Thursday, October 28, 2010

ToNeTo Atlanta DeathWatch Update : Fourth Quarter

With so many comments on my update in July, it seems the DeathWatch is the most popular portion of the site. Be it morbid fascination or for some other reason, ya'll really like this stuff, and the comments show. As we approach the end of 2010, my closure predictions of Aquaknox, Pizza Fusion, Urban Flats, Martin + Osa , Ixtlan Ultra Lounge and Harlem Bar all came to fruition. In addition, restaurants such as Shaun's , Zaya , Fox & Hounds and LOLA and retailers such as Calvin Klein and Lexie + Jane have all closed this past year. Co-owner A.D. Allushi beat me to the punch on calling 5th Street Cafe a failure, they closed earlier this week. While I'm not happy to see this happen, there's no denying the accuracy of my predictions. Don't for a minute think that I arbitrarily add businesses to the Deathwatch. I examine the business and appraise the likelihood of them remaining viable and if not, for how long they will last. Certain businesses were added or subtracted for various reasons, rest assured no PR firm or external force played any part in the formation of this list. Please find DeathWatch 2010 Q4 after the jump.


~57th Fighter Restaurant - After opening for the third time, the restaurant seems doomed for another closure. Its greatest asset, its cozy, hidden location next to PDK, is also its greatest weakness, as passersby don't realize it's there. I hope they can turn it around once and for all but I think they need to do a better job of marketing and promoting the restaurant.

~BLT (W Downtown) Bistro Laurent Tourondel's BLT at the W Downtown is hardly the hit they hoped it would be. After the restaurant opened in 2009, I had dinner there before an event. My $45 Sea Bass was awful, which was matched by the lack of attentiveness of the staff. The fact that the restaurant serves as the hotel kitchen is certainly helping them, as the restaurant alone would have surely closed by now. The W, though in foreclosure, has performed well occupancy- wise, it's just those gosh darn condos that have weighed them down, and by many accounts are the main culprit in the financial mess the property is in.

~Cantina Taqueria & Tequila Bar - Similar to the story below, this Here to Serve concept is just taking up space for now. Its shelf life is probably 10 months. Lola opened as Italian, then became Mediterranean, then closed. Now we have a Mexican concept, the cuisine du jour for restaurateurs to open. With the restaurant still located in logistical hell Terminus, it may be time to hop on the burger bandwagon. Catherall already replaced his Hispanic chef with an American, I say bring back "That's a Burger!," his shuttered Colony Square burger joint.

~Coast Seafood & Raw Bar - Having just opened in what was previously Seeger's, Posh and Home, there's not much hope for this concept right off the bat. As good (or bad) as the food may turn out to be, it's just a bad location. Seeger's was great, but it became impossible to make a go of it with a space so small. Here to Serve wisely added outdoor patio dining during the Home days, but in doing so, took valuable parking from the front. With the St. Regis across the street, one would think they could get enough business to survive, but that assumption means I'm saying the St. Regis has diners to send, which more often than not, it doesn't. Things are sure to get interesting when The Big Ketch Oyster Bar and Seafood Grill opens in the old Taco Stand later this Fall. With a more casual environment and ample parking, The Big Ketch is sure to give Coast a run for their money, if they last that long.

~Der Biergarten - OK, so it hasn't been open too long, and? It's a dumb name, crappy location and a niche cuisine. I went to the opening and took my friend of German descent, we both agreed on one thing. Once in a while we might want a Bratwurst or Schnitzel or what have you, but there is no way by any stretch of the imagination this will be a viable concept long term. Legacy Property Group will continue to operate this sad eatery as long as they have the willingness or funding to do so but the business man in me says PULL THE PLUG...NOW

~Emerald Coast Coffee & Grille - As reader Andy stated shortly after opening "So, the closing of the AFC Starbucks doesn't tell us anything about the oversupply of coffee shop options in the terminus area where they are flanked by a Caribou on one side and a Starbucks on the other with a CFA and Flying Biscuit that both do pretty good coffee" There are a plethora of other and better coffee options in and around Terminus. I had one of their "smoothies," more like fluffed sugar, that didn't even taste good. I rarely see it busy or hear much talk about it- good or bad. I'm not the Wizard of Emerald City but I do see this place going under by year's end.

