Monday, November 28, 2011

ToNeTo Atlanta DeathWatch Q4 - 2011 Year End

As 2011 comes to a close, please have a look at the businesses I see in trouble in the coming months. 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 Q4 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.

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 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. Recent chatter indicates a change may be in the works, though a timetable for that would be change is unknown at this time.

Big Zhaddy's (Inman Park) I was tempted to place this joint on DeathWatch even before it opened but gave it a chance it clearly did not deserve. Poor service, high prices and a bad location combined with a bad name will have this eatery closed in less than six months.

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 street. Their new location in midtown at Ansley Mall is a better location, but will suffer at the hands of locally owned Grindhouse Killer Burgers. I doubt the Sandy Springs location has met expectations and while midtown may do well at certain times, I doubt either will be around in 12-18 months.

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 long term lease was signed for the space, I'm told that if 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 did OK during the spring and summer months, bur fear their sales will dip and may sink the concept during the winter months.

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.

Deckard's American Tavern ( Ponce de Leon Ave / Midtown) After opening last summer as Deckard's Kitchen & Kegs, the name was later changed to Deckard's American Tavern. While the pedigree is there: Matthew Deckard, Corporate Chef at Taco Mac, the restaurant's second tier location and only OK food are major obstacles for this concept. As I mentioned, some eateries were subtracted from this list, The Family Dog being one. TFD has a great location and decent food, a location that could save Deckard's, but instead I expect that Deckard's will close soon, maybe even by year end.

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 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. The fact that the restaurant has been featured on multiple deal sites such as Sweetjack provides more evidence of their troubles. As far as I'm concerned, one deal site: good idea... more than one: desperate. One reader even wrote me to make me aware they were offering incentives for shill reviews on Yelp. Based on current intel and market conditions, I'd say this restaurant will be closed by the spring.

EscorpiĆ³n (Midtown) Riccardo Ullio needs to just be content with the success of Fritti and Soto Soto and give it a rest. After the failures of Cuerno, Beleza and La Lupe Taqueria, taking over the even less desirable space where El Escorpion opened was a terrible idea. The opening chef left, now (replacement chef) Jose Rego has departed as well. If you asked me, this restaurant should have never opened. While Eno lasted years in the same space, it cultivated a following in the neighborhood, something El Escorpion has failed to do. The 5th Street cafe lasted less than two months before closing and while Ullio's eatery has remained open, I see it closing within four to six months.

EVOS (Sandy Springs /Midtown) - 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 but wisely never opened. Just as DeathWatch Year End 2010 launched, the midtown location closed. With new franchisees in place, the shuttered location in midtown was reopened. 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, like many diners, have gravitated to healthier options, but this concept is not one of them. It's too niche to be mainstream and therefore will close again, likely within three to six months.

Encore Restaurant ( Lindbergh /Buckhead) Located at the corner of Morosgo and Piedmont near the Lindbergh MARTA station, this location is cursed for anyone. Poorly executed and marketed establishments such as Encore are especially susceptible. The restaurant is, well, not quite sure what it is as signage describes it as "atmosphere." There are often carryover revelers from Wet Willie's but I doubt this place will last much more than another six months or so.

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 (soon to be Subway), among others. Larry's Giant Subs threw in the towel in the adjacent storefront.

Gigi's Cupcakes (Merchants Walk) Nashville-based Gigi's Cupcakes is one of the largest franchisees of cupcakes and I'm sure Gigi is doing well as a result. As far as the franchisees go though, I think too many were opened to fast and in some cases in poor locations.

Glenn's Kitchen (Glenn Hotel Downtown) With B.E.D. , MAXIM PRIME and 30 Tables all prior restaurant failures at the the Glenn, the hotel seems to have a rich legacy for failed restaurants. I doubt that this restaurant, a half-assed restaurant put together by Legacy Property Group, the hotel's owner, has what it takes to survive downtown. Similar to the equally unamazing Der Biergarten, this restaurant will stay open as long as David Marvin feels like it should.

H. Harper Station (Reynoldstown) Last November, Jerry Slater opened this restaurant in the short-lived The Depot space on Memorial Drive. While it has now been open over a year, it's amazing it has lasted this long. The restaurant has failed to find its groove per se and is not exactly located in a hotbed for restaurants. Were this restaurant on the Westside or Decatur, it might last a little longer, but not in its current location. Based on personal observations, research and tips from readers, this eatery looks to be terminal and will likely be closed by spring.

