurteri is an established restaurateur having previously held ownership stakes in Buckhead's Istanblue (now known simply as Blue) at the Eclipse condo building on Pharr Road, as well as Lavash Mediterranean Grill and Cabo Cantina, both also on Pharr Road in Buckhead.  

While it seems Roswell Road can only handle one steakhouse, Maya opened shortly after Ruth's Chris Steakhouse "moved" to Alpharetta, and now Maya has closed soon after Kaiser's Chophouse opened, the area seems to be able to sustain multiple Mediterranean eateries.  

Within a few miles of Mandolin are the aforementioned Rumi's, as well as Persepolis Persian Cuisine, Aladdin's Mediterranean Grill and Samad Mediterranean Grill & Market.  

Ozyurteri is targeting an August 1st opening for Mandolin, with plans to add a patio to the restaurant later.  In addition to Mandolin, Ozyurteri also plans to open a Mandolin-like upscale Mediterranean eatery in an as yet undisclosed Buckhead location later this year.   

Are you excited for the opening of Mandolin Mediterranean Kitchen in Sandy Springs?  What is your favorite Sandy Springs restaurant? What type of restaurant would you like to see open in Sandy Springs?  

Please share your thoughts below.  
| June 11, 2017 |

Planned Perimeter Exchange Project to Cash in on Former Bank Property

Click photo to enlarge 
Large mixed use development planned for Dunwoody.

Atlanta-based Branch Properties has revived their plan to develop a prime piece of real estate in Dunwoody.  The vacant bank branch at 84 Perimeter Center East occupies nearly three acres across from Perimeter Mall and has been vacant for about a decade.  

The last bank I recall operating from the site was the National Bank of Commerce but sources indicate the bank was originally a First Atlanta branch.  NBC closed shortly after its 2004 acquisition by SunTrust.  

Last year the bank reopened, albeit briefly, as Perimeter Trust, a faux bank used as a filming location for the upcoming feature film "Baby Driver."  The film, which is due to be released June 28th, stars Kevin Spacey, Ansel Elgort, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm and Eiza González and involves, you guessed it: a bank robbery!

The bank as "Perimeter Trust" - Photo courtesy of Jennifer Brett of the AJC
Branch first proposed a redevelopment of the property in 2008.  Back then, before the City of Dunwoody was formed, the Dunwoody Homeowners Association (DHA) gave their endorsement for the planned project to DeKalb county.  DHA President Robert Wittenstein indicates that the developers were subsequently granted the commercial rezoning needed by the county.

The approximately 200 room, twelve story hotel concept remains largely unchanged, but rather than a 70,000 square foot fitness center as was previously proposed, Branch now plans to build a mixed-use development with about 50,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space divided between two, two-story buildings. 

Perimeter Exchange, as the property is marketed, would have about 300 parking spaces, most of which would be located in a two story parking deck below the hotel.  

While Branch is not yet at a point where it is ready to announce either its hotel partner or any would-be tenants, Jack Haylett, senior vice president of Branch Properties, told Reporter Newspapers that "his company has received a great deal of interest from hotels wanting to locate at the site including hotels not currently in the area."

While I would personally love to see an Andaz, an upscale boutique offering from Hyatt Hotels, open in the area, more likely candidates include Renaissance, AC by Marriott or perhaps a property from the recently launched Marriott brand Moxy Hotels.  Another possibility is a new hotel from InterContinental Hotels Group given their North American headquarters is essentially a stone's throw from the property.  
The site plan for the project indicates that there will be 3,765, 5,750 and 9,000 square foot restaurant suites on the first floor.  The first floor will also include 4,350 and 4,825 square foot retail spaces joined by a second 4,825 retail space on the second floor.  A large 22,335 square foot space that can be subdivided, is also listed for the second story.

Atlanta-based The Shopping Center Group is handling the retail and restaurant leasing for the project.  The firm's marketing materials refer to the area as "Atlanta’s #1 office market with over 29 million SF of office space & over 136,000 employees within a 3-mile radius."