~Mellow Mushroom (Downtown at Twelve) Located not far from the original eatery at North Avenue, this location opened with much fanfare but has never been able to capture customers after the white collars leave for the day and go home for dinner. Its location is far from ideal, with parking located on one-way Spring Street and within the TWELVE condos.Panchero's nearby didn't even last a year and Au Bon Pain across the street didn't last much longer.

~Saskatoon - After finally opening in the swiftly shuttered Harry Bisset's Buckhead, the restaurant has never seemed busy and is not in the best of locations. The first franchised location for Greenville, South Carolina-based Saskatoon, the flagship is not nearly as popular as some have been made to think. This is not the right time for another steakhouse in Buckhead, especially such a niche approach with elk, bison and ostrich offerings. The restaurant is currently for sale on Shumacher but also recently ran a ScoutMob offer. Given current economic conditions and lack of activity at the restaurant, this restaurant will more than likely be extinct no later than the first quarter of 2011.

~Slack's Hoagie Shack dba Slack's Restaurant and Bar - You already know how I feel about this place. Simply put, bad idea, plus bad location plus unproven concept equals failure. I'm told the franchisee is a retired millionaire who is opening the place for kicks, so I guess it may stay open as long as he has "play money" to sink into it. With Costco's opening today, perhaps he will see an increase in traffic outside the door but I doubt it will translate into traffic inside the restaurant.

~Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft - After opening last November in what was my favorite SoBu eatery, Taurus, Tuk Tuk Thai loft has been anything but impressive, let alone busy. The second level restaurant went through a total makeover Charlie and Nan Niyomkul created successful restaurants in Nan Thai Fine Dining and Tamarind Seed at Colony Square but this newest concept may be a sign their magic touch has faded. Tamarind Seed at Colony Square took the place of repeated failed concepts by Here To Serve: Piri Piri and later, That's A Burger! A colleague of mine dined here shortly after opening and remarked it should be called "Yuk Yuk" (Yuck Yuck). The food is overpriced for being billed as "street food" and its just not as good as the Niyomkul's other concepts. Baroni's impending opening in the former Wolfgang Puck Express is sure to do more harm than good for this already struggling concept.

~Twisted Taco (Tucker and Buckhead ) - One of a number of recent franchised locations to open, this one has not met the expectations of many area patrons and is not in the best location. Having taken over a failed Chili's restaurant, Twisted Taco Tucker faces nearby competition from Marlow's Tavern within the nearby DoubleTree Hotel and has been ripped a new one by patrons on sites like Yelp. I doubt they will make it past January.

~Urban PL8 - Pangaea, Milk & Honey: this space is not meant for a restaurant. Try as many have to make it work, it does not have the space to do the number of covers necessary to make a go of it. I went to the opening and loved the nut burger and if the place were not so far off the beaten path, I think it could work, and might even exceed expectations. To rely on Turner employees and word of mouth marketing may work for Antico Pizza, but this place is in trouble and doomed.

~The Wafflery - Serving up Belgian Waffles and Crepes, this place is kidding themselves. Even Cinnabon, the prior eatery at the same location realized you can't make it on just a couple of foods. Cinnabon announced a few weeks ago that it will soon begin offering breakfast and lunch options such as egg sandwiches and paninis. The Wafflery, while a unique concept to the Atlanta market, does not have the staying power or product variety to make it a success, especially in high rent Lenox Square.

~YEAH! Burger (West Midtown & VaHi) - So here's the thing, YEAH! Burger is not all that, it just is. No wow factor, no great value, no nothing. The design is fabulous, done at both locations by local firm Seiber Design, but really, if I wanna get ripped off on a burger I can just go to FLIP. I really don't understand the thought process on the part of Chef Shaun Doty and partner Erik Maier. Without even having their first location (West Midtown) up and running, they signed a lease on a second location (Virginia Highlands). Barry Mills of FLIP and Alex Brounstein of Grindhouse both waited to measure the success of their first locations before expanding, and as a result of doing what I consider due diligence on the market, I feel both are far better positioned for the future. (I will say, I was not, nor am now a fan of FLIP, but they seem to do what they do, well.)
Last week Doty announced he would close his namesake eatery Shaun's effective December 18th, but it seems he may have closed sooner, as just yesterday their OpenTable page was down and the restaurant was closed. Personally, I think the closure of Shaun's was as much a move to put capital into the second YEAH! than actual issues with the restaurant itself. Neither YEAH! buildout looks cheap and I'm sure the VaHi location will be more expensive than Westside. What it comes down to for me is the restaurant seems like a natural, green, environmentally friendly McDonald's. The Yelp reviews have been mild, an overall rating of 3.5 stars, with many sharing the same sentiment that they feel they don't get their money's worth and the food is not all that. Virginia Highlands is home to George's, a neighborhood favorite for a great burger, so it will be interesting to see how the two compete. Not knowing what kind of funding they have behind them, or how deep those pockets are, I'm hesitant to attach a timetable to their demise, but as soon as the burger craze starts to cool, they will surely be one of the first casualties.