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. I dined here recently and counted 4 employees for every one customer... and it was trivia night! I'm no hospitality genius but labor cost is pretty important to the bottom line and if what I saw is any indication of the mismanagement they have in place, this restaurant will be toast sooner rather than later.

Menchie's (West Paces Ferry) Prior to the opening of Yogurtland across the street in the Publix anchored shopping center, this Menchie's was apparently top three in sales nationally. After the opening of Yogurtland where a comparable fro yo product can be had for 33 cents an ounce, verses 45 cents an ounce at Menchie's, its sales have dropped to the bottom three.

O.M.G. Taco (Little Five Points) Not much to say here. The food is not great, the location is. The concept is cool, the prices are not.

Park's Edge (Inman Park) Not even Kitchen Nightmares could save this restaurant. I have not a clue how it has stayed open for as long as it has but it will surely not last much longer. I'm not sure there is a line of people waiting to take over their space but I'm sure they will not be open next fall.

Pita's Republic (Midtown) Florida-based Pita's Republic entered the Atlanta market with its midtown 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 pre-made 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 February to fold. For the record, awesome falafel are available 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.

Pizza Vesuvius (Edgewood) This restaurant space has played host to a number of concepts of the past few years, none of which have lasted very long. It's surprising PV has lasted along as they have but something tell me the heat is getting to be too much and they will be closed in less than six months.

Ringside (Buckhead) Clay Harper and friends opened Ringside in the space left vacant when they closed Three on the Tree frozen yogurt. While pizza (Fellini's) and Mexican (La Fonda) tend to be popular in Atlanta all the time, Harper's recent foray into the food fads seem to be far less successful. Harper opened Three on the Tree in Buckhead and about a year later, closed it. This past June, he opened LeRoy's Fried Chicken with chef Julia LeRoy, it closed a few weeks ago. Not a huge fan of gourmet hot dogs, I will say the dogs at HD1 beat Ringside any day. The fries however, are quite good at Ringside but that alone will not save this eatery. To pay upwards of four bucks for what appears to be a standard dog on a standard bun is not gonna fly and I doubt this joint last much longer than its prior cuisine.

Rise Sushi (Downtown) - Located within David Marvin's Luckie Marietta District, the restaurant has been on life support for over a year. Given their lack of sales, I'm not sure how they continue to operate but surely they will close by May.

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 and getting busier, and other tenants like LA Fitness and CineBistro open, they appear not to have any positive effects on Slack's. I guess it will stay open as long as the owner has "play money" but perhaps he comes to his senses and closes before going broke.

Sprig (Oak Grove) I should love this place, my whole neighborhood should, but alas, I don't, nor do most on Yelp and elsewhere. The restaurant is located on LaVista Road in Oak Grove, within walking distance for many families, myself included. An overpriced menu and lackluster service make this joint destined for doom. I'd like for them to get it together and stay, but the writing's on the wall and it reads CLOSING SOON. I'd give em til the spring, at the most.

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 within the three months or so.

Swirlin' Twirilin' (Decatur) With basically zero barriers to entry, seems like everyone and their mother is opening a yogurt shop (or burgers, or hot dogs). Swirlin' Twirlin's other location is in Flowery Branch and from what I can tell it does well there. In the less competitive market of Flowery Branch, they are able to get away with charging 43 cents per ounce whereas in Decatur, they adjusted their pricing to meet that of neighborhood favorite The Yogurt Tap. A bit of a yogurt snob, myself, I would say that The Yogurt Tap has a superior product and a more prime location. Neither shop has very much easily accessible (or free) parking, but head to head, I think The Yogurt Tap wins overall. That said, and the fact that it is run by locals from the area, not OTP'ers, I think Swirlin' Twirlin' will last no more than a year, but likely less.

Swirll (All Atlanta area locations) By far one of the weakest yogurt shops to open in Atlanta since Yoreka, this Texas-based chain is not gonna last. I walked in one, and walked out. Any one who knows me knows that I love frozen yogurt. This place has only decent yogurt in combination with pushy employees. The interiors look cheap and the the location on Wieuca, hidden from Roswell Road, has got to be one of the worst locations known to man! I give this crappy chain 'til early spring, unless they don't care if they make money or not.

