Monday, September 14, 2009

The Dining Room at Ritz-Carlton Buckhead Closing, What's Next?

With hotels fighting for every guest and every dollar possible it's sad to see such an established operator fall victim to the ever worsening economy. Open for 25+ years, The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead will serve its last meal Wednesday October 1st. Having launched the careers of numerous chefs, the Dining Room was in an exclusive crowd of restaurants ranked highly not only by Zagat and Mobil but also by local AJC dinning critic, Meridith Ford Goldman. Repeat Atlanta favorite Gary Mennie as well as Shaun Doty, Guenter Seeger and Joel Antunes all gained notoriety at the dining room before moving on to other eateries or starting their own. Taurus, Shaun's, Seeger's and Joel were all opened after the aforementioned chefs left The Dining Room. With the announcement last week that the Dining Room’s current chef, two-time James Beard nominee Arnaud Berthelier, would be leaving the restaurant October 1st, some Ritz-Carlton insiders wondered if that was it for the restaurant as well, and sadly, their hunch was correct. Repeat Atlanta has learned from insiders within the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead that there has been talk in recent years of turning the Dining Room into additional meeting space, though if history teaches us anything (David Marvin was quoted as saying that Maxim Prime was closing to make way for additional meeting space but it became Concentrics' 30 Tables and 11 Stories) that may just be the story for now. It's safe to say that no replacement will ever be as beloved as and as popular as the Dining Room has been over the years. With RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) down in Atlanta and across the country and few diners choosing such high end eateries as The Dining Room, what do you think the Ritz should do. Another more casual restaurant? Additional meeting space as planned, or possibly Atlanta's millionth CVS or Walgreen's? Leave us a comment and tell us what you think should replace The Dining Room. Repeat Atlanta!


Jonathan B said...

Maybe it's the perfect place in which to open the aforementioned Repeat!Cafe. :)

This is typical of Marriott management style to react in a kneejerk fashion and disregard the history and uniqueness of an establishment in favor of short-term cost savings.

There is not sufficient demand right now for additional meeting space, especially in Buckhead. I would imagine that the space will sit dark for a while (similar to the Polaris space at Hyatt Regency Downtown) until a revenue-generating option is found.

The Ritz Buckhead already has another "casual" (at least by Ritz standards) restaurant called The Cafe that will suffice until the economy allows for another signature dining option to be rolled out in the space formerly known as The Dining Room.

Sad day for the culinary world in general, but especially for Atlanta's culinary history.

northernrocketmedia said...

I couldn't imagine a CVS here at the Ritz! Well that a help keep H1N1 down. We can just send the population of Atlanta that has the virus to stay at the Ritz! Prescriptions and expensive beds for everyone!

Anonymous said...

I hear Taco Veloz is making a run at the site!