Restaurant and music venue on the move
Darwin's Burgers & Blues, currently located in the 1500 block of Roswell Road in Marietta, plans to relocate to Sandy Springs next year. The restaurant and music venue originally opened in 1995 and was purchased by current owners Lindsay Wine and Jonathan Akin in 2011. Following their purchase, the new owners reportedly "invested time and money, and brought the club back to its original juke-joint popularity."
Flash forward to present day and Darwin's landlord has reportedly refused to either offer the restaurant a lease renewal or allow for the owners to purchase the single, freestanding building from which they operate.
Wine and Akin reportedly explored taking over the former Rocco's Pub, another music venue and restaurant, also on Roswell Road in Marietta, but found the space's rent to be in excess of what they could afford. Rocco's closed late last month just shy of what would have been their one year anniversary of reopening (Rocco's first opened in 1980).
The new Darwin's is about 11 miles from their current location.
Darwin's new home will be familiar to those in the Sandy Springs community as having previously operated as Steve's Live Music. The music venue, owned by musician Steve Grossman, operated for four years before closing this past June. The venue is located on Hilderbrand Drive, just off Roswell Road. Following the closure of Steve's Live Music venue, Grossman now provides music to assorted venues in Sandy Springs in addition to representing musicians. More information on his current offerings can be found here.
Steve's had a very limited food operation, something in fact that led to its closure, but that means that the owners of Darwin's must start from scratch in assembling a kitchen. Although the space is a "second generation" venue space, it comes with little in the way of "furniture or equipment."
As a result of this need, Darwin's owners have taken to social fundraising platform GoFundMe to seek financial assistance from anyone willing to contribute.
Their GoFundMe page states: "We will need to purchase everything from sinks to fryers, ice bins to ice machines & rugs to pint glasses. Any small amount that you can give will help! Help us to continue the tradition of bringing the blues to Atlanta!"
As of 3PM today, 53 donors have contributed nearly $5,000 of the business' $30,000 goal.
It's rather ironic that a business called Darwin's is attempting to "survive" by soliciting donations from others. While not new (LGBT Bookstore & Coffeehouse Outwrite and premium chocolate shop Cacao both sought "donations" when their respective businesses were in "trouble"), I find it troubling that for profit businesses are using sites like GoFundMe to help fund their operations.
Are you excited to see Darwin's relocating to Sandy Springs? What are your thoughts on for profit businesses using sites like GoFundMe to aid their operations? Have you been to any shows presented by Steve's Live Music since the venue closed?
Please share your thoughts below.