Tantra ( South Buckhead) Having been featured on what seems like every deal site in Atlanta, this joint is in trouble. Not the best of locations or food, this restaurant and lounge is bound to be closed within six months.

The Cup (TOWN Brookhaven) This independent cupcake shop was one of the first eateries to open in TOWN Brookhaven and that alone could have done them in. Instead, in addition to that, their offerings are basically all overpriced and their cupcakes, undersized, especially given what you can get at Cloud 9 or Smallcakes. Given their location away from the new CineBistro, they will not get much business from even theatergoers, so I'd say they are up a creek. If nothing changes in terms of size or price, I think they could be closed by March.

The Great Cupcake Company (Buckhead) With a few too many cupcake shops in Atlanta, and especially in Buckhead, this bakery is the weakest link. Goodbye.

The Nest (Clairmont) Opened by Emory students, this location seems cursed, and I'm doubtful these amateurs will have any better luck. Athens Pizza was originally located here before relocating to a larger, free standing space nearby. In recent years, Moya and Selam have both opened and neither had done well with Selam lasting less than a year. The space seems to be the resting place for failed concepts, the Nest being the latest example, my money is on them closing by next summer, if not sooner.

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. This place will last as long as daddy Akly continues to foot the bill.

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." One 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. 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. The decent food and poor location leaves little room for success. I predict a closure or rebranding of some sort to take place by the second quarter of next year.

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.

NAVA (Buckhead) Buckhead Life Restaurant Group may finally be showing signs of the struggles of operating so many separate restaurant concepts. I mentioned earlier this year that as many as three of their concepts would either close or not have their leases renewed. Bluepointe was one of those three with the next most likely being NAVA. The third is up in the air but one their two Italian concepts, Veni Vidi Vici in midtown or Pricci in Buckhead, changing hands or closing would not shock me. Based on current intel, look for their to be changes at NAVA by April.


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 almost as often as it replaces its knowledgeable salespeople, which is to say, frequently. 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?) The thing that may be keeping them open, like Barney's CoOp at Phipps, is that they are tied to a lease that runs through 2016. Without another anchor to take on their space, they must remain open. One option, Von Maur, a new to market department store, would likely not want the space as they have just opened at North Point Mall.

Barney's New York CoOp (Buckhead - Phipps Plaza) - Similar story to that of fellow (recently defunct) 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. Although Atlanta was 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'm amazed this store has stayed open as long as it has. One reason may be that while they want out, and SIMON presumably does too, there is no retailer, or restaurant for that matter, that is will to take over the Barney's lease. As the company itself is not in bankruptcy, they can't just up and leave without another interested party waiting in the wings to move in.

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!

Gregory's (Buckhead - Lenox Square) What a joke! Jedal, a member of the DeathWatch up until this edition closed last week, was basically a mini version of what Gregory's is, with many unheard of Italian designers at outrageous prices. Even at liquidation prices, Jedal's prices were above others' more well known designers' regular prices. In Atlanta, like it or not, the consumers with money (and even those on credit), know what they want and buy it, not up and coming designers without an established and visible brand. I see Gregory's lasting a year or so, max... unless they are OK losing money, and in that case, the sky's the limit!

Valentino (Buckhead /Phipps Plaza) It's sad to say, but this is just not a store Atlantans will 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 much longer.

Versace (Buckhead/Phipps Plaza) Once a favorite in Atlanta and elsewhere, the store's glitzy makeover (and size reduction) 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 next holiday season.

VINCE (Buckhead / Phipps Plaza) A day does not go by that I can't locate multiple VINCE items for women, and at times, for 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.


Coffee & Bagel Company (Cheshire Bridge Road) - This place had horrible signage, awful location and a questionable interior set up. I visited once and could not bring myself to actually ordering. It appears to have lasted less than three months.

A new addition to the DeathWatch is OTB or On The Bubble. These businesses are questionable but not so much so that they've earned a place on the DeathWatch. As with the DeathWatch, please feel free to weigh in and share your thoughts on any or all of the listed businesses.