~Yoeshi and One Cafe Blanc - Yoeshi and One Cafe Blanc finally opened in early April after months of delays. Barely 45 days later, signs were posted on each restaurant's exterior doors as well as their Facebook page alerting would-be patrons that they would be closed from 5/18 through 5/24. They reopened shortly after GSU went back for fall semester. But wait, Thanksgiving break is approaching so perhaps they close again til... YOU CAN'T DEPEND ON STUDENTS. Sorry, but its true, sad as it is, its true. Students are not dependable and will not keep you in business. I doubt they are in business come next summer.

~Yoreka - In a city now overrun with local and national yogurt joints, this one does not stack up. While their name is among the more memorable and smart, I normally don't patronize places purely on the creativity of their name. Personally a fan of Yogurberry, Yogli Mogli and the Yogurt Tap in Decatur, my one trip to Yoreka was a waste. They have few flavors, none out-of -this-world amazing like the Graham Cracker Marshmallow at Yogurt Tap or the Taro at Yogurberry. The one person working at the time seemed to hate her job and when I walked out unimpressed, gave me the death stare. Whoever selected this location did a poor job, selling yogurt you need more visibility. Not the best... or even near the top in area yogurt options. A bad location and no differentiating factor make this place approach their expiration date.


Reader Submitted

~EVOS ( Midtown and The Prado) - I've been here a couple times, and while the food was pretty good, I don't think it has caught on or will catch on enough in the Atlanta market. Based in Tampa, Florida, the locations the local franchisee chose or had selected have been pretty poor. The Prado, as mentioned above does not provide the necessary traffic or visibility to launch a new concept in the market. The Viewpoint on Peachtree is not much better as it has a fair amount of walk by traffic and great visibility but basically no easily accessible parking. Not quite ready for this concept in Atlanta. The Prado location is probably the worst. Wish 'em luck but it won't be easy.

~Genki (The Prado) - Genki expanded from its popular Buckhead outpost on Roswell Road to the Prado last year and it could not have been a worse decision. One Roswell in Buckhead, the eatery is on a prime stretch of Roswell just before it merges into Peachtree. I don't know the exact traffic counts, but they are high. Sadly though, in the Prado, tucked in the back of the center, near Joli Kobe and 5 Seasons Brewery, there is far less traffic and Genki is surrounded by EVOS and Yoreka among others, all having a tough time as well. Larry's Giant Subs already threw in the towel in the adjacent storefront.

~Truva - They recently added outdoor dining but I doubt that will save them. Their Mediterranean cuisine is OK, but not the best by any means. They did what they could with the former Steak and Ale space but it just does not "Seduce your senses". My reader predicts they will last no longer than next Spring.


~Bloomingdale's (Perimeter Mall) - A far cry from the offerings of New York or even Lenox, this store's service is trumped by even Chick-Fil-A. Bloomingdale's Perimeter has yet to meet expectations and is shrinking its saleable floor space almost as fast as new Tiger Woods mistresses came forward. I won't go into all the interactions I have personally experienced at this location but let's just say they leave much to be desired. Management has yet to wake up and acknowledge the issues that plague their store, and as such, the store's sales and reputation have suffered. If Federated wants to improve their bottom line, they will close this store no later than the first quarter of 2011.

~Barney's New York CoOp - Similar story to that of fellow Phipps retailer Jedal, Barney's is lucky enough to have deeper pockets by way of Istithmar, a private equity firm that purchased Barney's from Jones Apparel Group in 2007 for $825 Million. Once rumored to be on the map for a Barney's New York flagship, Atlantans have proven they can't support such high end and cutting edge designers by the lack of support and sales for even the CoOp. If this store is not closed by February 2011, I'll be surprised.