The Reporter Newspaper article indicates that entrances to the project would be off Perimeter Center East.  Additionally, no applications for the proposed development have been submitted to the city, but rezoning will be needed for the proposed restaurant/retail space.  

The article also states that there are plans to conduct a study to address concerns about traffic on Ashford-Dunwoody Road.  This would seem to be essential, considering that traffic around Perimeter Mall has only worsened since the project was first proposed so many years ago.  

It's also worth noting that since the project was first proposed, a new freestanding Starbucks with a drive-thru opened adjacent to the project in late 2012, as did multiple new apartment communities behind the project, adding hundreds of new units.  

The DHA did, however, vote against the planned redevelopment of the former DeKalb county police precinct into a Pollo Tropical restaurant in late 2015.   Hines Atlanta Associates, the firm who had planned to build the restaurant, withdrew its rezoning request to build the drive-thru restaurant in February of the following year.  It's perhaps a good thing that the Pollo Tropical never materialized, as the chain has closed four of its 17 metro locations since last fall with additional closures likely.  

Atlanta based Hotel Equities built a new 132 room Hampton Inn hotel at the corner of Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Perimeter Center North that opened last May.  The firm is also building a 127 room Residence Inn by Marriott adjacent to the Walmart Supercenter anchored Perimeter Village shopping center.  The Residence Inn has had a few construction related delays, but is currently on track for a late summer opening, according to a source familiar with the project.  

Branch Properties also owns nearby Ashford Restaurant Park, home to Brio, McCormick & Schmick and P.F. Chang's, among other properties it owns in metro Atlanta.

What are your thoughts on this significant redevelopment? What, if anything, can the City of Dunwoody do to ease traffic congestion around Perimeter Mall, and especially on Ashford-Dunwoody Road?  What types of retail or restaurant tenants would you like to see open in Perimeter Exchange?

Please share your thoughts below.  
| June 09, 2017 | , , ,

Bits & Bites

The new Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken in Chamblee 
Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken on Peachtree Road at Broad Street in Chamblee is now open.  The restaurant quietly opened late last month, and is the third franchised unit in metro Atlanta from the Memphis-based chain. Previous locations have opened in Peachtree Center downtown and on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs.  A fourth metro location that I previously reported was planned for Belvedere Plaza in Decatur has apparently been "shelved" indefinitely.  The local franchise group continues to search for additional metro locations.  

Healthy eatery upbeet announced via Instagram that they finally plan to open on Howell Mill Road on the westside this coming Saturday June 10th.  The restaurant is being opened by the team behind neighboring YEAH! Burger. Upbeet, which has been in the works since at least 2014, was supposed to have opened last year, but was plagued by seemingly endless delays.  In addition to upbeet,  Erik Maier, co-founder and CEO of Better Brands, the parent of both concepts, has signed leases on at least three new YEAH! locations in Buckhead, Chamblee and Nashville.  It's unclear when or if those restaurants will open.

Wagaya, a restaurant specializing in Japanese fare and sushi, has opened their newest location in Emory Village. The restaurant, which opened in place of the former Bad Dog Taqueria/Dankbaar Taco, quietly opened last week. The original Wagaya is on 14th Street in midtown near Georgia Tech.  

A new Woodspring Suites hotel is planned for Mount Zion Road & Highway 138 in Stockbridge.  The extended stay hotel would be about 48,000 square feet on four stories with 123 guest rooms.  There are currently Woodspring Properties in both Chamblee and Alpharetta, among other cities.  The Wichita, Kansas-based hotel chain first launched in 2003 as Value Place before changing its name to Woodspring Hotels in April 2015.  

A new Captain D's is planned for Baker Road in Acworth. The new approximately 2,500 square foot freestanding restaurant will be built between a relatively new Fairfield Inn & Suites and a freestanding Family Dollar store.  The Nashville based chain has had many changes in ownership since its 1969 founding, today owned by Centre Partners, a New York private equity firm.  The chain has seen renewed development interest after delivering improved results over the past few years.  Last year, a new location opened in Kingsland Georgia near the Georgia/Florida line

MOD Pizza opened its first Atlanta area location at Kennesaw Marketplace in Kennesaw this past Monday. The local franchise group has other metro Atlanta MODs planned for Decatur and Sandy Springs, while the group has its eye on a handful of other communities for additional development. 