Amuse ( Midtown)

5 Napkin Burger (Midtown)

Bad Dog Taqueria (Emory Village)

Baroni (Brookwood)

Davio's (Phipps Plaza)

DBA Barbeque (VaHi)

Decatur Diner (Decatur)

do Pizza (Westside)

MF Buckhead (Buckhead)

Nacho Daddy's (Duluth)

Noni's (Edgewood)

One Eared Stag (Inman Park)

P'cheen (Old Fourth Ward)

Peter Chang's (Sandy Springs)

Sweet Georgia's Juke Joint (Downtown)

U.S. Cafe (Piedmont Road)

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

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jkeene said...

Could you list which locations are new additions?

Also, I'm curious: why is P'Cheen OTB? They seem to do a pretty good business, despite their high prices.

Thanks for all you do!

Atlantan99 said...


First off, thanks for reading the site and for the question / comment.

The new additions are as follows...


Big Zhaddy's ( Inman Park)

EscorpiĆ³n (Midtown)

Gigi's Cupcakes ( Merchants Walk)

Glenn's Kitchen ( Downtown)

H. Harper Station ( Reynoldstown)

Menchie's ( West Paces Ferry)

O.M.G. Taco ( Little Five Points)

Park's Edge ( Inman Park)

Pizza Vesuvius ( Edgewood)

Ringside ( North Buckhead)

Sprig ( Oak Grove)

Swirlin' Twirlin' ( Decatur)

The Cup ( TOWN Brookhaven)

The Great Cupcake Company ( Buckhead)

The Nest ( near Emory)

NAVA ( Buckhead)

Retail wise, Gregory's at Lenox Square.

P'Cheen was added due to information gathered from the community and food industry contacts.

Thanks again for reading and look for many more updates this week and next!

Anonymous said...

You just keep adding the same stuff... especially with the retail portion...

So basically everything in Midtown and Downtown is going to close so we can have more empty spaces along our "signature" streets. Wow, I just love Atlanta!

Anonymous said...

why is P'Cheen OTB?

Um, the restaurant is filthy and smells like they poured bathroom deodorizer everywhere. Plus their food isn't really very good.

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon 1,

I continue to keep or add what deserves a sport on this list. If the business does nothing to change or adjust, it remains here. Bloomingdale's and Barney's ( not it in midtown or downtown) is an exception where they will stay open as long as no one wants their space.

I hope STK and Mi Cocina do well but as you know midtown and downtown are tough restaurant markets.

Thanks for the comments and for reading the blog.

Atlantan99 said...

@ Anon 2, I guess I can take that to mean you think P'Cheen deserves to be on the DeathWatch...

Sheila said...

Decatur Diner should remain on deathwatch. With their "sale" and then "for sale" shenanigans and their sketchy pedigree, it probably won't be long before their karma catches up with them. Plus, they just don't fit in Decatur.

Agree with your assessment of Swirlin Twirlin. It's never been more than virtually empty when I pass by and their staff seem to be a bunch of surly teenagers. Contrast that with Yougert Tap a few blocks away and you see why they're empty.

It's always been funny to me how some restaurants have a certain failure vibe from day one & I've never been able to put my finger on exactly what that is. Maybe a good topic to investigate?

On the other hand--- why One Eared Stag on the OTB list? It is at the top of our current fav list. Interesting food (although sometimes with too much butter), great service and it's been pretty full whenever we go. I'd call them perfect if their food was just a bit healthier & will be so sad if they go!

Thanks for all your hard work. Always enjoy your thoughts.

mindspringyahoo said...

I ate at Sprig a few days ago and we thought it was really good--but we were using a groupon. There were quite a few people there, but several others were also using their groupons before expiration. The duck breast was actually really good.

My take: it's 'fine dining' but in a drab strip mall. A very difficult niche.

James D. said...

Regarding some of the choices...

Escorpion -- Went there once to get some takeout a few weeks ago. Food was average and a bit too spicy for our tastes. Also, it was 7p on a Friday night when I went there -- there looked to be all of 10 people in the restaurant.

Gigi's Cupcakes -- my wife and a friend brought some of Gigi's home two weeks ago. Thought they were weak compared to CamiCakes in Midtown/Buckhead. The cupcakes also fell apart when you put them on a plate.

