Wednesday, October 2, 2019

[ALERT] Hong Kong Harbour Closed, American Eatery "Street Bistro" Opening

Longstanding Chinese restaurant Hong Kong Harbour has closed.  The restaurant, which according to local readers has been in business for more than forty years, was sold Wednesday by current owner "Ms. Ping" to the mother-and-son duo of Susie and Matt Chae. "Ms. Ping," who reportedly purchased the restaurant from the original owners several years ago, is retiring.  The restaurant, located at 2184 Cheshire Bridge Road, is just a few doors down from Kong's Body Shop, a business Matt Chae, 37, has operated for more than a dozen years.  The Chaes plan to open "Street Bistro" in place of Hong Kong Harbour later this year.     

 Steve Josovitz of The Shumacher Group, Inc. represented the seller and assisted the buyer in the transaction.  The restaurant, which measures 3,535 square feet, has been previously listed by Josovitz as a "keep or convert" opportunity.  The restaurant features seating for 100 with the added benefit of plenty of parking via its own dedicated lot.  Rent for the restaurant was listed as $6,100 per month with the restaurant priced at $129,000 for all furniture, fixtures, equipment and lease rights.  

Hong Kong Harbour is the latest in a growing list of famed Cheshire Bridge eateries to be sold or close over the years, especially recently.  Katz's Deli, a popular Atlanta eatery, closed more than 30 years ago and is today home to Southern Nights, an adult film and novelty store.  Dunk 'n Dine, another former Cheshire Bridge mainstay, closed in 2004, was later replaced by Landmark Diner Jr., which itself closed earlier this year.  Happy Herman's followed it, closing in 2008, then The Varsity Jr. shuttered in 2010. Happy Herman's today sits vacant while The Varsity Jr. was replaced by a self storage facility.   More recently, Bamboo Luau and Alfredo's closed in 2016, the latter replaced by "luxury" apartments.  

This past June, Hong Kong Harbour neighbor Red Snapper, which had been in business 33 years, was sold, but new owner Randy Mercer, has kept the eatery largely the same.  [It's also worth noting that The Colonnade, which first opened in 1927, remains in business on Cheshire Bridge, and still features their popular "early bird special" - bread, two sides, drink, entree and dessert - for just $14.]

In contrast to Hong Kong Harbour, a full-service restaurant which featured primarily Cantonese Chinese fare, Street Bistro will be a counter service eatery featuring primarily American fare but with Asian influences.  In a phone interview with ToNeTo Atlanta Wednesday evening, Matt Chae described the menu as one that will feature burgers, Philly and Reuben sandwiches, wings and chicken tenders, but also fried rice and Asian sauces for the tenders and wings. 
Cheshire Bridge Road facing signage had already been removed by Wednesday evening
For fans of American Deli, the menu may sound familiar, and there's a good reason for that.   Susie Chae currently manages the American Deli at The Mall West End.  American Deli, which got its start at South DeKalb Mall in 1989, has grown to about 50 locations throughout the greater metro Atlanta area with a menu focusing on burgers, wings, chicken tenders, Reuben and Philly sandwiches and fried rice, among other offerings.  

The food at American Deli, while basic, is approachable and affordable, which has made it quite popular in the West End location, having been a favorite of local rapper, Lil Baby (born Dominique Jones) since he was a kid.  As Chae puts it, Lil Baby, who will turn 25 in December, grew up not far from West End, and to this day returns to the West End location for Susie or "auntie" as he calls her, due to her caring and  genuine service.  Recently, Lil Baby, who is thought to have multiple residences including one in Buckhead, called ahead to Susie, as he had done so many times in the past, for a "to go" order, but rather than just dropping in for a pick-up, had Rolling Stone Magazine in tow who got a shot of the rapper with the restaurateur that was later featured in the publication. 
Lil Baby and "auntie" Susie from Rolling Stone
Susie, 64, a first generation Korean immigrant, will transition to Street Bistro once it opens, potentially as soon as the end of the year.  According to Matt Chae, there are no plans for a complete gut job of the restaurant, but definitely be some updating of the dated interior.  Plans call for beer and wine options and for the restaurant to be open late on Fridays and Saturdays to hopefully attract some of the diners left searching for options following all-day eatery Landmark Diner Jr.'s closure.

As for Lil Baby, Matt tells ToNeTo Atlanta that the rapper, known for hits like "Yes Indeed" and "Drip Too Hard," has pledged his support of the new venture and is likely to be spotted at the new eatery sooner rather than later.   

Are you excited for the opening of Street Bistro?  Are you a fan of American Deli?  What is your favorite [current or past] Cheshire Bridge eatery?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

So firstly as you all know Eli the best. There is no where you can find a blog so real and informative in retail and foodie than this. Much live and great thanks to Eli for his in depth and down to earth analysis of the retail and food scene. Very impressive Eli. Now that I got that out of the way, my own commentary, I hope they take a queue from the great guys at US Cafe which have the same kind of menu but are so much better at atmosphere and execution than American Cafe. We need more US Cafe’s not mire American Cafe’s. Anyone that has been to US Cafe on Piedmont will agree in atmosphere, menu, quality, and execution. I wish these guys luck!!! Just hope they model something a step up from their norm.

Anonymous said...

US Cafe is good - used to eat at the original location in Smyrna fairly regularly. I believe the owners are Russian.

Anonymous said...

The best eatery on Cheshire Bridge Road is the "Cheesesteak Place" located at the corner of Cheshire Bridge and Faulkner in a small strip center. All food is made to order and the cheesesteaks and the french fries are the best in town by far. Its been there for years (before at Ansley Mall for nearly two decades).

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