Alpharetta’s Worst Restaurant Locations

Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.

I like to read the blog Tomorrow’s News Today – Atlanta. It features articles on commercial real estate and restaurants. While most of the content is Atlanta-based, occasionally OTP eateries are mentioned. I’ll often banter in the comments when that happens.

The controversial part of this blog is the quarterly DeathWatch series. Predictions are made on which restaurants in Atlanta are likely to close. The blog has a history of being fairly accurate. Predictions are based on facts and reasoning that I think are sound. He’s not deliberately trying to be cruel, even if it comes across that way sometimes. And while I think I could do something similar in Alpharetta, I’m not going to. I don’t wish to invite karma over.

What’s the number one contributing factor to getting put on the death watch? It may be location. A poorly chosen location can give a restaurant a tough hurdle to overcome. I’ve given it some thought and have come up with some of Alpharetta’s worst locations for restaurants. Many of these have claimed multiple victims. Some are vacant and some have eateries struggling to hang on. Yet one of my spots is home to a thriving and hip joint. Go figure.

10595 Old Alabama Connector
Past Restaurants: Taco Stand(current), French Quarter Too, numerous others

I don’t get over to this part of town very often. When I do I almost never glance into this strip mall. It’s hard to make out who’s in here between the out parcels that face the road. Currently the Taco Stand is giving this space a go and had a somewhat rocky start. Bonus points if you can name all the past occupants of this space. I surely can’t.

52 North Main Street
Past Restaurants: 52 Bistro(current), Slice Cafe

This is an absolutely adorable converted home. It’s on par with the cute little restaurants that make Roswell so cool. 52 Bistro and Slice both went for that uppity ladies vibe which fits the space. The problem is location of course. The house isn’t visible from Main Street. Even the parking isn’t on Main. They’ve recently added a sign on the street but it’s shared by another business. Perhaps this place will thrive if Alpharetta can transform downtown into a pedestrian utopia. Unfortunately for 52 North Main, I think most of the walkers will be far south of here.

3070 Windward Plaza Suite P
Past Restaurants: Maryland’s Crabhouse, Loafing Leprechaun, Real Food and Horseradish Grill

I call this development on East Windward the double decker strip mall. It has the potential of holding over ten restaurants plus a few more in the little out parcel behind CVS (where Pig-N-Chik lived). Any restaurant that dares open in suite P is tempting fate. It’s a beautiful space with a nice full bar. Real Food and Loafing Leprechaun both had this place built out well yet failed. Of course it isn’t visible from Windward. And while there are a lot of cubicle dwellers in the vicinity, there is almost no business at nights or weekends. Anything opening on the rear portion of the double decker is at risk these days, not just suite P on the end.

11890 Douglas Road
Restaurant: Kozmo Gastropub

Not every poor location is doomed for failure. Douglas Road is a little back road to Windward, my favorite short cut to Johns Creek. Actually the restaurant doesn’t even face Douglas as the strip mall is perpendicular to the road. Nevertheless Kozmo is here, running one of the most successful and trendy restaurants in all of Alpharetta. Proof that exceptional cuisine can overcome the worst of locations.

I can think of a few other poor locations but I’ll leave it at these. What are Alpharetta’s other poor restaurant locations? In this economy, can anyone operate a successful restaurant in these locations?


15 Responses to “Alpharetta’s Worst Restaurant Locations”

  1. Dustin May 27, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    Might want to include the Old Milton stretch between Kimball bridge and North Point. The names of the restaurants aren’t coming to mind, but seems as if they rotate all the time – that Stix place, the and that one spot that looks like a modern building (across the street from the Swan Building).

  2. Cool Papa Bell May 27, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    10595 Old Alabama Connector is not a bad location. It’s just never had even one restaurant that warrants too many return visits. I’m surprised how well the okay, but nothing great Fancy Pantry does in there.

    People called where Northpoint Diner is now “jinxed.” While I don’t think ND is all that great either, it’s been successful because it’s much better than anything before it.

    Get something good in the 10595 Old Alabama Connector location and it will thrive.

  3. SCSA May 27, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    The place where Zola is now is pretty well cursed. How about Haynes Bridge Rd near the mall? Joes Crab Shack, Pizza Hut, and that place right on the corner that was Cooker, Bugaboo steakhouse, and now some sushi buffet place. Also across the street from Best Buy behind Shane company. Chicago’s was there, and it was great! They tore it down and replaced it with an empty strip mall. Good choice. Oh yeah, how about NE corner Haynes Br and North Point behind the terrible Bahama Breeze? Empty, empty, empty.

