Thursday, May 5, 2011

ToNeTo Atlanta DeathWatch Q2 2011

With 50 comments on DeathWatch 1.0 in January, it's clear that this section of the blog is popular! Be it morbid fascination or some other reason, y'all really like this stuff, and the comments show it. As 2011 progresses, please recall my correct predictions of the past quarter: Fuze Burger, Baba Louz, Merino, Saskatoon, The Wafflery, Larisa Glazirani and Vetted. While I'm not happy to see this happen, there's no denying the accuracy of my predictions. Please 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 may last.

Please find DeathWatch 2011 Q2 after the jump.


57th Fighter Restaurant (Near PDK Airport) - After opening for the third time, the restaurant seems doomed again. 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.

AMUSE! (Midtown) - Located where for a short time Allegro was once located, it's doubtful this restaurant will last much longer. I went once, and that was enough to make up my mind. The food is decent but not great and the location is awful. I'd be amused to see them last til the fall.

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, and 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 a restaurant alone, it would have surely closed by now. I give them till the end of the year to reconcept.

Boardwalk Burgers & Fries (Sandy Springs & Midtown) The Maryland-based chain expanded to offer burgers and signed up Michael Coles to franchise the brand in the Atlanta market. While I agree the fries are awesome, the burgers are not, with management insisting that they be cooked well done. Their location in Sandy Springs at Roswell and Hammond Drive is tucked away and not visible from either road. Their upcoming location in midtown at Ansley Mall is a better location but will suffer at the hands of locally owned Grindhouse Killer Burgers and the upcoming 5 Napkin Burger. I say quit while you can, stop construction in midtown, and call it quits in Sandy Springs ASAP.

Cantina Taqueria & Tequila Bar (Buckhead / Terminus) - Similar to the story below, this Here to Serve concept is just taking up space for now. Lola opened as Italian, then became Mediterranean, then closed. Now we have a Mexican concept, the cuisine du jour for restaurateurs to open. I previously suggested Tom Catherall entertain the idea of bringing back his "That's a Burger" concept but I doubt that will happen. While a longterm lease was signed for the space, I'm told (when) Catherall closes Cantina, he won't try another concept but will instead hope to flip the space to someone else.

Coast Seafood & Raw Bar (Buckhead) - Having opened in a seemingly cursed space that was previously Seeger's, Posh and Home, there's not much hope for this concept . As good (or bad) as the food may 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. I think they will do ok during the spring and summer months, bur fear their sales will dip soon after and may sink the concept by fall.

Decatur Diner (Decatur) After finally opening (for a day), the writing is already on the wall. The restaurant's sporadic hours and multiple delays have more than confused and troubled the neighborhood. Their sister diner in Sandy Springs closed after about four months in business and word that ownership is known to not pay vendors or employees, makes me question how they were even able to lease the restaurant in the first place. This restaurant will be closed by fall.

Der Biergarten (Downtown / Luckie Marietta District) - Having now been open a few months, criticisms of this place have not changed. It's a dumb name, crappy location and a niche cuisine. I went to the opening and took a 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 that 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.

Dogwood (Midtown) - Located at the cusp of midtown and downtown, it's in a bad location. Too far for most hotel guests from either midtown or downtown hotels to walk, and really only convenient to Emory Hospital Midtown. The fact that it's located in the bottom of a condo building can't help things. I won't be shocked to see them close by the end of the year.

Erbert & Gerbert's (Decatur) - A local husband and wife chose one of the worst locations to open Atlanta's first Erbert & Gerbert's. Located along East Ponce de Leon Avenue, the restaurant is not within the city limits of Decatur and is not close enough to walk from like anywhere. Its closest neighbor is the adult entertainment club Pin-Ups and something tells me they won't see much business from there. I give 'em props for having the cool new Coca-Cola Freestyle machine that features over 100 beverages, but that alone will not save them. Not far away, IN Decatur, Jimmy John's recently opened and serves (IMHO) better food at a more customer friendly price point. All in all, decent concept, decent food plus horrific location spell failure for this new-to-town fast casual concept. As they did JUST open, I'll give 'em till next week to see the error of their ways... and until early next year to close.