New to market European retailer JUNK de LUXE plans to open in September on the upper level of Lenox Square in Buckhead.  The store will open next to ivivva in a 4,993 square foot space previously home to Wet Seal.  JUNK de LUXE features menswear from such lines as Levi’s and Saville Row.  "The store finds inspiration in art, people and fashion to create a relaxed attitude with a sharp, vintage edge."

Despite rumors of (and perhaps hopes of) a Cracker Barrel coming to the former Steak & Ale in Tucker, city sources confirm that a 90 unit senior living community has been approved for the site.   

Charleston, South Carolina-based Asian fusion restaurant, CO has opened at the 675 North Highland development.  CO offers a "uniquely inspired" Pan-Asian menu, serving banh mi, pho, ramen and dumplings, as well as sushi and signature cocktails. CO will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.  The 2,965 square foot restaurant is located in the end space at the northern end of the complex opposite Rize Artisan Pizza. 

Sears Holdings quietly announced another round of stores closures yesterday.  The metro Atlanta was spared, but Kmart stores in Calhoun and Fort Oglethorpe, and a Sears store in Dalton were announced to be closing.  The closures are expected to be completed no later than this coming September.  

Sources say that the owners of upcoming micro-food hall The Canteen now expect to be open next weekend, fingers crossed.  The concept, which replaces what was most recently The Spence restaurant in midtown's Tech Square, will feature Yalla, Fred's Meat & Bread, TGM Bagel and Square Bar, all concepts from the owners of The General Muir and West Egg Cafe.  

Millard "Mickey" Drexler announced Monday he was stepping down as CEO of  retailer J.Crew.  Drexler, formerly CEO of The Gap, was hired as CEO of J. Crew in 2003, and is credited with successfully re-positioning J.Crew into a more upscale, aspirational brand.  Drexler's creative counterpart, Jenna Lyons, who too was instrumental in J.Crew's rise in popularity over the last decade or so, departed the company in April, as did men's designer Frank Muytjens.  It's no secret that retail is in trouble, and among the most impacted companies are teen and young adult apparel retailers such as J.Crew, Abercrombie & Fitch and Aeropostale.  Drexler will reportedly step down as CEO at the end of the month, but will stay on as chairman.  Drexler will be succeeded by West Elm president Jim Brett, who will assume the role in July.  

For a cool play-by-play of how everything went right, and then wrong, at J.Crew, check out this article.  

According to the Tropical Smoothie Cafe website, the growing chain has at least five more metro Atlanta locations in development.  New Tropical Smoothie Cafe eateries are "coming soon" to University House on Spring Street in Midtown, near Zoës Kitchen in Presidential Commons on Scenic Highway in Snellville, behind Zoës Kitchen at The Plaza at City Springs on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, near Zoës Kitchen in Decatur Crossing on the Scott Boulevard side of the project in Decatur, and Canton Exchange on Cumming Highway in Canton.   In the past few months, the Atlanta-based chain has added new locations in Kennesaw, Brookhaven and Johns Creek, among others.  

The Wells Fargo bank branch at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is closing.  The bank branch, which opened shortly after the CONRAC (consolidated rental car center) opened in 2010, is located near space in the airport previously occupied by rental agencies.  A counter at the branch, which previously displayed a sign stating they were "now hiring," now states the branch will close at 12PM on August 17th, 2017.  

