Thursday, September 30, 2021

[EXCLUSIVE] Bezoria Quietly Shutters in Alpharetta

Local Mediterranean eatery Bezoria has closed its Alpharetta outpost.  Situated at The Atwater (2685 Old Milton Parkway), across from Avalon, Bezoria opened in April 2017 and reportedly closed as of this past Monday, September 27.  The Alpharetta outpost was at the time of its opening the second unit for the fledgling chain after the original location on Peachtree Street in Midtown which debuted in 2014.  A location at Cumberland Mall in Smyrna debuted in early 2018 followed by a unit along Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth this past April.  

Developed by business partners Yogi Patel, Imtiaz Ramzan and Nasser Amer, Bezoria seemed to be hitting its stride just ahead of the pandemic.  After the December 2019 closure of their original location in Midtown due to the development of a high-rise apartment tower on the site it occupied, ToNeTo Atlanta reported January 3, 2020 that new Bezoria restaurants were planned for Toco Hills and in Duluth and the company was seeking a new Midtown location.  

In February, Bezoria announced significant expansion plans that included plans to open five Atlanta restaurants in 2020 and 20 across the state within the next three years.  Starting in 2021, the chain hoped to grow beyond the Peach State, with a focus on neighboring states with the ultimate goal of having 50 new restaurants across the United States by 2025.   

Thiago Pereira and Rivaz “Ray” Dhanji, who own and operate 18 Moe's Southwest Grill locations in Georgia and Florida, were heralded as Bezoria's first franchisees.  The duo reportedly purchased the chain's Alpharetta location and were expected to be the franchisees of the Duluth unit.  

The outpost planned for Toco Hills, where it would have replaced the ill-fated The Local Pizzaiolo, was cancelled and has since been leased to the owners of Japanese-Korean eatery Salaryman for their second location.  The Duluth location, the company's first official franchised unit, was expected in February to open "summer 2020," but did not make its debut until this past April.  

It's worth noting that both of Bezoria's chosen social channels (Facebook and Instagram) have been inactive for more than a year with their most recent post being August 20, 2020, when they announced the introduction of several LTO (limited time offer) burger options exclusively at their Cumberland location.  Burger business aside, the absence of any communication including but not limited to the announcement of their opening in Duluth, is a bit baffling.  

In our research for this post we did uncover what seem to be plans for Bezoria to be part of the planned food hall at The Exchange @ Gwinnett, the massive mixed-use development that opened along Buford Drive on the other side of I-85 from the Mall of Georgia.  Another interesting thing we noticed was that the Duluth and Alpharetta locations were 25 to 80 cents cheaper on most menu items than their Cumberland sibling.  

We reached out to Bezoria co-founder Yogi Patel with regard to the status of the brand's growth plans but did not get an immediate reply.  

Bezoria's closure in The Atwater marks the second eatery to shutter in the center following the January 2017 closure of quick serve pizza joint Pieology after just a few months in business.  The Pieology space was later backfilled by Poke Bar while the 2,200 square foot endcap Bezoria space is not yet marked as available on leasing materials for the center.  

Bezoria is also now at least the second quick-serve Mediterranean eatery to shutter in metro Atlanta following the recent closure of The Hummus & Pita Co. in Dunwoody.  Despite this, Cava, seen as the industry leader in quick-serve Mediterranean fare, will Friday open its eighth Atlanta area restaurant with plans to have a total of fourteen open by year end.  The Friday debut brings the brand to Buford while other imminent openings are planned for Alpharetta, Chamblee, Cumming and Cumberland.  ToNeTo Atlanta reported previously that Cava's expedited Atlanta expansion is being accomplished by converting Zoes Kitchen units, a chain Cava acquired in 2018.  

Are you surprised to see Bezoria in Alpharetta closed?  What would you like to see replace Bezoria in Alpharetta?  What is your favorite Mediterranean quick-serve eatery?  

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

I had actually eaten there a couple of times and it seemed like they were doing decent business. I liked it and they gave a really good portion size in their bowls. It seems like a lot of places are having much difficulty finding employees, and I wonder if this contributed to things. Can anyone here elaborate for certain on why all restaurants are having so much trouble getting help? Is unemployment paying more money or paying longer than it used to? Or are people moving to more delivery/package sorting types of jobs? Some have hypothesized that in this new world of extreme hypochondria, workers don't want to wear masks all day while facing the judgement of irate patrons.

fbenario said...

"Can anyone here elaborate for certain on why all restaurants are having so much trouble getting help?"

Many employers offer absurdly low wages, inconsistent scheduling, and not-enough hours. Why would anyone accept such a job offer? We often hear "No one wants to work any longer", but the second half of the sentence is always left out - "No one wants to work any longer, for the wages and working conditions offered by employers in restaurants and retail these days."

Anonymous said...

but 2 years ago, plenty of people were still doing these restaurant jobs, seemingly deciding that the wage+tips made it worthwhile. What are they doing now that is better?

Anonymous said...

friend of mine seems to be eating at Alpharetta location right now. So I think you got some bad intel on this. They're good, I wish one was closer to me.

Anonymous said...

update: my friend went to Duluth--so I think Alpharetta IS closed...

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