Emerald Coast Coffee & Grille (Buckhead / Terminus) - 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, not to mention the upcoming Jack's New Yorker Deli. 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 end.

EVOS ( Sandy Springs / Midtown / Roswell) - So riddle me this, why would a restaurant concept that fared poorly in Atlanta be bought out and see shuttered stores reopened? The original franchisees opened locations at The Prado in Sandy Springs and Viewpoint in Midtown. Another location was announced for Roswell. Just as DeathWatch Year End 2010 launched, the midtown location closed. Now, with new franchisees in place, the shuttered location in midtown was reopened and plans are in place to move ahead with the location in Roswell. I'm a recent graduate of Georgia State's Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality and I can't comprehend why any restaurateur / entrepreneur would invest in a failed concept with poor locations. It's like investing money in a sunken ship or a wrecked car: it's a lost cause. Multiple readers have reported the midtown location slower now than ever before. I'd like to hope this crappy concept calls it quits...for good, by year end... but hopefully sooner.

Five Guys (Northside Drive / Peachtree Street) Five Guys is a prime example of a fast casual chain getting too big, too fast. It has opened far too many locations, too fast, often opening in poor locations just to have a presence in a desired neighborhood. As a case in point, their locations at Tivoli Tenside on Northside Drive and their recent opening at Spire in midtown. Neither location is easily accessible by patrons driving by, and the Northside location never seems busy. With Spire having just opened, it's too early to call them slow, but that is my prediction. Unless rent is reduced to pennies, I'd say the Tenside location lasts another 6 months or so, and the Peachtree location, not much more than a year.

Genki (Sandy Springs / 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. On 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 the now closed Yoreka among others. Larry's Giant Subs threw in the towel in the adjacent storefront.

Mellow Mushroom (Downtown at Twelve Centennial Park) 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.

Pita's Republic (Midtown) Florida-based Pita's Republic entered the Atlanta market with itsmidtown location. After many delays, the eatery opened in July of last year. A falafel enthusiast, I was eager to try theirs. Boy was I disappointed. They use premade falafel balls and wraps made for burritos rather than, dare I say it, PITAS! The space has been a few things, even a Gyro Wrap (Great Wraps) back in the day, and even they couldn't make it. While plans are on the books for a second location in Sandy Springs, I say, go back to Florida and save some money. I'll give this place till fall to fail. For the record, awesome falafels can be had in Buckhead at Al's Cafe Agora, near Emory at Pita Palace and in Sandy Springs at Cafe Posh.

Pizzeria Venti (Buckhead) - Atlanta-based Pizzeria Venti is in a tough spot, in more ways than one. Located on Lenox Road, in Lenox Village Shopping Center, the center and road outside it always cluttered with "Pizza" signs but the place is rarely busy. It's location is far from prime and not convenient or known for that matter by most Buckhead residents. Given the chain is still new, having started in 2003, and only has a handful of locations, they can't be taking lightly the thought of seeing this location close, so perhaps corporate will assist either financially or in a relocation effort.

Rise Sushi (Downtown) - Located within David Marvin's Luckie Marietta District, the restaurant has been on life support for over a year. I doubt they will be open the next time the Falcons play at the dome.

Slack's Hoagie Shack, dba Slack's Restaurant and Bar (Brookhaven / TOWN Brookhaven) - 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 open but not doing the expected business, don't be shocked to see this restaurant close before other tenants like LA Fitness and CinéBistro even open.

STEEL (Midtown / Plaza Midtown) Dallas-based STEEL has somehow stuck around for a number of years at the corner of West Peachtree and Peachtree Place. A number of boutique, bank, apparel and restaurant closures at Plaza Midtown have finally taken their toll on STEEL. With decreased hours and talk they are in trouble financially, I'd expect them to close by fall.

The Family Dog / Rosebud (Morningside) Similar story to that of YEAH! Burger in that the joint is quite popular in some circles, and hated in others. I've been once and will never return. While I've read Chef Eyester's grievances on customers' demands either reasonable or not, and while some are valid, nothing can change the fact that he is in the hospitality industry. The Soup Nazi was a fictional character yet Chef Eyester seems almost giddy about personifying him to the extent that may endanger his business. The things he says and the unwillingness of his staff (at his direction) to make any accommodations for guests will be his downfall. I would agree that he has great neighborhood grub and that the locations of his two eateries are desirable, but the tasteless comments that come out of his mouth will ruin his tasty food and deter new business. Unless he shapes up... and grows up, I could see one or both restaurants closing by next fall.

