Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Popeyes Joining the Poultry Party, Planning New Restaurant Near North DeKalb Mall

Sandy Springs-based Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits Louisiana Kitchen is in the planning and permitting stage of opening a restaurant near North DeKalb Mall.  The new restaurant would be at the southwest corner of North Druid Hills Road and Oak Tree Road on the site of what is currently a jewelry store.  Gold & Diamond Gallery, the current tenant, is located at 3835 North Druid Hills Road, and sits on a little over a half acre.  The business has been operating as primarily a "We Buy Gold" type of place and its building had been for sale for a few years.

Popeyes plans to convert the structure erect a new structure and is applying to both rezone the building from NS (Neighborhood Shopping) District to C1 (Local Commerical) District and to add a drive-thru window.  Obviously, the building would change in shape and appearance and will yield a 2,100 square-foot restaurant. 

Similar rezoning was requested by McDonald's for their planned new Buford Highway/Clairmont Road location.  In that instance, the fast food chain seeks to rezone from NS (Neighborhood Shopping) District to C1 (Local Commerical) District and to add a drive-thru window.  This new McDonald's would be built from the ground up, replacing a largely abandoned shopping center, and is likely to lead to the closure of an existing McDonald's about three tenths of a mile away.

Although I orignally reported this to be a conversion, new information indicates that Popeyes plans to instead build a new building.  This would have been the first instance I could recall in recent memory where such a different business was to be converted to a fast food restaurant, conversions are becoming more and more common.  One reason is cost saving, but another is new rules and regulations regarding how and if new restaurants can open with the all important drive-thru window. 

Chick-fil-A converted a Hardees restaurant when it opened on Piedmont Road near the Lindbergh MARTA station.  IHOP converted another former Hardees restaurant when it opened last year on Peachtree Boulevard in Chamblee Plaza.  Former sister brand to Popeyes, Church's Chicken converted a vacant KFC on Ponce de Leon Avenue and opened a new restaurant in its place late last year.  A Chick-fil-was proposed for a former Blockbuster in Dunwoody but would have required full demolition and a new building.  Eventually that deal fell apart, and Chick-fil-A is instead hoping to open in the place of a recently closed Arby's restaurant not far away.  The Arby's already has a drive-thru, and would likely be stripped of much of its exterior, and rebuilt.  This method provides far fewer permitting obstacles to the incoming restaurant.

This upcoming Popeyes will be one of the first new intown locations in a number of years. Popeyes previously had a location at Piedmont Road and Sidney Marcus Boulevard in Lindbergh Plaza, but Lindbergh Vista apartments and a rebuilt Lindbergh Plaza replaced it.  Popeyes also had a location on Buford Highway in Northeast Plaza that went through an extensive renovation but later closed.  It, like the above restaurants, was later converted to another fast food eatery, Pollo Campero. 

If Popeyes does eventually open it will join a host of new restaurant openings around North DeKalb Mall.

Athens-based Zaxby's recently opened a new restaurant on North Druid Hills Road adjacent to Pier One Imports, just a few hundred feet from where Popeyes plans to open.

Golden Corral recently started construction on a new restaurant in the outparcel of the Macy's parking lot.  The new restaurant is being built in place of a largely underused and oversized parking lot at the corner of North Druid Hills Road and Lawrenceville Highway, directly behind the recently renovated McDonald's, Chick-fil-A and vacant Checkers.   

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A currently has a triple drive-thru location on North Druid Hills Road. Popeyes' intentions in the area may speed up Chick-fil-A's potential purchase of the adjacent former Checker's restaurant.  Chick-fil-A has no firm plans in place, but sources tell me they have at least talked about the possibilty of taking the Checkers space and replacing it and their own triple drive-thru restaurant with a full service Chick-fil-A, complete with a dining room and likely a twin drive-thru. 

Might all this this new activity lead to the neighborhood's highly sought after and long debated/rumored Costco Wholesale?  This blogger hopes yes, despite the fact that the new restaurant openings seem more in line with the demographics of Sam's Club. 

What do you think? Have two cents you'd like to share?  Speak your mind and join the conversation in the comment section below. 

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Anonymous said...

That area screams Sam's or BJ's...not Costco.

Anonymous said...

Just another ghetto area among a city full of ghetto.

fulltimealison said...

