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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

Lora

December 14th, 2010
8:27 pm

@Food Freak, are you saying that you were actually solicited for a donation???? That is outrageous!!!!!!!

Son of Puerquito

December 14th, 2010
8:51 pm

Don’t forget that Tom C is not losing his job, Atlantans are…

eating contest

December 14th, 2010
9:02 pm

no big deal—there are plenty of good restaurants available, with better prices.

Mike

December 14th, 2010
9:04 pm

I went to Craft once, on opening night. The fact that I got a reservation for 8:00 at 5:30 that afternoon was a bad omen…

The food was good, but ridiculously expensive. The ambience was like a monastery and the food was served as though it were meant to be shared. The portions were so small that if someone tried to “share” I’d have stabbed them with my fork.

“Trendy” only keeps a business around for about a year, then it has to rely on maintaining quality to attract local regulars and keeping a reputation to bring in people visiting.

Lobsterfest

December 14th, 2010
9:10 pm

It is funny to see the locals bash the celebrity chefs who try to enlighten this backwater town with good food. I never had a bad meal at Craft. I can’t say the same for the “local” corporate chain resturants that seem to last forever here (Buckhead Diner, lol). Lets see; Millers Union sucks, Top Floor really sucks, Resturant Eugene (4 hours for 4 adults to eat diner was just stupid) sucks plus they can’t make a cocktail, Empire State South was ok (but wouldn’t last a day in NYC), oh well, I could go on. Good resturants in ATL are MF Buckhead (I wish Nobu would come here), Aria and 4th and Swift. I had dinner at Adour in NYC last week; it was one of the best meals I have ever had, but why would Alain Ducasse open a resturant here, what ATL resident can afford a $700 dinner? This is why really good resturants can’t survive here, not enough $$$$ to support them. So get your Buckhead Life coupon in the mail and enjoy some chow at their trendy resturant near you…….

Ken

December 14th, 2010
9:49 pm

Another restaurant in Atlanta closes and a lot of Altantans lose their jobs. But as people in the Atlanta area who enjoy dining out, please take the money that you would of spent on the 1 or 2 times a year going to Craft and make sure you spend ten times that money on your local neighborhood establishment, the heart and life blood of the restaurant industry in Atlanta. The big celebrity chefs will come and go. But the privately owned, palces that have been there for year after year need our support. If you have driven past a local restaurant for more then 5 years and have not visitied, try it. It is still open for a reason. Find a reason to support the local, neighborhood restaurant, please.

just eats

December 14th, 2010
9:54 pm

even though it won’t hurt him financially, I am glad to see Tom get knocked down a few notches. he only has a few notches left since he appears to be about 5′2″.
he is such an ass on top chef that I am glad to see him eliminated. he really appears to suffer from a classic case of “height envy”.
if we could get Padma to come to atl… now that would something!

SallyB

December 14th, 2010
10:07 pm

I am a real restaurant lover and try new ones often. I have eaten at Craft a couple of times, and I must say it was absolutely the most outrageously over priced restaurant that serves just average food. Even the restaurants in Atlanta that are well known for being expense are not so brazenly over priced and, in addition, most of them serve outstanding food. I am with those above who are convinced that they just were not doing well.

AtlMike

December 14th, 2010
10:13 pm

These restaurants think just because they serve overpriced food that it is good. The food was average at best and overpriced. I would say the restaurants are closing because of lack of business.

buckhead benny

December 14th, 2010
10:14 pm

you can always tell a restaurant that is about to go under when you order a diet coke and they bring you an 8 oz. glass bottle. That tells me I will never go back to a place that is too cheap to put in a diet coke fountain machine. May not sound like much but I will never go back to a place that tries so hard to make a buck off a diet coke or push you to their alcoholic beverages.

Its not about the money with it, but its about them trying to stick it to you to make money off of you.

one opinion

December 14th, 2010
10:26 pm

the guy is pompous……good riddance to him and his restaurant.

atlanta food fan

December 14th, 2010
10:52 pm

he should of understanded the food from the south before he tried to ram new york food down the throats of atlanta socialite.

Anson

December 14th, 2010
11:09 pm

The presence or absence of the “celebrity” is not a necessary or sufficient condition for the success or failure of a restaurant. Hell, Mickey Mantle’s in New York is still going strong and I’m sure the Mick hasn’t been there in quite some time.

Good management, a good chef and staff, combined with good food make a restaurant. Obviously Craft was deficient in at least one of these requirements.

