Tuesday, March 24, 2020

[CLOSURE ALERT] After 10 Years, Ri Ra Closed, Likely Permanently, in Midtown

Midtown Irish pub and restaurant Ri Ra has closed.  Sources tell ToNeTo Atlanta that the restaurant closed this past weekend after just over ten years in business. The closure, which sources say was already planned for May, was accelerated due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The roughly 7,000 square foot restaurant bore the 1080 Peachtree address, but was actually located on the rear side of the 1010 Midtown residential building at the corner of 12th Street and Crescent Avenue. 

According to Ri Ra:

"Rí Rá- Atlanta is the complete personification of everything Irish. The bar has been carefully restored from old Irish pubs and related salvaged artifacts including the magnificent mid 19th century bar complete with Victorian snugs and the parquet floor from the Harland & Wolfe yard where the Titanic was built. The pub required a tremendous effort from numerous Irish craftsmen to complete the restoration of the key pieces. The pub took over two years and 11,000 hours to finish. A total of 40 tons were shipped from Ireland including an estimated 10,000 pieces for the Harland & Wolfe floor that was restored in Wicklow but reconstructed on site in Midtown Atlanta."

When it opened, Ri Ra seemed to do well, but Midtown has been a rough territory for restaurants with several in close proximity to the Irish eatery having closed in just a few years.  Mi Cocina closed on the front side of the 1010 project in 2016 while BurgerFi and Princi Italia closed in neighboring 77 12th in 2018 and 2019 receptively.  That said, two of the spaces have since been re-leased.  Sugar Factory opened in place of Mi Cocina last year and Tin Lizzy's Cantina is expected to relocate from their current Crescent Avenue location to the former Princi later this year.  

Ri Ra's prospects were no doubt also hurt by the opening of rival Irish pub Fado in Midtown.  Fado Irish Pub opened at the corner of 8th and Peachtree Streets on St. Patrick's Day 2015, less than a half mile from Ri Ra but in a more visible, "high profile" location. 

Online research suggests that Ri Ra Group of Companies, LLC was potentially in trouble before COVID-19 struck.  The chain has in recent months closed restaurants in the Georgetown area of Washington D.C. and in Providence, Rhode Island. The Portland, Maine-based chain also previously shuttered units in Louisville, Kentucky and Bethesda,  Maryland.  

Following the Atlanta closure, the chain remains open in six cities:  Burlington, Vermont, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Charlotte, North Carolina, Portland, Maine and at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and at the Tropicana in Atlantic City.  All Ri Ra restaurants are currently marked "temporarily closed" due to COVID-19.  

A GoFundMe account has been established to assist employees of Ri Ra Midtown.  


Anonymous said...

Even before the current disruption of Covid-19, the simple fact is there are about 25% (maybe higher) too many restaurants throughout greater Atlanta. Even if someone committed to eating out every night - 7 times per week - it would take many weeks, months - to hit every restaurant within 3 miles of any residential address. There are just not enough customers to support even the above-average choices. When you include all the below-average establishments, it dilutes the revenue and profitability of all. Not only that, but there are not enough servers and back of house staff who are motivated, reliable and capable. It's sad but true that creating a great concept and finding the funding to open a restaurant is much easier than successfully operating one.

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear this. I've had some great times at Ri Ra, including ending my 30th birthday there.

Game Night opening scene was filmed there and for that and my memories, I will always appreciate this place.

Anonymous said...

No surprises... We work in the high-rise adjacent to the restaurant/bar. The lunch service was hit or miss (more miss) over our last 3= years. Food was always good but you could wait 15 minutes after ordering or 45 mins.....and the crowd size did not matter. The servers and kitchen killed that place ! Bringing it up to the managers did no good.


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