Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Bits & Bites

The Mad Italian's move to its new Savoy Drive location is reportedly "in a holding pattern" according to owner Tom Brown.  I first announced the planned relocation and related opening of new concept Duke's Burgers & Brews last fall, but the timetable has shifted. Brown tells me he still expects for both to happen but they may not happen until next year pending permitting.   

Smoothie King is now open in the former Donatos/Guthrie's on Holcomb Bridge Road in Peachtree Corners. 

Metro Atlanta's second Black Walnut Cafe is to open next Thursday, April 6th across from The Forum in Peachtree Corners.  The first Atlanta area Black Walnut Cafe opened last year in Alpharetta. A location planned for the former Old Hickory House in Dunwoody has been abandoned.  

Atlanta School of Massage has taken over the former Denny's restaurant on Cotillion Drive in Dunwoody.  The school plans to open a personal training facility in the space and is actively renovating with plans to open later this year.  

Bellwoods Social House closed yesterday after less than three years in business. The restaurant posted a sign inviting patrons to join them at their Alpharetta restaurant [Bite Bistro & Bar] something I doubt anyone on the Westside will do.  Bellwoods, which itself replaced what had been West & Mill and before that swit, had been for sale for since last month.  I will be sharing news of its replacement soon. 

Houston, Texas based Salata, a quick serve salad chain, plans to open what will be its second Atlanta area location later this year at Peachtree Center downtown.  The first Atlanta area Salata is expected to open by the end of June at Atlantic Station in place of Moe's Southwest Grill, which closed this past January. Salata is reportedly actively scouting metro Atlanta for other locations with Toco Hills, Buckhead and the Perimeter Mall area among the areas in which they are interested.  

A new Mexican restaurant called "Jimmy's Tequila & Carnes" plans to open later this summer in the Village at Tilly Mill Crossing (FKA Friday's Plaza).  The Mexican restaurant will specialize in steaks and will open in the longtime Barnacle's space that had most recently been Front Row Seafood Sports Bar.  

Retailer Express plans to open an Express Factory Outlet at the North Georgia Premium Outlets in Dawsonville next month.  

Sotolero has officially opened in place of T'Kilas at Emory Walk near the corner of North Decatur and Clairmont Roads.

Grand Slam Baseball & Golf, the decades old driving range and batting cages on North Druid Hills Road near the Leafmore community, is counting down the days until it closes.  A sign posted outside the property announces it will be closing with everything for sale.  As I reported last year, the property,  which sits on 11.5 acres, is expected to be redeveloped into nearly 80 townhomes. For those not "hip" enough for Topgolf, Grand Slam was a great, local, affordable place to shoot golf balls (or take battig practice.)  The last day for Grand Slam will be April 9th.   Following its closure, two local driving ranges remain in the intown area, one on Buford Highway in Chamblee, the other on Northcrest Road near Embry Hills.  

The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead is in the midst of what might be one of the largest financial gambles in Atlanta since the introduction of the ill-fated Streetcar in late 2014.  The Buckhead hotel, the brand's oldest continuously operating hotel worldwide, opened in 1983 and has had a number of renovations over the years. The current renovation, which according to permits filed with the City of Atlanta is expected to cost at least $5 millon, includes rebuilding the hotel's lobby bar, restaurant and The Dining Room.  While there is no doubt the performance of the restaurant had been disappointing for years, the elimination of the hotel's hugely popular lobby lounge fireplace is not just strange, it's short-sighted.  Most devastatingly, the hotel has failed to earn the coveted AAA Five Diamond Award for the past two years, relegated instead to the far more common Four Diamond level, that even the Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Center & Resort received.  With mounting competion from other luxury properties and the Omni which is expected to open early next year at The Battery Atlanta, and both an InterContinental Hotel and SolĂ­s Hotel, the latter of which is being developed by former The Ritz-Carlton President Horst Schulze, the Buckhead Ritz may need more than a restaurant renovation. 

Metro Atlanta Hotel Group, LLC plans to build a new 92 room, four story Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott hotel on Washington Road in Augusta.  The hotel would sit only roughly 1.7 acres and would occupy land previously occupied by Americas Best Value Inn which was demolished over three years ago. 

A new restaurant called Petite Chou recently opened on Memorial Drive in Cabbagetown.  The restaurant describes itself on its website as  "Weird, in a good way Unlike any place you will find. Our food matches our design - made by craftsman, locally sourced and original."  Petite Chou offers patrons "coffee, beer, wine and cocktails with a full menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Open early and late!"

Cinco Mexican Cantina has signed a lease that will bring it to the front of Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody. The Atlanta based chain currently has three other locations in metro Atlanta; near Cumberland Mall, in Suwanee and in Cumming. An Alpharetta location on McGinnis Ferry Road closed September 2014 Cinco at Perimeter Mall will be about 6,000 square feet and will occupy the former Chico's retail space, next to the new Shake Shack.  Renovations of the space are expected to begin soon with plans to open the restaurant by the coming holiday shopping season.  In addition to Shake Shack, which opened this past October, Cinco will be joined by a number of new food options. Max's Coal Oven Pizzeria is expected to open later this summer in the former Varasano's Pizzeria space, while Sbarro will open in the food court, replacing Villa Italian Kitchen.  As I reported earlier this month, the mall will also welcome Carlo's Bake Shop from "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro to the food court.  Carlo's is expected to open next Thursday April 6th, and will be followed by a second location at Cumberland Mall later this summer.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hampton Inn is coming to Snellville. Officials keep citing Eastside Medical Center as a reason Snellville "needs" a hotel, but it is a community hospital with a no so stellar reputation. Crestwood Suites is a shining example of why Snellville does not "need" a hotel / motel near the hospital or on congested retail hell unScenic Hwy.

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