Monday, March 18, 2024

[EXCLUSIVE] Brooklyn-Based and "Australian-Inspired" Isla & Co. Shutters Lone Atlanta Restaurant

Isla & Co., an "Australian-inspired" cafe, has closed its lone Atlanta area eatery.  The restaurant, located in Andrews Square (56 East Andrews Drive), opened in December 2022 and closed "about four weeks ago," according to locals in the area.  The Buckhead restaurant was to be the first of up to three in Atlanta for the Brooklyn-based chain.  

At Andrews Square, Isla & Co. occupied a 2,740 square foot space left vacant in 2021 by the closure of beloved vegetarian-friendly eatery SAMA. (Interestingly, SAMA is still shown on the site plan for the Edens-owned center on their website.  Isla & Co. had originally planned to open in April 2022, and later August, before eventually opening December 2.  

The Buckhead restaurant was to be followed in the spring of 2023 by a second location in West Midtown.  The second Atlanta outpost - 976 Brady Avenue - was to be larger than Buckhead at about 4,200 square feet.  The restaurant was to open in place of what was most recently Baffi, from celebrity chef Jonathan Waxman.  That said, real estate sources told ToNeTo Atlanta last year that Isla & Co. was not doing as well as they had hoped in Buckhead and would therefore be abandoning their expansion plans in the market. 

Interestingly, Eater, which following then-Editor Beth McKibben's departure to Rough Draft in January has been staffed by a mix of local and national talent, published an "update" on March 12 entitled "Where to Brunch All Day, Every Day Around Atlanta" that includes Isla & Co.  

Legal documents affixed to the door at the Buckhead restaurant indicate that Isla & Co. has had trouble paying rent for several months, with Edens, through their attorneys filing a breach of contract against Isla, alleging back rent and related fees totaling nearly $170,000 as of December 7, 2023.  

Part of Isla & Co.'s struggles may be explained by the restaurant's concept description:

"Isla & Co. was born from the culture of the Australian hospitality industry creating an approachable dining destination in an elevated environment. Serving specialty coffee and brunch dishes inspired by Australian coastal towns by day and a cocktail driven dinner destination by night, Isla & Co. also draws influences from Europe and South East Asia."  

Essentially, the food did not resonate and was just ok: it over-promised and under-delivered.  

Isla & Co.'s recent expansion also included units in Fairfield, Connecticut in June 2022 and Dallas's Bishop Arts District in October 2022.  The company sold the Fairfield location to a different restaurant group and closed Isla & Co. as of October 29, 2023.  Reports indicate that the Dallas restaurant closed as of Feb. 11, 2024.  “Unfortunately, we have been unable to make the economics of this location work and have to make the difficult but prudent decision to close,” an email to customers said.  (It's unclear if a similar email went to customers in Atlanta or if there were simply no customers to send it to.)  

A location planned for South Beach was also canceled.  

According to the Isla & Co. website, there are currently three locations: Midtown and Williamsburg in New York and one in West Palm Beach, Florida.  The Brooklyn-based restaurant is part of Parched Hospitality Group which includes several other concepts.  

Did you ever go to Isla & Co.?  What is your favorite Buckhead area restaurant?  What kind of restaurant would you most to see open in the Isla & Co. space?    

Please share your thoughts below. 


Anonymous said...

The food was sooo good. It just seemed like they couldn't get people to work there it was usually just one server. Bummer.

Anonymous said...

It had too mucn SALT and BEEF and BUTTER! We only need water AND carrits to live Oh Atlanta is the unhealthy place on EARTH 2!

Anonymous said...

I’ll miss the halloumi

Anonymous said...

They also owe others who they contracted an outstanding balance of $1250. I guess they never intended on paying.

Anonymous said...

I heard they never paid their musicians either.

Anonymous said...

It was a one and done restaurant

Anonymous said...

This place didn't even have a VIP section, hookah or twerking contests. Take that ish to Roswell or Alpharetta frfr.

Anonymous said...

“Carrits”. Really???

Anonymous said...

no wonder they failed!

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