Monday, August 13, 2012

5 Napkin Closes about 12 Months After Opening

New York-based 5 Napkin Burger closed its lone Atlanta area location last night. The chic burger eatery opened last August in midtown at the corner of Piedmont Avenue and 10th Street but after
lowering their prices and trying to make it in Atlanta, the restaurant could no longer justify keeping the doors open.

5 Napkin recently opened a new location in New York's Union Square, it's fourth in the state.  The group also added restaurants in Boston and Miami last year, and both apparently have performed better than the Atlanta location.

I question 5 Napkin's choice to open in Atlanta, especially in midtown and listed them as "on the bubble" on my most recent DeathWatch listing.  There are just too many good local eateries in and around Atlanta, and especially in midtown for 5 Napkin to find success. 

5 Napkin joins a long list of New York and Las Vegas based restaurant groups that have not found the success they had hoped for in the city known for its southern hospitality. Tom Colicchio closed his Craft and Craftbar at the Mansion on Peachtree ( now Mandarin Oriental Atlanta ) in late 2010.  Other notable closings had already occured, such as Emeril's at One Alliance Center  and Wolfgang Puck Express at Brookwood.  More recently, Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten announced his Market eatery the W Buckhead would close. 

Las Vegas eatery Aquaknox closed at Terminus in Buckhead as well.

What do you think will open in its place?  Why do you think they failed?  What advice would you give to any out of town restaurant group looking at opening in Atlanta? 


Anonymous said...

I am shocked; just shocked. That it lasted as long as it did.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that Atlanta doesn't support these big-city concepts?

Are we not sophisticated enough? Are we not wealthy enough?

Clearly they think they see something in Atlanta to make the initial investment, but yet they all fail.

In similar cities such as Dallas, they survive and sometimes thrive. Is Dallas more sophisticated than Atlanta?

Anonymous said...

5 Napkin was never a good 'fit' for that location or ATL. Who wants a $15 hamburger, when Yeah Burger, Grind House , etc all have equal/better options at a fraction of the price. Lowering prices was too little, too late.

The post-Nikimoto rehab made a cool space and created a great patio that is sadly underused. Look at Campagnola next door ... always a full patio, while 5 Napkin sits mostly empty.

This space needs a combination restaurant/bar that has reasonably priced interesting food, takes advantage of the chic eatery decor (maybe open the walls for a more "outside" feeling even indoors?), has cool music, gets diners on the patio, and attracts a later crowd for small plates, cocktails, and conversation.

Cameron said...

Terrible parking and comparatively high prices for a mediocre product. I'm not sure how they stayed open 12 entire months...

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but parking, especially at that intersection, should not be such an issue in a "major city" such as Atlanta... tired of that pathetic excuse in this "city".

Atlanta clearly supports local concepts over chains like these... I just hope something opens up soon. I hate to see a prominent corner sit EMPTY again. So much empty space in this city it's depressing.

Atlantan99 said...

To all RE: Parking,

Since an early age I have taken Marta to and from countless events, trips and other things. Unlike New York, where mass tranit is not only widely used and accepted, but also gets you anywhere, that is not the case in Atlanta. Atlantans are unwilling to part with their cars and thus require plenty of available, close and preferably FREE parking. I will also say, The 5 Napkin concept is perfect for Miami and New York but simply did not fit the demographics of midtown Atlanta. It's sad to see them throw so much money in such an extensive renovation but they should have done their homework.

Anonymous said...

I agree.

Another nail in the coffin for Atlanta. Seems like I've read about more places closing around here, especially in Midtown, then I can ever remember.

Salaries down here just can't support higher end prices and dining like 5 Napkin Burger, especially in this economy.

The larger issue is the way people live down here. Up north, 5 Napkin Burger is located in densely populated areas where people live and work. We don't like to live in densely populated urban developments down here. The Lindbergh transit-oriented development has been a laughable failure. That intersection of 10th and Piedmont is just not a highly developed area. I rarely see that many people walking around there. If there's not much else to do down there, people aren't just going to fight traffic to drive down and eat at 5 Napkin Burger or any other place.

Until Atlanta and it's people get serious about getting out of their cars and living in densely populated areas where you can work and shop and eat, we will continue to have this problem.

Joey said...

In NYC Five Napkin Burger restaurants are 3 times bigger (size wise) and literally packed to the brim with a very chic crowd each night. In addition, the burgers are (in my opinion) spectacular.

All Atlantans did since the moment this place opened is gripe about the prices. As a native Atlantan, it hurts to admit that Atlanta just isn't on par with many other major cities in terms of of wealth and sophistication (as pointed out in another review). They did a phenomenal job with the decor, and created a wonderful ambiance...and their burgers are top rated in places like NYC.

But alas, Atlantan's have spoken of nothing else but the cost of the burger, and are quite content with long as it comes at a relatively cheap price. It's the only way to explain mediocre burgers that are considered "top rated" in Atlanta...the likes of Yeah Burger, Grindhouse, etc..

Admittedly, they could have charged less than their NYC counterparts and found a better location...but to close so quickly is only a testament to Atlanta simply not being ready for the concept.

I still love my home town!

wickedfranklin said...

Lets be very honest with the lack of sophistication in this city shall we? Take a closer look at the 'popular' food choices at this intersection: Jason's Deli, Blake's, Caribou Coffee, The Flying Biscuit, Subway and the Tex Mex place (I forget the name...much like the food.) None of these eateries scream "Sophistication", hell most of Atlanta's most popular destinations are, for lack of a better term...homely. (Ever been to Woody's?) Atlanta transplants AREN'T hip, they aren't looking for the next big thing, they want to throw on a pair of cargo shorts with flip-flops and stuff their faces with comfort food. Take some time to truly look at the people here.

In a non-competitive city, filled with non-competitive people...what more can any of us expect? This town is Zagat rated for its GRITS and BBQ's! LOL lets keep things in perspective. In this ever changing modern world, in the city of Atlanta...lacquered wood and shabby decor beats all.

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