The Real Chow Baby (Ponce de Leon location) Need I repeat myself? The food is good, the location awful.

{three} sheets (Sandy Springs) - Located at City Walk this restaurant was opened by the children of RCG's (Restaurants Consulting Group) owner Tony Akly and it's my impression they have a long lease. That said, it's unlikely they will close until someone comes in to buy them out. The restaurant is busy but only for monthly special events such as the grilled cheese dinner and flavor tripping parties. It's hard to imagine the restaurant making sufficient profit if they are only busy a couple days each month.

Truva (Downtown) - 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.

Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft (South Buckhead) - After opening November of 2009 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 that they have lost their magic touch. 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 it's just not as good as the Niyomkuls' other concepts. I give them till early summer at best.

Twisted Taco (Tucker and Buckhead ) - Two of a number of recent franchised locations to open, neither one has met the expectations of many area patrons and they are not in prime locations. 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. In Buckhead, the location on Wieuca off Roswell is just bad and the place is rarely busy as a result. I doubt either location will make it into the new year.

Urban PL8 (West Midtown) - 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.

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 their due diligence, I feel both are far better positioned for the future. (I will say, I was not, nor am I now a fan of FLIP, but they seem to do what they do well.)

YEAH! Burger was a hot topic for many on last year's final DeathWatch edition and many had their own opinions to share on its viability or value. Personally, I'm no more a fan of it now than I was then. I still think it's a nice idea and a fun space but the taste and value remain absent from the equation for me. I think they may stick around for a year or two, but they could close sooner. George's nearby and Farmburger in Decatur are far better burger options for the neighborhood.


7 For All Mankind (Buckhead / Lenox Square) I can't make sense of it, but this store has not done well. Rock & Republic filed for bankruptcy last year, True Religion opened a second Atlanta area store at Perimeter Mall, and somehow 7 has not fared well. Parent company VF also opened a large The North Face store in the Whole Food Market anchored shopping center at West Paces, not far from arch rival Patagonia, it has apparently done well. With so many stores carrying 7 FAM jeans at retail price and less, perhaps over-abundance of the product has done the store in. I see the line as being the new Levi's in a sense, but you wouldn't think that walking by the store basically any day of the week. As sad as it is, it would not surprise me to see them close by early next year.

Bloomingdale's (Dunwoody / Perimeter Mall) - A far cry from the offerings of New York or even Lenox, this store's service is trumped by Chick-Fil-A on a daily basis. Bloomingdale's Perimeter has yet to meet expectations and seems to shrink its saleable floor space every visit I make. I won't go into all the miserable 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. Some industry contacts have said this Bloomingdale's is tied for worst performing store in the chain. (I wonder which store they're tied with?) If Federated wants to improve their bottom line, they will close this store soon.

Barney's New York CoOp (Buckhead - Phipps Plaza) - 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 for $825 million in 2007. Once rumored to be on the map for a Barney's New York flagship, Atlantans have proven they won't support such high end and cutting edge designers by the lack sales for even the CoOp. With mounting losses and closures of many other better performing stores, I'd say they will be closed by mid to late fall.

Coposhi (Buckhead) - If I get one more email from the guy that owns this place, I may just go in and verbally tell him to take me off his list. I included this new Buckhead boutique in the DeathWatch last year and since then, he has added me to his stores "VIP" email list. I guess I was unclear. I don't like your clothes, I think you have an awful location, a goofy name and will be closed soon. Oh yeah, please remove me from your mailing list, as I am not interested!

Jedal (Buckhead - Phipps Plaza) - 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, it's likely this store will be unable to stay. Just as we recently saw Merino at Shops Around Lenox close, Jedal is surely to follow soon.

London Calling (Midtown) - A novel approach to retailing. See something you like and can't get here in the states, 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.

