Saturday, December 6, 2014

Things Start to Percolate at Buckhead Atlanta With Planned Corso Coffee Opening

Trendy coffee shop sets new opening date

Corso Coffee, a new-to-Atlanta concept from New York-based LDV Hospitality, has been seemingly nearly ready to open for weeks, if not months, but still has yet to serve a single cup.

As of this week, the coffee shop will reportedly open on December 20th, this according to Tucker Berta, President of Liz Lapidus PR, who represents the group locally.  

Outdoor table and benches await installation on Corso's patio
While I have heard a multitude of rumors and reasons for the delayed opening, Berta's official response was rather vanilla as to why the opening has been delayed. 

"Corso Coffee is the first of three concepts LDV is thrilled to open in Buckhead Atlanta, and they wanted to get the timing absolutely perfect for their first (yet smallest) opening.  The holidays feel like a great time to open, and we're looking forward to welcoming customers on December 20."

I visited the property this week and from what I can see, the build-out looks 80-85% done (which is essentially the same amount of completion I saw in mid October.) I hope Corso is able to meet their current projected timetable, but given my limited but growing knowledge of permits, certificates and general City of Atlanta red tape, you never know.  
Trendy subway tile and beautiful marble floor, check!
According to Berta, Corso will be "serving artisanal roasted coffee, wine and sweet treats." Following the grand opening celebrations in spring 2015 (of all three concepts), "Corso will begin offering more food options – paninis, salads, etc."

There are plenty of rumors as to why the coffee shop has yet to open, but facts are few.  Rather than air all the speculation, I've instead done additional research into LDV and their current portfolio.

As Berta's quote mentioned, Corso is only the first of three planned eateries by LDV [La Dolce Vita] in Buckhead Atlanta.  American Cut, a steakhouse, and Lugo Cucina Italiana, an Italian eatery, are the other concepts from LDV Hospitality that will reportedly open in the spring.  

Corso Coffee measures 1,592 square feet and according to its March 2014 building permit, cost just north of a half million dollars to build-out.  (This number may very well have increased, given the delays.) 

Future home of American Cut 
American Cut, measuring a reported 18,720 square feet, will open across from Shake Shack, below the new Spanx headquarters.  According to a permit filed with the city of Atlanta in early October, American Cut's build-out will cost $3 million.  

A rendering of what Lugo is expected to look like 
Lugo, measuring 7,887 square feet, will be located above Etro at the corner of Buckhead Avenue and Boling Way.  The restaurant's main dining room will be roughly 6,000 square feet, with the remainder being outdoor patio seating, overlooking the project.  Lugo's build-out will cost about $1.5 million, according to a building permit filed with the city in March.

According to the LDV website, the group operates 20 restaurants in five markets (New York City, Atlantic City, Miami, Las Vegas & Los Angeles.)  The group operated three concepts at Revel Casino in Atlantic City, but all were closed when the casino filed bankruptcy and closed in early September.  (These closures seem yet to have been fully reflected on the website.) According to an LDV rep, all three concepts will reportedly re-open "soon." LDV's re-opening at Revel is, of course, contingent on a deal to reopen the colossal casino.  A deal was reached in October by Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management to purchase the $2.4 billion casino for $110 million.  That deal has reportedly hit at least one significant snag, with the sale yet to close.  

I, like most, if not all, Atlantans, am hoping for all the best from Buckhead Atlanta.  After the delays, name changes, setbacks, etc., smooth sailing and strong sales is what the project needs. That said, these early unexplained delays with LDV definitely remind me of LA-based The Dolce Group and their three concepts that opened at Atlantic Station.  Dolce Enoteca, Geisha House and to a lesser extent, Ten Pin Alley, were all LA favorites and brought to Atlanta with the thought that they would be just as popular.  As we all know, that turned out not to be the case and all are now closed.  

LDV Founder & Principal John Meadow 
LDV founder John Meadow seems unphased by the risks associated with opening trendy restaurants.  “We can do a restaurant tomorrow; it can close. We're still going to open another 10 in the next two years” Meadow said in an interview with Gotham magazine last summer.  

Obviously, Buckhead Atlanta is no Atlantic Station, and times are different now than they were then.  

Hopefully LDV's entry into Atlanta goes well and their concepts become just as popular as they are projected to be.  

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

It could be that LDV only lacks knowledge in the fine art of "motivating" city of Atlanta licensing / building inspection officials.

Anonymous said...

I can't predict how ldv will do in Atlanta, but in Miami their restaurant scarpetta is pretty amazing. That being said, like many of their restaurants in various cities, scarpetta is in a hotel (the fontainbleau complex, heavy with tourist and convention diners

vespajet said...

I've only eaten at one of their restaurants, D.O.C.G. Enoteca at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas a few years ago. The food was decent (I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there, but if it was presented as an option, I'd go back.), but for a Sunday night in October, it was dead (I've walked by the place on subsequent trips to Vegas, and it's never been too crowded. Folks wanting Italian tend to go to their sister restaurant, Scarpetta, which is right next door.). There are much better places for Italian in Las Vegas than D.O.C.G.

How the company will fare in Atlanta, who knows. Unless they really bring something unique or a good value, they may be short-lived here. What are they bringing to the table that isn't already being done by a local joint?