Thursday, January 6, 2022

Bits & Bites

The Chick-fil-A at Dalton Mall (fka Walnut Square Mall) in Dalton is adding a first of its kind drive-thru to the exterior of the mall building.  Chick-fil-A is one of the longest running, continuously operating tenants of the mall, having first opened in 1980.  Under the stewardship of owner/operator Brett Lewis, the restaurant completed an extensive renovation last year, closing in late July and reopening in November.  During the down time, patrons were served via a Chick-fil-A "mobile kitchen" in a mall outparcel.  

Both before and after the renovation, patrons were able to order from the restaurant curbside as well as a from a makeshift drive-thru.  Now, an actual drive thru is being installed as well as a new employee access door to the mall that will provide for better logistics and speed in serving customers.  Chick-fil-A has in years past closed several mall-based locations including those at North DeKalb Mall, Gwinnett Place Mall, Northlake Mall and Phipps Plaza so it's both puzzling and encouraging to see them dedicate capital to invest in what some might consider a "dead mall."  According to our friends at The City Menus, a similar addition is also in the works for the Auburn Mall Chick-fil-A in Auburn, Alabama.  

A new restaurant called Preview plans to open in the former Pho Kitchen at The Shops at Buckhead on Peachtree Road in south Buckhead.  A source close to the restaurant indicated that plans call for a "Mediterranean and American" menu with full service in an upscale atmosphere.  The new owners are hoping to be open in a few months.  Steve Josovitz of restaurant brokerage The Shumacher Group represented the seller and guided all parties to a successful closing.   

The owners of m2 [Mode Marché], a longtime fixture in Ansley Mall, announced this week that they "lost their lease" and will be closing their boutique.  The men's and women's clothing and accessories business plans to close January 7.  The store has been in business since 2015.  

Our friends at The Carrollton Menu have confirmed that not only is Banana Republic closing its store at The Avenue Peachtree City, but sibling brand Gap is shuttering too.  Gap is currently offering all in-stock merchandise at 50-70% off with plans to close no later than January 24.  

In addition to closing their store at Lenox Square in Buckhead, ToNeTo Atlanta has learned that cookware retailer Williams-Sonoma is also closing at The Forum on Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree Corners.  Like the Lenox store, the Forum shop is currently in "liquidation mode" with select merchandise 20-50% off including open box items, food and fixtures.  The store is already pretty cleared out as a good deal of merchandise has already been transferred to other area stores.  Both the Lenox and Forum stores are expected to close no later than January 23.  Following the twin closures, the company will continue to operate four full-line stores in metro Atlanta: Ponce City Market in Atlanta, Avalon in Alpharetta, Avenue East Cobb in East Cobb and Avenue Peachtree City in Peachtree City. Williams-Sonoma also operates an outlet at North Georgia Premium Outlets in Dawsonville. 

In our December 23 "Mega Bits & Bites" we spoke of several mall-based Starbucks that have closed over the past several months and their uncertain future.  A loyal reader noticed in recent days "Reopening 2022" signage installed at the shuttered Starbucks in the center of Lenox Square in Buckhead. 

LongHorn Steakhouse looks to be on the move in East Cobb.  Planning documents indicate that the Orlando-based chain is planning to relocate their existing restaurant at 4721 Lower Roswell Road to the site of a former BB&T bank about two miles away, at 4370 Roswell Road.  The new restaurant would be 5,710 square feet, a bit smaller than what property records indicate is the restaurant's current 5,954 square foot size.  The new location, across from the new Publix-anchored East Cobb Crossing shopping center, would offer superior visibility and access and would feature the brand's latest design.  The current LongHorn opened in 1997.  LongHorn, owned by Orlando-based Darden Restaurants, is constantly looking to optimize its real estate and has in at least two other instances in recent memory relocated Atlanta-area restaurants to increase visibility and access, among other factors.  In late 2012, LongHorn moved their existing and dated location in Akers Mill Square to a portion of the former Circuit City within the center.  In 2018 the chain relocated their Kennesaw area restaurant from a small strip center near Town Center at Cobb to a freestanding site along Barrett Parkway, close to Kennesaw Marketplace, where the restaurant replaced a former SunTrust Bank.  The popular casual dining chain was founded by George McKerrow, Jr. on Peachtree Road in 1981.  Today, the chain has more than 530 locations in 43 states.   

