Friday, March 23, 2012

Tin Drum Beating On Doc's Door

Atlanta-based Tin Drum Asia Cafe will soon take on a similar eatery head to head.  Wonderful World Burgers & Fries (another Tin Drum concept) will close its Emory Village location tomorrow and reopen late next month as Tin Drum.  Tin Drum opened two Wonderful World locations a few years back, but with this closing, they will be left with none.  The original location opened in early 2009 adjacent to the Tin Drum on Broad Street near GSU, downtown.  The Emory Village location followed
soon after.  It't my understanding that the downtown location has been closed for over a year now.

The concept seemed kind of half baked to me and offered a very minimal menu of a few burgers and fries to canned soda.  Its closing is not a surprise, it being replaced by Tin Drum in Emory Village IS.

The first Tin Drum opened in 2003 on 5th Street near Georgia Tech.  Steven Chan, a Tech graduate, has since expanded the business to include a nine locations and recently started offering franchises with the first out-of-state location having recently opened at The Summit in Birmingham.  Locally, Tin Drum also took over the former Doc Green's on Roswell Road in North Buckhead and opened a few weeks ago. Tin Drum will also soon open in the Colony Square food court in midtown.

Many will recall the failed concept Mama Fu's Noodle House Asian House that was opened by Raving Brands, now Big Game Brands.  The concept was similar to Tin Drum but was actually modeled after Doc Chey's Noodle House.  Doc Chey's was started by Rich Chey in 1997 with its first location in Virginia-Highland / Morningside.  Chey went on to open the Emory Village location soon after, and later added locations in Athens and Sandy Springs as well as Greenville, South Carolina and Asheville, North Carolina. Today, the Athens and  Asheville locations remain open and a short-lived Italian concept (from Chey), Stella Trattoria, was converted to Doc Chey's in early 2009.

I don't see this as the same thing as a Burger King next to McDonald's: they like to be near one another.  This seems irrational.  Doc Chey's is a well known and well liked eatery with the intown crowds, not only because the food is good at fair prices, but also because the restaurant offers their Karma Card to reward loyal diners.  Doc Chey's also participates in countless neighborhood events and charities and I question the reasoning behind Tin Drum opening a direct competitor so close.

Maybe they can both survive and thrive, maybe not.  What are your thoughts?  Do you prefer Tin Drum or Doc Chey's?  What is your favorite restaurant in Emory Village?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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6 comments:

Carl Black said...

The limited Wonderful World concept never worked for me. I really wish they'd worked on retooling that instead of launching a duplicate concept. After all, burgers are still very hot. Asian...apparently is not. There have been too many closings and retoolings of concepts like these. Maybe Tin Drum is somehow more distinguished? I've never has a reason to try them out, and it's highly likely this location won't change that.

Grant, the Hipster Dad said...

I wish Tin Drum's owner all the best - seriously, anybody who likes David Sylvian so much has my stamp of approval - but I am sorry to see Wonderful World go. I only visited once, but that was a really good burger!

steven c. said...

Thanks Grant. Closing WW was a very difficult decision. But we're excited about Tin Drum and will do our absolute best to serve the Emory community; and thanks for the mention of David Sylvian. The more Tin Drums' hopefully the more people can learn about David Sylvian. That's always been my personal goal.
Bests,
Steven

Nick S. said...

Tin Drum's are fantastic!!

I wish much success to Steven Chan and all his current and future endeavors.

gk said...

so we will now have 2 asian concepts, 2 pizza concepts, 2 burrito/taco concepts...time for something new, maybe with table service and upscale atmosphere...what do you guys think, what is missing from Emory Village?

Wishing for above average Asian food intown said...

Which one is my fav? Serious question? They both SUCK. Neither Rick Chey or Steven Chan would serve that garbage to their own families. We need to some real Asian food ITP not near Buford highway. Between Doc Chey's, Tin Drum, Noodle and the like, it's all the same crappy stuff.