Monday, May 16, 2016

Chequers Chain Comes to an End in East Cobb, Sage Opening Soon

Chequers East Cobb as seen on opening day from their Facebook page 
Seafood chain to shutter 

Chequers Seafood + Steak, an upscale restaurant from the Leawood, Kansas-based Houlihan’s Restaurants, Inc. will cease operations at its East Cobb restaurant as of Wednesday, May 25th.  The restaurant, which opened in mid 2014, relocated to East Cobb from Dunwoody where its former property is now part of the upcoming State Farm campus. The Dunwoody restaurant opened in April of 1983, lasting 31 years in that location.  When it closes, the East Cobb Chequers will have lasted barely two years.  

Chequers East Cobb was located in a 6,900 square foot space which previously housed sibling concept Houlihan's.  The restaurant was located in an outparcel of the Target-anchored Merchants Festival at the intersection of Johnson Ferry and Roswell Roads.  

The closure of Chequers' East Cobb restaurant will leave the chain essentially dead with zero locations under the Chequers moniker.  Houlihan's continues to operate locations under its flagship brand as well as Bristol Seafood Grill, Devon Seafood + Steaks and J. Gilbert’s Wood-Fired Grill. There are currently three Houlihan's in Georgia: two in Columbus and one in Savannah.  

Sage Woodfire Tavern, part of locally-based The Infinite Dining Group, will reportedly open in place of Chequers.  If all goes well, Sage could open as soon as mid- August.  James D. Liakakos, owner of Infinite, currently operates Sage Woodfire Tavern locations in Alpharetta and Dunwoody as well as Spice Brick Oven Kitchen - Tapas Bar in Alpharetta.  

The Sage in Dunwoody at Park Place, across from Perimeter Mall, occupies a former Houlihan's.  The Sage in Alpharetta occupies what I believe was built as Canyon Cafe and later renovated into Stockyard Prime.  The Spice in Alpharetta occupies a former Joe's Crab Shack.  

Will you miss Chequers in East Cobb?  Are you surprised that Chequers lasted so briefly in the new location? Do you think Sage Woodfire Tavern will find greater success in the space?

Please share your thoughts below   


Rodney Owen said...

I loved Chequers at Perimeter. They had delicious seafood and their biscuits were the best.

AJ said...

I used to work near Chequers when they were at Perimeter. I had a feeling they were doomed when they moved to East Cobb. They needed the business lunch crowd. They had that at Perimeter. They didn't have that in East Cobb. I understand why they chose the location - they already had the building, but Colony Square would've been a better choice - but I assume they didn't have the lease on the old Houlihan's there anymore! It's too bad, it was good quality food at reasonable prices (for the type & quality food). And it didn't have the feel of a chain restaurant - especially one owned by Houlihan's!

Stacy said...

Spice near Nortpoint- how is it still open? Went with hubby for a rare adult night out on a Saturday night- it was more than half empty, yet the service was terrible, including having to practically beg for water refills. One dish was so bad we sent it back, with no acknowledgement by the waitress aside to offer to bring us something else. Totally unimpressed and never going back. Avalon has really upped the ante in Alpharetta and subpar options at that price point won't make it.

jeff a. taylor said...

Went to the old Houlihan's a couple times as I'm 3min. away and it was OK. As a result I was on the Chequers' email blast list and kept getting pitches for specials and especially for their brunches which did look good and supposedly were popular, but never had the urge to go. More broadly, I don't think it served a higher-end seafood joint to be neighbors with an urgent care, a pool supply store, and a Which Wich. Whole vibe was wrong. Then when Seed opened up the seafood-centric Drift in the Avenues a blink away, that was the death knell.

Two BTWs: Maybe Drift is stretching the Seed empire too far; last time at Seed the other week, had a steak misfired and generally a notch down service. And the empty space across from Chequers that was a Cuban joint that lasted like four months looks to be reborn as a Bollywood dance studio.

Coolio said...

It sucked when they moved from perimeter. This closure doesn't suck at all. They never should have moved there. If you live ITP, it is an ordeal trying to get much so, I only went on birthdays.

ITP is the best chance for restaurants like this, or close to the perimeter. Maybe they can revive it in a better location.

Anonymous said...

This is so disappointing I really will miss Chequers.

Anonymous said...

I have been a customer of Chequers for a very long time and have had the opportunity to get to many of the staff members. I was told on my last visit that it wasn't due to the lack of business, the local competition or not wanting to stay in its current location. The fact is that it all comes down to business.

From my understanding Target owns both strips in front of there main building and is looking sale them. The problem is they can not find a buyer unless they have long term leases in the store fronts. A staff member at Chequers told me that they were in negotiations with the property management team for another 5 years. However this was not enough for them and this is where the Sage Group came in and agreed to a 10 year lease agreement.

Ten years is a long time in East Cobb, we have all seen many businesses come and go from our neighborhood. However I have a feeling that Sage will not out stand the criticism of some of the self-righteous and entitled East Cobbers. You must go out and support your local businesses if you want these kinds of luxuries in your neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

So did they sign a two year lease at the E. Cobb location or is that all that was left on the previous Houlihans lease? It seems strange that they would spend whatever they did to re-outfit the space without at least a couple options to extend. Those build outs are pretty expensive. I did not visit the E. Cobb location so not sure if they just did minimal work to change the concept.

Anonymous said...

I was always surprised that so many people liked Chequers. I went 5 or 6 times and was never impressed. Thought the food was pretty mediocre. The last time we went to Perimeter we had the absolute worst service experience ever.

Years ago they also had a location on Lenox Rd across from Phipps.

Now I do miss the Houlihans as they existed in the 90's. So good back then.

I didn't realize Sage had so much going on. I like them.

Anonymous said...

We ate at the East Cobb location twice. One time had great food but horrible service; the second time had substandard food and wonderful service. Very hit or miss for that price point.

Anonymous said...

I have eaten there several times. Food was just OK, never had to rush back for a delicious dish. it was always a dark
place, we need happy happy, well lit atmosphere. And maybe some happy music and a theme people will love. last but not least . . . good food will always bring 'em back !!!

Anonymous said...

I will not miss Chequers. Overpriced for the quality and service. Houlihans was better, hopefully Sage will be better. But please Sage, do not price yourself out. Even people with money are not willing to pay so much for a meal. We like our money and want to keep a little of it in our pocket and still enjoy a meal out. This is why Marlows does well.

Steve Barton said...

When State Farm project demolished Chequeres there was word in Dunwoody that Chequers would return when retail space opened in the new State Farm hub. Anything to this?

Anonymous said...

Sage will be a great addition!! They have reasonable prices,AWESOME drinks, and maintain a relaxing upscale environment!!

Anonymous said...

I liked to eat there when they were at perimeter, but they must have been clueless as to their clients. At lunch or dinner the business crowd were heavily represented. Foolish to move to family driven east cobb. and lose all those business people often on expense accounts.