ALDI opened its latest Atlanta area store Thursday January 6 at 1705 Mall of Georgia Boulevard in Buford.  The new store, which ToNeTo Atlanta first reported on April 27, 2021, replaced 2nd & Charles in the Marketplace at Millcreek shopping center.  In addition to the new Buford store, ALDI will on Thursday January 20 open another new location at 249 Cobb Parkway in Marietta   The new Marietta grocery store, which ToNeTo Atlanta was first to report on June 11, 2021, is located across the street from the Marietta Diner and replaces a former automotive business.  These new locations are part of the company’s aggressive national expansion that has them on track to become the third-largest U.S. grocery retailer by store count by the end of 2022.  ALDI operates more than 2,100 stores in 37 states, with nearly 60 stores in the Atlanta market.  

In other grocery news, Publix plans to open its new location at Perimeter Marketplace, Wednesday, January 26.  

The Captain's Boil has officially opened its very first US location.  The restaurant, which opened Thursday January 6, replaced the former Ted's Montana Grill at the front of Cumberland Mall near Smyrna.  Canada-based The Captain's Boil has three more locations on deck for metro Atlanta including restaurants planned for Sandy Springs, Lawrenceville and Woodstock.  

Corner Pizza closed December 22 after 14 years in Brookhaven.  Owner Chris Hagearty posted the news to the restaurant's Facebook page on December 19 saying in part "It’s been a wild ride but all good things must come to an end."  Hagearty opened the pizza joint at the "corner" of Johnson Ferry and Ashford Dunwoody Roads in 2007 in place of what earlier been a Domino's Pizza. 

A new location of Tony's Sports Grill will open soon in the former Hudson Grille in Alpharetta.  The original Tony's Sports Grill is located on Medlock Bridge Road in Johns Creek.  Hudson Grille, and several other Metrotainment Cafes restaurants closed "temporarily" last March, according to a company representative.  That said, the Alpharetta outpost and several others the group ran around Atlanta did not reopen.  The restaurant is situated at the corner of Mansell Road and North Point Parkway beside P.F. Chang's, just off exit 8 of GA 400.  The restaurant is essentially in an outparcel of the TJMaxx and Burlington-anchored Mansell Crossing shopping center.  While it enjoys great visibility from Mansell Road, it has hidden and challenged access off of North Point Parkway.  The new Tony's is being opened by Nader "Tony" Mahroum, who previously opened similarly named restaurants in Sandy Springs, Duluth and Johns Creek.  According to employees at the other Tony's in town, Mahroum sold the Johns Creek and Duluth restaurants in 2021, and the Sandy Springs unit, his first, several years ago.  Plans call for the new Tony's Sports Grill in Alpharetta to feature a similar menu to the other location and to open "soon."  


Ham said...

Wow just mentioned how Williams Sonoma closing at Lenox wasn't a big deal for me because of the location at The Forum. I feel like The City of Peachtree Corners is doing some nice things in that area, but it seems losing large retailers is an issue. Oh, by the way, I still miss the Orvis location that closed there a few years ago.

Anonymous said...

Gap's days are numbered but I am surprised Banana Republic doesn't do well in Peachtree City.

What's going on with W-S?? Sheesh...

Anonymous said...

Very sad to hear Williams Sonoma closed at the Forum. Really don't like having to buy everything online. The Belk at the Forum used to be nice but that has really gone downhill.

Anonymous said...

Wow on the Long Horn move.

Their new ‘location’ has seen a number of businesses open and close starting with a Black Eye Pea that opened in the 1980s, closed due to some financial issues and problems along with many other locations, the building sat vacant for a while and a new restaurant took over the space and went up in flames the day before the grand opening.

Lot was scraped and a new bank building was constructed.

The new location will provide better visibility and parking at the Lower Roswell store has been in short supply at times. I believe the owner of the small strip shopping center didn’t appreciate Long Horn customers using their parking lot.

The breakfast and brunch restaurant space is still vacant and available.

Unknown said...

Your Jan 6, 2022 blog referenced a possible move by Longhorn to a new location. You cited “planning documents.” To what documents do you refer and how can we get a copy of them? We queried Darden about this possible move and they have stated they do not intend to move. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide in discovering Darden’s real intent.

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