Thursday, March 3, 2011

Geisha House to Sleep With the Fishes

Well placed sources indicate Los Angeles-based Dolce Group will close its Geisha House restaurant this coming Sunday, March 6th. Geisha was the second of three concepts Dolce Group opened within Midtown's Atlantic Station in 2007. Dolce Group's signature restaurant Dolce Enoteca was the groups first to open and after Geisha came Ten Pin Alley, an upscale bowling environment.

A close friend worked for the group in 2007 and recalled meeting Lonnie Moore and Mike Malin, the groups two principal owners at the time. The two seemed very West Coast in their outlook and I wondered whether they knew what they were getting into opening three concepts at Atlantic Station. Atlanta, in so many ways, is nothing like Los Angeles.

The restaurant and its sister concepts had been members of ToNeTo Atlanta's DeathWatch but late last year I was informed they were paying virtually no rent which allowed for them to keep the doors open.

From the standpoint of the landlord (now North American Properties and CBRE ), it was a smart move to subsidize the rents of anchors like the Dolce Group, Publix, Dillards, and Regal Cinemas. Tenants such as these are often mentioned in contracts with smaller tenants and are included in "co-tenancy clauses" meaning if they were to close, the smaller tenants would have cause to void their own leases. By keeping the big guys in place (at a substantial cost) management was hoping to keep the entire project afloat.

Now, with talk that the new owners of Atlantic Station are ready to clean house, Dolce seems to be acting proactively in closing Geisha House and focusing on Dolce and Ten Pin Alley. Perhaps the hope is to capture would be diners of Geisha House and convert them to Dolce patrons and have them bowl at Ten Pin as well.

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Atlanta, in so many ways, is nothing like Los Angeles."

Good - the people in LA suck. You want to talk about a giant suburb? Look at LA.

And goodbye Geisha House! You won't be missed. Let the transformation of Atlantic Station begin!

SB said...

Ummm.... this is about as surprising as traffic on the connector in rush hour. Ten Pin, Geisha, and Dolce have paid little or no rent in years. They strong armed AIG for discounted/free rent or they'd vacate. Not with NAP in charge, they said get lost. This has ZERO to do with any decisions by the Dolce/Geisha group and everything to do with NAP taking control of a retail master plan. Good riddance to any business who can't pay their rent!!!

Anonymous said...

I think the big issue with Geisha House and other higher end outlets in Atlantic Station is they don't get the high end clientele. Frankly, Atlantic Station became the new Buckhead triangle attracting the same clientele which caused the drinking cut off to go from 4am to 3am.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous #2 - No need to be so coy with your racism. Just say it. We are all adults here.

goremay said...

I'm glad Geisha House is closing. I met Lonnie Moore back in 2007. Thought he was a nice guy. He just finished a gig with Patti Stanger"Millionaire Matchmaker" No luck for Lonnie. The flip side to all of this mess, is that the Dolce Group was sold a bunch of goods that never materialized. Like the tallest building in Atlanta, was going up, between Geisha House and Dolce. Plus other retailers/restaurants were coming on board, but never happened. And then construction problems on sold condo units. And the Friday/Sat.night crew set in, and the rest is thug history. I'm not a racist, I'm just telling what happened. So don't bother to call me one. Everyone has lost on this project. I'm glad Dolce & Ten Pin Alley, are going to try and stick it out. And Fox Sports Grill, that's another story, that attracks an unsavory crowd. Atlantic Station will succeed in the long run.

goremay said...

I'm glad Geisha House is closing. I met Lonnie Moore back in 2007. Thought he was a nice guy. He just finished a gig with Patti Stanger"Millionaire Matchmaker" No luck for Lonnie. The flip side to all of this mess, is that the Dolce Group was sold a bunch of goods that never materialized. Like the tallest building in Atlanta, was going up, between Geisha House and Dolce. Plus other retailers/restaurants were coming on board, but never happened. And then construction problems on sold condo units. And the Friday/Sat.night crew set in, and the rest is thug history. I'm not a racist, I'm just telling what happened. So don't bother to call me one. Everyone has lost on this project. I'm glad Dolce & Ten Pin Alley, are going to try and stick it out. And Fox Sports Grill, that's another story, that attracks an unsavory crowd. Atlantic Station will succeed in the long run.