LoveSac (Buckhead / Lenox Square) This retailer of "sactionals" and other strange furniture opened at Lenox Square in the Fall of 2009 and has amazingly stayed at the mall this long. I rarely see many people in the store other than the two employees (who constantly change) It's only a matter of time for Simon to get someone to take the space as I believe they signed a short-term agreement. The space is small, so perhaps Simon simply can't find anyone to take it.

Microsoft Store ( Buckhead / Lenox Square) While the store won't even open until the end of the month, I think it bears saying that this store is a colossal waste of money and space. Apple boasts the highest sales per square foot of virtually any retail operation, especially in the electronics sector. Sony Style and Calvin Klein White Label recently proved it's foolish to try and sell products so ubiquitous that any half intelligent consumer can and would buy elsewhere for significantly less. Microsoft should stick to what it does best: software. I'll buy a Windows Phone if their stores lasts longer than 18-24 months.

Valentino (Buckhead / Phipps Plaza) It's sad to say, but this is just not a store Atlantans can support. With couture designs and a select clientele, I'd be surprised if this store has made "plan" a single month since opening. This couture label is past its prime and unless Buckhead Betty's grandmother is in there more often than I realize, I doubt they will be in business after the holiday season.

Versace (Buckhead / Phipps Plaza) Once a favorite in Atlanta and elsewhere, the store's glitzy makeover last year could not save this store. Its sales are down and it's lost its luster and relevance to Atlanta shoppers. I doubt they will be around much longer.

VINCE (Buckhead / Phipps Plaza) A day does not go by that I can't locate multiple VINCE items for women, and at times, men, at deeply discounted prices at the likes of Marshall's and T.J. Maxx. Those who know the brand can easily find it cheaper elsewhere and those unfamiliar with the line are turned off by the simple clothing with a relatively high retail price. I'd say all the Vs of Phipps (Valentino. Versace and VINCE) all close around the same time and all by next spring.

Know something I missed or think I'm way off? Leave me a comment and share your thoughts.

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Atlantan99 said...

Oh yea... don't be surprised is Dolce and Ten Pin Alley don't last much longer at Atlantic Station.

Anonymous said...

Your comment about Evos sounds a bit personal: I'd like to hope this crappy concept calls it quits...for good, by year end... but hopefully sooner.

This appears contrary to your intro. FYI: I've eaten at Evos once. I can take it or leave it, but I don't wish bad things upon it.

Atlantan99 said...


Noted. All I'm saying is that the concept has not fared well, perhaps it needs to be tweaked. I found the burger tasteless and the best part about the place being the many sauces to choose from. I don't wish bad things upon them but think it wise to not continue to sink money into a concept that clearly has too small an audience to survive in the market.

mindspringyahoo said...

I like Boardwalk, and there are some others that do likewise. I don't think it does much night business. I'm not sure about the weekday lunch time.

When you get into thinner type patties or steaks, you get wild fluctuations (and occasional disgusting rawness) when aiming for anything less than 'well done'.

The burgers I had there have been moist and tasty, but to each his own.

McDonalds only makes them well done too, and it hasn't hurt them too badly.

I don't think boardwalk has advertised very effectively. It's grassfed, the prices are great, IMO the burgers are tasty, it should capitalize on this.

SB said...

I don't know about Rosebud but I can tell you Family Dog is here to stay for a very long time. That place is packed every time I drive by with cars lined down the road. We finally stopped in a couple Saturdays ago around 9pm and it was slammed. By the time we left at 11pm, I realized at 9pm it had just been lively and now it was SLAMMED. Almost the entire crowd was 35-50 years old.... the perfect age range with disposable income who also won't trash the place. They also pour the drinks very light which has to help their profitability and fits the demographic -- it's not college kids, people aren't going there to get smashed. Per the bartender on my visit it was about a month into it's operations. It's a neighborhood gem so far it's 7 weeks.

Anonymous said...

Your Microsoft Store comments are spot on... but they have plenty of money to burn this early in their retail misadventure.

widmerpool said...

Good read.

1. You are obviously wrong about Yeah! Burger. I only ask that you admit it in two years (and saying something is going to close in a few years is not much of a "death watch")

Did you know that Yeah! Burger dropped their prices? I'm trying to think what your logic is besides a personal vendetta.

