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“Top Chef” host Tom Colicchio to close Craft Atlanta and Craftbar [UPDATED]

Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio plans to close his two Atlanta restaurants, Craft Atlanta and the more casual Craftbar, in early 2011, according to a written statement issued by his restaurant group’s publicists. Both restaurants are located in the same freestanding structure that faces the Mansion on Peachtree hotel in Buckhead, and has been a part of the hotel complex since the hotel opened under different ownership. but they’ve been unable to reach an agreement with the new owners, according to the press release:

“The restaurant’s agreement with the original owners of The Mansion on Peachtree, Mansion Centre Development LLC, was not assigned to the property’s new owners, 3376 Peachtree Rd – Atlanta LLC, when they took possession of the property in February 2010.

While efforts have been made by both parties to negotiate a new agreement, unfortunately, Craft and 3376 Peachtree Rd – Atlanta LLC could not agree on terms. The restaurant’s chef/owner Tom Colicchio is disappointed to be closing the doors and remains extremely proud of the Craft Atlanta team and all they have accomplished..”

The restaurant holds a four-star rating from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and has been widely considered one of the city’s best.  Colicchio runs three other Craft restaurants — the New York flagship as well as outposts in Dallas and Los Angeles. In addition, there are two Craftbars in New York and Los Angeles.

UPDATE:  The tentative closing date is February 14, according to the restaurants’ publicist.

101 comments Add your comment

E

December 14th, 2010
3:39 pm

It’s a shame that the two parties couldn’t work out an agreement.

artyC

December 14th, 2010
3:45 pm

GREEDY LANDLORDS ALWAYS DO THE SAME THING
CHASE A GOOD RESTAURANT AWAY OR THEY WANT
RENT PLUS A PIECE IF THE PROFITS.

Seriously

December 14th, 2010
3:49 pm

There’s more to this story. Apparently the restaurants weren’t doing to well. Otherwise, you’d just relocate them. But to close them entirely means they ain’t makin’ money, honey!

KEAD

December 14th, 2010
3:51 pm

This city *needs* this restaurant. After the loss of so many top level places, this is terrible news. Jeers to Atlanta LLC.

Theron Sapp

December 14th, 2010
3:54 pm

Gee, it’s a shame Craft couldn’t find any other available real estate in Buckhead.

RK

December 14th, 2010
3:55 pm

Tom, please pack your knives and go.

NIKKI

December 14th, 2010
3:56 pm

Something is amiss here. It doesn’t make sense. Sounds like a good excuse to shut down a restaurant that isn’t profitable.

Danny Boy

December 14th, 2010
3:58 pm

They’re going to put an upscale Subway up in there.

garrett

December 14th, 2010
4:02 pm

Sad to hear of your closing. Great chef and menu – marginal wait staff.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kristen, Sarah Waters, Jordan Worrall, ATL_Epicurean , Jeff Sexton and others. Jeff Sexton said: RT @AJCFoodandMore: “Top Chef” host @tom_colicchio to close Craft Atlanta and Craftbar http://bit.ly/edAQfu //sucks! Come back Tom! [...]

ATL Quebecer

December 14th, 2010
4:06 pm

neither or these places lived up to the celebrity hype anyways. food was decent but didn’t merit the pricetags

scook

December 14th, 2010
4:10 pm

That is sad…I just ate there on Friday night and it was packed. It is a shame they couldn’t make an agreement. It is a big mistake in the long run. I hope Tom choose to do something else in Atlanta.

Allen

December 14th, 2010
4:10 pm

Tom doesnt need to pack his knives because he was rarely ever hear—and he sure wasn’t cooking. They are not actually his restaurants either.The landlords built the restaurant at a cost in excess of $4M, then paid Colicchio an up front licensing fee to put his name on it and a monthly fee in the tens of thousand’s of dollars to run it through his very disorganized management company. It was doomed from the beginning—–just like both Jean George restaurants in the W’s. Very few restaurants in this city do the sales to warrant these arrangements.They are both now owned by Starwood and JG has nothing to do with them.This also didnt work for Emeril.

Too Bad

December 14th, 2010
4:11 pm

They should have brought a season of Top Chef to Atlanta – that would have generated more interest in Craft. Think of all the places they could have sent the contestants – Fat Matt’s, Ann’s Snack Bar, The Varsity, Centennial Park, Vortex.

Jimmy

December 14th, 2010
4:12 pm

Most “celebrity” restaurants don’t fare well in Atlanta anyways…Emerils’, Puffy’s, etc.

rg

December 14th, 2010
4:14 pm

This is not surprising. Although the food was well prepared and presented, the restaurant was rarely full as it needed to be in order to survive in this location. I would not be surprised if Craftbar surfaced somewhere in midtown.