~Coposhi - What a joke! With limited parking, not clearly marked (in the rear of the store), the first problem starts before you even get inside. The store is pretty cool, bi-level with some creative merchandising. Driving by the store you can't tell what the heck it is or if they're open. I guess they spent all their money on the store interior and merchandise as all they have is a Twitter last updated June 13th and a "person" Facebook in terms of an online presence. I doubt they will make it past this upcoming holiday season.

~Jedal - The first in a string of local merchants wooed to Phipps Plaza, there is little hope for their survival. They don't carry brands that many care or know about and they are not in the East Village of NYC. Atlantans know what they want and they buy it. Barney's is suffering from the same issue, though it has the corporate dollars to keep the door open and hope for improvement. Jedal, on the other hand, is trying to be the Dresscodes (shuttered Decatur boutique) of shoes and introduce Atlantans to designers they might not otherwise be familiar with. When Phipps discontinues its favorable rent incentives, its likely this store will be unable to stay. Given current market conditions, I'd say this is likely to occur by years end, maybe even early Fall.

~Larisa Glazirani - Located in the lobby level of the Realm Condos in Buckhead, this boutique could not be in a more strange location. Designer Larisa Glazirani must have some deep pocketed investors as there is no way that she is selling enough merchandise to cover the undoubtedly expensive rent, the fashion show she did in May at the InterContinental Hotel, and her professional website. Her "haute couture" may have been lauded by the press and fashionistas alike in the motherland but here in America, and more precisely, in Atlanta, and even more precisely, in Buckhead, her extravagant designs are out of place and not selling as best I can tell. Unless Cruella de Vil is in the market to build a new wardrobe, this boutique will be closed soon.

~London Calling - A novel approach to retailing. See something you like and can't get here in the state, and build a store around it. Hmm... novel in concept, but not in business acumen, seemingly no market research was done. There is a small market for many of the lines carried here. Paul Smith ready-to-wear for men is available in limited quantities but is already sold at DrewLewis not far away and on occasion, at Bill Hallman. The website is a case study in how not to run an online business. The location is a mystery too, La Pietra Cucina and Joli Kobe do OK but retail in Two Peachtree Pointe (The Inveso Building) is laughable. No walk by traffic and even at lunch, office workers who are not their demo.

~Merino- A lot spent on build out but similar problem as Jedal. Unheard of designers in a tough spot. The high price point and poor, corner location (see Y-3) make it highly unlikely this boutique will make it through the renovation and reconfiguration at the Shops Around Lenox.

A segment I've messed around with for a while, "Stillborns" are concepts that are announced and never come to fruition. That is all, nothing more, nothing less, no disrespect intended by the name.


Fritti (Buckhead) At one point said to be opening by this fall at 102 West Paces Ferry, no work has been done on the project and the closures of owner Riccardo Ullio's midtown concepts would seem to serve as the writing on the wall.

Pano's (Buckhead) Delayed countless times, there is now talk the St. Regis may seek a new restaurant to take the space previously earmarked for Pano's. With Buckhead Life doing what it can to maintain its current stable of concepts, it's doubtful they will be able to get this project off the ground.

The Pig Sty (Downtown) With a "coming soon" sign that predates the damage done and now restored at the Westin Hotel is sits across from on Peachtree, its doubtful this lil piggy will ever see the light of day. A few months ago a water pipe burst within the building causing extensive damage to the interior so now even more capital would have to be sunk into the site, something I doubt anyone will be eager to do.


Mandarin Oriental (Midtown) Rumored, then finalized, then canceled, then resuscitated, I think we can just call this stillborn. Tivoli Properties is now comprised of Aqua and DUO after losing its Mezzo project in south Buckhead to foreclosure. Atlanta is oversupplied in terms of luxury hotels and as much as I'd love to say my city has a Mandarin, it just wouldn't work.

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Anonymous said...

Have u been to Yeah Burger???

It's packed all day with all types of people.

No way the west midtown location closes. None.

dork said...

57th - isn't this the exact same thing you said last quarter about the restaurant? cut and paste?

slacks - not the best food by any stretch of the imagination, but they always seem to be doing very good business

Unknown said...

