Wednesday, March 28, 2012

West Egg Comes East

West Egg Cafe, which first opened on the Westside in 2004 and moved to its current home, (a few feet away)  also within White Provision in 2010, is finally branching out. West  Egg founders Ben & Jennifer Johnson will open a second eatery later this fall in Emory Point on Clifton Road near Emory University.  Though a name has not been confirmed for the new eatery, I'm told "East Egg" has at least been mentioned.  I'm told the new eatery will not be exactly the same as West Egg and will likely offer a
number of bagels and a larger assortment of breakfast beverages.

West Egg Cafe has evolved into more than just a breakfast eatery with many local foodies raving about its burger and its cupcakes having been named "Best" by Creative Loafing in 2005 and 2006.   Unlike many of its peer breakfast eateries like The Flying Biscuit and Another Broken Egg Cafe, West Egg offers more than just breakfast foods and stays open later.  While many breakfast eateries will close around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, West Egg stays open til 10PM every day of the week and even offers beer.  The restaurant not only offers breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner but also has a great selection of pastries like their red velvet whoopie pies and assorted giant cookies.  

Emory Point is a large new mixed use project with Gables Residential units as well as a number of restaurants and retailers. Restaurants such as Bonefish Grill, from Tampa-based O.S.I.,  Birmingham-based Maki Fresh and Atlanta-based eateries such as F20, Tin Lizzy's and Marlow's Tavern have all committed for the project and are scheduled to open later this fall.

Emory Point represents a unique opportunity for businesses, with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention across the street, Emory University all around and the the Department of Veterans' Affairs ( the VA) not far away. 

Restaurants in the business of serving breakfast have been expanding recently with many in the restaurant and real estate world saying Atlanta is underseved when it comes to breakfast options.  That is not to say we don't already have a number of great options, just that there is room to grow.  Breakfast is a lucrative daypart for restaurants and chains like Wendy's, McDonalds and Chick-fil-A are taking note.  Both McDonald's and Chick-fil-A have updated and expanded their breakfast offerings while Wendy's has brought back breakfast in select stores as a test, one of which is the new modern store at Perimeter Pointe in Sandy Springs.

Locally, American Roadhouse just opened  its second location downtown.  Their original location has been a fixture on Highland Avenue in Virginia-Highland for as long as I can remember, and location two at the Pencil Factory lofts is near an ever growing student population.  Thumbs Up Diner, currently with five locations around town, is also expanding via franchising.

The Highland Bakery, long a neighborhood favorite in the Old Fourth Ward and beyond, also is expanding, having opened two satellite locations in recent years.  First, a location was opened at 1180 Peachtree in Midtown, later followed by another, in Buckhead, within the Atlanta Financial Center. 

Other regional and national chains are also expanding, some adding to their Atlanta presence and others with plans to enter the market in the coming months.  Lincolnshire, Illinois based Egg Harbor Cafe and Destin, Florida based Another Broken Egg Cafe have each opened new locations in Atlanta. Egg Harbor Cafe just opened its second location on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, having opened their first location in Johns Creek last year. Another Broken Egg Cafe opened their first Atlanta area location last year in Peachtree Battle shopping center and has plans for others in the area. 

The Flying Biscuit Cafe was purchased by Atlanta based Raving Brands, now Big Game Brands, and has gone downhill in many ways.  While the original locations in Candler Park and Midtown remain open, the chain has stumbled since franchising started and few new locations have been added.  The chain's main presence remains in Georgia, but it also has franchised locations in Florida and North Carolina.    J. Christophers now outnumbers Flying Biscuit both locally and in total with 14 locations overall, including one in Franklin, Tennessee. 

The closest competition for West Egg's new Emory location will likely be Rise-N-Dine in nearby Emory Village.  Rise-N-Dine is a single unit, locally owned breakfast joint that has carved out a niche in the Emory community and is located within walking distance of both students and affluent residential neighborhoods. 

Boca Raton based Brooklyn Water Bagel will soon enter the market with a new location at Akers Mill in Cobb County.  The south Florida eatery uses a proprietary multi-step process to "Brooklynize" water, a key ingredient in their Brooklyn style bagels. Burlington, Vermont based Bruegger's Bagels is re-entering the market with plans for dozens of locations in the coming years.  The chain first announced its intentions to re-enter the market back in 2010, and a store has been "coming soon" for over a year on Powers Ferry Road, but has yet to open. 

In Toco Hills, Goldberg Bagel & Deli Restaurant's opening last year has hurt the business of the long established Bagel Palace & Deli.  Each restaurant serves a very similar menu but Goldberg's is well established in the area, with multiple locations and has become a favorite among many Emory students.  

As a lifetime resident of a neighborhood not far from Emory Point, I'm very much looking forward to the project's opening and West Egg's new concept especially.  With luck, West Egg's new concept, like the current Westside location, will be designed by Square Feet Studio.  The Atlanta-based design firm is responsible for both Abattoir and Room & Board on the Westside in addition to Chick-fil-A's chic new downtown Chicago location.     

I apologize to all those of you who took my earlier hints on this blog to mean that In-N-Out would be opening a location in Atlanta.  I spoke with them last year in LA and its unlikely they will venture this far (South)East anytime soon.

What is your favorite breakfast spot?  Are you looking forward to Emory Point?  Do you think West Egg's new location will threaten Rise-N-Dine?   Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.   

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Lisa said...

I think that all of those places will do well in Emory Point. CDC employees are starved for places to walk to eat as driving off campus for lunch is a real PITA.

Dana said...

Don't know to what extent you are tracking this, but it is very, very hard to cross the connector. So there are two separate markets -- east side, west side -- with opportunities for good businesses on either side to open a second unit, or for someone like them to open on the other side of town.

Anonymous said...

FYI - Flying Biscuit does have a large non-breakfast menu.

Anonymous said...

Another Broken Egg Cafe has a full bar ( the BEST Bloody Mary's) and also offers a full selection of burgers, sandwiches and's not just about breakfast and brunch! Just sayin'...

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