Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Bits & Bites

The new Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken in Chamblee 
Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken on Peachtree Road at Broad Street in Chamblee is now open.  The restaurant quietly opened late last month, and is the third franchised unit in metro Atlanta from the Memphis-based chain. Previous locations have opened in Peachtree Center downtown and on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs.  A fourth metro location that I previously reported was planned for Belvedere Plaza in Decatur has apparently been "shelved" indefinitely.  The local franchise group continues to search for additional metro locations.  

Healthy eatery upbeet announced via Instagram that they finally plan to open on Howell Mill Road on the westside this coming Saturday June 10th.  The restaurant is being opened by the team behind neighboring YEAH! Burger. Upbeet, which has been in the works since at least 2014, was supposed to have opened last year, but was plagued by seemingly endless delays.  In addition to upbeet,  Erik Maier, co-founder and CEO of Better Brands, the parent of both concepts, has signed leases on at least three new YEAH! locations in Buckhead, Chamblee and Nashville.  It's unclear when or if those restaurants will open.

Wagaya, a restaurant specializing in Japanese fare and sushi, has opened their newest location in Emory Village. The restaurant, which opened in place of the former Bad Dog Taqueria/Dankbaar Taco, quietly opened last week. The original Wagaya is on 14th Street in midtown near Georgia Tech.  

A new Woodspring Suites hotel is planned for Mount Zion Road & Highway 138 in Stockbridge.  The extended stay hotel would be about 48,000 square feet on four stories with 123 guest rooms.  There are currently Woodspring Properties in both Chamblee and Alpharetta, among other cities.  The Wichita, Kansas-based hotel chain first launched in 2003 as Value Place before changing its name to Woodspring Hotels in April 2015.  

A new Captain D's is planned for Baker Road in Acworth. The new approximately 2,500 square foot freestanding restaurant will be built between a relatively new Fairfield Inn & Suites and a freestanding Family Dollar store.  The Nashville based chain has had many changes in ownership since its 1969 founding, today owned by Centre Partners, a New York private equity firm.  The chain has seen renewed development interest after delivering improved results over the past few years.  Last year, a new location opened in Kingsland Georgia near the Georgia/Florida line

MOD Pizza opened its first Atlanta area location at Kennesaw Marketplace in Kennesaw this past Monday. The local franchise group has other metro Atlanta MODs planned for Decatur and Sandy Springs, while the group has its eye on a handful of other communities for additional development. 

New to market European retailer JUNK de LUXE plans to open in September on the upper level of Lenox Square in Buckhead.  The store will open next to ivivva in a 4,993 square foot space previously home to Wet Seal.  JUNK de LUXE features menswear from such lines as Levi’s and Saville Row.  "The store finds inspiration in art, people and fashion to create a relaxed attitude with a sharp, vintage edge."

Despite rumors of (and perhaps hopes of) a Cracker Barrel coming to the former Steak & Ale in Tucker, city sources confirm that a 90 unit senior living community has been approved for the site.   

Charleston, South Carolina-based Asian fusion restaurant, CO has opened at the 675 North Highland development.  CO offers a "uniquely inspired" Pan-Asian menu, serving banh mi, pho, ramen and dumplings, as well as sushi and signature cocktails. CO will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.  The 2,965 square foot restaurant is located in the end space at the northern end of the complex opposite Rize Artisan Pizza. 

Sears Holdings quietly announced another round of stores closures yesterday.  The metro Atlanta was spared, but Kmart stores in Calhoun and Fort Oglethorpe, and a Sears store in Dalton were announced to be closing.  The closures are expected to be completed no later than this coming September.  

Sources say that the owners of upcoming micro-food hall The Canteen now expect to be open next weekend, fingers crossed.  The concept, which replaces what was most recently The Spence restaurant in midtown's Tech Square, will feature Yalla, Fred's Meat & Bread, TGM Bagel and Square Bar, all concepts from the owners of The General Muir and West Egg Cafe.  

Millard "Mickey" Drexler announced Monday he was stepping down as CEO of  retailer J.Crew.  Drexler, formerly CEO of The Gap, was hired as CEO of J. Crew in 2003, and is credited with successfully re-positioning J.Crew into a more upscale, aspirational brand.  Drexler's creative counterpart, Jenna Lyons, who too was instrumental in J.Crew's rise in popularity over the last decade or so, departed the company in April, as did men's designer Frank Muytjens.  It's no secret that retail is in trouble, and among the most impacted companies are teen and young adult apparel retailers such as J.Crew, Abercrombie & Fitch and Aeropostale.  Drexler will reportedly step down as CEO at the end of the month, but will stay on as chairman.  Drexler will be succeeded by West Elm president Jim Brett, who will assume the role in July.  

For a cool play-by-play of how everything went right, and then wrong, at J.Crew, check out this article.  

According to the Tropical Smoothie Cafe website, the growing chain has at least five more metro Atlanta locations in development.  New Tropical Smoothie Cafe eateries are "coming soon" to University House on Spring Street in Midtown, near Zoës Kitchen in Presidential Commons on Scenic Highway in Snellville, behind Zoës Kitchen at The Plaza at City Springs on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, near Zoës Kitchen in Decatur Crossing on the Scott Boulevard side of the project in Decatur, and Canton Exchange on Cumming Highway in Canton.   In the past few months, the Atlanta-based chain has added new locations in Kennesaw, Brookhaven and Johns Creek, among others.  

