Monday, November 29, 2010

Ocean Prime Sets Sights on Crowded Buckhead Market

Columbus Ohio-based Cameron Mitchell Restaurants plans to open their ninth Ocean Club restaurant in Buckhead next fall. While the planned location is imprecise on the website, "Piedmont Road in the heart of Buckhead," contacts in the industry believe the restaurant will open where Sambuca is currently located. Having been to Sambuca a few times, I'd tend to think they are being bought out of their lease rather than closing because of poor business. I will say, the sketch shown looks a lot like the exterior of Sambuca on Piedmont. I believe Copeland's near Tower Place is doing worse business than Sambuca, and then of course there is the vacant Bertuccci's Pizza / Bridgetown Grill across the street.

Ocean Prime will be the third restaurant in the Buckhead area with "Prime" in its name, joining Prime at Lenox Square and New York Prime at Monarch Tower. Oddly enough, the first restaurant in the chain, located in Columbus, was called Mitchell's Ocean Club. After the success of the restaurant in 2006, Mitchell Cameron decided to expand and develop a multi unit concept. At that time, the restaurant's name was changed from Ocean Club to Ocean Prime, although the original still operates as it was built. While this will be the chain's first location in Atlanta, they already have three in Florida: one at International Plaza in Tampa Bay, another in Orlando and a third at Aventura Mall in Miami.

I worry about all these new high-end eateries coming to town where already local chefs / restaurants can't seem to stay in business. Steaks/seafood especially seem over supplied in Buckhead, and if needed anywhere, I'd say perhaps in Midtown, where STK and STK OUT were supposed to be adjacent to the new Loews Hotel but nothing has materialized. ToNeTo Atlanta

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Carl said...

I had some out-of-town friends that dined at Sambuca over the weekend. It was the first time I've heard anyone going there in nearly a decade. It's lasted a long time in this fickle market that's never been particularly fond of jazz, but I can't say replacing the establishment with a "me too" concept seems like a brilliant plan either.

Atlantan99 said...

Hey Carl,

I'm not saying I'm a fan of the place, just that they seemed to do pretty well, at least on the weekends. It's a chain so perhaps its not performing as well as the others.

As for Ocean Prime, I hope it follows in the footsteps of Seasons 52 (a favorite of mine among chain offerings) rather than AquaKnox. Keep in mind also, Cousins announced it had signed both III Forks and Cantina Laredo for Terminus 200, but those restaurants never materialized.

Thanks for reading and for the comment.

Amy said...

This is an uncofirmed deal and Sambuca remains in full operations.

Optimus Prime said...

Deathwatch 2011, meet your first establishment!