BTW Craft New York is equally over-valued and underwhelming.

[...] Coke promoter Tom Colicchio is getting the heck out of Atlanta: both Craft Atlanta and Craftbar will close early next year. The Mansion on Peachtree hotel, where both restaurants are located, was acquired [...]

Gina

December 15th, 2010
6:46 am

I only dined once at Craft and found it to be woefully overpriced and the service was snooty and absent. Good riddance.

LLC

December 15th, 2010
8:39 am

I went to Craft twice in the time it was open, it was excellent both times.

Dick

December 15th, 2010
8:45 am

Why would they pay for two liquor licenses for 45 days of use?? Absentee owners haven’t worked for Atlanta. I don’t think we know the real story….

Steven

December 15th, 2010
9:13 am

the 4 star rating was given before John Kessler started reviewing again. With the history of the prior reviewer, this means the rating was possibly bought.

Edward

December 15th, 2010
9:16 am

I’m not surprised at this closing. Even people who can afford it are beginning to see that paying $100 per person for a meal then having to pull into the Wendy’s drive-thru on the way home because you’re still hungry just isn’t a practical thing. Sure, the food at Craft was awesome and delicious, but the last thing you remember about the evening is the double stack with cheese you wolf down on the way home.

Jason

December 15th, 2010
9:43 am

People who gravitate to this kind of restaurant are usually broke poseurs (i.e., not Buckhead old money). When credit dried up, so did their extravagant spending: no more garish handbags, leased Range Rovers, or dinner at Craft. Given this trend, I’m amazed that Ben Carter is following through with his Streets of Buckhead project, which will no doubt meet the same fate as these “upscale” restaurants shuttering left and right.

[...] – Tom Colicchio’s empire is getting a little smaller as his two Craft outposts in Atlanta are closing. [Access Atlanta] [...]

Derring

December 15th, 2010
10:43 am

Completely agree with everyone – over proced and not worth it and would love to see a local restaurant there. I also think the original owners (John Williams) made a very dumb deal to get Coliccho here.

Dgator

December 15th, 2010
11:39 am

The food at Craft was very good but not Great and the prices were NYC prices and not realistic for someone to make Craft a regular destination. We went their once, gave them our $250 for the 2 of us and never felt the need to go back. The quality and portions did not warrant the prices. I think they could have done very well if they would have priced all of their entrees under $35, including sides, nobody wants to pay $38-$45 for an entree and then another $12 for side item.

AB

December 15th, 2010
11:43 am

It is very sad that Craft is closing. It is NOT because the restaurant wasn’t making money…The restaurant and the owner just could not come to an agreement. Craft is a phenomenal restaurant and the staff is well-trained. I hope that they can find good jobs…Restaurants in Atlanta would be foolish if thet didn’t hire them!

AB

December 15th, 2010
11:45 am

Oh and many people take home their left overs so they don’t leave still hungry and go to Wendy’s! What a lot of these people are saying in their comments are wrong, wrong, wrong! The dining experience at Craft is worth it and they have many people who return to eat again.

rs

December 15th, 2010
12:06 pm

People that didn’t like the food at Craft and Craftbar clearly don’t have sophisticated palates! The dishes I’ve had have always been creative and more importantly – tasty. Restaurant Eugene on the other hand and Miller Union and all the other over hyped “local” restaurants serve the kind of food I could make at home and it tastes like crap. Where’s the technique of cooking? And the creativity? I don’t care if the chef sang to the vegetables everyday – serving boiled vegetables in a skillet (Restaurant Eugene) is not what I expect from “great” chef.

foodie

December 15th, 2010
12:13 pm

What some of you don’t understand, is that the problem is not that the food wasn’t good, it just wasn’t a good value. That’s what most people, who’ve come to their senses during the last 2 years, are realizing now. I don’t mind paying for good food, but I don’t want to feel like I’ve been robbed either.

rs

December 15th, 2010
12:27 pm

Value is relative – it completely depends on your socio-economic status, how you were raised etc. Good ingredients cost money. Good chefs cost money. A well designed space with nice materials costs money. And investors need to see a profit. People that want value should go to budget restaurants. It’s like complaining that a Prada bag isn’t good value. It is good value for some people, for others it isn’t.