Foodie

December 14th, 2010
4:15 pm

It’s probably embassing for Tom to have to say they are closing due to lack of business, but I suspect that’s the real reason. I love to dine out and have noticed a lot fewer customers than last year. You never have to wait for a table anymore unless it’s a burger joint or reasonably priced southern food. Any restaurants that have been over-charging the last few years are shutting down or scaling back.

During that time I always wondered “who are all these people who can afford to spend $50 for an entree (without any sides)??” Turns out most people can’t. Reality check please!

notacraftfan

December 14th, 2010
4:16 pm

I never got it. We need a Restaurant like Bachanalia , Anis , Bisro Nikko. Something not so expensive and memorable.Great location but the only tome you close a restaurant is when it is not making money.

jennifer

December 14th, 2010
4:26 pm

I don’t buy this at all. Either this is a pretext to close the restaurant because it is not making money, or it’s a negotiation tactic to get the landlord to buckle. As others have noted, if the restaurants were doing well it could simply relocate.

Odis W W

December 14th, 2010
4:28 pm

In a city like Atlanta, if his resstaurants were profitable he’d find a new place to put them. I looked at their menues on line and didn’t really see anything that I had to have. First Emeril, not Tom C., I guess it takes more than just a famous name to make a restaurant successful in Atlanta.

ja

December 14th, 2010
4:30 pm

Craft is good but not great. Atlanta has so many wonderful local restaurants driven by local chefs. Large corporate restaurant groups just don’t fit in well to a scene dominated by Miller Union, Serpas, Empire State South, 4th & Swift. Places like Emeril’s, Oceanaire, Craft, the Italian place in the 191 building I’ve already forgotten, just don’t generate as much interest or inspire as much loyalty.

Joe

December 14th, 2010
4:37 pm

Shouda have tried Groupon!!!!!!

sallie

December 14th, 2010
4:37 pm

i’m more upset that everybody’s pizza closed in the highlands…

Stay at home critic

December 14th, 2010
4:40 pm

We had such a poor experience at this restaurant, I am not shocked at all by the closure. The reason given sounds like an excuse. What did surprise me, however, is how long they stayed open. How the AJC gives it 4 stars is beyond me (possibly just a star-chef struck reviewer??).

AB

December 14th, 2010
4:41 pm

I have eaten at both Craft and Craftbar. Craft is a restaurant that is really meant for special occasions. At its price point I don’t think it was a go-to restaurant for a lot of people, and therefore it probably wasn’t generating the revenue it needed. Craftbar, to me, was more cozy, more reasonably priced, and a better value Service is a bit more iffy downstairs, though still decent. With so many other good restaurants now dotting the ATL landscape, I imagine these restaurants were having a tough time. It’s a shame to see them go, but as the others said, if either one was successful, it would likely find another home (I think Craftbar is more likely to succeed somewhere). I do agree with Jennifer in that it could be a negotiation tactic — that was the first thing that popped into my mind — though I fear it may be more of a financial issue at this point.

the fish

December 14th, 2010
4:52 pm

Craft Atlanta was the single most overpriced restaurant I’ve ever been to. Not the most expensive I’ve ever been to (the French Laundry holds that title), but the single worst in terms of value for the money. I will never forget my $48 lamb dish that contained three maj jong tile-sized pieces of lamb with no particular distinction or character. With nothing else. Even if we were living in a booming economy, lousy value is still lousy value.
Sorry Tom, but you will not be missed. Please pack your knives and go.

TC

December 14th, 2010
4:54 pm

Having watched every season of Top Chef and listened to Coliccio scold contestants for the very things I experienced while dining there, this is no surprise. Service was spotty, the flow of the courses was staggered and slow, and the food wasn’t worthy of the high prices. Perhaps our mood was ruined as soon as we sat down there. My wife couldn’t even see the menu, much less make eye contact with me due to the sun coming through a roofline window. It was totally blinding. We asked if we could be moved to another table. They said they knew the sun was a problem there, but they couldn’t move us. Wonder what Mr. Tom would have said to a TC contestant during the restaurant episode if he was treated the same. I’m sure someone and their knives would be going home. Pretty disappointing considering the final bill.

Nick

December 14th, 2010
4:58 pm

The place just wasn’t very good. Bland, unimaginative food. Most celebrity places seem to have the same issues.

Top Chef

December 14th, 2010
4:58 pm

I would do Padma…. Seriously….

