This Week on The Street
(A more or less regular compilation of news, factoids and observations.)
By Harold V. Shumacher
September 22, 2010
If we hear it once we hear it 10 times a day “how’s business?” “What’s going on out there.” “Are things better.”
The easy answer is we’re not sure but here’s what I think I know. Most restaurant owners and operators we talk to feel that the bleeding has stopped and whether it’s the official end of the recession announced earlier this week or just reaching the bottom things seem better.
What does better mean. For most it means that they’re no longer experiencing double digit declines in sales like they were in late 2008 and through most of 2009. Many restaurants-that have an operating history- are still down from this time 2 years ago but are doing better than they were this time last year. Some restaurants-sports bars, taco stands/taquerias, pizza etc. are beginning to see some positive increases.
The pace of new openings continues but more at the casual dining end of the segment with few big names opening any time soon.
One restaurant that continues to churn along is long time Atlanta steakhouse favorite Bone’s. While the surroundings remain traditional, the restaurant has taken a big leap-at least technologically-into the 21st century. The restaurant’s award winning wine list is now offered on an i-pad allowing oenophiles unlimited opportunities to research obscure vintners and vintages before making a decision (or check a ball score at dinner.)
Another kind of change is pending at The Old Vinings Inn, about to embark on a large renovation project.
Hands down winner for the longest name of a new restaurant goes to Sister Louella’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Parlor slated to open in the Old 4th Ward area at the corner of Boulevard and Edgewood.
Other newcomers to keep an eye on this fall include The Family Dog, from Chef Ron Eyers (Rosebud) in Morningside; Local 3 at the former Joel’s in Buckhead (from the owners of Muss & Turner’s); Big Ketch, in Buckhead (from the Twisted Taco Folks) and North Harper Station taking the former train depot on Memorial Drive in Cabbagetown (from the crew that brings you Rolling Bones BBQ.)
Krystal, best known for their small, square steamed sliders is getting into the bread and café business with the pending opening of Atlanta’s first K-Café on Old Windward Parkway. Company officials maintain this is a trial concept with no future plans for expansion.