The list is spot-on as usual. I think restaurant closings are hard to predict when they are located in hotels, office buildings, etc. The landlord might figure that having a eatery that can't pay the rent is better for the overall project than an empty space with no prospects (BLT, Mulino). I notice Noon Midtown is back to being open only 4 hours a day after failing at adding breakfast and dinner.
I shop at Bloomies Perimeter as much as possible and always receive excellent service. They have some great but lesser known product lines not found a Lenox. But their clothing selection is just sad compared to Lenox. Ditto at Co-op. Drew-Lewis is much improved.

Not From ATL said...

If I knew nothing about Atlanta other than what I could glean from your Deathwatch blog, I would say Atlantans are a bland bunch that like burgers or Mexican food, easy parking, dumbed down fashion, places that they don't have to walk to, food they don't have to analyze, etc.

So assuming all of that, it makes me wonder why Atlanta would attract any creative types since they're doomed to failure before they even get started. It sounds like one big suburb of a city where even the urban areas are lifeless because the parking is a pain and the people would rather go to Target for their sophisticated shopping experience.

Having not lived in the city, that's just my perception based on your blog.

Anonymous said...

My one disagreement is Der Biergarten. Very gimmicky and cheesy and has bad food (i am surprisingly okay with all three of the above) but I find the atmosphere enjoyable (big tables / open patio) and the location downtown is great. Atlanta's downtown destinations are starting to pick up and Der Biergarten is a great addition. Happy hour is filled with an older crowd but it has been packed the 3 times I have been. I hope this place sticks around.

Anonymous said...


ATL punches above its weight in restaurants.

This is about the failures.

Though again, Yeah! Burger is one of the most popular spots I can think of in Atlanta and should not be on the list just because the author doesn't like it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah! Burger should be Yeah! Sucks.
Hope it closes soon.

Jeff said...

Yeah! Burger may be popular now, but I think it will eventually fail. Unlike Flip, which at least has some very unique burger options, Yeah! Burger offers nothing of interest, just overpriced burgers. I have to admit to kind of rooting against it, as I hate to see Doty rewarded for cashing out and abandoning "real" cooking for a burger joint.

AtlantaDude said...

I've got to agree with the Noon sentiment. The food has been great all the times I've been there, but they can't seem to get a consistent crowd there.

I'm on the same page with the Yeah! burger comment. I can't see that place closing any time soon.

The rehashed Twisted Taco midtown now known as Deadwood Saloon should be on the list as well. Even on a warm Friday night this place has been dead every time I've walked by or been in.

Atlantan99 said...

So yea, EVOS Midtown closed today. You can disagree with my predictions all you want but I don't just throw darts at a map and the closures speak to my accuracy. YEAH! may stay open a while but it won't last long term and that I'm confident of.

ps, I think Dogwood Restaurant in midtown and Fatburger by Lindbergh need to be added to the list.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Davio's. Any "upscale" place that has a kid's menu is instant Deathwatch material.

EVOS concept was a gimmick and gimmicks die. Fast. Even in Roswell where they're relocating.

Yeah! will survive for about a year but people will become obese and suffer heart attacks, as will Yeah. No matter how much their dumpy PR pushes it as healthy organic food. I agree with pushes the 2nd location so quickly in Va-Hi, it will do well in the beginning and then taper off. The income won't support it's expense.

All the new places in Buckhead will be doomed as well. Gypsy Stag, The Big Ketch, The Ivy, etc.

Biergarten is a gimmick as well but with the tourists within walking distance, they may make it. IE: STATS (which is total crap)

Deckard's should be on the list even though it's not bad, somehow midtown ponce doesn't care for a fancy looking pub/sports bar.

BatGirl said...

-Logistical hell Terminus? ...YES. Ohhhh yes. Having once worked across the street, I still found that I had trouble directing people there, depending on where in Terminus they wanted to go. :-\

-Saskatoon just needs to get turned into a bar. I don't even know what it was before, but with its location, WHY wouldn't anyone make this location into a fun bar? Every time I pass by it, I think that. A step under Buckhead Bottle Bar and a couple steps above Elbow Room...bring on the Buckhead kids with their fake IDs.

-I didn't know that about Cinnabon. I've never eaten there and don't really plan to because I've read that it's caloric suicide as far as fast-food goes, but I enjoy the tidbit nonetheless, Toneto. ;)

-How is Larisa Glazirani not closed yet? What a joke. I hope your prediction comes to fruition, sir. (YEAH RHYMES!) Sooner rather than later, I hope.