2. Spot on with Evos. It just isn't any good.

3. I don't care about 5 Guys but the location is better than you say. F2O does gangbusters in this location.

4. I can believe you about Barneys Coop but you've been saying this since Day 1.

Anonymous said...

I think you are on the mark with R'bud/Family dog. He is becoming more brazen, and the failure to make any changes whatsoever will eventually take him down if he does not relent to some degree. I understand the point of not using the menu as suggested ingredient pairings, but to mock a request that dressing (or a sauce) be placed on the side takes it too far. Also, and quite frankly, the food is fairly good, but the prices are not in line with quality. Just because the place is busy now means nothing for the future.

As for Dogwood, I hope you are wrong. I agree the location is horrible, but the quality of the food is incredible. The service is also worthy of mention. I also like the mellow, yet elegant vibe. This is one of the few restaurants in Atlanta at which my wife and I have eaten more than three times. It really is a special place. FWIW, it has been fairly full on the weekends we have visited. Not sure about lunch scene.

I would actually go so far as to say that Paces 88 may be rebranded. That's just the word in the 'hood.

K-Dogg said...

I agree with the majority of your selections, but you are dead wrong on the following 4:

Five Guys - The Northside location may go by the wayside, but the Midtown spot is going to do quite well IMO. I think it's success will ultimately lead to the demise of its cross-street neighbor, EVOS however.

Family Dog - See other commenter. The place is packed on a nightly basis. Whether you agree with the man's Twitter persona, he's got a good product in a GREAT location. The neighborhood loves him - he's not going anywhere.

Real Chow Baby Ponce - I've been several times and it too is always packed. The free valet helps with the parking issue, and there are plenty of people in the surrounding neighborhood to support it.

YEAH! Burger - You obviously don't like (or understand) this concept. I get that. However, both locations are absolutely killing it! I think you are out of your flipping mind by putting this place on the Death Watch.

Atlantan99 said...


I've said it once and I'll say it again. YEAH! Burger is ok but not great. I went once, was unimpressed and have yet to return. Farmburger IMHO has a better product at a better price in a better, less chain like environment. No vendetta as you suspect, just not a fan.

The F2o in Sprire does well but that's about all that does. The z pizza closed long ago and the Firehouse there has been sucking wind. F2o fits perfectly with the area and as such does very well. I doubt the area will support Five Guys as it has F2o.

With regard to Barney's, not sure what you mean when you say since day 1. I have updated my projections and am constantly monitoring traffic and store activity. With this info in mind, I have determined the current projected closing.

Thanks as always for reading and for the comments.

Anonymous said...

Rosebud? No way. Whether people like Ron or not, the restaurant is doing very well and having Nick Melvin in the kitchen certainly doesn't hurt either. Family Dog may be another story.

Anonymous said...

Of the 42 items on your Q1 deathwatch (not counting the "stillborn" section), 7 things closed. 16.7% accuracy.

Also, still not sure what is up with all the hate on Town Brookhaven. I presume you haven't spent much time there. Slacks does well considering how many places aren't open yet. It's gotten busier with the Costco opening and it should do even better with Publix (which is awesome) & Marshalls being open and more people discover the development. Additoinally, with LA Fitness being built (right next door to Slacks), the exposure should go up significantly. It could be cheaper, but with Spring here (patio weather) and the great food, it should do just fine.

Lee at said...

Twisted Taco is opening in Johns Creek. Would you include this location on your list?

Anonymous said...

I understand not being a fan of Yeah! Burger, but the facts are the facts. The place is packed on a daily & nightly basis. The locations they selected are in 2 of the hottest neighborhoods in town. From a business standpoint, they have a clear concept "farm-to-table sustainable burgers" that is resonating with A LOT of people (obviously not you).

It's family friendly and the prices are reasonable - not to mention the meat and produce are sourced locally.

My guess is you kept Yeah! Burger on your list merely to garner more traffic for your site. Because if you were "constantly monitoring traffic and store activity" like you said, they would not be on this list.

Steve said...

Read about Slack's, haven't been so I don't really know anything about it. Outside of that, question about Town Brookhaven - have you heard of any other places opening there besides Cine and LA Fitness?

