Wednesday, January 27, 2010

One Café Blanc and Yoeshi Opening Soon (So They Say)

Renaissance Walk, a condo project at the corner of Piedmont and Auburn Avenues filed for foreclosure and is nowhere near full, but hey, why not open two eateries in their street level retail space? One Café Blanc and Yoeshi, both owned by the same restaurateur are said to be opening by mid-February. Despite the fact that other local media reported that both were already open, that is simply not the case, nor do I see it anytime soon. Having seen “Opening Soon” signs displayed on the building for what seems like an eternity, I noticed a city of Atlanta building permit posted on the space that was issued June 24, 2009. While there has been work done at a faster pace lately, it seems to have taken an extraordinary amount of time to get the interior built out. Personally, I don’t understand why one would open not one but two eateries in this location. In a portion of the space that is now set to be One Cafe Blanc, Crescent Moon was supposed to open, but never did. (Their "Coming Soon" sign can be seen in the picture on the Renaissance Walk website) Just down the road in the GSU Commons (Student Housing), Athens-based Jittery Joe’s Coffee opened and closed inside of 45 days and Landmark Diner lasted about a year before shuttering. Posted hours state that Yoeshi will be open everyday from 10A till 11P. I’m a student myself, and while I may not live on campus, I see it being highly unlikely for this place to make its numbers with such long hours in a still “developing” area of downtown. Oh yeah, concept-wise, One Café Blanc is described this way:

“One Café Blanc is influenced by concepts like “Moe’s” (assembled burritos), “Dressed” (custom salads), “Counter Burger” and “Flip Burger” (custom burgers). It also features a coffee and pastry shop concept like “Starbucks.” We will also be serving meal solutions like “Whole Foods” and “Alons.” We want to be leaders in preparing not only tasty, hearty meals, but also healthy meals. We will offer a variety of vegetarian selections as well as special foods for customers on low sugar and low salt diets.”

Now yes, I am young and have never opened or operated any establishment: food, beverage or otherwise but is it not common sense to not describe your establishment as being “like” a host of others? OK, perhaps yours will be similar in some respects to the likes of Dressed or Alon’s, but to say it outright is just plain strange in my mind and could have negative results. Let your product get people in the door, and let your service keep them coming back, don’t rely on your stated similarities to other concepts. Yoeshi, features an interior influenced by designs from Harajuku, which is an area in Tokyo, Japan. The restaurant will serve Japanese street food and desserts such as crepes, Japanese pastries and frozen yogurt. Additionally, they will offer pre-made Asian dinners and ready to eat sushi. While the Yoeshi concept does seem far more original and definitely has some aspects that I like, I worry about how well it will be received by the mainly student population nearby. (3 GSU dorms are located within a half mile, housing nearly 3,000 students)

I'm hesitant to put these places on the Deathwatch before they even open but they had best get their act together, as both could do OK if marketed and run properly, with consistency in their food. ToNeTo Atlanta

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