Muffin said...

I think the reason 57th keeps failing, closing and reopening is they won't change the food or the concept. It's TIRED. it's a great property, although it is a little off the beaten path. It's great to sit on a patio with fire pits and watch planes take off and land (and the bar that opens to the patio is pretty cool), but the food SUCKS. it always has. the brunch used to be so so but was passable because it's a buffet with free champagne, but now it's even worse and more expensive. they need to take that place down to the studs and start from scratch, dump the military concept and start over with a new building, concept and menu.

Anonymous said...

Agree with most of your posts, but you are waaay off with Yeah Burger. Shaun is a great chef and I think it will only get better if he is indeed focusing full time on it. The Highlands will eat this up. The organic option is a big draw for many people. Everyone knows you LOVE cheap-ass Grindhouse. Give it a break already.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how Yeah Burger is busy.
Been there a couple of times to see if we would eventually like it...still a Yeah, NO!
Just sayin'....

Atlantan99 said...

Hello Anon,

Re: I LOVE cheap-ass Grindhouse. I prefer to get what I feel is "my money's worth." If you prefer to drop $20+ and leave hungry, go right ahead. Grindhouse and Farm Burger in Decatur beat FLIP and YEAH! any day, any burger. Price, portion and a relaxed non-chain atmosphere make both winners in my book.

Anonymous said...

I finally tried YEAH! Burger the other night. It's basically Fuddruckers in a nicer building.

Anonymous said...

BLT: I don't know if the Sea Bass is enough to put a fork in them. I've been there many times and my companions - sporting a variety of tastes - have always been very impressed. It's not setting the world on fire, but is still a very good restaurant. The halibut was amazing last time I went.

Mellow Mushroom: Social's location is waaaay more challenging and they are doing well so I don't think you can blame that for MM's lack of flourish.

Der Biergarten: It's a Beer Garden so I'm not sure what's wrong with the name. The place has been packed to the hilt each of the 3 times I've been there. What amazes me is that the adjacent and perpetually dead Rise Sushi Lounge isn't on your list.

Yoeshi and One Cafe Blanc: I don't think they will need to rely on students for too much longer, especially as word of their $1 PBR draft gets out to the "I'll drink bad beer because it's cool" crowd. They also get a fair number of GSU and Hospital employees (Children's, Grady). The food at this place is unbeatable for the price point and hopefully if Renaissance Walk picks up in occupancy they will get even more solid footing.

Truva: I'm inclined to agree but I hear that they clean up during lunch. That's what keeps a lot of otherwise tepid Downtown spots around (Il Mulino in particular).

Atlantan99 said...

Hello Anon,

You are soooo right! Rise Sushi definitely should have been on this list. I will be sure to add it next time should it be open that long.

Thanks for the comments and for reading the blog

Anonymous said...

BLT Steak:

Went Saturday night, and the food was STELLAR.

However, at 8:00, it was EMPTY. Sad, in a way, because it really was top notch - from the bread, to the wine, to the apps, to the sides, to the entrees.

liam said...

Seriously? How do you not even MENTION that Yeah! Burger uses local grass fed beef, organic buns, has gluten free options, etc...

Anonymous said...

Yeah burger is great! I live in Vahi and think it's going to give moe &joes and georges a run for it's money. Why? Because while I love going to those places and taco Mac to get some good greasy food, I am getting on the organic bandwagon and don't want my kids eating monkey meat. My 8 yr old loves YBs buffalo burger. It is expensive but the food is organic, good and fresh. So worth it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah burger is great! I live in Vahi and think it's going to give moe &joes and georges a run for it's money. Why? Because while I love going to those places and taco Mac to get some good greasy food, I am getting on the organic bandwagon and don't want my kids eating monkey meat. My 8 yr old loves YBs buffalo burger. It is expensive but the food is organic, good and fresh. So worth it.

Atlantan99 said...

To Liam and Anon,

I don't refute that YEAH! does offer some hard to find toppings and breads and meats but it just does not make we want to come back. Jon Watson, newest member of the AJC food team just gave them a 1 star and his accompanying review ( ) hits a number of the issues I have with the concept. If I want a good burger for under $10, its Grindhouse, if I'm in my healthy mode, its Farm Burger in Decatur. Both of these concepts are just more real to me, unlike FLIP and YEAH! which both seem cookie cutter and just itching to become a chain IMO.

