Friday, March 22, 2013

Lenox Square Upgrading Its Dining Options

Rendering of Lenox Square's new front entrance 
Buckhead's Lenox Square is adding a number of new names as its renovation continues.

One of the most significant non-tenant related changes to the front of the mall will be a traffic circle at the mall entrance, where currently there is a four way intersection as you leave or enter the mall near the flagpoles.

In addition to landscape elements and a renovated front entrance, side entrance and food court, the mall is adding a number of new restaurants and retailers and earlier this month hinted at a total of 15-20 more in the works.   The list below is my accounting of ten new planned openings at the mall.  

On that press release, most of the new stores I had posted about (a two story Nike, UGG, Karen Millen and Sprinkles Cupcakes) were confirmed, with the exception of Lacoste.  Lacoste is said to be finally relocating to a larger store, a store that will be just over 2,000 square feet and located between Bebe and Nike at the front of the mall. 

Other retailers said to be joining the mall are Sperry Top-Sider and Vince Camuto.

Sperry Topsider will open adjacent to a relocated Karen Millen on the main level of the mall, near the main entrance.  The company, world famous for their popular boat shoes, has expanded into more clothing and accessories as it hopes to become a more diversified lifestyle brand.   Lenox Square will mark the chain's second in Atlanta, their first opened at Perimeter Mall last year.  

Vince Camuto will also open at the front of the mall in place of Carol's Daughter, alongside UGG.  Vince Camuto started as women's shoe retailer founded by Vince Camuto, who previously founded Nine West.  Today the company has expanded into clothing for men and women, as well as accessories and fragrances.  As of now, the only place to find the line is at departments stores like Dilllard's and Nordstrom.  

Carol's Daughter will relocate to a space I never knew existed in the back of the main mall level near XXI Forever.  The space is about 950 square feet and is one of the most obscure spaces to put the store that reportedly was doing well, but was forced to relinquish its space to UGG. 

Additionally, Penguin, a store located on the lower level near Urban Outfitters, will also relocate, reopening on the luxury wing in the former Shabby Chic Laura Ashley space on the second level.  The space had most recently played host to Steve Madden during the buildout of their new store.  While Steve Madden's move was temporary for a new location, something tells me this will be the place Penguin goes to die.   

As far as restaurants go, a well placed source has verified The Cheesecake Factory will in fact open at Lenox Square.  The Calabasas Hills, California based restaurant will leave (since their lease is not being renewed) their freestanding two-level restaurant on Peachtree for a roughly 8,500 sq/ft, single-level  restaurant at the front of Lenox Square.  Cheesecake Factory will occupy former Crate & Barrel space to the left of Nike. 

While a relocation of The Cheesecake Factory is great for the mall, the most exciting additions for me are the planned openings of True Food Kitchen and Zinburger.

Zinburger is not a new burger concept from Arden's Garden founder Arden Zinn, but rather a casual "better burger" and wine bar eatery from restaurateur Sam Fox of Scottsdale, Arizona based Fox Restaurant Concepts. Fox, together with health advocate and author Andrew Weil, launched True Food Kitchen in 2008 with a location in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Chicken salad w/ sweet potato hash / Edamame ravioli / Assorted vegetables with  fresh taziki 

Having now been to both restaurants, I can say that True Food Kitchen is my favorite and am cautiously optimistic about its entry into Atlanta.  My visits to True Food took place first in Santa Monica, California in 2011, and later in San Diego and Phoenix, last year.  These locales, especially the southern California locations, are very different from the weather and demographics of Atlanta. 

I would describe True Food Kitchen as a tropical, more colorful version of Darden's Seasons 52, a chain with two locations in Atlanta, one in Buckhead. No other restaurant could present vegetables in a way that makes me want to eat them like chips.  

I first experienced this new concept in Santa Monica California in 2011 and tracked down their original location on a trip to Phoenix this past fall. True Food previously received a $10 million credit facility from Scottsdale, Arizona-based P.F. Chang's China Bistro which the Asian eatery turned to equity when it bought a controlling stake in the True Food early last year. 

Interestingly, True Food Kitchen was shown on an early rendering for the renovations of the Shops Around Lenox in late 2010.  The space shown for True Food is now occupied by Paper Source and the newly opened Bhojanic Indian eatery. 

Zinburger is a "better burger" concept offering a variety of burgers priced around $12, pricing them local options like Grindhouse Killer Burgers and below that of failed NY based burger joint, 5 Napkin Burger.  Zinburger also has a number of salads and as its name suggests, Zinfandel and other wines and beers.  Fox Restaurant Concepts has a total of three Zinburger locations in Arizona: two in Tucson, and the original in Phoenix. 

Early last year, New Jersey based The Briad Group signed a licensing agreement to develop Zinburger in 23 states east of the Mississippi River.  Briad is a multi-faceted hospitality company with operations in both hotels and restaurants.

