Monday, August 20, 2018

Bits & Bites

The owners of Mambo Italiano abruptly closed their restaurant in The Forum on Peachtree Parkway after dinner service this past Wednesday, August 15.  The restaurant, which first opened in 2004, replaced what was then Brooklyn Cafe, in the then roughly two year old development.  No reason was provided for the closure and local reports are that a number of would-be patrons, including at least one large group with a reservation on the books, were rather surprised to find the restaurant closed.  ToNeTo Atlanta reported August 3 that the owners of Mambo Italiano were opening a new location on Powers Ferry Road near Marietta, and while at the time it seemed like a second location, it will now be the only location. 

Wendy’s ended its decade-old relationship with Arby’s as it sold its remaining 12.3 percent stake in the sandwich chain’s parent on Thursday for $450 million.  Wendy’s sold  its stake to Atlanta-based Inspire Brands, owned by Roark Capital, at a price 38 percent higher than its most recent valuation of the investment, Wendy’s Chairman Nelson Peltz said in a statement.  Peltz bought struggling Wendy’s in 2008 for $2.3 billion through Triarc Cos Inc, which also owned Arby’s at the time, and formed Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc.  Wendy’s/Arby’s sold Arby’s in 2011 to hedge fund Roark Capital for about for about $130 million, retaining an 18.5 percent stake worth about $30 million at the time.   The stake was diluted to 12.3 percent after Arby’s bought Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. earlier this year, after which a holding company, Inspire Brands, was formed.  Wendy's, which had moved its offices from Columbus, Ohio to join Arby's in Sandy Springs, later relocated back to Columbus, while Arby's stayed in Sandy Springs. 

CAVA, a quick-serve Mediterranean chain with 66 locations, announced plans Friday to purchase Zoës Kitchen for about $300 million.  The deal, which will likely close at the conclusion of what the company said was a a 35 day "go-shop" period during which it could entertain other offers. (CAVA released the news to its customers on its website in a post entitled "Growing Our Family".)  CAVA, based in Bethesda, Maryland, is being supported in its purchase of Plano,Texas-based Zoës by an investor group led by Ron Shaich, founder and former CEO of Panera Bread.  CAVA is similar but not identical to Zoës, and its unclear if the combined company would assume a single name going forward or continue to expand both brands.  In recent years, CAVA has expanded south to North Carolina, with two locations open and two more coming soon, but had yet to open in Atlanta.  Real estate sources tell ToNeTo Atlanta that CAVA has signed at least one local lease, reportedly in Buckhead, but it's unclear what impact the acquisition may have on the opening, given the strong presence Zoës already has in the area.  

Pita Street Food will open their newest location Friday, September 7th at 3186 Lawrenceville Suwanee Road in Suwanee.

Chipotle Mexican Grill opened their newest Atlanta area location this past Monday, August 13 at the corner of Northside Drive and 17th Street in the upcoming Kroger anchored development known as West Midtown Center.  In the coming weeks, Blaze Pizza, Zaxby's and others are expected to join the restaurant heavy roster at the eventual Kroger anchored development.  Kroger is looking to add hundreds of apartments on top of its planned store, and as a result, is likely well over a year away from opening.  

A new-to-market quick-serve eatery called Crave Hot Dogs and BBQ has signed a lease to open in Dawson Crossroads in Dawsonville.  The franchise concept, which creators and restaurant veterans Sal and Samantha Rincione started earlier this year, features an array of hot dogs, BBQ sandwiches and sliders, as well as sides like baked fries, and their famous self-serve beer wall. The self-serve beer wall will feature anywhere from 18-32 tap handles featuring an assortment of local draft beers as well as wine and cider. "At Crave it’s not just about the food, it’s about the experience!"  The new Crave in Dawsonville will be 2,770 square feet and be located next to Brooklyn Joe's in the Publix anchored center.  

FIVE GUYS closed its location in Cumming on Marketplace Boulevard in Cumming Town Center, after business tonight, August 19.  The restaurant gave no reason for the sudden closure, but directed would-be customers to the Five Guys at 4230 Windward Parkway. The quick-serve "better burger" chain also operates a location in the food court of North Point Mall.  There is no word yet on what, if anything, will be replacing the 2,725 square foot Cumming location anytime soon. 

Add Bojangles' to the list of quick-serve restaurants that plans to close restaurants in the coming months.  The Charlotte based biscuit joint reportedly plans to close ten underperforming restaurants and eliminate four "very slow-moving" menu items.  The soon-to-be eliminated menu items include the Jambalaya bowl, Smoked sausage biscuit, Barbecue pork sandwich and Cheddar Bo Biscuit.  The exact locations of the restaurants the company plans to close have not yet been revealed but are in four states.  


ImAndy said...

Went to Mambo once during the week and we were the only table and food was on par or slightly worse than CPK. They seemed to get a good crowd for dinner on weekends when they had music and it was patio weather. I guess that's a pretty fickle business model to be profitable. I was there 3 Saturdays ago and Mojitos had a wait so they seem to be doing better than anything

Anonymous said...

No surprise there.

Though it's been 7 years since I went to one,when I did go to it,the chicken at the Bojangles I went to tasted like flour. I also went to another one but they said they only sold hot chicken
( I can't take spicy stuff). Still,I've eaten mild chicken but it had flavor to it. Bojangles on the other hand? Meh..

If you look at most of the Bojangles they're mostly half indication that it may not be doing that great.

Ham said...

When they first began to expand in the area I thought it was great because I could get a breakfast biscuit any time of day. Since I don't eat that type of food very often I hadn't visited for a time and when I went back the place was terrible. It was dirty, slow, rude, etc. So, no real surprise they are closing places.

Anon said...

OMG. CAVA is NOTHING like Zoe's. It's probably closer to MOD Pizza. You begin with a grain bowl and select your toppings. Fantastic! Can't wait for one to open here.

Jodyml813 said...

Funny,they are opening a new location just north of the Dawsonville outlet near the new Culver's.

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