Monday, October 5, 2015

Here to Serve No Longer Here to Serve?

A sign posted at Prime  reads "Unfortunately Prime will be closed tonight. We apologize for the inconvenience."  
Multiple restaurants abruptly close.

Atlanta-based Here to Serve Restaurants informed their staff at about 5 PM this evening that they are shutting down and that all restaurants will close.  The news came as a shock to many in the restaurant industry, especially the nearly 1,000 employed by the group's ten Atlanta area restaurants.  

As of earlier tonight, Here to Serve operated three Noche locations (Brookhaven, Virginia Highland & Vinings) two locations of Coast (Buckhead & Johns Creek) Prime, Shucks, Smash, Strip and Twist.  

After receiving the news of their closure, I contacted each restaurant. As of 8 PM, six of the ten had either posted signage reflecting their closure or their phone rang unanswered.

I spoke with Christy Kirkland, formerly a bartender at Noche Brookhaven, who indicated she was informed  of the closure by her General Manager at 5PM.  

Twist at Phipps Plaza, Strip at Atlantic Station and Coast in Buckhead were the only three restaurants still open at 9 PM. Each restaurant indicated that tonight would be their final night in business.  

Noche in Virginia Highland was the only restaurant that indicated they were not closing, but I think it may instead be a matter of the closure information not being disseminated properly.  

Strangely, last month the group converted their Noche restaurant in Johns Creek to their Coast seafood concept. The restaurant had barely been open a month before closing tonight.  

I attempted to contact a high level source at Here to Serve Restaurants whom I had just seen at last week's Taste of Atlanta.  Multiple calls placed to this individual went unanswered.  

Here to Serve Restaurants was started in 1996 with the opening of Prime at Lenox Square.  Prior to that, Tom Catherall operated simply tom tom, a bistro, also in Lenox Square in 1993.  

Here to Serve has been reducing their number of restaurants following last years divorce settlement that awarded the entire group to Tom Catherall's ex-wife, Leigh.  

Last month Aja abruptly closed at One Alliance Center in Buckhead. This past May, Here to Serve shuttered Goldfish, their seafood eatery at Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody.   Late last year, the group closed its popular Shout restaurant at Colony Square in midtown.   

One source with whom I spoke indicated that the company "didn't pay their payroll taxes for a YEAR" 

A mystery "private investor" is reportedly interested in buying both Twist and Strip and reopening them.  

No word on what if anything will be done for those still holding Here to Serve gift cards.  Employees of the group indicated they are owed paychecks dating back at least two weeks.  

As of 10PM the Here to Serve website has been updated with a message about the closures: 

"We apologize for the inconvenience, we are working on reorganization. Hopefully we will be HERE TO SERVE you again soon!"

I visited Twist towards closing and witnessed a number of employees in tears, many shaking hands and hugging and many in total shock.  
Napkins litter the floor following employee celebrations at Twist 
I spoke to a number of restaurateurs this evening who indicated they are eager to both hire affected employees and possibly take over some of the former restaurants.    

What are your thoughts on this series of closures?  What do you think went wrong?  What would you like to see open in place of the affected restaurants? 

Please share your thoughts below.  

79 comments:

Unknown said...

would you be so kind as to post the names of said restaraunts that are eagerly hiring?

affectedbyleigh said...

Would you be so kind as to post the names of said restaraunts that are eager to hire?

affectedbyleigh said...

would you be so kind as to post the names of said restaraunts that are eagerly hiring?

auntieLu said...

Wait: Did u just say that their employees were informed MONDAY of the closures which went into effect MONDAY? THAT's how H2SR Corporate chose to execute (pun intended) the closures??? Yikes. What a bunch of cowardly, duplicitous weasles. If this is true, it's disgraceful. Shame on them.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's crazy. Whoever is in charge there should be ashamed of just booting hundreds of employees out onto the streets with no notice. If they are ever "here to serve" again I bet they'll have a very hard time staffing their establishments.

Anonymous said...

I worked for H2SR for three years. I worked at least 10 hours of overtime every week and was never compensated for any of it. I also realized after two years that I was paying taxes on what I tipped the bartenders, food runners and bussers because the company was not keeping track as they should have. From that point on, my accountant advised me to write down what I tipped to all three groups because the way they were keeping track was not entirely accurate, or legal as far as the IRS is concerned. I paid taxes on $10,000 that I did not make the year I found out.

