Fortunately for Atlanta, Burger Joe's closed many of their locations a couple years back, the Marietta Street location being one of the closures. Last year Decatur-based BBQ eatery Community Q announced they would open a new location in the old burger joint, but after filing plans with the city, they started to see what a (costly) ordeal the process would be, and opted not continue. Now. Duluth-based Raku will hope to succeed in the same space.
Among the issues with the converted gas/service station are that the building is not up to code in a number of ways, and the costs associated with bringing the facility to where it needs to be are high. Additionally, given the original use of the building, there was/is little onsite parking. This was less of an issue for Burger Joe's, who offered both delivery and takeout, but will be a much bigger of an issue for Raku.
Raku is Japanese restaurant that specializes in tonkatsu, a Japanese dish consisting of a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet and ramen, the popular Asian noodle dish. For many ITPers who have not made the trek to Pleasant Hill or Buford Highway, the best ramen can be found at Miso Izakaya on Edgewood in the Old Fourth Ward. Given the popularity of Miso's ramen, it's no wonder another eatery would hope to capture some of the intown attention. For what it's worth, Miso has taken their ramen on the road with plans for more ramen pop up lunches around Atlanta.
Raku opened on Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth in early 2011 and is owned by the same group behind Honey Pig, a Korean restaurant on Old Norcross Road, also in Duluth. A few months after opening, Raku was reviewed by John Kessler of the AJC. Kessler questions whether Raku is a Japanese restaurant or a Korean restaurant, before concluding that "it's a Japanese restaurant for Korean tastes." In the end Kessler awards the restaurant two stars, meaning "a worthy addition to its neighborhood, and the food is consistent."
On the plus side for Raku, their restaurant is close to Georgia Tech and is along Marietta Street on a stretch frequented by both Tech and Georgia State students making their way to and from classes and home. Additionally, although Spoon recently closed their nearby restaurant, the space has already been reopened as Satto Thai Sushi Bar. A few blocks north of Raku, close to Bocado, Mike Blum (founder of Chow Baby) and Guy Wong (owner/chef at Miso Izakaya) will open Yum Bunz later this month. The fast casual eatery will feature assorted "bunz" (bao) filled with assorted proteins and sweets. The menu will also have assorted ssam (Korean wraps), salads, bowls and dumplings.
With Satto already open, Yum Bunz hoping to open before month end and Raku hoping to be open by May, Marietta Street is quickly becoming a mini Buford Highway...almost. (Quickly anyone?)
What are your thoughts on Raku opening in the old Burger Joe's? Will the limited parking situation kill them or will people find a way to enjoy their food? Would you like for there to be a Quickly closer in the city? Please share your thoughts below.