Friday, November 22, 2019

[Front Page News] Longstanding Little Five Points Restaurant to Shutter

Front Page News in Little Five Points will close its doors on Tuesday, December 31, according to a message from owner Josh Sagarin.  The restaurant was opened in 2002 by Sagarin and his former business partner Sean Keenan (who later opened Napoleon's in Oak Grove).  The Little Five Points location was the second, joining the first outpost on Crescent Avenue in Midtown, which opened in 1996.  The restaurants, which had a New Orleans theme and menu, were quite popular in their day, but the Atlanta dining scene has changed drastically in the roughly two decades since the restaurants' debut.    

Sagarin closed the Midtown Front Page News in 2017 and it was subsequently replaced by Publico, a fusion restaurant out of Columbia, South Carolina.  Late last year, Sagarin closed his Mexican restaurant, Tijuana Garage, which occupied space adjacent to Front Page News.  [The Tijuana Garage space and Front Page News share a lobby and restrooms.]  At the time of the closure, Sagarin said "Please watch our location for a new restaurant opening spring-summer 2019!"  It's unclear what Sagarin was referring to, but nothing has opened in the former Tijuana Garage space and it's currently being marketed for lease by Peter Kruskamp of The Shumacher Group.  

The most appealing part of the Front Page News space is likely its massive 3,000 square foot patio, which is nearly as big as the interior, roughly 3,200 square foot space.  

A message from Sagarin regarding the closure also indicates that after a brief remodel, the restaurant will reopen in "early 2020" as Hudson Grille, a concept from Atlanta-based Metrotainment Cafes.  Sagarin claims that his staff will all be hired by Metrotainment and that there will be a near seamless transition between the two concepts & ownership.  The new Hudson Grille, which Metrotaiment has not acknowledged/confirmed or otherwise commented on, would be the eighth location, joining existing outposts in Midtown, Brookhaven, Kennesaw, Downtown, Alpharetta, Tucker and Sandy Springs.

In early 2017, Metrotainment President & CEO Jeff Landau told ToNeTo Atlanta that "a lease had been signed" to open a new Hudson Grille in place of the former Famous Pub, a roughly 9,000 square foot space, at Toco Hills shopping center.  In July 2018, Landau confirmed to ToNeTo Atlanta that his company had backed out of its plans to open at Toco Hills.  This past July we reported that Iron Age Steak House, a Korean barbecue restaurant, would instead open in the former Famous Pub space.  

A source with knowledge of the leasing situation at Toco Hills told ToNeTo Atlanta that higher than expected costs associated with the planned remodel of the old and outdated "Famous" space was a contributing factor to Metrotainment's change of heart.  While Toco Hills shopping center was built in 1956, property records indicate that the Front Page News structure was built in 1953.  Separate real estate sources describe the layout of the Front Page News space as "wonky" and the fact that restrooms are shared between the two restaurant spaces as a stumbling block to interested would-be operators. 

Are you sad to see Front Page News close in Little Five Points?  Do you think Hudson Grille is the right choice as a replace to Front Page News?  What is your favorite Little Five Points restaurant?

Please share your thoughts below  

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