  4. Travis Allen May 27, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    @Lee…52 Bistro is not a converted house, that building was actually built for the purpose of being a restaurant location as it was constructed by the Attig family while they were still operating Nature’s Rainbow Florist. They served lighter fare along with coffee and ice cream.

    @SCSA, regarding the old Chicago’s location, it was originally a brewpub named “Hops” and the places behind Bahama Breeze were Fratelli Di Napoli (later Jimmy P’s) and a pretty good cajun place called “Razzoo’s” which still has locations in Texas and I believe one near Charlotte, NC…I think they closed because they couldn’t sell enough food vs. alcohol. That place was packed every night, especially Sundays and Mondays with $1 beer.

  5. Arpana S. May 28, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

    What about the That Burger Place/Hangry’s spot across from the Avenue. Looked like Mango’s was starting a buildout there for a while, but it seems to be at a standstill? I would kill for someone to open a soup/sandwich cafe in that location. Something like the cafe at Buckhead Bread Co. could do great there. They’ve GOT to get rid of the yucky carpet, though.

  6. A May 28, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    52 Main in Alpharetta was Village Veranda (mostly a coffee place) before Slice. Tried 52 once but not interested in going back. Too bad as the space is great.

  7. Cool Papa Bell May 29, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    SCSA, I’m not sure I follow. Did Zola move recently? If not, they’ve been there probably 10 years or so. All locations should be that jinxed.

    “Also Joe’s Crab Shack, Pizza Hut, and that place right on the corner that was Cooker, Bugaboo steakhouse” all failed because they are terrible. Cooker was at least edible I guess. Joe’s Crab Shack is literally a candidate for the worst meal I have had my entire life. I’m embarrassed that it lasted that long.

    Also all three Chicago’s Sportsbar locations closed, not just that location. While they had a good TV selection, the pizza was the only thing edible on the menu. Everything else was an abomination.

    A jinxed location would be on Johns Bridge where Ruchi failed, Sri Krishna moved and a Mediterranean/Turkish placed lasted a short time.

  8. Lee May 29, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    All good picks. I think there are some locations that are just cursed. The stuff around North Point and Haynes Bridge are good examples. Other locations can have good visibility but suffer from poor traffic patters (Zola’s new location). And yes, SCSA, Zola moved to the old River Tavern space. I think they will buck the trend and make it. Their former location was worse than this. They seem to have a loyal following.

    @Travis – Thanks for the correction on 52 Bistro.

  9. SCSA May 29, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    A friend of mine thinks that Zola might be in trouble b/c he feels that their major source of business was from that huge subdivision across the street. I disagree and hope it does well. The food was good.

  10. Mark May 30, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    Lee – I agree that Kozmo’s is great, but it may face some challenges with the closure of Douglas Road on June 6th for bridge replacement. Lets hope the City can complete the project quickly. The Kroger at the corner of Douglas and Jones Bridge may also suffer.

  11. alice May 31, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    Lee, I found your site while looking for restaurant reviews and ended up reading many of your older posts. Your insights are informative and entertaining. My husband and I almost peed our pants reading your article comparing alpharetta tennis moms to the bulls of pamploma. I’ve been to pamploma and would rather be standing infront of a bull instead of a tennis mom anyday. The bulls are definately less dangerous. As a canadian transplant with a
    that has lived in a number of US cities, and noticed that the culture in alpharetta is not yet defined. I like how you’ve given this town an identity by poking some fun at it.

  12. ChefMeinhardt June 1, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    Yellowfin Chophouse occupied the Taco Stand spot (I know, I helped open it). It was a cigar bar at one point before that. Its a huge cavernous spot that even if you have 70+ people in there, it still looks empty. We did huge improvements to the place but it was sunk before it started. I’m thinking there were a few spots in my old “Hen” space too. Not to mention next door.

    Location is key but not always just the visibility factor, access factor, etc. Landlord relations are huge and THAT is a major factor in many places either closing or moving. I won’t mention ones I know first hand because I don’t like burning bridges (especially with new concepts being developed).

  13. Cool Papa Bell June 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    ChefMeinhardt was YellowFin one of Chef Todd of Indigo fame places? To be honest, I never made it to YF because the reviews were–to say the least–mixed. However, I will say Indigo is excellent, so perhaps I should have gone and judged for myself.

  14. ChefMeinhardt June 3, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    No, Chef Todd took over the old Yellowfin spot in Roswell but had no business affiliation with the owners of YF. The original YF spot was really good. That is what drew me to their concept. The food was good at their Chophouse too but too many issues factored into their ultimate demise. Indigo is, however, incredible as you say.

  15. Cool Papa Bell June 3, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    Ah okay tx. Looking forward to Todd’s new place forthcoming.

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