Friday, March 1, 2024

[ALERT] Beloved Salad Bar Chain Will Be Ripe Back

Don't call it a comeback....yet.  A former Sweet Tomatoes location is slated to reopen this month but the company has made no firm commitment regarding any additional expansion.  

The restaurant, located at 6202 E. Broadway Boulevard in Tucson, Arizona, crushed by the restrictions and impacts of the pandemic, closed along with the entire chain in May 2020.   Now under new ownership, it is expected to reopen within the next three weeks after a lengthy renovation.  

Published reports indicate that the restaurant is being opened by "ST Three, LLC," an entity reportedly unaffiliated with former owner Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp but one that is led by former Garden Fresh executive Mike Malone.  According to his LinkedIn profile, beginning in 1987, Malone spent more than three decades with Garden Fresh before the company's liquidation in 2020.  Malone went on to hold executive roles with a Wendy's franchisee as well as with Dave's Hot Chicken before becoming Chief Operating Officer at ST Three dba Sweet Tomatoes in September 2022.  

The planned reopening in Tucson has been in the works since at least last last March when it was reported that ST Three had signed a lease to reopen in one of the former Sweet Tomatoes restaurants.  

The Sweet Tomatoes Instagram and Facebook pages, silent since May 8, 2020, came back to life on February 23 and February 26, respectively, to announce that the company is hiring for hourly positions at the new Tucson restaurant.   

ST Three purchased the exclusive rights and all intellectual property associated with the Sweet Tomatoes and Souplantation brands, according to CBRE, who represented the landlord in Tucson.  

The chain previously operated four locations in metro Atlanta with one now demolished and replaced with new shops and restaurants, one occupied by new restaurants, and two others vacant.  

In Kennesaw (1125 Ernest Barrett Parkway) the former Sweet Tomatoes was demolished and reopened in 2022 as new locations of Maple Street Biscuit Company, Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Viva Chicken, Paradise Grills, Pacific Dental, and Five Star Nutrition.  

In Duluth (3505 Mall Boulevard) the former Sweet Tomatoes was located on "Ring Road,"  around the perimeter of the troubled Gwinnett Place Mall.  When we were last at the building, there was work underway to renovate it into a new brunch eatery but those plans reportedly fell through and real estate sources indicate the building is vacant.  

In Sandy Springs (6340 Peachtree Dunwoody Road), the former Sweet Tomatoes was renovated and reopened in November 2022 as Top Korean BBQ and Hot Pot.  

In Alpharetta (950 North Point Drive) the former Sweet Tomatoes sits atop a hill in a less than prime location and as a result, has seen limited interest and remains vacant. but is currently being renovated into Chow One Korean Steakhouse. 

The area around the former Duluth restaurant has also changed plenty, both since the restaurant first opened and since they closed, making it unlikely it will be appealing to ST Three if and when they elect to open more locations outside of Tucson.  

Even if limited for now, are you excited to hear about the return of Sweet Tomatoes? What was your favorite offering from Sweet Tomatoes?  If Sweet Tomatoes does return and is prepared to open a new restaurant rather than reopening a former location, where do you think they should open?

Please share your thoughts below.  

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yay!!! We loved that place. Please tell them to come back to Dunwoody!!

Anonymous said...

At that Alpharetta location you were lucky to get a parking space back in the day, that place was hopping all the time.

Anonymous said...

The Alpharetta location is being renovated and has signs up. It’s going to be a Korean BBQ.

Anonymous said...

The Alpharetta sweet tomatoes is being replaced by Chow One Korean Steakhouse. The new signage is already up.

Anonymous said...

Yes we loved Sweet Tomatoes, please come back!!

Anonymous said...

I would love them to come back! Their salads were amazing. It would be awesome to have one in Decatur.

Anonymous said...

I've never eaten at Sweet Tomatoes, but I used to go to Lettuce Souprise You back when it was operating. I imagine that both are pretty much the same. What I remember is that for a price of one meal, I could buy enough salad produce to eat off of for a whole week. I can only imagine what ST will be charging in this inflated economy, but I wish them well.

Anonymous said...

Great soups too! Would absolutely welcome them back.

Anonymous said...

Used to go to the Alpharetta one all the time. Kids could eat free or cheap depending on age, and everything was fresh and service was above and beyond. That being said, post-pandemic, I'm not sure I'd go back to a buffet restaurant model.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 10:48am - couldn't you say that about pretty much any restaurant meal? it take time to shop for, buy and cut up produce for a salad. And I doubt you would have the variety of ingrediants, toppings and dressings to choose from in your home. Not to mention the absence of an ice cream machine :-) I didn't eat at ST all that often, but never felt like I overpaid when I was leaving. I would like to see them return to the Atlanta market in some capacity.

Anonymous said...

It sucks that Covid killed their entire business model, especially since Covid spreads through aerosolized particles.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon March 4, 2024 at 6:18 PM

You do realize that buffets are still a thing, right? Maybe you should just keep staying home.

Anonymous said...

Buffet! Buffet!

Anonymous said...

I would love to see sweet tomatoes come back, especially to the perimeter. I wouldn’t mind taking a soup plantation in its place. Pandemic be damned, they did very well in this market, and would be a good move to resurrect at least one location if not more. Come back, come back, sweet tomatoes, come back!

Anonymous said...

Honestly I can’t think of a buffet in the ATL Metro these days. Even Spanish themed restaurants that used to have a salsa bar no longer have them. Even Fogo de Chão 86’d their epic spread. Does anyone know if it ever came back? Can the previous poster with all that wit,, enlighten us, where are the buffets hiding?

Anonymous said...

Eli your headline is such a perfect headline not only is it a play on salad vegetables being ripe, it’s a play on the table cards at Sweet tomatoes! Wait just a moment while I fill my plate, I’ll be ripe back!

Anonymous said...

Anon 3/5 12:50 - I agree, I can’t think of any buffet restaurants in the ATL Metro. Do you know of any?

Anonymous said...

The Tomatoes Buffet in Kennesaw, Pacific Buffet in Kennesaw, several Golden Corrals around. Probably more Asian buffets around as well.

Anonymous said...

Interesting I did not know those buffets existed. Probably because I live in Buckhead and I’m way too scared to leave the safety net of Buckhead and go up to Kennesaw or Alpharetta or Marietta.

Anonymous said...

wtf are you talking about, fogo de chao has not changed

Anonymous said...

would love to see it occupy the former chilis on ashford dunwoody

Anonymous said...

they were suffering for a long time before covid.

Anonymous said...

two different things

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