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.