Briad's existing Zinburger restaurants in Clifton, Paramus, and Cherry Hill are all in its home state of New Jersey. According to the (Briad) Zinburger website, there are future Zinburger openings scheduled for Durham, North Carolina, Boca Raton and Sunrise, Florida, and Nanuet and Huntington Station, New York. All but the Durham restaurant, at The Streets at Southpoint, are at SIMON owned properties.   While there is no mention of the Lenox Sqaure restaurant on the website nor was my call for comment returned, a well placed industry source confirms their intentions. 

The two restaurants will split the former Lenox Square Grill/Clubhouse space. True Food's space will be about 5,500 square feet with a Peachtree Road facing patio, with Zinburger coming in a bit bigger at around 5,600 square feet, also with a Peachtree Road facing patio.  

These expected restaurant openings will provide much needed variety to Lenox Sqaure which has lost a number of its sit down options over the years.  Brasserie Le Coze, Mick's and tomtom all closed at the mall and were in each scenario replaced not by a restaurant, but by a retailer.  Currently, sit down options at the  mall are limited to Prime, California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) and the NM Cafe within Neiman Marcus.

Beverly Hills-based Sprinkles will open their first new concept store at the front of the mall.  Sprinkles, traditionally known for their delicious cupcakes, entered the ice cream market last year and will further their dessert dominance with the addition of cookies as well.   Their dessert diversification will take place in a roughly 3,400 sq ft space in the front of the mall with limited outdoor seating. The opening of this first-of-its-kind combination store was recently mentioned by Nation's Restaurant News, an article that also mentioned doughnuts as being "on the drawing board."  

The Lenox Square food court will also not only get a face-lift and renovation, but will also see the addition of a number of new restaurants.   

The lunchtime line at Chipotle's food court location  in Orlando's Mall at Millenia
Newcomers include Denver based Chipotle Mexican Grill, Atlanta based Figo Pasta, Conshohocken, Pennsylvania based Saladworks  and Rosemead, California based Panda Express.  The planned Lenox Square outposts of Chipotle and FIGO are firsts in Atlanta for each concept.  FIGO has never before been in a mall, let alone a food court, while Chipotle has locations in other malls.  The location in Lenox Square will mark Salad Works first in Georgia, although they are in many other malls around the country.  

These openings will likely come at the expense of some current businesses within the food court.  Hovan, a middle eastern restaurant famous for their wraps and falafels, will likely depart the food court, as will Cloud 9 Cupcakes. Interestingly, Hovan also recently closed their Perimeter Mall location while Cloud 9 opened at Perimeter's food court in place of a failed Yoforia.  

Short-lived Indian eatery Kababish closed a few weeks ago and its space will likely be where FIGO Pasta opens.  Space occupied by Viagio, a concept similar to FIGO that failed miserably in 2009, will likely be the new home of Panda Express.  

What are your thoughts on these additions to Lenox Square?  What else would you like to see open at the mall?  Do you like the idea of a traffic circle at the front?

Please weigh in below with your thoughts.  

11 comments:

AJ said...

Lots of changes. Looking forward to the Fox restaurants coming to Atlanta. Hopefully if they're successful, some of their other concepts will make it to Atlanta. Also thrilled with Figo. Great option! Panda Express - meh - shocks me how popular that place is! Wish we were getting Grand Lux instead of Cheesecake. Oh well...

AJ said...

Oh, and for people who will bitch & moan about *another* burger place coming. To that I say, if you don't like them, don't dine there.

Anonymous said...

talk about a positive change with these new additions - just night and day. great variety.

regarding panda express, it's not exactly my first option when in the mood for asian, but i'll put it up against just about every other chinese takeout place i've tried. solid choice for a mall food court.

Anonymous said...

Has an opening date been set for Sprinkles Cupcakes? This summer?

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon,

Thus far SIMON has not released an expected opening.

Thanks for reading and for the question.

Anonymous said...

I may have mentioned this here already in another Lenox Mall post, but just FYI ... Lenox now has some awesome new charging stations for electric vehicles in the back, near the Bloomingdales entrance. They are documented here: http://www.recargo.com/sites/7613

Anonymous said...

I love Zinburger! Can't wait for it to open.

Jenna S. said...

Great post! I am so excited about all of the new changes coming to Lenox soon! Cant wait to have better dining options there, especially!

Anonymous said...

I am not excited for Panda Express to open at the mall. There is already Asian Chaos at the mall (which offers similar concepts) and a sushi stand.

Justin W said...

Sprinkles! Finally one in Atlanta!!!

Shaw said...

Yes finally some one knows good food yes thank for all the new restaurnt oh yes! Cheese cake factory , chipoltle yea! zin burger yea! It was getting so sad in the food court now happiness!!