Atlantan99 said...

@ Steve,

A lot of places are said to be opening but apparently Publix caused delays to many of the smaller guys.

The Cup - Cupcake Bistro
The Flying Biscuit Cafe
Cafe at Pharr
Stir Crazy
Olive Bistro and a few others are all supposedly opening soon, I think The Cup may open this week.

Nom Nom Nom said...

AS a recent graduate of the Georgia State's Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality, you should know that inputting your personal feelings into your reviews is not goign to do you any favors. I am not a fan of Yeah Burger and I believe there are better burgers out there. But just because you BELIEVE there are better burgers out there, doesn't make the concept fail. And you won't your personal feelign about this place go. As long as you have this blog you will put Yeah Burger on the Death watch, just because you had a better burger at FarmBurger.

I like your blog, and I think it serves a purpose, but by inserting you personal beliefs into "news" (but comeon, it's usually just gossip), lessens your credibility.

tamara said...

Usually I think you're spot on but I have to disagree with Rosebud and Yeah Burger.

I am not a fan of Ron Eyester myself, and I haven't and won't frequent either of his establishments, but people love them and I don't see Rosebud in particular closing anytime soon.

I love Yeah Burger and both locations always seem busy--I really don't think they're going anywhere.

Anonymous said...

There's a trend going on in Va-Hi/Morningside: Mediocre restaurants surviving on location alone. Two good examples on your list.

1. Pathetic attempt at a persona aside, Eyester's food at both Rosebud and The Family Dog is consistently average (at best). His saving grace is being the only option in that part of Morningside, but I'd love to see something else go in.

2. I gave Yeah Burger a fair shot, but the burgers are really mediocre and kind of a rip off. Again, the location (and outdoor space) may keep this place alive.

Anonymous said...

How many quarters does a business have to be on deathwatch before you admit you're wrong?

Atlantan99 said...


What business(s) are you referencing with your recent comment?

ELD said...

nom nom nom is pretty much spot on with their comment. I find your blog to be interesting, but a large portion of your deathwatch candidates are based on your opinion, not knowledge about the industry. I agree with nom nom nom that it destroys your credibility as a source.

There is definite misinformation in your list. Get your facts straight before asserting them like it's the undeniable truth.

Anonymous said...

Your site is based purely on opinion and has no substance. At least What Now, ATL does not have to resort to gimmicks like the Deathwatch to generate web hits.

Atlantan99 said...

@ Anon re opinion,

I will agree with you that much of my content is opinion and less is hard fact. That being said, if you don't like it, don't read it.

Additionally, with regard to the other site you mention, hard to believe you think I'm somehow the leader in the gimmicks department. The other site you mention also features a knock off of my DeathWatch, the less pc Deathmarch. Also, while he claims to report the same genres of information i.e. restaurants, retail and hotels, there is far more than that on the site. A couple items that come to mind that IMHO were simply for additional hits would be the addition of health inspection scores and jumping the gun on falsely reporting vehicle thefts at a popular west midtown eatery earlier this year. These are just two blatant examples while there are countless others.

Anonymous said...

Where is the Q2 deathwatch?

Atlantan99 said...

@Robert - See above

Anonymous said...

I like the deathwatch, but I hope it comes from real industry chatter and not just personal feelings.

I went to Coast Seafood place, and it was packed. Maybe cause they did some coupon promotions.

Also Olive Bistro and EATS have been around for years in the same basic location as chow baby. I guess they have slightly better parking though.

Anonymous said...

basis for this list seems way off.... been to cantina fairly often as of late and its been very active / goog good. terminus complex, office and residential are much fuller now...

Elise said...

Based on Decatur Metro's recent posting of Decatur Diner's abysmal health score, and the 80+ mostly negative comments on said health score and their food, i don't think they will last either.

Anonymous said...

