Julia LeRoy on the closing of LeRoy’s Fried Chicken


LeRoy’s Fried Chicken closed last night, which makes me sad. Like many others, I wasn’t overly enamored with the thick-battered style of Julia LeRoy’s fried chicken when the Howell Mills shack opened four months ago. But if you tried the place after it was open two weeks and gave up on it, you missed what eventually became a destination for some righteous fried chicken. I was there a few weeks back and loved the sheer, much-thinner batter, the vividly seasoned (but not salty) potato salad that replaced the iffy mac and cheese, the fluffier biscuit, and the smoky greens. We were planning to give the newcomer a Best Of award in our December issue (in production this week), I liked it that much better.

I talked to Julia LeRoy this morning. Though rumors started early yesterday, she said that she met with owners Clay Harper and Mike Nelson (who operate Fellini’s Pizza and other casual restaurants around the metro area) around 2 p.m. and decided jointly to close the place. They’d had positive customer feedback about the evolution of the product, but the business wasn’t making money and they all agreed they’d ultimately missed the mark on the concept. LeRoy said she was passionate about cooking the chicken in lard; she consented, though, that the decision had alienated a lot of customers. “The great thing is, we all still like each other,” said LeRoy. “That doesn’t always happen when a restaurant closes.” They had originally discussed operating until Sunday, but after telling the employees, the partners agreed to call it quits last night.

A fried chicken stand may not have been her best métier, but I still recall plenty of meals I enjoyed on LeRoy’s “localvore Mondays” at the Bookhouse Pub, and I’m hoping that she soon finds a venue to show off her broader range of talents.

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  • Chris

    here’s the reality.. if you go and it SUCKS and it wasn’t under $5 – why go back? I didn’t even finish my meal! Unfortunate, yes, maybe. But frankly, it’s what I did and probably many others. It was iffy at best, not fried to order on my visit and didn’t show promise of improving based on the current selection. I give restaurants a couple of weeks to work the kinks out – but that’s got to be in service, or cooking temperatures, or whatnot. Your flavor profiles have already got to be pretty established for us to come back – there’s too many other good restaurants in Atlanta. Sorry for her and looking for the next attempt.

  • Wally

    They should open a Delias Chicken Sausage Stand there.

  • http://URL Lauran

    Hey Julia, call it what it is. It wasn’t the Concept – after all, there are plenty of meat and three places that have been in business more than mere months – it was the Product. You just can’t expect the star of the show – fried chicken – to be lousy and still succeed in this competitive business. As for cooking it in lard…if there were enough people who objected that you felt your business was in jeopardy, then maybe you should have shown some flexibilty early on and changed the type of cooking fat. Regardless, poor execution is just that – nothing more, nothing less. Here’s hoping your next venture will be a wild success!

  • http://URL Marcus Williams

    I wrote Ms. Julia LeRoy a passionate email a few months ago I still regret writing.

    In it I ripped into her pricing scheme and lack of options. I told her, in no certain terms, that the pigeon crap on her patio made me want to die on the inside after I tasted what I had hoped, and subsequently disappointed with, was delicious (however expensive) chicken I drove 20 minutes to get. I told her the collard greens were done really well. That is the only complement I gave her…

    I later wrote her back after receiving a personal reply from her. She mentioned a series of overhauls they were changing in favor of similar comments. She gave me a personal reply, guys. Like not on facebawk, personally. I promised to visit her restaurant again and apologized a bit.

    I regret I never went back. It’s people like me that ruined your concept, and I am so so sorry, Ms. LeRoy. When you are next offering the public a taste of your experience, please be a doll, and let us all know. We want to give you another chance.