Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Bits & Bites

Tervis, manufacturer of the popular Tervis Tumbler, plans to open its first ever metro Atlanta store next month in Atlantic Station.  The tumblers, which use double-wall technology to harness the natural insulating properties of air, come in a variety of sizes.  Through assorted sports and media licensing agreements, the tumblers also come in a wide array of themes.  The new approximately 1,700 square foot store is slated to celebrate its grand opening on October 1st.   The store is located between It's Sugar and BGR on Atlantic Drive in a portion of the former Tahitian Noni Cafe space.  The new store is the second in Georgia, joining an existing store in Savannah.  In addition to their small but growing retail network, the brand is also sold locally via chain stores like Kroger and Bed Bath & Beyond and smaller local retailers like Mori Luggage & Gifts and The Cook's Warehouse.  Another Tervis store is rumored to be coming to The Battery Atlanta near SunTrust Park.  Robin Semper, Regional Director for Tervis, had "no comment" when I inquired about the additional new location and its rumored 2017 opening.   

Capriotti's will mark their return to metro Atlanta with the grand opening of their new 2,100 square foot Kennesaw restaurant on October 1st.  The restaurant, located in the newly constructed Owl Creek Commons just off Chastain Road, will be joined by Chipotle Mexican Grill, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe, RAK Outfitters and others.  The Las Vegas-based sandwich company previously had a franchise location in Duluth, but its closed after about 15 months in business.  The new Kennesaw location is reportedly being opened by a different franchise group than previously operated the Duluth restaurants.  The group is reportedly already looking at additional sites in and around metro Atlanta.   

Lakeland, Florida-based Publix Super Markets plans to replace a proprietary in-house cafe at one of their South Tampa locations with a new 286 square foot Starbucks kiosk.  While this is in no way "Atlanta news," it's a test that could very well be expanded to Georgia, the grocer's number two market after Florida. Publix has thus far not announced any other test locations or plans to expand the program, but if they do, the Brookhaven Publix could be a prime candidate.  The TOWN Brookhaven store, which opened in 2011, already has a faux Starbucks-like cafe that seemed tailor-made to be replaced by the coffee chain.  While local coffee shop Copper Coin recently set up shop in the center, the project seems capable of supporting both coffee shops given they would appeal to different demographics.  Starbucks has had a partnership with Target Corp. since 1999, with are more than 1,300 Starbucks cafes inside Target stores, including many in the Atlanta area.  Kroger, another grocer and fierce rival of Publix, also has a partnership with Starbucks and features Starbucks kiosks in many of its local stores.   

In other Starbucks news, the new Starbucks on Peachtree Dunwoody Road near Hammond Drive has opened.     

Bantam & Biddy at 1010 Midtown on Crescent Avenue in midtown has closed.  Chef Shaun Doty, the restaurant's co-founder and owner, plans to open a new restaurant, "The Federal," in place of the shuttered eatery.  Bantam & Biddy had itself replaced NOON, a similar and short-lived eatery previously in the space.  Other Bantam & Biddy locations in Ansley Mall, Lenox Square and Avalon will remain open as will sibling concept Chick-A-Biddy at Atlantic Station.     

Houston, Texas-based Salata, a fast casual restaurant that offers custom salads and wraps, as well as soups, plans to enter the Atlanta market.  Dallas-based private equity firm Henry Investment Group signed a exclusive agreement for development rights to the Atlanta market.  The group plans to open as many as 20 franchised units in metro Atlanta over the next "several years" in addition to a  “state-of-the-art training restaurant.”   

Desiree Nathanson, Dietetic Technician, Registered,  plans to open her own co-ed fitness studio Interfusion Fitness next month in Northeast Plaza.  Nathanson, a former member of and current trainer for the Atlanta Hawks Cheerleading staff has for the past few years taught a variety of classes at Dance 101 in Loehmann's Plaza Brighten Park.  Nathanson describes Interfusion as a "boutique fitness studio" with offerings such as circuit training, personal training, sports training, barre, yoga, dance and cardio dance.  The studio will be open seven days a week and offer a variety of morning and evening classes. Prices, which should be finalized later this week, will include a la carte offerings as well as six month memberships.  A lease was signed on the 4,100 square foot space in June with work expected to be completed in the coming weeks.  Nathanson tells me she plans for the studio to be open by mid-October.  

Tex-Mex eatery Huey Luey's plans to open their new Sandy Springs restaurant on October 3rd.  The restaurant, the third for the growing chain, is located at the corner of Abernathy and Roswell Roads, next to Goodwill.  While representatives would only confirm "interest" in the market, real estate sources as well as my friends at The Douglasville Menu indicate that Huey Luey's plans to open another restaurant in Douglasville.  The Tex-Mex restaurant is reportedly targeting the former Joe's Crab Shack, a freestanding, 6,000 square foot freestanding restaurant which closed earlier this week in Douglasville Pavilion near Arbor Place Mall.    