The Wells Fargo bank branch at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is closing.  The bank branch, which opened shortly after the CONRAC (consolidated rental car center) opened in 2010, is located near space in the airport previously occupied by rental agencies.  A counter at the branch, which previously displayed a sign stating they were "now hiring," now states the branch will close at 12PM on August 17th, 2017.  

Lidl, the European grocer with big plans for the U.S. market, announced an interesting partnership Monday. The German discount grocer has enlisted fashion designer and supermodel Heidi Klum to design an exclusive fashion collection.  The line, which is expected to be available at both European and U.S. stores "later this year," is seen by analysts as the grocer's attempt to appeal to more affluent shoppers. Lidl has plans for well over a dozen locations in Georgia and as I announced last month, plans to construct a new 756,000, nearly $86 million distribution facility in Cartersville.  The first U.S. store openings are expected to begin June 15th. Nine stores are expected to open in the coming weeks including five in North Carolina, two in South Carolina and two in Virginia.  The company indicated that 90% of the products will be private label and prices will be about 50% lower than at other grocers. 

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Anonymous said...

What happened to Wet Seal? Did it move or close completely? Hell the way things are going, it may have gone bankrupt too.

Anonymous said...

Wet Seal filed for bankruptcy months ago.

vespajet said...

Wet Seal went out of business and shuttered all of their locations.

I can understand the reasoning behind Wells Fargo having a branch in the domestic terminal, as they are a nationwide bank, but I would venture that the location didn't generate the amount of traffic they expected. They aren't the only financial institution on the property either, as Delta Community Credit Union has operated a branch on Concourse A (albeit it in a secured area not open to the general public) for a number of years.

ImAndy said...

I've lived in Atlanta for 10 years and travel extensively (Gold Medallion) and I can honestly say I do not think I have ever ate at one of the restaurants or done any banking or anything in the Main Concourse. I always walk right past all that stuff and get through security before I start gallivanting around and stopping at Starbucks or get some garlic knots :-) That whole area would be a tough go I would think to make any money.

While we're on the airport conversation can we talk about whats going on at Concourse D (The Kmart Concourse) that now has Five Guys, Chicken+Beer, and Popeyes within 100 feet of each other. It smells like heart attacks and regret.

Robert said...

Disappointed but not surprised about Gus' shelving plans for location at Belvedere Plaza on Memorial. I live nearby and while residential is improving, retail/food options are not improving yet. This shopping center and particularly its dangerous parking lot need to be updated. They did make some improvements to the building facade a few years ago. I think it's been for sale a while so current owners probably aren't interested in making substantial changes. Hopefully as income levels increase in the area we'll attract new retail.

Anonymous said...

Is there a Kmart at concourse d?

Anonymous said...

Yes. It used to be a Zayre's.

Anonymous said...

"Disapppointed but not suprised at Gus's shelving plans for the Belvedere location on Memorial".

Didn't surprise me either but it suprise me that they even considered putting there in the first place.

In one sense, I will concur with about the Plaza itself. Belvedere is in dire need of quality shopping restaurant options and the plaza itself needs an inspirational face lift. If they had both maybe more people would come.

However, you said that if they incomes went up, more developers would be attracted to the area. The biggest stereotype about Belvedere is that everybody there is low-income and that they cannot afford certain things. The thing that bugs me about developers is that they have this " look and leap" way of thinking. If it looks-that-way,it-must-be-this-way mentality. Not that long ago, I read an news article where Walmart reneged on their promise of building their store and housing development is a poorer section of Washington DC yet had no problem building two of them in a revitalized area of it( rumor had it that it wasn't getting built because of the 15 dollar minimum raise their mayor purposed). The irony of it is that the ones in the revitalized area of Washington DC isn't wasn't doing good as developers hoped. I've been in "poorer"( Belvedere included) areas where the Walmarts have been thriving for years. I would think that the Wal-Mart would have worked better in the poorer area of DC because of the reasonable prices and moreso of it being a need instead of a desire.One of the biggest request of the areas is their food deserts or the grocery store being out of reach for them to go to.

Higher incomes will not always guarantee economic success. Developers need to use their common sense and see what would/would not work, ask the community what they need and see what is /isn't working in certain communities and what is truly needed in that community and they rarely do that. There is one instance( I forget where) where a city wanted mixed development in their community. Initially , the developers was hesitant about doing with the impression that they would be making a grave mistake doing it thinking that people in the area were " low-income"...which was far from the truth and wouldn't be able to afford the them and that store owners wouldn't touch their development. twenty six years later, the development was built and very few stores have closed. A majority of them still remain open and the ones that have closed was because the company itself closed.

Yes..for the time being..Gus wouldn't be a good fit in the Belvedere area and even if it was in a ritzy part of time, I still wouldn't think it would. food seem pricey and whether people are rich/poor, they want good reasonable food.I'm rich or low income but I'm a tighwad. I wouldn't want to put my life savings on a piece of chicken.If I would , the chicken better have an out of this world unique flavor about it.

Anonymous said...

"I'm rich or low income but I'm a tightwad." ?????????

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