|An out of state J. Alexander's location|
Casual chain flipping Norcross location
Nashville, Tennessee-based J. Alexander's will soon convert their existing restaurant in Norcross to Redlands Grill. Already referred to both by phone and on the website as "J. Alexander's - Redlands Grill," the restaurant is due to drop the J. Alexander's moniker entirely in the coming months.
In addition to their planned conversion in Norcross, J. Alexander's plans to re-brand as many as fifteen of their 29 locations nationwide by the end of the year. According to the J.Alexander's website, locations in Birmingham, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Memphis, and Nashville-West End are to be converted to Redlands Grill.
According to a J. Alexander's employee, the changes thus far have been small, with minor tweaks to the menu and interior signage. Plans call for Redlands Grill to be more feature driven, getting away from the static menu that made J.Alexander's what it is. Some classic dishes will remain, but the new menu will emphasize " farm-to-table ingredients" and feature seasonal menu selections that are likely to vary by region.
Maryville, Tennessee-based Ruby Tuesday tried to do something similar when they converted some of their existing locations to Marlin & Ray's, a casual seafood restaurant or to Truffles Grill, an upscale American eatery. In both cases, the conversions fell short of expectations and the restaurants are now closed. In Buckhead, the former Ruby Tuesday (Truffles Cafe / Grill) became Katana, a Japanese eatery.
According to the J. Alexander's website, the chain operates two locations in metro Atlanta: Dunwoody and Norcross. The Dunwoody unit is referred to simply as "J. Alexander's," and so it seems is safe from conversion, for now.
In addition to the current count of 29 J. Alexander's, the company also operates ten Stoney River Steakhouse & Grill restaurants (fka Stoney River Legendary Steaks). There are three Stoney River restaurants in metro Atlanta: in Smyrna at Cumberland Mall, in Duluth at the corner of State Bridge Road and GA 141, and in Roswell at the corner of Alpharetta Highway and Highway 92. There are no immediate plans to convert any of the Stoney River restaurants.
Last fall, the company filed plans to re-enter the public markets and have an IPO, but they abandoned those plans late last month. Company CFO Mark Parkey said of the decision, “The company has determined not to pursue the initial public offering because terms currently obtainable in the public marketplace are not sufficiently attractive to the company.”
Beverly Hills-based Houston's, seen as by many as a chief rival to J. Alexander's, performed an interesting internal conversion of their own. The Buckhead (Peachtree Road) location of Houston's was quietly re-named "Hillstone" over two years ago. The move, naming the restaurant after its parent, Hillstone Restaurant Group, has not significantly affected the menu or pricing.