Alpharetta’s last bastions

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

In this column we sometimes talk of restaurants who make Alpharetta first on their list. A chain will plant a flag here in the burbs before attempting to conquer a larger portion of metro Atlanta. Recently that’s happened with the burger chains like Smashburger. Others like Qdoba Mexican Grill have followed this strategy.

But what about those leaving? A small handful struggling restaurants and retailers have largely left metro Atlanta yet still hold onto turf here in the burbs. Do you know of any in Alpharetta? Here’s a few.

Fuddruckers - A few days ago a co-worker gave me a false alarm. She thought Fuddruckers had closed their North Point location. I double checked and her information was incorrect. But that news wouldn’t have surprised me. North Point’s location is one of only three left in metro Atlanta. The chain has been sold numerous times and has been in and out of bankruptcy.

I’ll admit that I go here once or twice a year. Suppose it is nostalgia. Somehow these guys have kept at it, surviving well into the burger craze. They’ve even managed to survive with a Five Guys just across the parking lot.

Artuzzi’s - Windward Parkway is home to the very last location of this chain that once had eateries across metro Atlanta. In its glory days six or eight years ago this restaurant had throngs of cubicle dwellers at lunchtime with lines out the door. Today their menu looks bland compared to similar fast-casual Italian joints like Figo or Mirko. But the place appears to be under new ownership. Can they turn the ship around?

Blockbuster - This one gets an honorable mention (or maybe a dishonorable mention). But Alpharetta managed to hang onto one of the very last retail locations of Blockbuster video. They were on Crabapple Road in the Kroger shopping center but closed recently. Today the last Blockbuster store in metro Atlanta can be found in Norcross. The purveyor of movies in legacy media formats failed to stay with the technology, allowing themselves to become a commodity.

Can you think of any other chain restaurants or retailers that have managed to cling to life in Alpharetta? Let me know in the comments!

11 comments on this post.
  1. Travis Allen:

    I’ll take Fuddruckers over Five Guys anyday!

    Artuzzi’s is a nice concept, and the food isn’t the worst, so I’m actually surprised to find that this location is the last.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bahama Breeze, Sears or Best Buy make this list next time.

    Smashburger in Alpharetta must be the anomaly, this location routinely gets the worst reviews, yet when I talk to co-workers that live near other locations, they always speak positively. I guess I’ll have to swing by another location so I can fairly judge them.

  2. John:

    The last Quizno’s in north fulton was next to Costco and recently closed.

  3. J:

    What happened with Quiznos? They seemed to disappear out of the blue. I thought they always priced their food just a little bit too high but the quality was always good.

  4. Travis Allen:

    There are still two Quiznos locations in North Fulton, one in Roswell and another in Sandy Springs.

  5. SCSA31274:

    Great call on Best Buy. The death knell has rung for those type of stores, just ask Media Play. Fuddruckers had it’s hey day, it was 1992. How about specific drug stores like Rite Aid or Eckerds? Or Sonic? The only one I can think of right now is on Hwy 9 north of MacFarland.

  6. Travis Allen:

    Sonic seems to hold it’s own pretty well. There is one in Roswell too. I guess they just picked high traffic areas and don’t have much overhead to worry about.

    I remember working at Media Play when it first opened in 1994 across from North Point Mall. It was a very unique idea at the time, but eventually they couldn’t keep their prices in line with discount retailers such as Walmart and Target. They were like a Barnes & Noble combined with a Gamestop, Suncoast Movies and Sam Goody Music. Sam Goody and Suncoast were actually part of the same umbrella company, so go figure.

    Throw in t-shirts from popular bands, at least when they first opened and you actually had a cool store.

  7. Scsa31274:

    I loved Media Play and spent many a night at the North Point one. Very sad to see it go.

  8. Grant Goggans:

    Sonic has such an enormous success in Tennessee that I’m always amazed when one of their Atlanta-area stores close. SCSA31274, there are something like one hundred of them in middle and eastern Tennessee, and dotted all over Dalton, Ft. Oglethorpe and other north Georgia towns.

  9. Zeus:

    There are Sonics on Crabapple just north of Hwy 92 as well as farther west on 92 in Cobb County.
    There is a Quizno’s on Sandy Plains Rd. in Marietta.

  10. Lee:

    Great comments guys.

    Bahama Breeze is the only Darden concept in the city of Alpharetta. That’s always surprised me. And as far as Sonic goes… they have been closing their ITP locations. Alpharetta and Cumming both lost Sonic stores over the years but one remains in the Midway community of south Forsyth. I wonder if that one will last?

  11. Travis Allen:

    Darden has zero love for Milton/Alpharetta…still really disappointed that they decided against opening a Yard House at Avalon after acquiring them earlier this year.

Leave a comment