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.