Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tre'za Springs into TREZA and Sprucing Things Up

New branding and logo for TREZA
Tre'za, a new eatery that opened within TOWN Brookhaven this past fall, has closed for the week for what it is calling a "Spring Spruce Up." The restaurant closed after dinner service this past Sunday and plans to re-open this coming Monday the 23rd.

The restaurant has struggled to carve out a niche in the restaurant heavy TOWN Brookhaven project and has already lowered its prices across the board to be more in line with what they bill themselves as: fast casual. At opening, some items were priced as high as $18, pricing them out of what many would consider the fast casual price range.

Atlanta-based f2o has done a considerably better job at straddling the fast casual line with its restaurants. Offering a wide range of menu options ranging from paninis to salads and "long plate" options, most menu items are no more than $12. Unlike Tre'za, f2o already has six locations open and successful with two more on the way, one in Hartsfield-Jackson, the other in Emory Point. Tre'za has two locations open in Arkansas but they operate under the name ZAZA Fine Salad + Wood-Oven Pizza Co. rather than Tre'za Fine Salads + Wood Fire Pizza.  Also, the two Arkansas locations have their own separate website with no mention of the Atlanta location, while the TREZA website mentions locations in both states.   Interestingly, Tre'za's new logo and name closely resembles that of ZAZA. ( Tre'za Fine Salads + Wood Fire Pizza is now TREZA Fine Salad & Wood-Fired Pizza Co. )

Ocoee, Florida-based Urban Flats Flatbread + Wine Co. also had issues in defining what exactly they were. They offered sit down service and were available for reservations on OpenTable, but tried to be multiple things at the same time. They had elements of Seasons 52 in some of their entrees, elements of f2o with others. The restaurant opened and closed twice and appears to be closed for good at this point.

Overall, I like the TREZA concept and am a fan of a number of the restaurant's menu items but it lacks character: its walls, for the most part, are plain and it lacks ambiance. During pre-opening and in the months that followed, the restaurant hyped its social media presence and encouraged patrons to fan them on facebook and like them on twitter, but those efforts have slowed with their last tweet coming on March 3rd and their facebook page only recently updating, with the Spring Spruce Up the latest post. Multiple flat panel TVs positioned behind the service counter previously featured the restaurant's menu but now simply display odd sized photos of select food items and on other days pictures from the restaurant's pre-opening party.

I've noted both to friends and on this site a number of things that have changed in the restaurant including a redesigned menu, fewer daily gelato offerings, the removal of the tomato sauce jar from each table and a decrease in both soft drink and dessert options. These changes have led me to believe that management has seen the light and is doing what they can to stop the bleeding. This is good and bad. For instance, something as little as a specific gelato flavor or the fact that a patron liked having the tomato sauce jar at their table may lead that same patron away if the changes are not reversed.

I think that the limited parking that is available to TREZA patrons at the front of the restaurant is a larger issue than management may realize. Similar to Urban Flats at Lindbergh City Center, the concept has enough internal challenges, that adding limited upfront parking to the mix further limits the restaurant's would- be patron pool. In both developments, I feel that the restaurants anticipated getting far more business from area employees or residents than actually materialized. Both locations are "near" Buckhead but not close enough for would-be Buckhead workers to drive there, eat and drive back on limited lunch breaks.

I look forward to seeing what the refreshed TREZA looks like and am hopeful that they can correct their internal issues. With luck, a streamlined logo and fresh approach will garner them more business from the community. A previously announced location in Birmingham, Alabama has apparently been shelved for the moment but perhaps will eventually open if the Brookhaven refresh is successful.

What are your thoughts on TREZA? Do you think TOWN Brookhaven has too many restaurants? What could TREZA do to get you to become a regular? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Anonymous said...

I just tried Treza and was definitely impressed by the pizza. However, I used a Foursquare check-in deal ($3 for any pizza). I doubt I would pay the $11-$13 for each pizza, especially since they are individual sized.

Anonymous said...

I went with a group of 6 to Treza and everyone thought it was pretty good but nothing that special. The salads were good but I wouldn't rank the pizza in my top 10 or anything. The thing I found most annoying though was that all ordering takes place at the counter. We ordered beer with dinner but anytime anyone wanted a second one, they had to get up, wait in line, complete another transaction, and then wait for the beer. This setup doesn't exactly make you want to hang out there for any length of time. Hopefully the refresh will lower the prices and offer waiter service. I know they're going for fast casual but Mellow Mushroom or somewhere like it offers a much better dining experience at the same price point.

Carl said...

Interestingly, I was just thinking of them last night, wondering what's happening over there. Glad to see them actively working to create a sustainable concept.

Anonymous said...

I think Treza has the freshest ingredients available. The pizzas and salads are excellent. I would prefer table service and some acoustics management in the dining area. Also, the workers need to keep the high powered stereo music volume DOWN!

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, TOWN Brookhaven has too many fast-casual type concepts and would benefit from more full service restaurants. The consistent crowd at Noche is a prime example. Any news on what may be filling the former Slack's space? Are any other restaurants rumored to be coming to TOWN?

Anonymous said...

Parking at Town Brookhaven is a disaster. One road in, one road out, roads snaking around, not enough parking, too many restaurants. Nice concept to have an outdoor lifestyle mall type space, but they really should have planned the parking better.

debalew said...

Treza is one of the best places to get a customized salad in this area. I disagree that it is too far from Buckhead; I drive it all the time from Lenox/Peachtree; have eaten there a half dozen times since they opened. I spread the TOWN Brookhaven love a lot - Baci, Newk's, Olive Bistro - all quality lunch spots. Treza has done the right thing by lowering the prices, and scaling back staff. I hope they can make it through the growing pains. Parking is a bear, and Sembler could have planned that much better. I will check Treza out this week.

mindspringyahoo said...

haven't been to the treza, but I've been over there a bit and ate elsewhere a few weeks ago. There are two ways in and out that I know of: the main entrance, or you can go down Hermance, turn left by the Costco tire area, but then just stay to the right and go around the costco.

When I went, I did circle that smallish outdoor parking area, which was pretty full, but then found the parking deck which had plenty of empty spaces (at least for a weeknight). I think that I left by driving back behind the costco (since I like to avoid the hustle and bustle of the main entrance).

Anonymous said...

Love the food at Treza and hope it will survive. With the new price points, it is a wonderful concept with much potential if located in the right area. The new Avalon project in Alpharetta would be a perfect fit for this concept.

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