Monday, December 20, 2010

Empire Diner Expires, Decatur and Morrow Diners Still Coming?

Empire Diner, which opened in August on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs displays a sign stating it is "temporarily closed," but a call to the Marietta Diner, owned by a relative, confirms that the closure is permanent. (Rumor has it that the owner may attempt to reopen in as "Taverna," but I'll believe it when I see it) Empire Diner's phone number is "temporarily disconnected." Located within the same shopping center as Lefont Theaters, Tuesday Morning and Chipotle, among others, the restaurant was open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, a la Waffle House. The menu was gigantic (never a good thing) and surely did not do the volume necessary to justify the hours and menu breadth.

Interestingly, the Empire Diner was a landmark in New York's Chelsea neighborhood for 34 years before closing this past May. While the New York and Atlanta restaurants share no connection other than the name, it would seem as though the Atlanta restaurant was hoping to be associated in one way or another with the well regarded New York locale. This perception is given credibility with the revelation that the same management group is opening the year long project that is the Decatur Diner and also the Morrow Diner. The subsequent two locations simply adopt the name of the city in which they are located whereas "Empire" would seem to be have been chosen for the aforementioned reason.

While I don't think that I've ever been to, and really have no clue about the area, I can speak to the Decatur Diner. It was first announced to be opening in the shuttered Atlanta Bread Co. on E. Ponce in Decatur in April but work has progressed ridiculously slowly on the space and is apparently now delayed due to a required grease trap update. I'm told that a pay dispute with contractors on site may have also contributed to the delay in opening. This week, as I was in months past, I was told that the diner will be open in "2 weeks" when I asked someone on site.

There was a rumor that the owners of the Decatur Diner were related to the group that bought the nearby Crescent Moon and later ran it into the ground, but I'm told while both groups are Greek, they are not related. With any luck, the Decatur Diner will be open soon and be more of a success than Empire. While I think the neighborhood is pretty excited about the thought of a walkable 24 hour eatery, I think I speak for the neighborhood collectively in expressing distaste for the tacky faux marble and gaudy neon lights the restaurant now features. ToNeTo Atlanta

Thanks to Billy from RestaurantsATL for the photo and lead.

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Anonymous said...

This group of owners have writen my company 4 bad checks... then we told them we would not take any more checks from them so they gave us a cashers check so we would complete our install.... 3 days later they stopped payment on the cashers check.

John P said...

Just passed the Decatur Diner tonight and it looks like it's pretty much good to go as far as opening.

Also passed by a building on Church St with a sign listing Burnt Fork BBQ, know anything about that outfit?

Atlantan99 said...

Hey John,

Yea, Empire Diner has had that "pretty much good to go" look for weeks! Not sure what to think at this point...

As for Burnt Fork BBQ, a guy named Josh Kramer is opening it and the restaurant will feature “International Barbecue.” Heard it would open in November, but now looking more like mid January.

Decatur Metro has some interesting history behind the name ...

Thanks for reading and Happy Holidays!

SSM said...

Regarding Burnt Fork BBQ... They seem to be moving along pretty well. We were away for a week and when we returned, much had changed there. Certainly looks like a Jan opening could happen.
There has been a bit of buzz around the neighborhood from folks who know or know of the owner and it's been all positive. I hope he makes it work!

On the downside though, we sure seem to have a lot of BBQ around Decatur. I wonder if, as with burgers, we're getting oversat'd.

Anonymous said...

Eli - those Greek diner guys have been going round and round within the resaurant community for decades. They always open diners with ridiculous menus, give the food away at seemingly low prices, and proceed to stiff the vendors and not pay for the products. This is a pretty profitable equation, as long as you can keep the doors open. Empire to survice as long as it did, shows there are plenty of vendors lining up to get robbed.

Marietta Diner is the lone exception, and is related to the other aforementioned Greeks. This operator has several different concepts, and all do consistently well.

As for Empire/Decatur/Morrow - vendors beware, and quite frankly diner beware. Once the vendor gets wind of slow/no payment, the quality of persihable supplies degrades rapidly. This correlates directly with plated products, and so if you do dare to eat, stay away from the highly persihable items.

Carl Muth said...

I work with a group of vendors and we and we are all pretty savvy as to which restaurateurs to trust and which ones not to trust. And the Diner People Mentioned are definately part of that "Don't trust-get your money up front group". We feel like it's better for our competitors to get the non-paying business, while we focus on the operators that are honest business people.

If you are interested in being part of our group, let me know.

John P said...

Just passed by Decatur Diner last night and did see patrons eating inside. So we'll see how long they stay open now I suppose.

Anonymous said...

As a former employee I can say that these people NEVER wrote anyone a good check, and never handed a server a check. These are very shameful people and if you believe in ethical business practices you will not dine at any of their locations.

Anonymous said...

the whole diner opening and closing or changing owners and all is a scam...the portions are too big to be profitable, he tries to flip the restaurants...if not, he'll close them b/c he gets the money from investors so he doesn't care