Vernon Chandler said...

I am shocked. Loved Noche in Highlands, Aja, Twist, just went to Coast last weekend. They did great business and this is a total surprise. Wow!

Anonymous said...

I had a feeling this would be the outcome when Tom left and David Abes bolted. I was surprised people thought this wouldn't be the outcome. This is why you don't buy gift cards friends. Really a disgraceful way to treat employees as well. Writing was on the wall though.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Biggest shock I've ever read on this site.

Jen Cross said...

I use do be in the industry - and have had this happen to me. It is the worst. I finally left it altogether to create my own security. You'll find something new.

I heard yesterday that Chauma Goucho is interested in hiring some of the displaced. Visit them at the normal 2-4 quickly.

"Tyrone" said...

Closing a restaurant with zero notice to the staff is 100% common practice. Happened to me....showed up for a shift at Kudzu Cafe in 1998 (remember that place! No viable tenant in its space 17 years later!) and there was a sign on the door...we, the staff, just looked at each other like Welp! Can you imagine if servers/bartenders (and customers) knew the place was closing down the next day? No one would show up for work (or to dine)...if they did, they'd be vengeful of getting the boot and have crap service or crap in your food.

Jen Cross said...

I have had this happen to me... Finally left the industry all together.!

I heard that Chauma gaucho is eager to hire. Visit them 2-4

Jen Cross said...

It's just the way it's done. Most companies, restaurants included don't announce closures or layoffs. Sign of the times.

Eric Smith said...

This is going to really hurt Town Brookhaven. I think the complex had finally gotten some momentum in the last eighteen months but closures of three tenants offering different food/beverage options will greatly reduce the available dining options there. Noche is particularly a big draw.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this was Leigh Catherall's end game all along. She was a biter woman who only wanted to extract revenge on her ex so what better way than to run his business into the ground. It didn't help she hired a complete nincompoop to run operations for her.

The line of people she owes money to is quite long and is well into seven figures. Hopefully a full audit will be done which will likely show she has been using the company as her personal ATM since she took control. Hopefully civil and criminal charges will follow.

The way she treated the employees was shameful and this didn't just come out of the blue. She allegedly had all employees terminated in the payroll system 3 weeks ago so they have effectively been working for free since.

Anonymous said...

Maggianos Little Italy is always looking for qualitified teammates. we are looking for cooks, BQ staff, severs, sous chefs. We have 3 locations in Atlanta. Go to brinkerjobs.com .

kristi warren said...

The Warren City Club is looking to hire weekend nighttime food and cocktail servers as well as brunch servers. Please email your resume to info @TheWarrenCityClub.com. Please do not just stop by, as we interview by scheduled appointment only. We are ramping up for the holidays so we have a few open, part-time positions available.

Allie Jaffe said...

Oy! Restaurant is looking for weekend help in Vinings!
Open 7am-3pm so no nights required!

Seeking cooks / bussers / food runners to start this weekend! Email resumes to allie@oyrestaurant.com for an interview.
www.oyrestaurant.com

Anonymous said...

Not really surprised. This should have been on the Deathwatch list a while ago. I can name another restauranteurs chain in Atlanta that could close some locations in the next two years. Restauranteurs are in the business to make money not to make quality food.

Allie Jaffe said...

Oy! Restaurant in Vinings is HIRING IMMEDIATELY for weekend help!

We are looking for Cooks, Food Runners and Bussers!

NO NIGHTS!
Fun, Fast Paced environment with an intense commitment to quality and customer service!

Email your resume to allie@oyrestaurant.com for an interview.

www.oyrestaurant.com
2355 Cumberland Parkway Suite 80
Atlanta, GA 30339

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when you marry a witch and she takes you down in a divorce. She is clueless. Feel sorry for the employees. Tom had a good business prior to this.

Anonymous said...

New place opening today on Canton. St. in Roswell called Carliles Pizza Tavern. I know they're looking for staff, don't know any details more than that, but Canton St. is usually very busy.

Michael Clarke Del Frisco's Grille said...

