Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Taco Diner Stillborn in Midtown?


Irving, Texas-based M Crowd Restaurant Group has reportedly (temporarily?) pulled the plug on its planned Taco Diner restaurant at 77 12th Street in midtown.  The restaurant is the sibling of existing M Crowd concept Mi Cocina, which opened at the nearby 1010 Midtown property in November 2012.


Billed as a Mexico City-style taqueria, Taco Diner was originally announced in the fall of 2012 with a projected summer 2013 opening.  The opening was subsequently pushed to "Fall 2013," and later "Spring 2014."    

The restaurant group has reportedly spent a few hundred thousand dollars already, but has seemingly had a change of heart, having all but stopped construction. The last building permit for "HVAC Commercial" was filed with the City of Atlanta December 18th, with an unspecified amount of work having been completed. 

I reached out to M Crowd's corporate office in Irving, Texas, but despite my numerous calls and a voicemail, I never got any response as to the status of the Atlanta location.  Instead, I called multiple Taco Diner locations inquiring about the opening timetable of the Atlanta location.  Although some employees reached were more or less unhelpful, two did confirm (after consulting a manager) that the Atlanta location "may never open." 

There have been a couple of recent restaurant openings at 77 12th, and there is another slated for May. 

Casual Indian eatery Tabla, originally announced to be called Chutney, opened in the project this past December. BurgerFi, a fast-casual "better burger" eatery based in North Palm Beach, Florida, opened at the 77 12th project this past weekend, marking the chain's fourth metro area location. Max's Wine Dive, a Houston, Texas-based casual dining establishment, is reportedly on track to open May 15th.  

Fig Jam Kitchen & Cocktails, which "moved" from their now closed south Buckhead location,  is also supposedly still opening but it's unclear when exactly that will happen.  

Does this move indicate M Crowd's decreased confidence in the midtown market and perhaps that it's unhappy with the results of Mi Cocina?  If Taco Diner does in fact abandon its space, what would you like to see open?  Of the recent midtown openings, what has been your favorite? 

Please share your thoughts below.  

15 comments:

Patrick McAtee said...

I went to Mi Cocina with a group of friends two weeks ago on a Saturday night and it was not very busy. The manager came over to our table and thanked us for visiting and gave us free sample margaritas. He told us that their entry into the Atlanta market hasn't been as good as expected.

Anonymous said...

Very surprising and disappointing. Mi Cocina and Taco Diner kill it in Texas.

Anonymous said...

I was at Mi Cocina this past Saturday night and it was packed with a waiting list. Mi Cocina also took forever to build-out. After so much hype from Texas transplants, I was disappointed in the place when it opened. I thought the food was bland. But now there is a new manager and the food is much better tasting.

Anonymous said...

Re: Mi Cocina. Not surprising to me. Who wants to eat Mexican food at a white tablecloth restaurant? I don't.

ATL has much better options for Mexican food than Mi Cocina.

Anonymous said...

Mi Cocina doesn't have tablecloths.

Dan said...

I've eated at Mi Cocina 3 times now and actually really like it in there.

Its a shame that Taco Diner is stalling, the inside of the restaurant looks a mess now (with all the stacked kitchen equipment) on that prominent corner of 12th and Crescent.

Burger-fi along with Bantam & Biddy opposite and the soon to open Max's were bringing new life to that end of the street....shame this seems like a step backwards.

Anonymous said...

Why why why would a company spend all of that money on development if they were not sure that they were going to open. Some of the business decisions in this city just absolutely baffle me.

Anonymous said...

Re: 'Why why why would a company spend all of that money ...'

I think they were hoping for the streetcar to drop off hundreds, thousands! of hungry streetcar riders. But it's not to be. Soon Mayor Reid will be changing diapers.

Anonymous said...

Dan, you "eated" (sic) at Mi Cocina?

Anonymous said...

"I think they were hoping for the streetcar to drop off hundreds...."

That boondoggle wouldn't have been done for 20 years. Maybe you should spend less time on silly "diaper" lines and educate yourself on what you are bleating about.

Dan said...

Sorry Anonymous I meant to say that I "ated" at Mi Cocina.

Apologies to the grammar and spelling police dept.

Anonymous said...

yeah, well 'ated' is not a work either. hope you were trying to be funny..

Dan said...

"yeah, well 'ated' is not a work either"

You are right...its not a work either lol

Anonymous said...

I don't blame them. I'm in the service industry and Atlanta's market sucks. I think the only real market here is for bars and cheaper food and the options are limited and sprawled out and not very good if you travel a bunch and compare them to other cities. I'm speaking in generalities, I know. And I'm sure people can point out exceptions. But the rule seems to be that if you cost more than $15 for an entree you probably have little chance of being busy. As a side note, the public and the restaurants have very different ideas of "busy" and having to wait on a weekend for a seat or table doesn't reflect the relative silence that occurs Sunday through Wednesday amnesties Thursday. If that company is from Dallas they probably made a mistake by coming to this weak market.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see a mini international market (cheese, charcuterie, wine). A decent eurpean-style bakery wouldn't hurt (yeah no, Panera does not count)