When I was a kid, that building didn't have that hideous blue shit, and it was a bank. My mom worked there and I would hang out and eat the candy and stuff if school was out that day. Also the mall used to not be terrible! And I'm about to turn 30 which I guess is kind of old, but it seems like everything went rapidly to shit and I'm not sure why. The neighborhoods near there have only gotten nicer, but the mall has gotten worse and worse. Today I was there for lunch and there was a dude playing piano in the food court, which was pretty classy. He played a Stevie Wonder song and I wanted to ask him to play it with his eyes closed.

Are Popeye's and Zaxby's related? The other Zaxby's near here, on Memorial, is also right next to a Popeye's. I wish more people would open stores in the mall, because I think people would go there. I would, anyway! There's always a line at Ross, Bath & Body Works, and back in the day the Old Navy was really handy too.

Aaaanyway, thanks for the news.

Anonymous said...

"Might all this new activity lead to the neighborhood's highly sought after and long debated/rumored Costco Wholesale? This blogger hopes yes, despite the fact that the new restaurant openings seem more in line with the demographics of Sam's Club."

Please elaborate/explain.

Anonymous said...

Sam's Club historically serves a lower income demographic than Costco, notably because until recently they only cared about selling bulk staples while Costco has long been selling higher end items as well.

Anonymous said...

Low priced chicken/buffet restaurants = the same kind of places that Sam's Club shoppers (read Wal*Mart shoppers) tend to enjoy.

Atlantan99 said...


I grew up in the area as well and while I don't recall that space being a bank... I do recall a number of other good times at NDM. Challenges, Old school Gap, Phar-Mor, Dippin'Dots and who could forget beanie babies at Save On Plants! Oh memories.

To answer your question, no they are not related. Zaxby's is Athens-based and is its own company. Popeyes is owned by AFC Enterprises and is based in Sandy Springs. AFC once owned Cinnabon, Seattle's Best Coffee and Church's Chicken but its only food holding currently is Popeyes.

Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts!

Anonymous said...

NDM used to be a good mall with good stores. Small and convenient-- then they got new owners and higher rent. Big chains wouldn't pay the higher rent and left the area. Way to go, new owners! Now NDM is sad. To whomever said this is a ghetto area, you're right and you're wrong. There are very nice neighborhoods on one side and very run down rough neighborhoods on the other. It could go either way and it seems the people who have the money are pushing the area to Walmart demographic way. Bad news for those of us who are property owners. Hurts my heart! I love the area and "YES" I remember beanie babies at Save-on-Plants! AND to the other person who used to hang out at the old bank..."NO" thirty is not even close to being old, but old enough (and wise enough)to appreciate the "good old days" at NDM.

Skreet said...

Bring back Market Square and the Cupim hamburger restaurant with the potato bread buns!

mindspringyahoo said...

I was actually thinking of that potato bread place just yesterday, couldn't remember the name. They were good.

Other blasts from the past at ndm: Lechmere (they had cool electronics for mid-late 80s), McCrory's. I used to shop at Mervyn's quite a bit.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, the neighborhoods on all immediate sides of the mall are actually very nice. You may be thinking about the area around E. Ponce and McClendon in Clarkston as being "rough", but some would take you up on that, too. Lower income does not equal mean. Take a lap and you'll see.

That said, the problem with a redevelopment of NDM is not the desire of the community but the median household income for 30033 and immediate area. The numbers for higher cost redevelopment just aren't there. Hence fast food and cafeterias rule and Walmarts on it's way up the street.

And the word is that Costco Brookhaven, while not close, was the one in the running for NDM. Sams Club at Clairemont has been quietly mentioned as too close. As for Trader Joes, the owner's ALDI are pulling back on expanding that chain, as it's not performing as expected.

NDM has some very serious challenges including the fact that it may have finally reached the end of its life span. One rumor is a great big redo of the whole site aka Town Bookhaven or Atlantic Station, though on a smaller, more intelligent scale. It's great to see the turnaround along N. Druid. I'm hoping that this a precursor to even better things in the area.

Recycool said...

While the owners of Aldi & Trader Joe's ARE related, Aldi DOES NOT own Trader Joe's. The owners are brothers.

Anonymous said...

Malls everywhere are struggling because the internet has all but killed most types of retail. Metro Atlanta in particular has too much retail space.

Anonymous said...

I noticed yesterday that "For Sale" sign for this property has added "Back on market". I guess the Popeye's plan fell thru.

Atlantan99 said...

I too saw that last week but also heard that Popeye's was cleared for the site. I hope to have more info soon.

Thanks for the comment and for your readership.

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