Sunday, October 30, 2016

EXCLUSIVE: Mi Cocina Can't Handle the Georgia Heat, Closes

Tex-Mex eatery quietly closed Saturday night.

Irving, Texas-based Mi Cocina ("my kitchen" in Spanish) has closed its Atlanta area location on Peachtree Street in Midtown.  The Tex-Mex restaurant opened in late 2012 as part of Selig Properties' 12th & midtown development.  

Mi Cocina posted the following message to their official Atlanta facebook page earlier today:

"It is with a heavy heart that we close our restaurant here in Atlanta. We have thoroughly enjoyed our time here and hope you will visit us in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. For questions, please email us at"

The two-level, nearly 9,000 square foot restaurant never seemed to gain a significant following. Mi Cocina was to be joined in the project by sibling concept Taco Diner, but its parent company M Crowd Restaurant Group saw the writing on the wall from the early results of Mi Cocina, and wisely pulled the plug before it ever opened.  Dallas, Texas-based Restaurant Works opened their Italian concept, Princi Italia, in the would-be Taco Diner space last year.  

Mi Cocina's closure, while sad, is unfortunately just the latest in a string of restaurant and retail failures in midtown, many within Selig Properties' newer and more prominent buildings.  (M Crowd closed a Mi Cocina location in Chevy Chase, Maryland in late 2014, after about a year and a half in business.  By that standard, the Atlanta location did well lasting basically four years.)

Max's Wine Dive closed in Selig's 77 12th property last September following a fifteen month run.  Fig Jam Kitchen & Bar, previously in Brookwood, was to join Max's in the development, but "terminated" their lease before opening. 

Cucina Asellina, the Italian concept from New York's The One Group, also closed in the Selig project at 1075 Peachtree. The space has since been consumed by sibling concept STK, which uses the space for larger parties and special events.  

New York-based 5 Napkin Burger shuttered their restaurant at 10th & Piedmont Streets in 2012, about a year after opening.  Polish restaurant operator AmRest shuttered their La Tagliatella restaurant at 8th & Peachtree Streets in 2014, just over a year after opening.  Italy-based Piola, a pizzeria, also closed in 1010 Midtown, after about a four year run.  Fado Irish Pub and Ribalta have since replaced La Tagliatella and Piola respectively, and seem to be performing better than their predecessors.  

Retail wise, Selig's Midtown properties have seen some serious closures as well.  Republic of Couture (ROC) closed its 6,500 square foot boutique at 12th & Midtown in late 2014 after opening the previous spring. CB2, the "modern" and "affordable" sibling concept from Crate & Barrel, adjacent to the Mi Cocina space, closed late last year after nearly five years in business.  At the time, the retailer blamed a "rent increase" for the closure of their approximately 14,000 square foot store.   On a much smaller scale than the two aforementioned retailers, Raw Denim, a boutique that relocated from Buckhead to midtown in 2013, closed at 77 12th in 2014.  

*Selig and joint venture partner Daniel Corp. no longer own 1010 Midtown, 1065 / 1075 Peachtree or 77 12th.

Why do you think so many restaurants and retailers struggle to find success in midtown?  What would you like to see open in the former Mi Cocina space?  Do you think Burgerim will do well in midtown?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

Greedy Selig continues to raise the rent on businesses that are barely making a profit. Then they are left with empty spaces.

Anonymous said...

The whole back side of 1075 on Juniper has never seen a tenant. What a terrible waste and a such a loss to the neighborhood. What possible benefit can there be to 'hold out' for over-paying tenants that will fail anyway while at the same time collecting $0 in rent for 8 years? Don't these guys know how to build a lease that grows with revenue?

Anonymous said...

CB2 leaving really frustrates me. There's no good reason why restaurants and retail shouldn't be wildly successful in those locations. This isn't like Town Brookhaven where they need anyone they can get. These were all generally successful companies that have closed these locations.

Evan Ruff said...

A lot of these concepts are simply not very good. La Tagliatella was an absolute joke. Mi Cocina was bad. I think the national upscale chain model just doesn't work in Midtown. 5 Napkin Burger was something like $16 for a worse-than-5-guys product.

Jonathan said...