Halpern Enterprises to celebrate the grand opening of  The Shops at Belmont this weekend.  A neighborhood celebration is planned for Saturday from 10AM-2PM with free King of Pops, food samples and family friendly attractions.  The center, a redevelopment of Belmont Hills Shopping Center, is located at the corner of Windy Hill and Atlanta Roads.  Creatwood Tavern, a new eatery from the owners of Peachtree Battle's Whitehall Tavern, will reportedly be the only restaurant open this weekend.  Other restaurants such as Cielo Mexican Grill & Cantina, Torta di Napoli, and Opa Greek Village Taverna are expected to open "in a few weeks."  Other businesses in the center such as a day spa, barbershop and dry cleaners, are already open as is Alta Belmont, the apartment complex on property.    

The Kroger at Cherokee Plaza in Brookhaven will be adding the grocer's new online ordering service, ClickList, to its store.  The service, which Kroger began testing in other markets in late 2014, is currently only available at a handful of Kroger stores in metro Atlanta including the new Glenwood Place location in Grant Park.  Essentially, ClickList lets customers browse 40,000 products online and then pick up their requested and bagged order at the store.  In Brookhaven, Kroger is re-purposing space which previously housed a bank and was later used for displaying seasonal and clearance merchandise.  An associate at the Brookhaven store indicated the ClickList service should be up and running "in a few weeks."   It's worth noting that Publix previously abandoned a service, Publix Curbside, in 2012.  The service, which essentially offered the same convenience as ClickList, was tested locally at both the TOWN Brookhaven store as well as the Publix in Toco Hills.  Both the Kroger and Publix services charges customers for the convenience, between $5-$10 depending on the speed requested.     

New York-based LDV Hospitality, which already operates Corso Coffee and Dolce Italian at The Shops Buckhead Atlanta, will soon debut their latest concepts, American Cut and The Regent Cocktail Club.  Following a number of delays and operational changes, the LDV team is now planning for a September 30th opening of both concepts.    

A loyal reader informed me that a Ruby Tuesday on Veterans Parkway in north Columbus was also closed as part of the chain’s previously announced plan to shutter 95 underperforming restaurants by September.  I previously reported that a Duluth location on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard was closed. In Columbus, Ruby Tuesday continues to operate at Peachtree Mall.  The once hugely popular casual dining chain has come under mounting pressure as it faces competition from all sides.  James "J.J." Buettgen, previously senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Darden Restaurants, became president and CEO of Ruby Tuesday in December 2012.  Following the announcement of the closures and poor financial outlook,    Buettgen abruptly resigned earlier this month.  Todd Burrowes, who was also hired away from Darden where he was executive vice president of operations for LongHorn Steakhouse and was later named President and C. O. O. of Ruby Tuesday, resigned Ruby Tuesday last year and became President of LongHorn.  Perhaps a similar homecoming is in the works for Buettgen. 

Smoke & Duck Sauce, the new concept from Chow Bing owner Gary Lin is expected to open by the end of the week.  Located on Powers Ferry Road near the Wildwood office park, the restaurant will specialize in smoked meats and specialty sides.  

Also expected to open by the end of the week is Golden Drops Cafe, an American & Latin coffee bar.  Golden Drops occupies the former Sobban, in the onetime Arby's, on Clairmont Road near the VA.  


ImAndy said...

One cannot describe in this single comment box how terrible the food is at Bantam and Biddy.

Anonymous said...

Golden drops is a terrible name ... Sounds like something you do in the bathroom for fun.

Anonymous said...

Shirley Gouffon is in charge of leasing at 12th & Midtown and should be immediately fired. She's been totally incapable of recruiting successful non-restaurant retailers to 12th & Midtown and her name is plastered over every empty retail space in shame. There's no excuse for not being able to attract retailers to the heart of Midtown in a very high-traffic area. CB2 was successful, but Gouffon & Co ran them off with raised leases. Real smart.

Get someone in there that is passionate about Midtown and knows what they're doing...please!!

Anonymous said...

Bantam and Biddy - so I was not imagining it. Others have the same experience. It's not just they are overrated it's that they are over hyped - and over salted! Menu sounds good but execution and quality controls are non existent.

Anonymous said...

Starbucks has built a free standing store near Sandy Plains and Shallowford in Marietta. The store was once inside the Publix at Highland Plaza.