Del Frisco's Grille
3376 Peachtree Rd
Atlanta, GA 30326
404-537-2828

Website: delfriscosgrille.com/atlanta/

To apply: dfrgjobs.com

We are looking to add great team members for all FOH and BOH positions going into the busy fall season. Fast paced busy restaurant with industry leading benefits.

Any questions you can email Michael Clarke at dfgrille.atlanta@dfrg.com to set up an immediate interview. Or you can call 404-537-2828

Anonymous said...

CinéBistro at Brookhaven is HIRING ALL POSITIONS. Picture upscale and creative American Bistro cuisine developed by our Executive Chefs using only high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. Accompanied by an extensive collection of wines and Hollywood-inspired cocktails, CinéBistro creates a dinner-and-a-movie experience like no other.

We are located at 1004 Town Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30319, inside the Perimeter.
Apply online at www.cinebistro.com/careers

Anonymous said...

Leigh Catherall boasts to have been an equal partner in building H2SR. Ha. She was too busy guzzling ZD chardonnay for the past 15 years to even be able to name all the restaurants. After taking the restaurants in a messy divorce, she decided this was her opportunity to be the face of divorce in Atlanta. Trying desperately to get her name and story in every magazine she portrayed herself as a hardworking business woman. Leigh Catherall's last job was back two decades ago as a part time manager at Tom Tom Too. Yeah, Tom Tom Too. Who remembers this spin-off the successful Tom Tom? No one. She has never wanted to work, only happy to reap the rewards of her husband's successful business. Don't by into any of the bull crap in her stories in Magazines, as she paid for all of them.
So then what happened? She took over the company. All the loyals- including the director of operations David Abes and director of marketing Meridith Ford jumped ship. Then she mismanaged her way into basically bankruptcy. Having not paid taxes in who knows how long (I don't have a specific date as I only want to provide accurate information) and Oasis dropped their workers comp and payroll effective 9/13. She has been no where to be found the past few weeks and now we know why. Having still not stepped forward to make a statement, she is relying completely on COO Phil Handley to deal with disgruntled loyal staff. She didn't even have the decency to tell one person of what was going on. Not even the corporate office for the company heard of the news until Monday. Over 1,000 people are now out on their ass because she doesn't know how to run a business. Less than one year into owning the company and it comes crashing down.
Unequipped, naive, overzealous and ignorant, she owes her lawyers, financial advisors etc. debt in the 7 figures. Now add the lack of payment to her 1,000 employees? Not even to mention the countless people who have purchased H2S giftcards.
Now people will see Leigh Catherall for what she truly is, a washed up, saggy, pathetic joke.

Jeff Heflin- Redlands Grill said...

Redlands Grill by J. Alexander's is hiring! Upscale American Restaurant located between Brookhaven and Johns Creek.
Looking for all FOH and BOH positions! Apply in person Monday-Friday between 2-4pm

5245 Peachtree Pkwy. Peachtree Corners, GA 30092
770-263-9755

Unknown said...

https://www.facebook.com/Here2ServeStaffJobListing?fref=ts A page has been set up for staff of H2S to find jobs and employers to post jobs

Anonymous said...

I feel terrible for the affected employees.

As for Town Brookhaven, the place just sold. I wonder if there will be any recourse to Sembler because of this. Obviously a significant portion of the value was driven by rent from those three restaurants unless the new investor included a discount because of the uncertainty surrounding H2S. Would figure they would have had interviews with H2S executives to get comfort around the organization given they represent a large amount of rent at TB.

Anonymous said...

Pub 71 in Brookhaven is hiring and welcomes all positions

Unknown said...

Luckys Burger and Brew in Emory village is hiring servers#

Jennifer Baker said...

Centraarchy Restaurants are always looking for great employees! Please visit http://centraarchy.com/jobs/ for information. We have 5 restaurants in the area including Tavern At Phipps, New York Prime, Joey D's Oak Room and California Dreaming in Duluth and Kennesaw!

Anonymous said...

Baked is hiring 2 servers and cooks for East Cobb and all positions including delivery drivers for Old 4th Ward Locations. 770-612-2533

drummerpop said...

