Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bantu Translates to Failure at Avalon, New Concept in the Works


Bantu has closed at Avalon

Bantu, an "Asian fusion" quick serve eatery in Avalon in Alpharetta, has closed.  The restaurant, which opened last fall, closed recently but the closure went unnoticed until my friend Jennifer of Gluten Free Go-To Guide noted it today.  A second location of Bantu, which I announced in January was planned for Viewpoint in midtown, is wisely no longer in the works. 

Bantu marks the first restaurant closure at the project and second tenant to close following C. Wonder's short stint at the project last year.  Another retailer, Boston Proper, simply didn't open their previously announced store at Avalon.  

In  place of Bantu, "Branch & Barrel, craft kitchen & bar " is scheduled to open in early 2016.  

Branch & Barrel will be led by local chef Todd Hogan of Cumming's Branchwater Restaurant. While I was furnished a potential menu for the restaurant, it does not list prices. (Nor does the online Bantu menu, so hey, at least they are consistent.)   The menu leans heavily towards southern inspired dishes, a stark contrast from the prior concept. 



Why do you think Bantu fared so poorly? Do you think they could have done better elsewhere, or was the concept just bad?  Do you think Branch & Barrel, with a completely different menu, will succeed?

Please share your thoughts below.  

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Never been to Avalon and have absolutely no desire to go. However, if I looked at just that logo alone that is pictured I would think it was some sort of bbq joint, not Asian fusion. Also - it's the deep burbs, can't get too fancy up there and depart from the usual fare of the burbs. Can imagine it can be difficult to take young kids to Asian fusion so you have to rely on business dinners and/or parties with no kids in tow.

Mark said...

Had horrible service and not very good food at Bantu. I am not surprised they are gone.

However-"Branch & Barrel, craft kitchen & bar" - c'mon how many table and taps and craft kitchens etc do we need? Are there no more original names in the world?

Mark said...

I had the worst service of my life at Bantu, and the food was not very good. I am not surprised they are gone.

How many table, tap, craft, kitchen etc restaurants can there be? Are there no more creative people left?

Anonymous said...

Isn't Bantu a group of Somalians? Shouldn't that be the name of an African restaurant, not an Asian one? Weird concept.

Anonymous said...

I never went to Bantu because both word of mouth from friends and reviews were so bad. Concept was fine, just a failed execution.

Menu above looks good, but heavy. Sad to see nothing but a couple of appetizers are vegetarian. And since much of it is similar in concept to food you can get elsewhere in Avalon, they'll need to be on their game.

AJ said...

Food was mediocre at best. As for this comment: "Also - it's the deep burbs, can't get too fancy up there and depart from the usual fare of the burbs" - that just (as usual) shows "city folk" ignorance. As someone who has lived in both cities and burbs (in both NY and Atlanta), I'm continually amazed that people have the belief that EVERYONE in the burbs just wants to eat at Applebees. They don't.

Anonymous said...

@AJ - ok, fine. Chili's and Cheesecake Factory too.

Anonymous said...

I think the restaurant choices at Avalon are all below par.

Anonymous said...

I predict that in 10 years, Avalon will just be another suburban power center.

jeff a. taylor said...

Kinda pointless to dwell on the urban-burb thing in a metro of 8 mil. Suffice it to say that most folks are no more than 20-25 away from some really good grub. And that boring cookie-cutter fare can be found serving both office parks and office high-rises. The trick is to find the good stuff, no matter where it might be.

Like a scant six miles closer in from Avalon in a strip center in Roswell. The Taqueria Tsunami outpost there just kills it IMHO. Great craft beer selection too. Like it much better than slammed location on the Square.

Nom Nom Nom said...

Yawn.

Rex said...

Bantu was horrid. It was the type of place that would thrive ITP, which flocked to Noodle and the like for years among their mediocre chains. It just was not good enough in the epicenter of metropolitan dining. I know he intended to open an ITP location. It will do very well there.

Sara Tonin said...

Doesn't matter if it's in the 'burbs' or right in the heart of "Thugville USA" (aka Atlanta) if your food is mediocre or better but you have great service you'll do fine. However, even the BEST food with crappy service will kill you every time in a market as saturated as this. Just hope Avalon doesn't become the next Atlantic Station.

Scott Hoaglund said...

Snob much, Anonymous?