Thursday, July 14, 2022

[EXCLUSIVE] Mendocino Farms Bows Out of Buckhead Building, Others Join Project

Mendocino Farms, the California-based sandwich shop that that we exclusively reported in September 2021 would enter Atlanta in 2022, has called off those plans.  The restaurant, slated to open in Prominence Apartments (fka Modera Prominence), was to have occupied a roughly 3,900 square foot first level space in the multifamily development at the corner of Lenox and Piedmont Roads in Buckhead. 

While the company did file a $400,000 "Commercial Alteration" permit with the City of Atlanta on February 4, 2022, sources close to the project tell ToNeTo Atlanta that "work never really started."  The Atlanta, Buckhead location, once listed as "coming soon" on the Mendocino Farms website, has been removed.  

It's unclear why exactly the brand bailed on its planned Atlanta expansion, but one industry source theorized that the lack of available sites coupled with a tight labor market likely made the company reconsider its entry.  Georgia would have marked just the third overall market for the brand joining existing units in California and Texas.  While securing one space is always a good start, for the brand to dedicate the time, resources, marketing and manpower to develop a new market would have likely meant securing several other "A" sites, which in the current market it, seems it was unable to accomplish. 

Recent new-to-market concepts like Sweetgreen, Chopt, Snooze, and Cava, among others, have all entered the market in phased rollouts of several locations each.  In the case of Cava, its market entry was both simplified and amplified by its purchase of Zoes Kitchen, where in metro Atlanta it has been converting prime locations - 15 going on 16 - from Zoes to Cava.  

For its part, Mendocino Farms is still in growth mode, just in existing markets of California and Texas, where it has 47 locations open and another nine coming soon.       

While the former Mendocino Farms is being marketed for lease, spaces leased with other previously announced tenants have progressed in their buildout.  

Zakia, a new Modern Lebanese restaurant from Tre Vele and Mission + Market chef Ian Winslade and brothers Jonathan and Ryan Akly, is moving and grooving towards a planned late summer opening in its 6,000 square foot space along Piedmont Road.  The Yard Milkshake Bar recently opened while CT Reforma Taqueria is progressing towards its imminent opening. 

In addition, ToNeTo Atlanta has confirmed that Snap Thai Kitchen & Sushi Bar, a new upscale Thai eatery, and Foxtail Coffee Co., a new to market coffee shop, have both leased space within the development.  Snap will be roughly 4,600 square feet, while Foxtail, which is based in Florida and opened its first Atlanta area location this past December in Newnan, will occupy a roughly 1,700 square foot space, according to permits filed with the City of Atlanta. 

Are you disappointed to learn that Mendocino Farms is no longer opening in metro Atlanta anytime soon?  What is your favorite "fast casual" concept in Atlanta?  Of the concepts that are opening at Prominence apartments, which are you most looking forward to?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

I've worked in this area for 7-8 years. I go to lunch every single day and the area is SEVERLY LACKING good and reasonably priced places to get salads, soups, sandwiches. Mendocino would have been PERFECT here and I am super bummed its not coming. We don't need any more coffee shops or expensive sit down restaurants.

Cava, Gusto, or Chopt (or another healthy fast-casual) are needed in this area. It's a shame they are already located up the street along Roswell Rd. This location is where they would get tons of daytime worker foot traffic.

Katherine S said...

The Yard is open for business already. Sad about Mendocino - I was looking forward to eating there. (This development is at the base of my office building).

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm so sad i loved them in Texas and was really excited for an Atlanta location. I haven't been able to get near as quality sandwiches since moving.

Anonymous said...

Damn I’m so sad about this

Anonymous said...

Devastated by this news. I will have to go back to CA for fix more often.

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