Well this sucks for fans and workers. My prediction here in May came sooner than expected. Damn shame:

Leigh Catherall is going to burn Tom's empire to the ground. His best managers left. She fired his children. My family has fond memories from his many restaurants. Twist will next on the chopping block. I guarantee Here to Serve will be a memory in 5 years. Sad.
May 3, 2015 at 2:05 PM

Anonymous said...

While it would be nice to give employees notice, there is huge risk in it for theft, vandalism, and other bad things when angry people are expected to work after they are told they will be let go. It's just a matter of fact. Half your sales and inventory go out the door every day after you tell the employees. And I agree with the other poster that this is a loss for Town Brookhaven in a big way. This was an important piece to the restaurants there.

Anonymous said...

Rocky Mountain Pizza Co. is hiring, follow their tweet for more information: https://twitter.com/rocky_mtn_pizza/status/651390271415033856 Located on the edge of GT's campus on Hemphill Ave. I used to work here, it's decent money. Good luck to all those looking.

I heart Robert Downey, Jr. said...

Please reach out if anyone is interested in coming to San Francisco.

dana@doloresparkcafe.com

Anonymous said...

I am the Director of Food and Beverage at the Hotel Indigo opening in Vinings. Our hotel opens nine days from today and we are currently hiring positions to fill out our Food & Beverage team. We pay way above industry standards, as well as medical/dental coverage, 401k building and hotel benefits.

We are currently seeking:

1- Sous Chef
2- Line Cooks
5- Servers
2- Hostesses
2- Food Runners
1- Assistant Restaurant Manager
1- Restaurant Supervisor

All interested candidates please email me at peterhill@indigovinings.com

Please state the position you are interested in being considered for. Don't hesitate, these positions are going fast.

Henry Johnson said...

NOW HIRING
TomDickandHank.com
191 Ralph David Abernathy
Atlanta, GA 30312
4043433774

Anonymous said...

Very Sad for the employees. Happy to see some of the local regular
drinkers buy some drinks at Olde Blind Dog for the visably upset
former employees.
It was also noted last night that Thai Bua had a surge of unexpected business
and was having trouble keeping up but they did well considering
the situation. Best of luck to former employees.

"High level source" said...

Sooooooooooooo many uninformed opinions! Or just people lashing out blindly. For those of you who posted jobs, thank you very much. There are 800 people looking for work, some in dire need. Priorities, people.

MellowBrookhaven said...

Now Hiring Pizza Cooks and Host
Mellow Mushroom Brookhaven
4058 Peachtree Rd Ne
Brookhaven Ga, 30319
404.266.1661

Come in and ask for Shane or go to
Snagajob.com and fill out an app.

Stay Mellow My Friends

Morgan Maclellan said...

Your Pie Perimeter is hiring! We're a fast casual pizza, panini, and chopped salad restaurant up near Taco Mac and Chipolte on Perimeter Center West. We've got a great craft beer selection and a fun group of people working here right now!

http://www.yelp.com/biz/your-pie-atlanta-4

Ask for Morgan when you call and fill out the online app too.
http://www.yourpie.com/careers/
423-504-4611


Anonymous said...

Why is this a surprise to anyone? First of all, sudden restaurant closures are reported on this very blog on a habitual basis! Also hearing what a B!$@# the ex-wife is this should not shock anyone. Sad for the many employees but this can and does happen across many other industries everyday. Good luck to you all!


Anonymous said...

Ha, so Catherall gets payback. He was accused of pounding Anne Byrn and cheating on her with Leigh. I saw Catherall with his hands around a young woman's throat. I imagine he pounded Leigh too. Most brutalizers get theirs.

Anonymous said...

Jesus what a clusterf*ck. Tom becomes a master chef, builds an empire, then in divorce settlement gets screwed so hard he calls his retirement on the spot.

As a result:
-Restaurants start closing like dominos
-Land leasing groups realize real quick who was running the business and want to end lease under contractual agreements
-OASIS cancels wage insurance
-All H2SR restaurants close
– 1,000 employee hole

All for what? A divorce. For christ sake, if you decide to get married, GET PRE-NUP. Men and empires have risen and fallen in this country because the courts have ruled in “fair share” favor for women.

I used to work for H2SR during my college days and would see Tom regularly pop in to check on the status of his businesses. His wife? Not so much.