Have to wonder what Shirley Gouffon and the rest of the Selig team are doing here. Do they have a strategy? Because if it's to keep the rent psf high and wait for high profile national tenants to come along...big fail. Whatever the strategy is, it is hurting this section of Midtown. To have big beautiful buildings and a dead stretch of retail on both sides of the street is embarrassing.

Speaking of embarrassed, the way things are trending now for Colony Square, Mark Toro and NAP are going to significantly embarrass Shirley Gouffon and Selig.

Anonymous said...

Why does this article use like 15 different font sizes? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

I know many will be sad to se MiCo go. But the Atlanta version just wasn't good. I've eaten it plenty in DFW and our location just didn't come close.

Stacy said...

I've stopped going to midtown almost completely because parking is terrible. All lots are $10+ and almost no restaurants offer valet.

Anonymous said...

The ATL location was not managed the same way the Dallas ones are.

Anonymous said...

Midtown's success shouldn't rely on ease of parking, Stacy. Plenty of chains in the burbs with big easy free surface lots if that's your style.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone want to live in Midtown when for every step forward, they take two steps back? There's no momentum for anything at all, other than high rents to live in an area that has a lack of retail and restaurants and crime to boot? This is happening all over the city though where greedy developers charge an arm and a leg to live in a marginal area.

Ham said...

I suspect there are retailers and restaurateurs who can and will eventually be successful in this area, but it may take time and a different mindset from the management companies. I also wonder what percentage of people populating this area are transplants from other areas. They move to Atlanta, so they get a condo in mid-town Atlanta. However, after a few months they realize they would rather shop and play in other areas like Virginia Highlands, The Old Fourth Ward, Decatur, Buckhead etc. The reality is that many people don’t want to spend their recreational time in the lobby of their own building. I suspect shops that cater to the daily needs of residents would do better than businesses that hope to attract people from outside the area.

Stacy said...

Whether or not "my style" is suburban or not, Midtown's success is tied to it's ability to draw from people who don't live there. Atlanta's reality is that many people like me can't afford to live in Midtown, but would enjoy coming to the area for an evening out or to shop, but don't want to have to plunk down for parking, when I can go the Highlands or Grant Park and have better options.

I used to be an intowner who turned up my nose at living OTP, until I had children and had to make some decisions about living within my means while providing an adequate public education for my kids. Midtown snobs don't encourage me to come spend my money there.

396 said...

I really liked that CB2 and I still can't believe it's gone. Panera must be just about printing money if they're able to pay the rent because at this point they're nearly they only thing left on the first floor of the Peachtree side of 1010. That's ridiculous.

I've also been rolling my eyes for years at the Juniper side of 1075 being perpetually vacant. There must be local businesses who would love to rent those spaces and would even accept knowing that they might just be a placeholder until someone more profitable comes along. How much rent do they want on the back side of a building facing a one-way street that people drive too fast on? Are they holding out for J. Crew or SoulCycle?

Walgreens isn't cool or sexy but ordinary, everyday things like that are needed to get people who live in the neighborhood out on the street, along with "destination" stores and restaurants that will bring people in from other neighborhoods. They just can't seem to get the mix right. A lot of people turned up their noses at the idea of a Quick Trip convenience store opening in the first floor of Viewpoint, a few blocks down the street, but I'll bet they're making plenty of money. That Mi Cocina space is huge. It's going to take one of those XL chain restaurants the size of Cheesecake Factory (not that CF is cool enough for Midtown)to fill it. I'm afraid that space is going to stay vacant for a while. I guess the Gidewons will have to open another nightclub in there.

396 said...

I was kidding about the Gidewons and the nightclub but it would be pretty funny if that happened because I just realized that that corner is exactly where Vision was before they razed the whole block to build 1010.

ImAndy said...

I agree Midtown in general needs to figure out the parking situation. My best friend lived on 14th right around the corner from there and didn't drive. I would always pick him up and we'd leave midtown to go eat because I couldn't deal with parking. Metropolis has figured it out every restaurant in that complex is fully leased and thriving because they validate parking and encourage motorists to come in from other areas of the city. I stop at that Sweet Hut more than the one in Doraville.... and I live in Doraville.

Unknown said...

Margarita Bars
Beer Garden (like NYC's)
Rainforest Cafe