Birmingham, Alabama-based Guthrie's closed their freestanding location within Georgetown Shopping Center on Chamblee-Dunwoody Road late last week, according to a representative at their Norcross location.
The first Guthrie's was opened by Hal Guthrie in Haleyville, Alabama in 1965 and by 2009 there were 41 locations. Today the chain has shrunk and includes about 20 across six states, according to its website. Guthrie's is said to have been the inspiration for a number of other chicken eateries including Raising Cane's and Zaxby's.
Todd Graves and Craig Silvey opened the first Raising Cane's in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1996. Today the chain has grown to over 150 locations in 15 states.
Zach McLeroy and Tony Townley opened the first Zaxby's in Statesboro, Georgia in 1990. Now based in Athens, the chain has grown to over 500 locations across 13 states.
Within Georgetown Plaza, Guthrie's opened in place of a shuttered Dairy Queen. The Dairy Queen was demolished and a new structure was erected for Guthrie's in 2004.
Georgetown Plaza is anchored by Kroger and also home to a Goldberg's Bagel, Farmburger and Morelli's, among others.
I frequented the Dunwoody location in its early years, but had curtailed my visits significantly as of late. The restaurant was very limited in their offerings and that may very well have led to their downfall. Aside from fried chicken tenders (in a basket, in a sandwich or on a salad) which were all really good, and fries, there was little else to the menu.
There remain three Guthrie's in Georgia: one in Norcross (in a former Donatos Pizza) and two others in Ringgold and Trenton.
Inside sources tell me that Starbucks has the first right of refusal on the space. While they already have an inline location within the center, the freestanding location would provide them the opportunity to offer drive-thru service. Earlier this year, Starbucks announced that 60 percent of the 1,500 new stateside locations planned to open through the next five years will have drive-thru windows. This "new" location would obviously be in line with that goal and allow for the coffee house to capitalize on a previously untapped opportunity in the center.
Where is your favorite fried chicken eatery? Do you think Zaxby's is the industry's best? Are you happy to hear a Starbucks is the likely replacement? Please share your thoughts below.