Here’s is a statement from an interview of Leigh Catherall from Sept 2015
“In the judge’s chambers in July of 2014, Tom was not happy with the numbers and unexpectedly said he would retire and I could have the business. With 60 seconds to make a decision, I had a eureka moment and said yes. I realized from the information we discovered that, frankly, I could run the business better.”

I leave it up to the reader to find out for themselves who the real CEO was. Good luck to all the ex-employees out there.

Anonymous said...

Nah, I'm guessing this was Tom's final "fuck you" to Leigh. "Fine, you can have the restaurants, good luck keeping them open"

Anonymous said...

I doubt Tom would purposely destroy his legacy in order to get revenge on an ex-wife...

Anonymous said...

The booze and bullsH!# pity party started at 3:42 this afternoon for a certain poster, with no mention OR compassion for the 800 good people that lost their jobs. Unbelievable!

Publik Corner said...

To those affected by the closures who need future employment in the restaurant industry. We are hiring in our midtown location(Baraonda). We need servers, and experienced pizza chefs. Please apply in person at 710 Peachtree St. Atlanta, Ga. 30308. Please apply between 2-4 with resume in hand.

Anonymous said...

I'm the Anonymous that commented about Catherall @ 3:42 today. I do hope the employees get help. I hold Catherall responsible too. Maybe his DV caused all of this,I would never doubt what I've seen. Thrice a batterer, you know the rest no booze or pity party, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

^^ this 3:42 lady - you dont know what you are talking about. this whole mess was caused by a bitter exwife who was too self-glorifing to manage the company she "co-founded" -- mismanaged by idiocy or spite? who knows. but the blame falls on leigh.

Anonymous said...

I'm the 3:42 Anonymous again.Please let me try this once again. I am not a woman. I witnessed Catherall holding a female employee up in the air by the throat at his original restaurant Azalea in b'head in 1990. I also heard he hit his ex Anne Byrn in the parking lot there and that's why she parted ways and quit work at AJC and went to work for Art Culinaire as an editor. He was also philandering on Anne with Leigh at that time. I say he is responsible, because he may very well have battered Leigh into choosing a divorce. Now, she got the business and ran them into the ground, but he may have had a hand in the final analysis because of his DV. Sorry for the employees, they'll be fine.

Anonymous said...

All 3 locations of Noche will be opening in the next couple of days.

Anonymous said...

"Sorry for the employees, they'll be fine."

Based on all the job openings listed above in this thread, they certainly will be!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:42

25 years ago you allegedly witnessed violence and did NOTHING. The remaining years are just your delusional imagination with not an ounce of proof of anything else. You are ONE very sick person in your multiple attempts to highjack a blog with 800 people out of work desperately needing employment.

Anonymous said...

And now we have been informed that there is no money to pay us. Out of a job, no paycheck.

Anonymous said...

news alert: leigh catherall drained all Here to Serve accounts early this morning to ensure that the money would not be used towards the limited payroll as promised today to employees. she instead transferred that money to her new financial partner so that she can reopen the noches and franchise. no regard whatsoever for the 1000 employees out of work or the loyal patrons of the restaurants, many of whom are still holding onto now-empty gift cards.

37 Manager said...

For those asking who is hiring:
37 Main is currently hiring experienced FOH and BOH team members. We have 2 locations- Buford and Johns Creek. If you are interested in working for a Rockin company email us 37mainemployment@gmail.com or come in to our Johns Creek location this week between 2pm and 10pm. We are closed Sundays.

Anonymous said...

I don't get out much, and the list of closing places don't meant anything to me. They sure do to the employees and the patrons. Hope the x wife of the owner enjoys her recent gain.

Ana Leddon said...

Hola Taqueria and Bar, Roswell

Ana Leddon said...

Hola Taqueria and Bar @ Roswell

Ana Leddon said...

Hola Taqueria and Bar Roswell

Anonymous said...

US Cafe is hiring for cashiers and cooks for its Smyrna and Buckhead restaurants. Please email your resume to hiring@uscafe.net.

Geo & Shiney Eapen said...

