Thursday, January 10, 2019

[CLOSURE ALERT] The Cowfish Swims Away, Shutters at Perimeter Mall

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar has closed at Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody.  The restaurant, which opened in April 2016 at the front of the mall along Ashford Dunwoody Road, closed as of Wednesday.  The 8,000 square foot restaurant opened in place of original tenant Goldfish, part of Here to Serve Restaurants, which closed in May 2015 after 15 years in business.  (Later in October of 2015, the entire Here to Serve Restaurants group closed.)  

Based in Charlotte, North Carolina with additional locations in Raleigh, Orlando and Birmingham, the concept never seem to catch on the way it has in other markets, especially Charlotte and Raleigh where it's very popular.  The Birmingham outpost, in The Summit, an outdoor, upscale lifestyle center, is the newest location to have opened and debuted in late July 2017.  

The restaurant served a variety of burgers and sushi, among other offerings, in a trendy, pop-culture and art themed restaurant.  

Sources close to the restaurant indicate that while The Cowfish was doing "well" in Atlanta, it was an expensive operation and was not doing well enough to justify continuing the business.  Also of note was a poor health inspection score the restaurant received last May, which one source close to the restaurant referred to as a hurdle too high to overcome.  The score, a 48, came after the restaurant scored a 96 in 2017.  The restaurant did score a perfect 100 on their revisit, but the damage in the public eye was done.  

The openings of Shake Shack at Perimeter Mall (October 2016), Grub Burger Bar at Hanover Perimeter (May 2018), and most recently, Zinburger at Sterling Pointe (September 2018), also likely contributed to the struggles and ultimate demise of Cowfish.  

Sources close to the mall indicate that while they had some advance notice of the closure, they have no imminent replacement lined up, but there have been multiple interested groups.  

The restaurant has already been removed from both the Cowfish and Perimeter Mall websites.  

Brookfield Property Partners, which acquired Chicago's General Growth Properties (GGP) this past August in a $9.25 billion all-cash deal, gained three malls in metro Atlanta in the transaction: Perimeter Mall, Cumberland Mall and North Point Mall in Alpharetta.  Brookfield has redevelopment projects planned for former Sears stores at both North Point and Cumberland, while it has other plans in the works for Perimeter.  

Among the projects planned at Perimeter are a large office tower going up along Hammond Drive near the Sandy Springs MARTA station and a two restaurant development in an undeveloped out-parcel of the mall near the corner of Perimeter Center West and Ashford Dunwoody Road. 

California-based Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar has a lease in place for one of the two new spaces.  The lease has reportedly been signed but a variance from the City of Dunwoody to reduce the street setback needs to be granted for the development to move forward.  

Lazy Dog is a casual dining concept that features its own pet-friendly menu and dog patio. Existing locations are in California, Colorado, Illinois, Texas and Nevada.  California is its biggest market, where it operates 21 of its 30 restaurants.  The chain's first Atlanta area location is expected to open later this summer at Fuqua Development's Peachtree Corners Town Center along Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree Corners.

Breakers Korean BBQ, which ToNeTo Atlanta first reported was coming to the mall last May, is now on track to open in March.  Breakers is replacing The Pub, which closed last January at the mall after about three and a half years in business.  Max's Coal Oven Pizzeria also opened at the mall last January in place of the short-lived Varasano's Pizzeria.  

Are you surprised that The Cowfish closed?  What would you like to see open in place of The Cowfish?  What is your favorite restaurant in the Perimeter area?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

That failure is 100% operations-based. We visited Cowfish many times because the food was good. the problem was that the operations really sucked. They were most crowded on Friday nights where it developed into a birthday dinner mecca. The hostess would quote you 20-25 minutes and you would sit and wait and wait and wait. Sometimes double the quoted time. And you would look around and see 4-5 empty tables - some clean, some dirty. Then you would ask the hostess if your table was almost ready and they would tell you they were cleaning off your table now. Then 15 minutes later, you would finally be seated, hangry and already sour on the experience.

The food was really good though - burgers and hybrid items ("sushi" burgers) were really tasty, they had several really good apps and the sushi was pretty good too for a less expensive chain restaurant. Milkshakes were also outstanding. So we tried again and again but it was always the same terrible experience. After writing about one bad experience on a review site, a manager reached out and apologized, offering some free food, but the food wasn't the problem . The managers can only apologize so many times before you just give up on the place. Obviously the horrendous health score was also the result of terrible operations. Perimeter is way too competitive a market to run a restaurant that poorly.

We had lunch at the Orlando location at Universal last spring and it was a completely different experience. Top notch service there.

Hopefully something good takes its place. Would love to see something similar to Goldfish return to that spot. I can also see that as a potential Firebird location.

rosegorham said...

I really don't think it every recovered from it's low health score. The customers confidence was gone after that. To get a score that low is no just nit picky things wrong, that is kind of like 'rats running through the kitchen' wrong.

It's also a shame because they were very generous to my child's elementary school in providing platters of food and gift cards as donations. Those things are always hard to find and then replace.

Greenwave said...

It's a shame. They had good food when I went on opening week. Honestly I only care about Breakers opening in March. That place is going to make so much money.

Anonymous said...

The first commenter's post is interesting. And an issue that seems to happen everywhere, whether nicer restaurants or fast food. There's a Taco Bell near me that has great customer service. They're polite, you can hear them well over the intercom system, etc. Taco Bell is Taco Bell. You know what you're getting. But it's just a better experience at this location because of the employees. With the number of restaurants opening, the best servers and other staff will get hired by the best restaurants. This means other restaurants will suffer and even if they have good food, if service is lacking, those restaurants will close too...

Anonymous said...


You're exactly right - doesn't matter how good your food is if the service is terrible. Ever wonder why Chick-Fil-A laps the competition 100 times?

On a side note, I have found that Arby's has better service than most fast food places. It's a little surprising but I have been to 3-4 different locations over the year and none of them had those "this the last place in the world I wanna be" employees.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...