As a VaHi resident, a few observations: while I rarely find myself eating there after my first few visits, the place is consistently packed for lunch and dinner. Goin Coastal Seafood, however, doesn't seem to have gained any traction as a neighborhood destination and is rarely full. I don't see Chef Eyester's Twitter comments doing any damage to his business and both places seem to have a great reputation in the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

As an avid reader of your blog, it still sickens me to see you report on the "deathwatch". Even if your predictions are right, so what. You're basing several of these closings, restaurants, never having visited them. I dont think it is responsible journalisim (yes journalisim) for you to make such serious comments having not set foot in an establishment. If you had, and you said something like "such and such a place might close, although the food and service are great, the location just sux." that would be a more reliable comment. not just "location bad= the will fail".

Foodie101 said...

Agree with the anonymous comment - Rosebud has been much better since Nick Melvin was brought in. And the Family Dog seems to be busy almost every night of the week. Not sure those were the best picks.

Anonymous said...

You can add Metropark to your list. They are closing all stores. Bankruptcy

RJR said...

You've usually got some good insights, but you couldn't be further off the mark re: Rosebud and Family Dog. Family Dog is the perfect bar for the yuppieville that is VaHi. It's packed everynight, they have great bar eats, a fun drink selection, and have I mentioned how packed it is? As for Ron Eyester, his angry chef schtick SHOULD be on death watch, because it's getting tired, but his neighboring establishments are doing just fine.

One place you should add to your list next time around, unless they really get their act in gear: the new Grindhouse. Mediocre to bad food and lots of service issues. They may smooth over the service issues but I don't see the food getting much better. Once the novelty wears off, goodbye and good riddance to another superfluous burger joint.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Five Guys is growing too fast too soon (I remember when it was "northern Virginia exclusive" when I lived in that area), but I have a feeling the Midtown location could surprise, especially with the lunch rush. As someone else mentioned, EVOS will likely suffer as a result.

A few months back, I had to stay at a Luckie-Marietta hotel for work due to the snowstorm. There was plenty of promotional material (including a loop on the hotel TV) of neighborhod businesses, restaurants and attractions. Der Biergarten wasn't mentioned in any of it -- highly doubt it will last.

Anonymous said...

As a longtime Virginia Highland resident, I remember when our neighborhood was THE place for food. Not so much these days. With the exception of La Tavola (quality) and George's (tradition), there's just nothing particularly notable anymore.

Rydia said...

Great round-up! Mostly spot-on.

I do have to agree with some of the other commenters on Yeah! Burger. The West Midtown location is always packed (with lines literally out the door on weekend nights). I have not been to the VaHi location, but I have a friend who works there who says it's usually slammin. It's clear you don't like the concept (I also think Farm Burger and Grindhouse are better tasting), but that's not a logical reason for putting it on the death watch. For now it's an incredibly popular restaurant that seems to be resonating with a lot of people.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading about blogs in restaurants, but I may be wrong, but how many food bloggers and restaurant bloggers have ever worked in the restaurant business, for say, more than 1 month. If you have ever worked in the biz, you would know that in terms of people wanting to modify orders. Say you have 100 people in your restaurant, and 20 of them decide to modify their order, next thing, you know, those 20 modifications, has just slammed the experienced kitchen staff. Now with those 20 mods, they also are cooking the other 80 peoples non modified orders, causing everyones food to arrive later than the normal 15-18 minutes, corporate restaurants designed. I am glad that certain restaurants stick to their guns on no modifications, I dont go into other businesses and start creating my own version of what someone else spent hours creating, its just ignorance. In terms of allergies, and such, this is what we serve, if you cant eat it, im sorry, find something else. Also, critics and bloggers, if you knew what went into running a successful restaurant, you would not badger and promote such negativety, to the same industry that creates jobs, including yours, in a market that already sucks. So piss off and look at your own short comings and your own issues.

Anonymous said...

YEAH! burger is going no where. are you kidding?!! it's always slammed. the only place in the southeast that serves gluten free onion rings. that's why i love it! and bc they have gluten free buns.

Anonymous said...

"In terms of allergies, and such, this is what we serve, if you cant eat it, im sorry, find something else"



i worked in the "biz" for about 10 years - evrything from washing dishes, to bussing, to waiting, to bartending

worked in four star restaurants - much better that Rbud and Fdog...

we ALWAYS would try to accommodate the needs of our guests (within reason- the special requests CAN go to far)

You know what, if I don't want mayo on my bread, leave the _______ off. If I want you to use egg whites, use them - any chef should have a large bowl ready for that request. If I don't want tomatoes, i have every right to reqest that they be omitted without receiving any negativity whatsoever.

