Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Hail Mary Unsuccessful in Avondale Estates

In a strange turn of events, The James Joyce Pub, which closed in Avondale Estates at the end of September, and reopened days later under new ownership as The Hail Mary, has reverted back to the original ownership and again changed its name, now to Avondale Arms.   James Joyce originally opened in 2002 and did well for a number of years but its owner, Denise Gerard, who also owns the popular Brewhouse Cafe in Little Five Points, saw sales lagging and sought a change.  

The Hail Mary has had a location in Grayson, Georgia since 2008, and its owner Blake Hawkins stated at the time of the Avondale Estates opening that if successful, they hoped to franchise the brand.  Based on the Decatur restaurant changing hands and concepts so soon after the Hail Mary conversion, perhaps the idea of a "family friendly sports bar"  was not so well thought-out.  

With Gerard back at the helm, Avondale Arms opened yesterday December 17th, and I'm told will not be an Irish pub, nor just a sports bar, but will hope to fuse successful aspects of both.  

Do you live in the neighborhood and enjoyed The Hail Mary or did you miss The James Joyce?  Have you already been to Avondale Arms? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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7 comments:

Gotta Knit! said...

Hail Mary was a dreadful name and sports bar at that location really not a great idea. The James Joyce Pub is beautiful but the few times I went there the food was nothing special. With so many excellent and good restaurants just a few miles away in City of Decatur she really needs to bring the Avondale Arms up quite a few notches in food and service to be successful.

Kat said...

for awhile the James Joyce went downhill as far as food. recently, even pre-change the food had gotten much better. I was told by one of the servers that they had "stolen" the chef from the Corner Pub. about 3 weeks before changing to the Hail Mary (I agree, horrible name!) I had a truly excellent cheeseburger there. we've dined for both brunch and dinner since the change and both were pretty good. the burger was still good and the wings were good as well. hopefully this latest change doesn't hurt the food again.

doctorlorra said...

We have been residents in Avondale since 2008 and absolutely loved James Joyce. They had the best shepherds pie I have ever tasted and the chicken fingers were amazing. It's tough getting some folks to accept change but I am glad to see we are going to go round two with this one. Hail Mary was just a little to hmmm....ordinary. Bring back those chicken fingers from before please and the irish bread. We will be back!!!

Barbara said...

My husband and I loved to sit on the patio at James Joyce and order from the diverse menu. They did a fabulous salmon salad. When we went last weekend for our Sunday breakfast and saw the horrible name change, we were skeptical, and then really disappointed with the sports bar menu. How could they think something from Grayson would be a hit in the Decatur area? Big Miss but glad they are trying to correct it. I will try Avondale Arms.

ACB said...

I really enjoyed the food at Hail Mary's, and had many great items off of their menu! I don't really care what it's named, as long as the food is good, the beer menu is extensive, and the servers are attentive. Hopefully as Avondale Arms it will get more attention - although the last time I visited it was packed!

Anonymous said...

The Joyce was a good neighborhood hang out The food wasn't great but they had good burgers and wings and salad options. Sometimes I'd get the salmon. The hail Mary was just fried stuff and the atmosphere was gone. Real shame cause I can walk to the place - hope the new changes wil consider a better menu ( more lighter options and some gluten free stuff would be helpful too!!). I really want it to work !!! Leslie in Avondale

Anonymous said...

Looks like after all the changes and change-backs the location is CLOSED FOR GOOD. Like DONE. GONE. NOTHING NOW.

Am I the only one who thinks this was all totally unnecessary? The owner shouldn't have messed with what was actually working in the first place. The original JJ had good food and atmosphere.