This past July, Zaxby's opened their highly anticipated Buckhead location on Roswell Road near Wieuca Road. Its opening was so successful that an off-duty APD officer was brought in in the days following the opening to direct traffic. In late October, construction finally started on Zaxby's new Chamblee location in an outparcel of Lowe's Home Improvement. I drove by recently and judging from the little progress that has been made, I'd wager their planned January 23rd opening may be pushed at least a a few weeks.
Now Zaxby's will add another intown location, this time on North Druid Hills Road, near North DeKalb Mall. Located next to Pier 1 Imports, the new restaurant opens at a time when interest and consumer traffic in the area surrounding the mall has decreased substantially. Costco Wholesale had been in talks with the mall's owner Hendon Properties repeatedly over the years, but I'm told at this point the Costco that opened last year in TOWN Brookhaven is in lieu of the previously proposed North DeKalb location. (Clearly the two markets are different, but it seems the store is simply off the books)
The Zaxby's will occupy about an acre of land that has sat vacant for years, and judging from the work being done onsite, may feature access from both North Druid Hills and Sweet Briar Roads. Rumors are flying among residents and mall employees that a Golden Corral is opening next to the Zaxby's too but there is simply not enough room for both. Though representatives from mall owner Hendon Properties were unable to confirm much, they were able tell me that the Zaxby's land was originally their property and it was sold to the restaurant. Judging from the initial work being done, I'd hope to see the restaurant open for business sometime around late March or early April.Golden Corral has been experimenting with smaller sites where restaurants measure roughly 7800 s/f as opposed to their larger roughly 12,000 s/f locations. Its parking requirements also decrease from 155 to 115 spaces with the smaller locations. Perhaps the Golden Corral will make use of other available land surrounding or within the mall?
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While their space is not large enough for a Golden Corral, Checkers recently shuttered their longstanding restaurant at the corner of North Druid Hills Road and Lawrenceville Highway, and its size and location could be ideal for another fast food eatery. When I first mentioned its closure, numerous people mentioned Starbucks as an ideal replacement but personally I'd love to see a Cookout open!
Zaxby's immediate neighbors are a jewelry store and the aforementioned Pier 1 Imports. Just north on North Druid Hills though, a McDonald's recently renovated and added a second drive-thru and Chick-fil-A maintains its triple drive-thru only location after it closed its location within North DeKalb Mall in early 2010. It's worth noting that not far from Zaxby's new location is an abandoned Mrs. Winner's Chicken & Biscuits in an outparcel near The Home Depot. This restaurant has been vacant for upwards of five years and practically screams redevelopment.
I've lived in this neighborhood my entire life and have fond memories of going to Challenges and the AMC Theaters as a youngster. I'd name some of my other favorites, but then I'd have nothing for my Twitter trivia, which by the way, you should be playing and following.
Now it's your turn, area resident or not, what do you think could be done at this mall or in the area surrounding it to make it popular once again? What should occupy the the old Checkers or Mrs. Winner's? Are you excited about the upcoming Zaxby's? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.