Lidl, the European grocer with big plans for the U.S. market, announced an interesting partnership Monday. The German discount grocer has enlisted fashion designer and supermodel Heidi Klum to design an exclusive fashion collection.  The line, which is expected to be available at both European and U.S. stores "later this year," is seen by analysts as the grocer's attempt to appeal to more affluent shoppers. Lidl has plans for well over a dozen locations in Georgia and as I announced last month, plans to construct a new 756,000, nearly $86 million distribution facility in Cartersville.  The first U.S. store openings are expected to begin June 15th. Nine stores are expected to open in the coming weeks including five in North Carolina, two in South Carolina and two in Virginia.  The company indicated that 90% of the products will be private label and prices will be about 50% lower than at other grocers. 

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Famous Toastery Plans to Pop Up Outside the Perimeter

New to market eatery coming to Suwanee

Famous Toastery, a North Carolina based breakfast & lunch eatery, plans to open what will be its first Atlanta area location later this year in Suwanee.  The new restaurant will open in the existing Shoppes at Suwanee shopping center at the intersection of Peachtree Boulevard and McGinnis Ferry Road.  

Best friends Brian Burchill and Robert Maynard opened the first Famous Toastery (then called Toast Cafe) in 2005 in Huntersville, N.C. in a small house-turned-restaurant. Famous Toastery began offering franchises in 2013 and now includes 20 locations, twelve of which are in North Carolina. The chain also has locations in South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida.

The Suwanee restaurant will be roughly 4,300 square feet, inclusive of an outdoor patio. 

Like other breakfast and lunch-centric places like Egg Harbor Cafe and Another Broken Egg Cafe, Famous Toastery is open seven days a week from 7am to 3pm.

Have you ever been to a Famous Toastery?  What is your favorite breakfast/lunch joint in town?  Where else would you like to see Famous Toastery open in metro Atlanta?

Please share your thoughts below 
| June 06, 2017 |

Kula Revolving Sushi Bar Opening First East Coast Location in Atlanta

Revolving sushi bar coming to town

Kula Revolving Sushi Bar, with U.S. headquarters in Irvine, California, plans to enter the Atlanta market with a location in Doraville.  The new restaurant, the chain's first east coast restaurant, is slated to open in Peachtree Pavilion, the shopping center adjacent to BrandsMart USA and Super H Mart, just off Peachtree Boulevard and I-285.  

The concept originated in Japan where it has a significant presence and operates as Kura Sushi Japan.  The company's U.S. division has nine locations in California and three in Texas including their newest, which recently opened in Austin.  

According to the company's website, Kula is also looking to expand into Chicago, New Jersey, New York, Seattle, Oahu, Hawaii, and Portland, Oregon.

I first experienced "conveyor belt sushi," as it is called, a few years ago at a place called Wasabi in Tysons Corner Center near Washington D.C. 

The idea at Kula is basically that a rotating variety of sushi and similar fare is sent via conveyor belt throughout the restaurant and customers pick and choose what they like as it passes by.   

In addition to Kula, "Miss Gogi," which is a Korean BBQ eatery, as well as a "gourmet Chinese restaurant" and a "Japanese noodle restaurant" are all expected to open in Peachtree Pavilion.  

A representative from Kula indicated to me that they hope to open "later this summer." 

Have you ever been to Kula or a similar "conveyor belt" style sushi eatery?  Are you excited for the new additions coming to Peachtree Pavilion?  What other restaurants would you like to see join the center?

Please share your thoughts below.  
| June 02, 2017 |

Outback Steakhouse Thinks North Point is "Just Right" For New Restaurant

The new North Point Outback should look similar to this 
New Outback coming to North Point

A new location of Tampa, Florida based Outback Steakhouse is planned for North Point Parkway in Alpharetta.  The new freestanding restaurant would be built in an outparcel of North Point MarketCenter, across the street from North Point Mall.  Specifically, the new Outback would be built in place of a former Famous Dave's, which later operated as an independent restaurant called Rio Nuevo Mexican Cantina.  

North Point MarketCenter, which last week welcomed a new Dave & Busters, was purchased by CBRE Global Investors in April for $108.5 million. 

Outback is only the latest business to see the ongoing appeal of the North Point Parkway corridor.