R/bud and family dog are not a Michael Mina, or a Seeger's...c'mon people, the food served by Rbud and Fdog is glorified, yet overpriced BAR FOOD!! Just look at the menu!!!!

cream cheese and pepper jelly
trail mix

pimento cheese sandwich
noodle bowl
shrimp and grits
pimento cheese and saltines

i fully support the call with respect to Fdog, and to some degree, Rbud...anyone who knows anything knows that a place can be packed, and then disappear overnight...

Amy said...

Love your stuff and you know I am a huge fan of yours but I have to agree with several of these comments.

Rosebud and family Dog are going to be around for a long time. Rosebud has been there for several years now and although it was Food 101 prior, Ron was the chef and bringing the people in. Family dog is a great yuppie bar for the 35-50 year olds and that is who is in there. They are happy with the food and atmosphere and honestly the prices are not bad at all.

I am not a fan personally of Yeah burger as you know but I know for a fact that he is doing extremely well in West Midtown and fine in VAHI. He is also looking to do another concept that is not burgers (Shaun Doty). Oh and Emerald Coast has not been actually paying full rent for a long time but until the LL evicts them with a replacement, they will probably continue to operate....

I am not a fan of Chow Baby but the location is fine and it is packed several nights a week, we are not sure where people are parking but there is plenty of business....

Anonymous said...

I agree that Chow Baby, YEAH Burger, and Family Dog/Rbud SHOULD be restaurants that don't make it. The places, in my opinion, are overpriced and the quality of food substandard. However, the fact is that these places are popular and crowded right now. YEAH Burger, in particular, is most likely to go first, but the locations are fantastic. I think these palces will end up being around for longer than you think, unless more poeple start to realize their obvious shortcomings.

K-Dogg said...

@Amy - What do you know about Shaun's new concept? Since his original restaurant closed last year, I've been waiting for him to pop back up with something else (now that he has his 2 cash cow Yeah! Burgers up & running). Excited to hear what he has planned next!

Anonymous said...

London Calling is already gone.

Sara said...

Happy to say Erbert and Gerberts Decatur has been doing great. Wonderful community reception, and walk-in, delivery, and catering business keeps growing daily.

We understand how the location may be perceived as less than ideal by those not having spent time researching traffic patterns,residents and businesses density in the area (who are all looking for more quality and affordable places to eat), rental cost compared to food price points, etc. There truely is a wealth of opportunity on this side of town for small businesses...above and beyond our flavorful soups and sandwiches.

Next week we will have various specials for first responders, little league players, etc. for our Grand Opening week, which will end with the Saturday June 11th finale with a early evening celebration with music and good cheer. HOpe to see you there.

Thanks for visiting our store and wishing us well!

We look foward to proving the Deathwatch wrong. Perhaps on this very day day next year, we will have an E&G "non-death" celebration in Eli's name. All are invited to attend of course. :)


Sara and Ed Andrist, Erbert and Gerberts Owners!/ErbertAndGerbertsDecatur

Sara said...

Happy to say Erbert and Gerberts Decatur has been doing great. Wonderful community reception, and walk-in, delivery, and catering business keeps growing daily.

We understand how the location may be perceived as less than ideal by those not having spent little or no time researching traffic patterns,residents and businesses density in the area (who are all looking for more quality and affordable places to eat), rental cost compared to food price points, etc. There truely is a wealth of opportunity on this side of town for small businesses...above and beyond our flavorful soups and sandwiches.

Thanks for visiting our store and wishing us well! We look foward to proving Eli's deathwatch proclamation wrong.

We will have numerous specials next week during our grand opening week for little league players, first responders and more, with the finale on Saturday with music and good cheer. Find more details on our FB page. HOpe to see you there.


Sara and Ed Andrist
E&G Decatur Owners


Anonymous said...

I think Yeah Burger in VaHi will do ok. My friends and I meet there every few weeks for a casual, relatively inexpensive meal in a cool location. It has always been pretty full when we've gone...

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