Thursday, June 23, 2016

Popular Jacksonville Restaurant Rolls into Roswell

New restaurant coming to Roswell.

Jacksonville, Florida-based Metro Diner plans to open its first Atlanta area location later this year in Roswell. The restaurant will replace Coldbrew's Sports Bar & Grill, which closed this past April.  The restaurant occupies an end-cap location in the "880 Holcomb" center on Holcomb Bridge Road. 

Metro Diner, not to be confused with Metro Cafe Diner (with locations in downtown Atlanta and Stone Mountain) is a growing chain that started in Jacksonville, Florida. 

There are currently 11 Metro Diner locations in Florida with a twelfth coming soon to St. Petersburg. There are also new and upcoming locations in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Indiana.  

Father-and-sons founders John Sr., Mark and John Jr. Davoli purchased the original  Metro Diner in 2000 (it first opened in 1992).  In 2010, the restaurant was featured on Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives."  Soon after, the restaurant went from $900,000 in annual sales to nearly $2 million annually.  

Slowly the restaurant grew, corporate locations first, and then franchising.  The Davolis subsequently brought in ConSul Hospitality Partners to aid in the restaurant's growth. The group  consists of Hugh Connerty, the original franchise partner of Outback Steakhouse and former CEO of Outback Steakhouse International, along with Outback founder Chris Sullivan and Carl Sahlsten, former president of Carrabba’s Italian Grill.  The trio purchased a 50% stake in the business in 2014, and this past fall exercised their option to purchase the remaining 50%.   The Davolis will remain partners in the first 15 restaurants.

(If the name Hugh Connerty  sounds familiar, it should: his sons Jason and Hugh Connerty own Ammazza Pizza,a local pizzeria with locations in the Old Fourth Ward and coming soon to Decatur.)

The Metro Diner menu includes such items as Pittsburgh Steak Salad, featuring "a generous portion of NY Strip Steak" and their "famous" Meatloaf Plate.  

The Roswell location is about 4,000 square feet plus an additional  640 square foot patio.  The restaurant will provide inside seating for 144 patrons and patio seating for another 40.  

Based on the hours of other locations, the restaurant serves breakfast all day, and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.  

While I've met Connerty and spoken with him about his restaurants, he was unavailable to comment for this post as were representatives from Metro Diner.  

I could find no firm plans of additional metro area locations, but I'd say it's a safe bet that the owners are already looking at further Atlanta area expansion.  

Metro Diner may challenge homegrown Flying Biscuit Cafe for breakfast business.   An existing Flying Biscuit Cafe operates less than two miles away on Alpharetta Highway at Mansell Road.  

Have you been to Metro Diner?  Do you think Metro Diner will do well in Roswell?  Where else would you like to see Metro Diner open?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

I ate at one of the Jacksonville locations on Father's day. I think the concept is enormous portions of fatty food for not a whole lot of money. All the plates at our table were fine, but nothing special. The chicken and waffles is their breakfast specialty and its a plate size waffle and 1/2 a fried chicken. The Huevos Rancheros was served like nachos and enough for two adults.

jeff a. taylor said...

That seems like a pretty good spot for the concept. They do seem to be expanding awful fast, and we've seen that can cause quality problems. So we'll see.

Steve said...

Travel to Jacksonville regularly and all the locations have a line every weekend. Amazing eggs benedict, sandwiches and dinners. Can't wait for this location to open as I will be a regular!