In the past few years, REI and AMC Theatres have both opened in the area while ULTA relocated and Hudson Grille soon will as well, each to locations on North Point Parkway.  

Additionally, the nearly $18 million Encore Parkway corridor project is expected to be completed this summer and will significantly improve bike, vehicular and pedestrian transit between Westside and North Point Parkways. 

The first Outback Steakhouse opened in Tampa, Florida in 1988.  Since then, the chain has grown to be an international brand with 742 domestic Outback Steakhouse restaurants and another 244 units throughout 21 countries.  

Outback is the largest division of Bloomin' Brands Inc., a restaurant group that also includes Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, each with at least one location in metro Atlanta.

Outback launched an aggressive, more modern restaurant prototype in 2015.  According to Outback’s website, the new restaurant design was inspired by modern Australia and features more earth tones and stonework in its construction. 

For a cool look at the many iterations of Outback Steakhouse restaurant designs, click here

The new Alpharetta restaurant is expected to be similar to the recently opened modern locations and will be about 6,500 square feet.  Sources say that the restaurant should be receiving its land disturbance and building permits in the coming weeks and that construction may begin as soon as July.  

I reached out to Elizabeth Watts, Director of Media & Community Relations for Bloomin’ Brands, and was provided the following statement regarding the restaurant's opening timeline: "We don’t have plans that I am able to share at this time, but I can tell you that we are interested in the area."

Based on the permit timeline, I would guess that the restaurant will open late this year or early next year.  

As of now, the closest Outback Steakhouse locations to Alpharetta are in Roswell and Johns Creek.  

This past February, Bloomin' Brands finally opened the long-awaited Bonefish Grill at Akers Mill Square near Cumberland Mall.  That same month, the publicly traded company (NASDAQ: BLMN) announced a $4.3 million loss in the fourth quarter and said that it would close 43 underperforming restaurants.  No complete list was ever publicly announced, but the closures included numerous Outback and Carrabba's locations. 

Have you dined at one of the new-look Outback Steakhouse locations?  Are you excited to see the abandoned restaurant finally become something new?  What is your favorite eatery on or around North Point Parkway?

Please share your thoughts below.  
| June 01, 2017 |

Bits & Bites

Tiff's Treats plans to open what will be its fourth Atlanta area location on Saturday June 10th near Cumberland Mall. The cookie shop will open in a former Quiznos Sub space at The Crossings at Akers Mill center on Akers Mill Road across from Sears at Cumberland Mall.  The small center is anchored by Jos. A. Bank.  Austin, TX based Tiff's Treats entered the Atlanta market last year with locations in Alpharetta, Midtown and Sandy Springs.  The company plans to open a fifth location later this summer in Decatur at Fuqua Development's Decatur Crossing shopping center.  Sources say the company is targeting a few other locations in metro Atlanta and that a Buckhead location is "in the works." 

High Road Craft Ice Cream has opened a seasonal pop-up shop at the Whole Foods Market at Merchant's Walk in East Cobb. The shop will feature sundaes, cones, shakes, floats, and even toasted brioche ice cream sandwiches. The pop-up is open every weekend until Labor Day: Fridays noon-4pm, Saturdays noon-6pm, and Sundays 12-4pm. 

New to market quick serve pizza joint PizzaFire plans to open its first Atlanta area location next Tuesday, June 6th in TOWN Brookhaven.  PizzaFire is taking the place of similar concept, Treza, which opened in the center in late 2011 and closed in early 2014.  PizzaFire has plans to open a second location in Roswell.  

Hobnob plans to open their second location at TOWN Brookhaven in mid July. Hobnob's original location is in Midtown where the local eatery occupies a former Caribou Coffee at the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and Monroe Drive.  Hobnob's Brookhaven location opens in place of Smash Kitchen & Bar, which closed in 2015 as part of the Here to Serve restaurant collapse.  The space was originally occupied by Stir Crazy, a short-lived Atlanta location of the national Asian chain.  

