Friday, March 18, 2011

Few Phipps Food Choices To Remain in the Wake of Lego Invasion

Phipps Plaza will be home to the country's third Legoland Discovery Center next summer but with its opening, the mall will lose a number of longstanding tenants. Basically the entire food court as it stands today will be wiped out in the move that brought Legoland to the luxury mall. Already Sbarro Pizza has closed and I'm told others will soon follow. Moe's Southwest Grill, Subway (having just opened late last year) and Nori Sushi will be the lone survivors of the overhaul. A mall representative told me that these eateries will remain open in their current locations until at least the end of May. A "fast casual/quick service restaurant zone" is being planned for the third level to "support the movie theatre and Legoland Discovery Center traffic." My guess would be these restaurants would be located to the right of the AMC theaters in space that once housed Gorin's and a couple of other shuttered tenants.

Chick-Fil-A and Johnny Rockets, my two picks for eateries most likely to stay, were apparently offered no concessions and were given the option to relocate on their own dime or leave.

Original plans had the Legoland opening at Atlantic Station, but it seems Simon Property Group presented an offer Lego was unable to resist. One reader of this blog, seemingly with intimate knowledge of the goings on at Atlantic Station, made the comment below when I hinted at an exciting mystery opening...

"This is too easy...

Regal Cinemas in Atlantic Station will expand by taking over the Ten Pin Alley and Dolce Enoteca spaces. Fox Sports Grill will move to what is currently Geisha House. Lego Land (possibly) will take what is currently Fox Sports Grill."

Visibility from an interstate was said to have been an early prerequisite of Merlin Entertainment (Legoland's parent company) and, as much as I hate to admit it, Atlantic Station would have better fulfilled that requirement. GA 400 ain't an interstate, and as many times as Peachtree Road may change names, and as far as it goes, it's not an interstate either. It would seem as though UK-based Merlin Entertainment opted for the the proven success: Phipps Plaza, and high end atmosphere: Buckhead, over the (transitioning) Atlantic Station, a development plagued by residential foreclosures and an uninspired retail lineup.

Given the mall does have a number of sit down eateries like Davio's and Twist, how critical was the food court? Will you visit the mall less or more once the Legoland opens?

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8 comments:

Skreet said...

Without a food court this mall is going to appeal less to office workers that might come over for a quick bite during the lunch hour. I also really don't understand how Phipps would think Lego would be a good fit for their mall. it would have worked better if they had built a new level on the top of one of the existing parking decks at Lenox. We'll just have to see how things turn out.

James said...

I'm becoming a father over the summer, and I guess Phipps Plaza will be a more viable option once the child's old enough to appreciate Legoland. At this point, the changes at the food court won't change my Phipps visiting habits.

Outside of Chick-fil-A and Subway, I never really ate at Phipps (ate at American Cafe a few times, but quality plunged a few months before it closed). If you really want a Johnny Rockets burger, there's a stand-alone eatery off Roswell Road in Buckhead (parking's lousy though). What Phipps needs is a true "casual dining" eatery, which it hasn't had since American Cafe closed.

Anonymous said...

The restaurants that they do have, are high end. Why not add some places that have a more moderate price point. Not everyone wants to spend an average of $20 on lunch everyday. Plus now the wait is going to be even longer at those places.

Anonymous said...

I personally think Atlantic Station would have been better if it wanted to go the touristy route, but the developers seem to want to go the "local" route instead. It does have more visibility and is closer to other attractions in Downtown/Midtown.

However, I think this could be good for Phipps in terms of bringing more foot traffic and maybe helping to diversify the tenant lineup at the mall. I could see more luxury kids stores and even some more affordable stores to round out the mix.

If Streets of Buckhead ever comes back to life, it would be Phipps biggest competition and maybe they the mall is planning ahead for that?

Anonymous said...

The main reason I went to Phipps a few times a week was the food court. The Chickfila was great!!
I liked to be able to shop and get a quick lunch. Without the food court I won't go very often. Every mall needs a food court. I can't believe they are getting rid of it.

Anonymous said...

Does Legoland have their own food options? It makes no sense to downsize the food court. Maybe Legoland doesn't want the Chickfila and Johnny Rockets. The food court and the theaters are very popular. Maybe they should just change the whole mall to Legoland.

Anonymous said...

I really thought Phipps was going to become another Bal Harbor type shopping experience. Simon has really dropped the ball.

Anonymous said...

Phipps seems like the worst possible venue for this sort of thing. Yuck.