Anonymous said...

How are the restaurants at the Lindbergh Sembler development doing? I always felt that restaurants in there would start to suffer after a few years with the parking deck situation and terrible traffic but maybe all the apartments in the area are keeping them afloat? Urban Flats was a disaster in that location.

Atlantan99 said...

Hello Anon,

I'm not sure the eateries at Sembler's Lindbergh development are doing as well as hoped, but I can tell you from personal experience that the rebuilt Waffle House there does amazingly well with late night diners. Arby's shifted from their Market Fresh concept to their simple Arby's and I think they may be the only eatery still not doing great. I doubt that the Tin Drum there does as well as the one in Sembler's Perimeter Place development but they seem to do ok. Il Bacio has always amazed me in staying open as long as they have but clearly I never happen to drive by when they have a packed house. Starbucks, well, not much to say there. No other Starbucks is a stones throw away, so they do just fine.

Urban Flats is in Lindbergh City Center, a separate development across the street where Hot Stix ( a Chow Baby imitation) closed not long after opening but Tongue & Groove keeps people , mostly young coming to the area on weekends. This demo supports the success of Taco Mac and Wet Willie's.

Anonymous said...

Its funny you can always tell that a place is doomed when you see poor reviews and you call and the staff are rude.

Anonymous said...

I'm not totally sure I agree with some of these, but everybody has an opinion. 1)I'm not surprised about Twisted Taco but I will be sad to see them go. Great spot to watch games and their cheese dip kicks butt. 2) I love Der Biergarten and every time I've been it's been slammed. I can't speak for their dinner hours c I've never been, but happy hour is a blast. 3)Really liked Yeah Burger and still hoping they make it!

Anonymous said...

I hear Il Mulino at 191 Peachtree downtown may close by weeks end...

Atlantan99 said...

Damn! Guess that shoulda been on the DeathWatch! Being a student at GSU, I'd pass by Il Mulino often before or after class and rarely see much action inside. Not a shocker as I questioned them opening in the location they did at the time that they did. Was told by a reader they signed a lengthy lease and were stuck which kept me from saying too much so I wonder what the real story is? I've had about enough of all these NYC high end eateries coming to Atlanta, BLT and for that matter Spice Market and Market's days are numbered...

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you just don't like Yeah! personally - hardly the right reason to put them on the list. The reason they are more expensive than Grindhouse is that natural and organic ingredients cost WAY more money than regular ingredients. Ever been to Whole Foods? You should rent Food Inc to get some perspective. I applaud the Yeah! guys for doing the right thing. If you want to look at burger places for your list, what about Burger Club, Fuze Burger and Buns & Shakes? Those would seem more appropriate...

Atlantan99 said...

Hello Anon,

I'm all for natural and organic but I'm just not impressed with the YEAH! product. If in the mood for an organic, grass fed, natural burger, I'd much prefer Farm Burger in Decatur to YEAH! Burger. Grindhouse is a solid burger, but yes, you are right that it's not a fair comparison on price and product to that of YEAH!. I think YEAH! and FB are fair to compare and IMHO, FB beats YEAH! in basically all areas.

Anonymous said...

Seems like Shaun Doty has helpd close restaurants all over town. Have you heard anything about ONE Midtown Kitchen? I have been there twice in the last month for cocktails and the place has been empty at 8pm. I feel the quality of all these concentrics restaurants are not anywhere what they used to be. Guess another example of growing too quickly and not keeping your standards up.

Anonymous said...

Yeah! Burger BLOWS but it's always busy and I don't see it slowing down because people with obviously no idea what a good burger tastes like actually like it. I could see you putting it on your list to close 3 years from now but not this quarter or the next's here to stay for a couple years.

Atlantan99 said...

Hello Anon,

No doubt that they will do well at least at first, and I'm trying to suggest they are bound to close within the next 6 months, but they may not last more than a year or so. Countless neighbors in the area have voiced their opposition to what they call the "chaining of the area" with the YB opening in addition to the planned closure of Everybody's Pizza in favor of Genki Sushi. Recently is was also announced that local chain Yogi Mogli will open another intown location, virtually across the street from YB. I'm not sure how all these joints will do but if current neighborhood sentiment is any indication, the "Grand Opening" signs may just as soon be replaced with "For Lease" signs.

