Empty chairs at empty tables …

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ATL Food Chatter August 17, 2009
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Summer is always a slow time for restaurant openings, particularly for ambitious, independent projects. But this year—no surprise—feels particularly slow. And, in another sign that the economy of our dining scene remains sluggish, spaces vacated by prominent restaurants don’t seem to have fast takers moving in.

An exception is Amuse, a new restaurant from the owners of Anis and Carpe Diem that is moving into the space previously occupied by Allegro on Dutch Valley Road in Midtown. It’s a gamble on an out-of-the-way street—though it does have some established traffic due to One Midtown Kitchen.

But the spaces that long housed City Grill and Dailey’s downtown: Who might come up with restaurants grand enough and enticing enough to attract office workers during the day and tourists and locals alike at night? And there were some rumors a while back that Riccardo Ullio might replace closed Cuerno with another Fritti, but we’ve heard nothing definite.

Tellingly, the hottest stretch of town for restaurant openings is the westside, perhaps because the area is still developing—making for lower rent and higher cool factor.
 
Which high-traffic empty restaurant space do you hope to see reoccupied most quickly?

NEWS and NOTES:

Alpharetta. Madras Chettinaad, featuring southern Indian cuisine in a 220 seat diner, has opened at 4305 State Bridge Road.

Grant Park. Repeat Atlanta is reporting that the former location of recently closed Redfish will soon be occupied by El Toro, a local Mexican chain with locations in Chamblee, Atlanta and Sandy Springs.

Inman Park. Son’s Place, the popular fried chicken and soul food spot, closed on July 31.
 
Marietta. Thrillest notes that G-Rock African Caribbean Restaurant & Bar has opened at 723 Sandtown Road.
 
Midtown. Piola, the authentic Italian wood-fired pizza parlor slated to open this fall in the restaurant row in the 1010 condo development, is being delayed because of issues related to the location of their exhaust chimney within the site.

Westside. Todd Ginsberg (Trois) is slated to be the opening chef at Bocado.

Question of the Week:  What intown coffee hangout has hired ai3 architects to design their new stores as the company expands?
 
PS. The answer to last week’s QOTW—What long time Atlanta bold name chef is opening a burger spot this fall?—is Paul Albrecht, who is opening the Burger Lounge in the Vinings Jubilee Shopping Center. (Foodie Buddha broke the news last week.)

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