Gloria

December 14th, 2010
5:08 pm

Give me the Varsity any day. No over-priced restaurants for me just because a few hoity-toities think they’re trendy.

popeye

December 14th, 2010
5:12 pm

Most of these type restaurants are geared to the expense account customer. Normal everyday folks can’t afford or could care less about these “fine dining experiences”. So I could care less. If I want a decent steak I go to Longhorns, if I want decent seafood I go to red lobster. Case closed!

mamita

December 14th, 2010
5:15 pm

Although I thought Craft was overpriced, the executive chef Kevin Maxey is very talented. Please post as soon as he appears somewhere!

Food Fan

December 14th, 2010
5:44 pm

I’m not surprised. It was a good place, but certianly didn’t live up to the hype & WAY overpriced.

Roscoe

December 14th, 2010
5:44 pm

This is sad news, but I suspect the other reviewers are correct – it’s a pretext to close a struggling restaurant. I have to admit I’ve only eaten there once (and won’t be able to do so again before closing), but it was a truly wonderful experience. My wife and I dined there for our anniversary last year, and it was the best experience at a restaurant we’ve ever had. Attentive service, delicious food, and a great champagne. We’ll always remember this occasion, but, alas, the price tag prevented more such occasions there.

Mark

December 14th, 2010
6:18 pm

I went here once and this place was good, but i’d rather support my home-grown restaurant concepts any day rather than this new york outpost. For example, I would be much more disappointed if something like JCT or Abbatoir closed. Regardless, it is always sad to see a restaurant of this caliber go.

Mark

December 14th, 2010
6:21 pm

ja- i just read your comment, and i agree with all those examples you named! Also- that italian restaurant in 191 (Il Mulino) closed/is closing, too…

BA

December 14th, 2010
6:23 pm

Thanks for your two cents E, very profound

Jen

December 14th, 2010
6:39 pm

That’s a shame… we just ate there last night and had an AMAZING meal. Good luck to the staff!!!!

Buh Bye

December 14th, 2010
6:50 pm

Grossly overpriced. Buh bye.

Beautiful salad picture

December 14th, 2010
6:51 pm

That picture of salad greens is beautiful. I must be hungry! Off to KFC. [not really, just a joke] LOL.

Le Bourgeois

December 14th, 2010
7:04 pm

Hopefully something will go in there that us Georgians actually like. Perhaps an upscale Golden Corral or Ryan’s would be the ticket with a valet jazzy scooter service so we don’t have to walk too far to the hotels afterwards.

KJ

December 14th, 2010
7:10 pm

“if I want decent seafood I go to red lobster”

lol

Chief Wiggum

December 14th, 2010
7:29 pm

I’m always startled when someone says restaurants like this (seriously overpriced) are geared to the “expense account” customer. I must be in the wrong field. When I was able to turn in expense accounts for reimbursement, spending ridiculous amounts of money would have been my demise. Our expense budgets for clients was limited, and wasting it on expensive food would lessen what was left for other needs. And no way would that kind of money be spent on marketing, a far more reasonable (sorry…read that as CHAIN RESTAURANT) option would have been expected.

If you work somewhere that would let folks spend that kind of money on food…what does it say about the ability to manage money wisely?

george

December 14th, 2010
7:41 pm

tried craft twice. it was petty much all hat and no cattle except for the price. our server each time said tom c. had been there once in the previous month (visits 4 months apart). pretty similar to our experiences as emeril’s outposts-what is an absentee celebrity name chef really worth to a diner. next time we will try kevin gillespie-i have heard that he actually still works in the kitchen.

Food Freak

December 14th, 2010
7:49 pm

So many celebrity chefs think they can roll into Atlanta on the merits of being a “celebrity chef”. The fact is that Atlanta is an extremely sophisticated food town. If the service and food isn’t great, we don’t go back. My three experiences here were all a mixed bag. The final straw was when I was asked to donate money to a cause that “Tom was really passionate about” after being charged $12 for a side of mediocre vegetables. The only surprise here is that they didn’t close sooner. RIP Craft……

[...] Craft Atlanta to close | Food and More with John Kessler Uncategorized always-remember, anniversary, colicchio, front-licensing, knives, [...]

hdhd

December 14th, 2010
7:53 pm

Over priced sandwiches.

James J

December 14th, 2010
8:09 pm

Sorry to here.I have a full service restaurant for23 years if he wants a new place I have the perfect place for him in upstate NY buy the Culinary institute.

Don't Blame Him For Leaving

December 14th, 2010
8:14 pm

Atlanta isn’t upscale enough for upscale restaurants. There are too few that are willing to pay premium prices for snack-sized meals.

Harold

December 14th, 2010
8:24 pm

Who cares. It was just another chain restaurant. The Tom thought his midtown location and Bear fame would bring in the ghey dollars no matter what. Good riddance.