Artuzzi's Italian Kitchen, once said to be one of the best new QSRs in the country, has closed all but two locations. The location at Briarcliff and LaVista roads, which has changed ownership at least twice and the other in Alpharetta, are just squeaking by. After opening their first location in Roswell in February 2005, the chain never took off the way the restaurateurs had hoped and never expanded outside of Georgia.
Partners Rob Caswick, Dave Pazienza and Jeff Newsham were some of the original franchisees of Moe's Southwest Grill in 2001 and saw an opportunity in the QSR level for an Italian offering. While I did visit a few times, I was never impressed. It was not as bad as Fazoli's but to me a cheap knock-off of FIGO.
Another chain that grew too fast: Mama Fu's Asian House. Martin Sprock of Raving Brands sought to operate a fast casual Asian eatery so he approached Doc Chey's owner Richard Chey about buying him out. Chey declined and Sprock launched Mama Fu's Noodle House (later renamed Mama Fu's Asian House) Mama Fu's opened its first location across from Piedmont Hospital on Peachtree Road in 2003 (pictured). Months later there was talk that up to 200 Mamu Fu's were either in progress or were opening soon after the signing of multiple master franchise agreements. In 2008, with the chain already in trouble and only 17 units still open, Raving Brands sold the chain to their largest franchisee, Austin-Texas based Murphy Adams. Today there are only 13 units open and the chain's first location, here in Atlanta, is now for sale by the Shumacher Group.
Another Moe's byproduct, Maddio's Pizza Joint, launched in 2008 by former Moe's Senior VP Matt Andrew and Moe's Franchisee Tony Lewis, has not expanded as fast as the group would have hoped. Located in Lewis's former Mama Fu's at Toco Hills Shopping Center near Emory, Maddio's Pizza Joint has not expanded beyond its first location, possibly a result of a poor product, or possibly not wanting to repeat past Raving Brands issues. Don't be surprised if some, if not all, of these concepts are gone in 12 months. ToNeTo Atlanta