Anonymous said...

I would add H. Harper Station to the list. I've been hearing lots of people say that H. Harper Station is overpriced for the neighborhood and has been empty since the hype went away. Also, how is Steel doing? Any restaurant that has to give away free sushi from 5-7 to get people in must be in trouble, right? I admit that I haven't been in a while so maybe they are busier than before.

By the way, is it time to add DBA Barbecue back? I was hoping they would be able to muster up some traffic but it seems to be in rough shape based on all the empty seats day in and day out. Like you, I don't enjoy seeing any restaurants close but thought I would mention these.

Atlantan99 said...

Hello Anon,

I would not be shocked if H. Harper did not make it given what you have witnessed.

As for STEEL, you got me there! Somehow, some way, they remain open! I have not a clue how this is possible given what I know about their traffic levels staffing issues. They have a second location in Dallas where a number of staff were brought in from but have since been let go. They have no money to pay their people! With the closures that have taken place at Plaza Midtown, STEEL either has dirt on somebody a very affordable lease.

DBA, not much to say here. It's amazing they have made it this long!

Look for a new DeathWatch update in January and a new BirthWatch update very soon!

Thanks for reading and for the comments!

Anonymous said...

After 27 years in business, Vickery's Bar & Grill will close its midtown location on Crescent Avenue on January 1st.

Anonymous said...

FWIW: One Cafe Blanc finally bit the dust.


Jason D said...

Went to Yeah! Burger a couple of weeks ago. Didn't even finish burger. Fries were good. Burger, not done properly and tasteless. AND definitely not worth the money they're asking. I'm all for great ingredients, but the end product should be great. For my money, and in that area, I'd far rather go to West Egg for a cheeseburger. Heck, even FLIP.

urban said...

As far as BLT, I know they are struggling, just like the hotel which occupies it. My prediction is that Starwood will end up purchasing the restaurant and manage it internally just like they did with "Market" and "Spice Market". This option seems to make more since than bringing in a new owner/brand and risking losing them as well.

illoboy said...

To all the comments on burger places.

1) wish folks would stop making overpriced burger joints, and come up with more affordable/yummy food concepts
2) I agree that yeah burger = fudruckers inside a nice place, nice staff. nothing else worth mentioning.
3)I'm hungry damn it! And I'm going to take my $8-12 bucks and go to publix

p.s. Flip is hardly burgers, just goodness dressed up like em' -expensive though-yeash!

Anonymous said...

George's still has the better burger in the Highlands. Good food, reasonably priced.

Atlantan99 said...

Hello Illoboy and Anon,

Totally with ya on the burger talk.

"Flip is hardly burgers, just goodness dressed up like em' -expensive though-yeash!" SPOT ON!

George's has and will continue to be the best in the hood.

Thanks for the comments!

Anonymous said...

Genki Prado - you say it is closing - you should check your information because that is not the case. They have made it past a year there & now the company is opening another location. I think that is great for any restaurant given the number of closings in an ecomony like we have these days.

Dinersaur said...

Regardless of our personal preferences, YEAH! Burger looks like it's here to stay. The Howell Mill location is consistently busy and the lunch crowd around there is not one to shy away from pricy lunches (5 Seasons, Bocado, Chow Baby, Six Feet Under, and JCT).

Anonymous said...

On the stillborn list, I saw in Atlanta Business Chronicle about 1-2 years back that Bruegger's Bagels would be re-entering the Atlanta market. I seem to remember the first would be in the Powers Ferry area. I've never heard any more about it. Any word?

Atlantan99 said...

Hey Anon,

I have not heard anything on them of late. I'd blame this largely on the credit crunch but who knows... I've learned that you can never really count on the ABC to keep up to date on openings. They also announced that Smashburger and Froots would be opening, neither has materialized.

Anonymous said...

Hey saw a listing for the Baraonda space on Loopnet--is this closing??

Atlantan99 said...

Hey Anon,

The restaurant claims its just a rumor... I'm not convinced.

Anonymous said...

I saw where the Sonny's BBQ on Cheshire Bridge is being demolished this week. Any idea what is going up in its place, if anything at all?

Atlantan99 said...

Hey Anon,

Sadly I do. Look for a post on it within the next 24 hours. I will warn you, its FAR from exciting :(

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