This Week on The Street October 18, 2011
(A more or less regular compilation of news, factoids and observations.)
By Harold V. Shumacher
Is Fine Dining Back (at least in Buckhead?)
With this month’s opening of two new upscale eateries and the long anticipated announcement of a third it appears the answer is a quiet yes. First to open was Southern Art, from Oprah Winfrey’s former personal chef at the Hotel Inter-Continental. Housed in what was formerly Au pied du Cochon, the new spot embraces fresh local ingredients reflecting Smith’s Southern roots. Just around the corner is Cameron Mitchell’s Ocean Prime, the eighth in a growing collection (their word) of restaurants around the country. Based in Columbus Ohio, Mitchell operates a wide variety of concepts. With an emphasis on fresh seafood the restaurant also features grilled meat entrees. A three million dollar facelift has transformed the former Sambuca space on Piedmont Road into a contemporary 21st century dining destination.
Pano Karatassos has made if official. Pano’s, his updated interpretation of iconic Pano’s and Paul’s will open at the company’s 103 location. Originally a restaurant that was converted into a catering facility the free standing building will be returned to its roots, sort of. The upper level will be a 150 seat restaurant with a lounge while the lower level will continue as a special events facility. The conversion and re-opening is anticipated by mid 2012. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Panos Jr., who currently mans the kitchen at Kyma take a more active role in the new establishment. The company also confirmed what has been rumored for several months that Blue Pointe will be closing by year’s end. It will be interesting to see who steps into this space.
An earlier announcement from Connecticut based The Modern continues the trend toward upscale eateries. The contemporary bistro will take the former Copeland’s space at Tower Place and is also expected to open in the first quarter of 2012.
Applebee’s founder and long time operator Bill Palmer may be in the market for some new toys. An aviation devotee, with his own plane and helicopter, Palmer just concluded the long anticipated sale of his 40 Atlanta area restaurants to Dine equity, the parent company for Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill (who also operate I-Hop.)
Other new restaurants to keep an eye on are Ringside Franks and Shakes, in the former Three Trees Yogurt on Roswell Road; Little Steakhouse in the Alley, from the owners of Salt Factory in Roswell; a third Jack’s New Yorker Deli at Terminus in Buckhead; a third location for Brooklyn Joe’s, at The Prado; a rumored Lime Fresh Mexican Grill replacing Johnny Rocket’s in Buckhead; and a second location for Canton Cooks just up the street from the original in Sandy Springs.
Most of us have heard about the Big Mac Index, a tool economists use to measure the relative price of a commodity in different places (by comparing the cost of a Big Mac around the world) Now comes word that FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) has its own tool the Waffle House index. Following a tropical storm, hurricane or other natural disaster how quickly Waffle House re opens is a gauge of recovery. If a local Waffle House is in full operations that’s green level. If the store is using a generator for power and has a limited menu that’s yellow. If the store is closed that’s level red and if the building is demolished that’s a sure sign that the local area has been heavily damaged. A similar indicator is how fast Lowe’s and Home Depot are operational or providing emergency building materials.
A new term is finding its way into restaurant speak flex casual. Supposedly invented by Mama Fu’s operator Randy Murphy, the term embodies a combo of counter and table service.
Recent transactions completed by The Shumacher Group Inc. include
· Sale of Italia Cafe in Historic Downtown Lawrenceville to Romeo’s NY Pizza
- Lease of space at Emory Village to Romeo’s NY Pizza
- Sale of Shoney’s, Thornton Road, Lithia Springs
- Lease space to Treza an Italian Eatery and Pizzeria at Town Brookhaven
- Lease space to Bau Thai at Town Brookhaven