Atlanta Business Chronicle – by J. Scott Trubey Staff Writer
An e-mail from Harbor Group Management, the firm that oversees the Hurt Building, home of City Grill, said: “It is with great regret that we must inform you that the City Grill and Dailey’s restaurants are closed until further notice.”
The restaurants’ owner, Karen Bremer, president of Great Hospitality Restaurants Inc., confirmed the the closures.
“Economic conditions, sales have faltered,” Bremer said. “The economics have finally hit me.”
Convention business cratered in the second half of 2008 and has yet to recover. Hotels and restaurants dependent on corporate accounts have struggled as companies cut back on travel, and convention attendance has dwindled.
A.J. Robinson, president of Central Atlanta Progress and the Downtown Improvement District, called it a shame to lose the two restaurants. But in the current economic climate, the loss of eateries is “inevitable.”
CAP, a coalition of downtown business, launched its Downtown Dining District earlier this year to promote the city core’s 300-plus restaurants. Some eateries, he said, are doing well, while others are struggling.
Coinciding with the evaporation in business travel has been the birth of several high-profile and upscale restaurants downtown, including Il Mulino. BLT Steak, and Legal Sea Foods.
Harold Shumacher, restaurant broker and president of The Shumacher Group Inc., said the restaurants are unfortunate casualties.
“It’s really too bad, they’re really institutions,” he said, calling Bremer the “epitome” of an operator.
“She did everything you should do, it’s just a story of the times,” Shumacher said.
Bremer, former president of Atlanta’s Peasant Restaurants and Mick’s Restaurants, assumed ownership of Dailey’s and City Grill in 2000.
“From the bottom of my heart I thank Atlanta,” she said.
Bremer said she is trying to place her staff at other Atlanta eateries and accommodate parties already booked at the restaurants.
She said managment of the Hurt Building will permit two weddings already on the books for City Grill to proceed as planned.
New restaurateurs are plying their trades downtown, Robinson said, and the former Dailey’s and City Grill are marketable locations.
“The spaces that they’re in, hopefully, will be attractive to someone new,” Robinson said.