Monday, September 7, 2015

Aja Quietly Says Sayonara in Buckhead

Asian eatery in Buckhead abruptly shutters

Aja (pronounced like Asia), the Asian restaurant & bar from Here to Serve Restaurants, has closed.  The 9,024 square foot restaurant was located in the lobby level of One Alliance Center on Lenox Road in Buckhead and closed after dinner service this past Saturday.

Fellow Buckhead area restaurant Ocean Prime is scheduled to close this coming Saturday the 12th, after about four years in business.  

Aja opened in October 2008 in place of Emeril's, which had closed in April of the same year after about five years in business.  

Aja seemed to go through a number of identity crises: it was not sure if it was a lounge, a bar, a restaurant, a club, or some combination of them all. The restaurant featured Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisine. According to a well placed source with knowledge of the situation,  "we (H2S) just couldn't make the space work no matter what we tried."  

The building's landlord, Highwoods Properties, was reportedly very understanding and let the group out of their lease.  As of now, there is reportedly no immediate replacement tenant lined up, but I suspect someone will come forward soon.   

Three Alliance Center, the final phase of Tishman Speyer's Alliance Center development, is currently under construction next to One Alliance Center.  The 30-story office building will contain 500,000 square feet of office space and is slated for completion in late 2016.  

Aja is only the latest Here to Serve restaurant closure.   Late last year, the group closed its popular Shout restaurant at Colony Square in midtown.  This past May, Here to Serve shuttered Goldfish, their seafood eatery at Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody.  Earlier this month, the group converted their Noche restaurant in Johns Creek to their Coast seafood concept.   

Going forward, the group will continue to operate Noche (three units), Prime, Twist, Coast (two units), Smash, Strip and Shucks.

What would you like to see open in place of Aja?  Why do you think Aja was unable to make it? What is your favorite Here to Serve Restaurant concept?  

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

Good atmopshere, mediocre food and very expensive.

Anonymous said...

Apart from above reasons, the rents are extremely high in Buckhead. this is the primary reason for any business to shutter down followed by bad food, service, visibility, dirty place & the list goes on ........

nsk said...

Totally unsurprised Aja is closing. I work within walking distance and never considered it for lunch or dinner based on its just-ok menu, average service, and relatively high prices.

I think these Buckhead office lobby locations (like NY Prime and St Cecilia) have iffy visibility and difficult parking, so unless the place is a real destination, it's not going to have a draw beyond the office sit-down lunch crowd.

Maybe a higher-end office cafeteria place would do well in the spot.

Anonymous said...

Not sure what they were thinking converting Noche Johns Creek to a seafood only concept. I don't see that working. It's a small neighborhood location in a residential area that only draws from a few miles around. Seems unlikely there would be enough potential customers where the entire party (including kids) only wants seafood, and often enough, to support it. One reason the original Marlow's Tavern does so well in the same location is the something-for-everybody menu.

jeff a. taylor said...

Did they pay royalties to Steely Dan for the logo?

Stacy said...

I heard that Twist was moving into the Aja space.

And agree re: Johns Creek location. I ate at Noche on two Saturday evenings a few months apart and the place was mostly empty. Not sure the concept to what I believe will be higher prices will help. Willing to give it a try though because we suburbanites don't have too many non-national chain options, though Avalon was definitely a boon.

drummerpop said...

Twist and Prime will be next on the chopping block. Leigh Catherall is slowly but surely burning Tom's empire to the ground.

Anonymous said...

Tom the owner got divorced. All the holdings were split up causing some to close.

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