The Wendy's at 2096 Metropolitan Parkway in southwest Atlanta is currently closed as it undergoes what the company refers to as an "image activation" renovation.  This renovation follows similar renovations at other Wendy's restaurants, such as the locations on Marietta Boulevard in northwest Atlanta and on Piedmont Avenue in northeast Atlanta. 

The Roast, a new quick serve restaurant from Whole Foods Market, is slated to open within the grocer's Ponce de Leon store in Midtown tomorrow, June 1st.  The restaurant, which has been in the works since last year, occupies a portion of what was previously Staples but became part of the expanded Whole Foods when the office supply store shrunk its footprint.  The Roast will feature Brazilian fare in a fast casual setting.

There are two new gas stations and companion convenience stores under construction on Metropolitan Parkway in southwest Atlanta.  The new businesses are being constructed at 2461 and 2477 Metropolitan Parkway.  The business at 2477 is slated to feature fuel under the Shell brand name while I have been unable to confirm who will supply fuel to the other location.  

The short-lived Fiorello's in Brookhaven is currently being marketed for lease by The Shumacher Group.  The sales listing indicates monthly rent of $11,000, all in. The listing goes on to state that the 3,800 square foot space has 8 years left on its current lease with an option period available. The seller reportedly invested $600,000 to open the original concept, Brookhaven Provisions, about a year ago.  The closure was reportedly due to a "disagreement with operating partner."  The business is priced at $125,000, which includes all furniture, fixtures, equipment and rights to lease. The sales listing also states, "Seller would consider partnering but only with established very strong group but some upfront fees will be required."

A number of Family Dollar stores are actively closing following the 2015 purchase of Family Dollar by Dollar Tree. The local closures include stores in Northeast Plaza in Brookhaven and on Metropolitan Parkway in southeast Atlanta. Store officials indicated that most Family Dollar stores located within close proximity of Dollar Tree stores will close as part of the consolidation.    

Henri's Bakery closed its popular Irby Avenue location this past weekend and reopened yesterday at nearby Andrews Square.  The cafe also operates a second location is Sandy Springs. 

Retailer VANS Off The Wall plans to begin renovating both its Lenox Square and Mall of Georgia stores soon.

Hobby Lobby officially opened its newest Atlanta area location this past Monday at the new Tucker Meridian shopping center.

Growler and beer market Ale Yeah! closed its Roswell location on Atlanta street this past Sunday, May 28th.  Ale Yeah's Kennesaw location on Lewis Street closed last spring.  The lone remaining Ale Yeah! is located on West College Avenue in Decatur.  

Struggling retailer Payless ShoeSource announced roughly 400 further stores it plans to close in addition to the previously announced 400 store closures.  Six of the recently announced store closures are in Georgia, three of which are in metro Atlanta.  Payless plans to close its stores in the Buckhead Crossing shopping center at the corner of Piedmont Road and Sidney Marcus Boulevard in Buckhead, on the first floor of the Dillard's wing in Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody, and at Fairington Centre, just off Panola Road in Lithonia.  The other closures are slated for Calhoun, Ft. Oglethorpe, and Woodstock.  

Archer Paper Goods plans to open a second location at The Battery Atlanta in Cobb county "later this summer."  The original Archer opened at Ponce City Market last summer. The store, which features assorted paper goods and gift materials, is the brainchild of Dan Collier who also owns The Merchant and Collier Candy Company, among other shops. 

Clothing and accessories retailer Michael Kors announced today that it plans to close 100-125 stores over the next two years. The company also revealed that sales fell in its most recent quarter and that its outlook for the rest of the year will be worse than expected.  The company did not reveal the locations of the stores it expects to close.  In metro Atlanta, Michael Kors operates stores at Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza in Buckhead, Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody, Cumberland Mall in Smyrna, North Point Mall in Alpharetta, and Mall of Georgia in Buford. The retailer also operates stores in Augusta Mall in Augusta and downtown Savannah.  Michael Kors also operates outlet stores at The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta in Woodstock, Tanger Outlets in Locust Grove and Pooler, and North Georgia Premium Outlets in Dawsonville.
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