Bloomingdale's -- I'd put the Lenox location in the mix as well. I've been there twice, and that's due to the fact that it has an elevator -- best way to get a baby stroller (I have a four-month-old) to the upper level of the mall in order to reach PB Kids! The Lenox site consists of nothing but sales reps standing around and gossiping -- not many customers to be found.

James D. said...

Regarding some of the choices...

Escorpion -- Went there once to get some takeout a few weeks ago. Food was average and a bit too spicy for our tastes. Also, it was 7p on a Friday night when I went there -- there looked to be all of 10 people in the restaurant.

Gigi's Cupcakes -- my wife and a friend brought some of Gigi's home two weeks ago. Thought they were weak compared to CamiCakes in Midtown/Buckhead. The cupcakes also fell apart when you put them on a plate.

Bloomingdale's -- I'd put the Lenox location in the mix as well. I've been there twice, and that's due to the fact that it has an elevator -- best way to get a baby stroller (I have a four-month-old) to the upper level of the mall in order to reach PB Kids! The Lenox site consists of nothing but sales reps standing around and gossiping -- not many customers to be found.

G.G. said...

This is always an intriguing list, but the new "on the bubble" section leaves me cold. It feels like a way to either spread or start unhappy rumors without having to justify your position. I'd drop it or back it up.

As for specifics, I have to agree with Sheila; your inclusion of One-Eared Stag has me baffled. It seems to have launched with much love and success, and its reputation has only been growing.

I also think that it's far too early to add Ringside to the list. Didn't it only just open?

The Frugal Hostess said...

I seriously love your DeathWatch, and I dig the additional OTB list. I just hope you are wrong about One Eared Stag, which I really love. Seeing it here has reminded me to get over there again soon.

LoveATL said...

Since you listed the additions, can you list who was taken off of the list?

Atlantan99 said...

One addition that was mistakenly omitted from the DW was Tsunami Taqueria. The first location took over for Toulouse in South Buckhead and has been open for less than a year. A second location opened earlier this month in Marietta Square. To open a second location of an unproven concept makes ZERO sense. I predict Buckhead closing first and Marietta following soon after. Most likely both will close within 12 months.

beth said...

Was surprised to see Sprig on the list. The food and service is really good. Every time I go there seems to be plenty of customers. I love having a fine dining option in the neighborhood and so do many of my neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Love the site and all of your posts (post more often, please?). I'm just an optimist and want all of the businesses to succeed. I hope you don't fall prey to the negative posts that drive comments that your 'friend' has.

Looking forward to the post of the STK sign that cost so much. I drive by it all of the time and am always looking for it.

Anonymous said...

Midtown and Downtown along Peachtree Street should be Atlanta's hottest dining scene! There should be hardly any vacancies! What kind of pathetic place do we live in?! Do people here really prefer going out to eat in strip malls over a real urban environment??

Anonymous said...

The Boardwalk Burgers in Sandy Springs has already closed. It was about a month ago. I preferred them to 5 Guys.

Mr M.J. said...


While I like your Deathwatch, at least don't trot out the same verbatim descriptions from one version to the next, it makes you look lazy (ex, you make mention of removing TFD in the Deckard's post...which you mentioned in Q3). This thought gets corroborated when comparing your monthly output of this year to the past few years of your blog.

As for your assessments, I continue to think you're wrong on Deckard's. Atlanta's beer community supports that place very well, and Tappan Street has been doing very well as a company of late with their expansions.

Your blog is the best one in this town of this nature, but step up the quality of journalism and professionalism instead of ctrl+x'ing and ctrl+v'ing every quarter.

Atlantan99 said...

Mr. M.J.,

First off, thank you for the kind words on the blog itself, and for your observations. I value your feedback.

Each DeathWatch, and BirthWatch for that matter is re-examined on a quarterly basis and things are added, subtracted, and in some cases kept virtually the same. I can appreciate your interest in Deckard's and may reevaluate it on the next installment.

I hope to continue to be your first source for retail, restaurant and hotel news and trends.

Thanks again,

Anonymous said...

Once again, Herve Leger in Lenox Square should be on your list as well as the tackiest store on earth, Pure. For Leger, there are only so many chunky women who can afford to jack themselves into a rather expensive dress made out of colored ace bandages. I rarely see bags being carried in the mall by anyone who has shopped at either one of these retailers.

