Wednesday, April 21, 2010

TeaFuse Opening and The Grape Re-opening at Vinings Jubilee

TeaFuse, a new tea shop, will open soon, and The Grape will re-open soon, both at Vinings Jubilee.(4300 Paces Ferry Road). TeaFuse will feature over 50 varieties of tea, three coffees and various light bites. TeaFuse, scheduled to open by the end of the month, will also sell tea related gifts and offer "Tea Party" special events. Strikingly similar to Atlanta-based TEAVANA, perhaps TeaFuse will be able to carve out a niche in the market. Vinings has seen the addition of Yoforia, Figo Pasta and Noche in the past 18 months, all of which are doing well, so clearly the area can support new concepts.

The Grape will re-open after extensive renovations by local design firm ai3. Ai3 is responsible for various projects around Atlanta recently including both Flip Burger Boutique and Bocado in West Midtown, so there is hope they have at least improved the interior. I say this because The Grape has had its fair share of troubles in recent years. In 2008 the chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and was purchased in February of 2009 by Gregg Freishtat. Freishtat brought on a number of former Darden Restaurants executives and hired ai3 to redesign the restaurants' interiors. Additionally, Atlanta restaurant veteran and Master Sommelier Jay James was brought on to perfect a streamlined wine list for the re-launch. First was Phipps Plaza and now Vinings, scheduled to open today.

It will definitely be an uphill battle for this chain that like other Atlanta area franchised concepts, grew too fast and closed a number of locations. Usher was once a franchisee, with plans to open multiple units, but closed his Inman Park location "for renovations" and opened no others. (The former Inman Park location opened last year as PURE Taqueria and has been very successful though I personally didn't care much for the food) A friend of Usher's opened a location adjacent to SouthPark Mall in Charlotte, but that location closed as well. Another location closed at "Downtown at the Gardens" in Palm Beach Gardens Florida. With the right people on board, one being former Seasons 52 Buckhead GM Kenny Perlman, there is hope this business can be turned around and Vinings is the perfect place to relaunch this troubled brand. ToNeTo Atlanta

Follow me on Twitter and Fan me on Facebook

No comments: