Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse announced yesterday the relocation of their Sandy Springs restaurant to Alpharetta. And they’re entering town in a bold way. They won’t be leasing their new digs but rather have purchased the land and building at 11655 Haynes Bridge Road. Readers will know this as the former Rainwater restaurant.
Behind the effort are franchisees Jim Brooks, Phil Brooks, Mark Oswald and Nancy Oswald. They are the largest owners within the Ruth’s Chris chain with locations across the Southeast.
Blogger Caleb Spivak at WhatNowAtlanta.com had rumored of their Sandy Springs closure going back as far as 2010. The lease was coming to an end and the DOT has plans to widen Roswell Road at 285. Ruth’s Chris called this area home for over 20 years.
The former Rainwater spot is the perfect location. Measuring in at a staggering 18,000 square feet, the building includes a banquet hall and climate-controlled wine storage for 9,000 bottles. It was built in 2001 to be the home of Rainwater, an award-winning restaurant at the time. It closed and the space remained vacant for years. The short-lived Chill Restaurant and Lounge opened here in June of last year and abruptly closed three months later.
Given the current trend of restaurant openings, no one seemed to want a space this large. By comparison, Alpharetta’s Sedgwick Restaurant Group is chopping up a much smaller building on Roswell Street, reducing the restaurant space down to the size of a small apartment.
But the Rainwater space will fit Ruth’s Chris like a glove. And its proximity to the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce should give it a steady flow of business for years to come.
Expect an opening in the Fall of this year. The timing should make things interesting. Competition for expense account restaurants is heating up. Ruth’s Chris’ biggest new competitor will likely be Avalon’s Oak Steakhouse. The restaurant out of Charleston should make a big slash when they hit Alpharetta. And of course Ruth’s Chris will face ongoing competition from places like Cabernet on Windward. They were the first to bring prime steaks to Alpharetta a generation ago and are still at it.
Ruth’s Chris will put a lot of pressure on other higher-end joints nearby. Village Tavern is just on the other side of the parking lot and also comes to rely on the Chamber for business. And a block down the road is Sage Woodfire Tavern.
Is Alpharetta’s Rainwater a good fit for Ruth’s Chris? How will their arrival change the market for fine dining? Let me know with a comment.