Monday, September 30, 2019

[UPDATE] Black Walnut Cafe Closed in Alpharetta & Peachtree Corners, Exits Atlanta Market

Just over three years after opening their first location in the area, Black Walnut Cafe has left the Atlanta market.  Based in The Woodlands, Texas, a suburb of Houston, restaurants at 5805 Windward Parkway in Alpharetta (opened 7/2016) and 5242 Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree Corners (opened 4/2017) were to be the first of as many as seven locations in metro Atlanta.  A third location planned for the former Old Hickory House in Dunwoody was later deemed to be too small, and the parcel was sold and then demolished to make way for a relocated SunTrust Bank.  
The Black Walnut Cafe restaurants in Alpharetta and Peachtree Corners both closed after dinner service Sunday, according to a message posted to the restaurant's facebook page and later echoed in an email sent to past patrons. 

"It is with a heavy heart that we inform you Black Walnut Cafe has closed its Metro Atlanta locations in Peachtree Corners and Alpharetta.   This was a very difficult decision and we are saddened our three and a half year Atlanta venture didn't work out for us or the dedicated staff we employed."

The concept, which seemed like a cross between a Panera and a Houston's, was seemingly trying to create a new service type, one that was part counter service and part table service with pricing leaning in the table service direction.  All in all, the concept is what we would call "extraordinarily OK," as the ill-fated Ocean Prime in Buckhead was, too. 

"We would like to thank you for your patronage and appreciate your support. We have learned a lot and have grown as a company because of your feedback. We have adopted change and will work closely with our real estate partners to find a great tenant to replace us and add to the vibrancy of this neighborhood."  

Backfilling the restaurants may not be easy.  Each freestanding restaurant was about 6,300 square feet plus a roughly 1,000 square foot patio.  The costs associated with taking over either building will likely be high. 

It's unclear what is being done for those left holding gift cards to the restaurant, but the the statement did direct those with gift cards to contact marketing@blackwalnutcafe.com.

Following the closure of the two restaurants in Atlanta, the company, which started in Texas in 2002, will operate fourteen locations around Houston, Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth.  

Are you surprised that Black Walnut Cafe left Atlanta?  Did you ever dine at Black Walnut? If so, what were your thoughts on the food or concept?  What would you like to see replace Black Walnut Cafe in Alpharetta or Peachtree Corners?  

Please share your thoughts below.

8 comments:

Unknown said...

These would make a great location for Melting Pot! Love the restaurant but Roswell location lacks the privacy to make the experience super intimate and worth the cost!

Anonymous said...

Gonna be deniers ...so I will avoid the obvious reasons for the decline, loss of return visits, and ultimate failure of this once fine establishment. Hopefully not everyone migrates over to the nearby town center restaurants, although some of those need to interview with more scrutiny to prevent a similar fate.
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Anonymous said...

I live in Windward, went there twice in a pinch. Food was ok, but operation of the place is kinda odd. Is it a sit down? is it a QSR? Ice Cream bar order / pay at main counter? Graet location. Something will work there.

Connie said...

Too expensive for essentially self serve! Not surprised they closed up.

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear they've gone out of business. My family and I loved the restaurant.

Anonymous said...

Was a regular at Windward both for lunch and happy hour. They had an awesome happy hour with cheap craft beers and apps. Place was usually busy. Eventually they killed it by raising prices and eliminating some menu favorites and specials. Lately, lunch service slowed and took 40 min. for food to come out. Lunch hour was usually busy but many times they seemed understaffed. Food was usually good but rather pricey for a self serve affair. Hated to see it go but the struggle witnessed in the past six months told me the end was near. Too bad.

Allforreal said...

I was so excited when they came to Atlanta, I lived in Houston and was familiar with their excellent food. Unfortunately the management was (in my humble opinion) the reason for the closure here (Alpharetta). I stopped going because they could not get a meal out in a timely fashion and always seemed short staffed and unorganized. Especially at breakfast. I tried to email the company to alert them but their website did not work. So sad.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was overpriced for self-serve, but what made my second visit my last was that I had an elderly guest with me and there was no help available to carry food, drink, and utensils to the table. Worse, there were no trays for customers to use! A suggestion to add trays to help manage the items juggled by customers was met with, "The owners don't believe cafeteria-style trays work with our upscale cafe image." I'd have scratched my head in confusion if my hands weren't already so full.

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