Monday, July 30, 2018

[UPDATE] Sage Woodfire Tavern Has Filed For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

A number of entities related to Atlanta-based restaurant chain Sage Woodfire Tavern filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  The chain, previously known as "Infinite Dining Group," operates four Sage locations: on Haynes Bridge Road in Alpharetta, on Ashford Dunwoody Road across from Perimeter Mall, on Windy Hill Road not far from SunTrust Park, and on Peachtree Road in Buckhead. 
A photo promoting the "Welcome to Buckhead" opening of Sage in Buckhead 
In all, seven corporate entities related to the restaurant chain - but not "Infinite Dining Group,"  filed on July 26 for reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta.  Records with the Georgia Secretary of State's office indicate that Infinite Dining Group, which was first formed in late 2006, was administratively dissolved by the state in August 2017.  

Multiple restaurant sources have been telling ToNeTo Atlanta for months that Sage was "over leveraged" and "having money troubles," but still the chain kept opening and operating restaurants.  

After a minor expansion, months of delays, and reportedly $3 million in renovations, the restaurant's Buckhead location opened late this past February in the former Morton’s The Steakhouse space across from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Buckhead.  The nearly 10,000 square foot building was expanded to over 11,500 square feet, providing seating for 300 guests.   In early May the restaurant hosted a "Welcome to Buckhead" opening event that provided 1,000 patrons with a free lunch buffet featuring "Oysters Rockefeller, Watermelon and Roquefort Salad, live action Pasta and Carving Stations, New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp and Grits, gourmet salads, magnificent ice carvings and an over-the-top dessert display." 

The Buckhead restaurant's opening came on the heels of the group's opening in the former Houston's on Powers Ferry Road in Cobb County.  An East Cobb location near the intersection of Johnson Ferry and Roswell Roads opened in late 2016, but was closed by May 2017.  (Much to the delight of area residents, the East Cobb location will soon reopen as a Jason's Deli.) 

Sage, controlled by founder James Liakakos,  listed liabilities of more than $2.5 million, including hundreds of thousands owed to numerous Atlanta businesses such as Cost Plus Holdings, a merchant processing firm in Alpharetta ($468,050) and Littco Restaurant Supply in Norcross ($108,236.02).     

Anastasios "Tom" Vasilakos, a resident of Brooklyn, was the single largest creditor with an unsecured claim of $1.5 million.  

Peachtree Lenox Investors, LLC c/o PM Realty Group, L.P., Sage's landlord in Buckhead, was among the other significant unsecured creditors and is owed just over $90,000.   

Food suppliers Performance Foodservice, Revere Meat Co. and Bruce's Best, and music publishing firm BMI as well as music provider Muzak were among the other notable unsecured creditors.  

Atlanta based Here to Serve Restaurants abruptly closed all ten of their restaurants in late 2015 and eventually filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. 

There is currently no word on when or if any of the Sage restaurants will close.  

Are you surprised that Sage Woodfire Tavern is in trouble?  Have you ever dined at Sage Woodfire Tavern? Do you think Atlanta has too many similar restaurants?  

Please share your thoughts below.   

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow that sucks. I used to live within walking distance of the one in Dunwoody and went there frequently. Given how busy that location was, it must have been mismanagement that led to this situation rather than market conditions. But I never visited any of the other locations either.

F&B Guy said...

Thanks for the update.

It does seem like the operators took a big chance and swung for the fences. Sometimes that works, and sometimes you declare bankruptcy...

Not sure about why you included the comment about Here To Serve Restaurants. It seems a bit out of place in an otherwise informative article.

Anonymous said...

I like Sage Restaurants. This is disappointing. It does sound like they over expanded.

Anonymous said...

they owe me a ton of money...not surprised they closed...horrible food and service...cant keep a chef; wrote bad checks....I just hope to collect on what they owe my company

Anonymous said...

one other note....your article discusses the menu for the opening in Buckhead....that isn't what they ended up serving...the Uncle from Florida came in to town 3 days before the opening and scrapped that amazing menu and their new chef exited as a result. it shows you have to be really good at running a restaurant, even if its a glorified diner, to make it in Buckhead

Amy said...

they are not closing - this is just a reorg of debt. BOth Buckhead and Perimeter perform very well.

Anonymous said...

this restaurant always looked ghetto. bye!

Anonymous said...

Reorg of debt, mmmmm sounds like trying to stick it to the creditors when they should be getting out of a business they apparently are not good at running financially.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they shouldn’t try to turn their restaurants into night clubs. People standing around to see and be seen— nursing the same drink all night. Why do you need a loud DJ? People who come in for a nice dinner with their significant other or good friends would rather have soft jazz or piano music.

Atlanta Bail Bonds said...

I had a friend that worked at the perimeter location in Atlanta. He said there was constant turnover and they went through 5 managers in a single year. Too focused on the wrong things, treating their people horribly, and taking on too much debt is a surefire way to "shut it down" as Gordan Ramsay would say.

Anonymous said...

The most poorly run restaurant that I have ever worked for. The owner literally berates and curses out his entire staff on a daily basis. That's the reason why they cant get or keep good staff. His name has been mud throughout the restaurant industry for years.

Molly said...

I actually like the place on Powers Ferry! Nice food and good service. Have never been disappointed. Plus, they have my favorite chardonnay by the glass.

Anonymous said...

James, the owner, can be tough to work for because of his tremendous passion and unwavering dedication to high standards. Trust me I know the hard way. I was on the wrong end of a chair thrown by him against the wall on a busy night. I do wish Sage and James the best. Sage employs many dedicated and talented team members. The concept is sound and Perimeter and Buckhead are doing well. Opening two new multi-million doller locations within a few months was overly aggressive. The restaurant biz is the absolute toughest business to succeed in....but James has over 30 years experience in the industry and over 20 years success with the Sage concept. Hopefully chapter 11 will work successfully as the tool it os designed to be and this will be a learning experience for the resturant and it’s owner.

Anonymous said...

They owe me well over 5 digits. Time to collect.

Anonymous said...

Not a shocker at all. James was utterly rude, volatile and abrasive, I remember him vividly and swore I would NEVER go back to any of his restaurants ever again. Karma strikes with a vengeance.

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