Anonymous said...

Better add Holy Taco to this list as well. Place is completely empty these days.

Marcel Crudele said...

Why do you think Noni's is on the bubble? They're packed on the weekend and Edgewood's nightlife seems to be growing like crazy. Plus, who else has an anniversary party with a Twin Peaks theme? :)

Anonymous said...

I do hope you are wrong about Big Zhaddy's and Urban PL8. Agree with a lot of what you say, but Zhaddy was a gracious guy and his staff was pretty attentive while I was there, BUT....they need more butts in seats to make a go of it. Esp in those, quite likely, high(er) rent districts

Anonymous said...

Also....really do thank you for writing this up. I chuckle and also do a "huh" as I read this...been reading /following you for months / years.

Really good stuff.

Matt said...

Hopefully you will approve my comment. We are doing very well at D.B.A. barbecue. We had a very busy Summer, Spring, and a better Fall (up 25%) from previous year. winter is our slow time, but we do a lot of catering during the winter. Of course, you can't see that when you drive by or are dining in the restaurant. I have to say that nothing positive can come from your predictions.

Anonymous said...

FYI RCG owns the building 3 sheets is in, so I doubt they have a 'lease'. Apparently they actually do well, per a lot of the tenants at Citywalk

Also, agree with you on a lot..steel, pizzeria venti, etc. it breaks my heart to see restaurants struggle, as my family is involved in them.

Gigi's overall is doing well - Buckhead is crushing it. Mainly catering and office orders.

I disagree on Pricci - I live nearby, always busy.

Anotherwatchlist - prickly pear, and it's sister restaurant ( which may already be closed)

Anonymous said...

After spending millions of dollars to renovate the Versace Boutique and yes shrink it, if they were in that much trouble then why would they make such a large investment in thier boutique and then just close. And btw, I saw Versace left thier location at South Coast Plaza for a space half the size in the mall. And I do not mean to get off-topic but several Emporio Armani boutiques have closed after shortly being combined with the Giorgio Armani boutiques, then were shut down entirely, so I wonder if Armani is in trouble??

Anonymous said...

I have been disagreeing with you on BLT for what seems like a year and not much less than that on Der Biergarten but Sweet Ga. Juke Joint seems like the biggest stretch to me. I walk by often and they appear to do very well, I would be very interested in hearing the rationale for including them.

Anonymous said...

As a working restaurant profesional in Atlanta I find the "deathwatch" extremely disturbing and disgusting. Its pretty clear, Atlantan99, that you know little or nothing about the restaurant business or how difficult it is to achieve and maintain success. If I'm incorrect and you have actually worked in hospitality then I find it even more disturbing as you should know better and show more respect toward your peers. I have been in the business for 16 years. Have been a part of successes and failures. When a restaurant is struggling the last thing it needs is for some foodie with a blog making it even more difficult to dig out of a hole. This blog is a mockery and quite honestly, those of your followers who "love the postings" and almost celebrate the failure of small business are as well. Yes, some businesses are destined to fail and you are correct in some of your assumptions but it is not your place to make it known to the public. We'll hear about it when the next Creative Loafing comes out. You say that you "examine the business and appraise the likelihood of them remaining viable and if not, for how long they will last." Based on what? The fact of the matter is unless you yourself are the current business owner you have no clue whats going on under the roof and certainly no idea what the financial state is of said business. You are the worst kind of human. A gossip with a big mouth, a blog and nothing better to do. Bad karma is coming your way.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I recently posted in regards to the deathwatch. It was not positive as I do not agree with anything the deathwatch stands for. If you're reading this, you probably know which post I'm referring to. Just noticed that you have to approve every post before it's published...seems quite convenient considering all the hard working restaurant owners, chefs, manager, etc..that probably agree. That explains why there were no posts visible that challenge you at all, just your little minions. Turns out, you are also a coward.

Anonymous said...

Agree with most here except Escorpion. It was booming every night I went. Service was good and seviche is delicious. When the weather is warm, the outdoor seating is a true pleasure. People who live across the street in 805 Peachtree (118 residents) are always there as are people from HTe Village (220 residents). Escorpion has a fantastic bar. I think it will make it. I'm there with friends every week-end. They need to add live music.

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