My dear friend would like to help, is hiring, and wants your help! Athens Kouzzina is our favorite Greek restaurant! It's located in Sugarloaf Mills right across from the AMC. If interested, please come by or call George or Johnny at 770.912.9800

Anonymous said...

My dear friend would like to help, is hiring, and wants your help! Athens Kouzzina is our favorite Greek restaurant! It's located in Sugarloaf Mills right across from the AMC. If interested, please come by or call George or Johnny at 770.912.9800

Anonymous said...

to Anonymous @ 8:44 AM
I was not in any position to report catherall in 1991. I was in a business relationship with Todd Cain, who was Tom's Boss and partner. There were six other business people there that witnessed it too, and did nothing. I was only reporting that catherall may have brutalized Leigh, maybe not. And the Anne Byrn comment is/was very true. I'm not the only one disparaging and "hijacking" as you say, here. I'll just say I wanted it known he is a batterer, that's all. This too will pass

Anonymous said...

I wish all the 1000+ families involved best wishes on this new exciting chapter of their careers. Different topic: I'd like to purchase the male/female dog statues on display at Smash. How do I go about that? Who can I call? Even better if someone knows where they were originally purchased - I can go there instead. I don't want dog statues, I want specifically those dog statues. Thank you to this great community.

Anonymous said...

" I'm not the only one disparaging and "hijacking" as you say, here. I'll just say I wanted it known he is a batterer, that's all."

Sorry, for calling you a drunk - in your plethora of bile you've demonstrated to ALL on here that you are either on serious drugs or have a mental condition. You have NO PROOF of anything and it is very obvious you have nothing in your life but misery. Again, you are one very SICK person!

-----------------------------------

Wonderful outpouring from the ATL restaurant industry to help those that lost their jobs.
Good luck to you all!

Anonymous said...

Look to the Georgia Aquarium in the Catering division Wolfgang Puck Catering. They always need help, pay well and benefits.

Yogi said...

Bezoria in Midtown is hiring all positions - 903 Peachtree Street, Suite C, Atlanta, GA 30309 - email yogi@bezoria.com

Tin Drum Asiacafe at Akers Mill is hiring all positions - 2955 Cobb Parkway S, Suite 280, Atlanta, GA 30339 - email yogi@innova-concepts.com

Anonymous said...

"Sorry, for calling you a drunk - in your plethora of bile you've demonstrated to ALL on here that you are either on serious drugs or have a mental condition. You have NO PROOF of anything and it is very obvious you have nothing in your life but misery. Again, you are one very SICK person! "
Tom choked an employee in front of me and six others, in 1991. He is/was an alky. I'm just putting out there he MAY have battered Leigh, that's all. If they want me to stop posting then they need to not approve my comments. As I am not calling YOU names, I suggest you save your labels. I don't need proof I saw it, and I'm never going to forget it.

Anonymous said...

Would you please give it a rest. Tom hasn't owned Here to Serve in a year. No one on this thread gives a rat's a** about Tom or the accusations (with no proof) that you're leveling at him now. Unless you have something of relevance that pertains to this post (like a job lead or inside information to what happened), please go play in traffic.

...and I'm not the same person who first chided you on your off topic rant.

Anonymous said...

^^^ Ditto. The rant keeps changing now its up to 6 witnesses. Anonymous is a liar and coward. Sometimes you have to let the hate filled troll in. Happy to hear the employees are getting jobs.

Gu said...

Gu's Dumplings at Krog Street Market (gusdumplings@gmail.com)

Gu said...

Gu's Dumplings at Krog Street Market (gusdumplings@gmail.com)

Gu said...

Gu's Dumplings at Krog Street Market (gusdumplings@gmail.com)

Gu said...

Gu's Dumplings at Krog Street Market (gusdumplings@gmail.com) is hiring kitchen and front of house.

Unknown said...

57th Restaurant 3829 Clairmont atlanta 30341 now hiring back of the house and hostesses , we're closed on Mondays and taking applications from 2pm to 4pm Tuesday to Thursday.

Anonymous said...

The Nest Kennesaw opening in Downtown Historic Kennesaw at the end of november. Interviews should start next week. Craft Beer and BBQ (The Stout Brothers and Ebony & Ivory teaming up) with huge patio, fireplaces and live music. Send your resume to info@distilledculture.com