Sunday, April 17, 2022

[EXCLUSIVE] Shuttered Atlanta Area Zoes Kitchen to Reopen as Cava

A former Zoes Kitchen on Roswell Road in East Cobb will, in fact, reopen as a new Cava restaurant.  Located at 4400 Roswell Road in the LA Fitness-anchored Merchants Exchange shopping center, the 2,951 square foot Zoes Kitchen closed during the first half of 2020 and has been vacant ever since.  The East Cobb restaurant was one of eight Atlanta area Zoes that closed in 2020 and was one of four that the company did not immediately reopen.  

Bethesda, Maryland-based Cava purchased Birmingham-based Zoes in late 2018 and in the years since has quietly decimated the popular eatery, closing some locations and converting others, while continually trimming the menu.  At the time of the acquisition, there were 66 Cava restaurants and 261 Zoes.  Today, Cava has grown to 190 units open with others opening soon, while Zoes has shrunk to just 98 restaurants, according to its website.  

The East Cobb location is not currently listed as "coming soon" on the Cava website, but the site plan for Merchants Exchange does list Cava as a tenant and property management confirmed to ToNeTo Atlanta that Cava plans to open the restaurant.  The representative, while confirming their intentions, was unable to shed light on when things might get underway.  

It's unclear what prompted Cava to convert and close the locations they originally did in metro Atlanta, but following the company's previously announced 14 store conversions, a fifteenth was converted to the company's first "Digital Kitchen" in Sandy Springs this past February.  The restaurant space opened as a Zoes Kitchen in 2018, closed in 2020, and reopened in June 2021 as Zoes, before closing again this past fall.  

Two former Atlanta area Zoes Kitchen restaurants that did not get converted - in Johns Creek and West Cobb - have since reopened as Gao Fresh Noodle and Chicken Salad Chick, respectively.  

Zoes Kitchen, which by all accounts still does robust catering business from its remaining locations, has just nine locations left in Georgia, only one of which is in town, on Oxford Road near Emory University.  Restaurant employees who in our visits to the Emory restaurant lament that they feel neglected and not cared for by Cava, suggest the Emory location will be one of the next to be converted.  Another location in Peachtree City is also expected to be converted during the next round.  The fate of other Georgia locations in Augusta, Columbus, Duluth, Macon, Savannah, Snellville and Woodstock remains unclear.  

Are you pleased to see Cava plans to open in East Cobb?  Are you still disappointed that the company seemingly plans to completely kill off the Zoes brand? What fast casual restaurant would you most like to see open in East Cobb?

Please share your thoughts below.  

2 comments:

Chefmoss said...

Noticed Cava signs in the window today.

Anonymous said...

Lots of construction going on , new kitchen equipment installed. Finishing paint and installing tables and chairs today. June 6th opening is my best guess but who am i

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