Boston, Massachusetts-based Au Bon Pain will open a new location at Peachtree Center later this year.
The fast casual bakery & cafe eatery plans to open a new location within Peachtree Center's south tower at 225 Peachtree. Au Bon Pain is opening in place of what was most recently a reincarnation of Jack's Sandwich Shop before it closed this past January. The roughly 1700 square foot space, plus two adjoining spaces, were for many years an Atlanta Bread Co. cafe.
Au Bon Pain closed their locations at Atlantic Station and Allen Plaza in 2008 and 2009 respectively. The Atlantic Station location lasted about six months before closing, while the Allen Plaza location lasted a little longer. The Allen Plaza closure was more of an eviction as the bakery's furniture, fixtures and equipment were all left outside. (The Atlantic Station location reopened as Tin Drum Asia Cafe while the Allen Plaza location became Harvest Bistro and now, Cafe Apple)
Au Bon Pain had at least one location at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport but that location closed recently.
Au Bon Pain offers a menu similar to that of Corner Bakery, which has a location across the street in 270 Peachtree. Each restaurant offers a variety of sandwiches, salads, soups and baked goods. Corner Bakery closed a location at Colony Square over five years ago, but now owned by Atlanta-based Roark Capital Group, it has been expanding its local presence. Corner Bakery recently opened a new location in Norcross at Peachtree Corners, and has locations in Cobb at Akers Mill and in Alpharetta off North Point Parkway in the works.
Au Bon Pain, on the other hand, recently opened at Piedmont Hospital and is following what seems to have been their successful strategy in other markets like New York and Pennsylvania. Many of their restaurants are located in "destination centers," where dining options may be limited, and they are one of the only ones. Examples are within hospitals, office buildings, universities, airports and bus stations. This strategy allows ABP to maximize "in-line" locations and minimize high cost, freestanding locations.
Are you excited about the return of Au Bon Pain to downtown Atlanta? Do you think Au Bon Pain will do well within Peachtree Center? What is your favorite bakery / cafe restaurant? Please share your thoughts below.