YUM Brands Pizza Hut at Briarcliff Village will soon leave their iconic hut. Moving not far away to a far smaller location, Pizza Hut's Northlake location will now focus more on carry-out and delivery and no longer have a dine-in area. Their new 1400 s/f space in will be located just around the corner on Briarcliff Road, across from Sears. Pizza Hut will occupy a portion of the former Verizon Wireless which relocated to a larger space in an out-parcel of Northlake Festival.
A similar move took place near Suburban Plaza where Pizza Hut closed their "Hut" in the outparcel of the shopping center and then relocated a few hundred yards away to a far smaller storefront location. Smaller format, takeout/delivery locations have been the norm for fellow pizza competitors Papa John's and Domino's for years and it would seem Pizza Hut (and its franchises) are finally catching on.
The only Hut I can picture (in the metro area) that continues to operate a buffet and full service restaurant is the one at Sidney Marcus Boulevard and Piedmont Road in Buckhead.
Pizza Hut is due to vacate the space by August 1 and plans to be up and running in the new location by the end of the month. Sources say Chipotle will take possession of the building September 1 and will then undergo extensive structural work. Briarcliff Village will soon see a Shoe Carnival open in the former Petco/Joann Fabrics, so the addition of Chipotle is another positive sign for the center that also lost La-Z-Boy Furniture a few years ago. Across the street sits a struggling Moe's Southwest Grill that was built in a former bank space and will surely be impacted when Chipotle opens. Not that they compete for the same customer, but a nearby Taco Bell closed and recently re-opened as a Chick-Fil-A.
When open, the Northlake location will be Chipotle's 14th location in Atlanta. Most recently they opened a new location at Merchant's Walk in East Cobb last summer. Oddly enough, the next closest location to Northlake was another second generation space, an old Donato's Pizza in Toco Hills. Both Donato's and Chipotle were once under the McDonald's umbrella (although neither is currently) and when Donato's closed up shop, Chipotle opened in its place not long after. Not to the iconic stature that the Hut shaped building is to Pizza Hut, but Donato's itself had a signature structure that was retrofitted nicely to become Chipotle. Since the Pizza Hut is an older, more iconic structure, I'm anticipating what Chipotle will do to re-imagine the space. No opening date has been set but based on what I know, I'd expect for Chipotle to open in late December or early January.
PS: As I mentioned in an earlier post about Kitsch'n 155 opening in a vintage Arby's on Clairmont, "not fooling anybody" is a really cool site that chronicles businesses that have opened in former restaurant spaces. The site shows the second life of iconic restaurants of yesteryear, few of which convert from one national chain outlet to another national chain as this one at Northlake.