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eatoutatlanta

December 15th, 2010
1:05 pm

I can say I told you so………… You can bring new your restaurants to Atlanta BUT you can NOT bring NEW YORK to Atlanta…

fcm

December 15th, 2010
1:44 pm

craft atlanta pays tom $40,000 each month. yesterday he sent his assistant to lay off the staff. tom didn’t even have the balls to show up himself.

foodie

December 15th, 2010
2:36 pm

Value is value no matter your socio-economic status. If someone pays $16,000 for a purse it isn’t a good value. No amount of materials and labor could produce a purse that would cost that much. (maybe if it was encrusted with diamonds) Someone may choose to buy it as a status symbol, but it isn’t a good value. Believe me, I am a capitalist and love the system. I can afford to buy whatever I want, but I still want a good value for my money.

Hiram Langone

December 15th, 2010
2:54 pm

“It’s like complaining that a Prada bag isn’t good value. It is good value for some people, for others it isn’t.”

That’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. Prada bags are never a good value. They’re for insecure welfare divas and parvenu trash whose self-worth depends on people seeing their big, tacky labels.

JD

December 15th, 2010
2:56 pm

THANK GOD you cannot bring New York (with its liberal infestation of excess, crime, rudeness, and pretentiousness) to Atlanta!!!

Sophie's Choice

December 15th, 2010
3:56 pm

@Lobsterfest: What idiotic remarks you make. FYI, I’ve eaten in NYC often, and even up there, most of the really wonderful restaurants aren’t ones where dinner runs $700. The overblown gastronomy palaces (Ducasse, et al.) which you apparently believe are the epitome of fine dining aren’t going to have much chance of making anywhere that doesn’t have the population density NYC has. Finally, even in NYC, if the food at those ritzy-schmitzy places isn’t superb, you best believe their well-heeled patrons will find somewhere else to go. Craft/Craftbar failed here because they didn’t deliver the goods for the money, not because Atlanta won’t support fabulous, upscale restaurants.

rs

December 15th, 2010
4:15 pm

Prada makes some of highest quality goods you can buy. If you want to invest in quality then it’s good value. If you don’t, then it’s not. One cannot except fine dining restaurants to deliver good value. It’s just not their target market. They should however deliver an amazing overall experience which Craft did. So complaining that prices were high – they were high vs. what? Subway?

rs

December 15th, 2010
4:35 pm

“expect”. And for those who think Craft wasn’t good value – which fine dining restaurant in the city is? Is the $200 price tag at Bacchanalia – good but not great food, good but not great service and a train station atmosphere with dated decor good value?

AB

December 15th, 2010
4:59 pm

Enter your comments here

[...] Tom Colicchio has announced that he is closing is two restaurants in Atlanta, Georgia. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Colicchio will close Craft Atlanta and the more casual Craftbar, in early 2011 (the tentative [...]

Mike

December 15th, 2010
10:58 pm

Move to another spot. I’m sure someone would give him a good deal, but I’ll bet the new owners will cave from the bad publicity.

d jackson

December 16th, 2010
8:39 am

This is such a shame. Tom is one of the brightest restaurateurs in the industry. Obviously bringing a restaurant concept to a hotel would rely heavily on their customers. The Mansion on Peachtree had serious financial problems since its opening so it did not support the restaurant. No wonder they have to close. The food was always phenomenal and the service exquisite. I have been following Tom since his first restaurant, Craft, opened in NYC. Too bad I’ll have to travel to enjoy it again.

Maggie

December 16th, 2010
1:42 pm

Does he still have Craft in Vegas? That is one of my favorite restaurants in Vegas.

One of the best

December 16th, 2010
3:35 pm

I just ate lunch here today and it was PACKED. I’m not a big fan of the chef inspired chain restaurants (i.e., Emerils). but this is one of the Top 5 restaurants in Atlanta… the best in Buckhead/Lenox for sure. Such a shame…

Art Talavera | Orkuthru Tribal Art

December 16th, 2010
4:01 pm

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Edward

December 16th, 2010
11:46 pm

Value has nothing to do with price. There are expensive restaurants that ARE a good value. But in my opinion, and obviously the opinion of many others, Craft was not one of them. Unlike too many people who let others tell them what is “chic” and “fabulous”, I determine that for myself.

steve brown

December 17th, 2010
9:49 am

In difficult times, like the past few years, I feel it is more important than ever to support locally owned restaurants. The influx of name chefs and their brands over the past few years only made times more difficult for the home grown restaurants and I, for one, never had dinner at any of them.

deal

December 17th, 2010
9:50 am

They closed because they weren’t making enough money—very simple. The other excuses are a bunch of BS.

Heather

December 17th, 2010
10:10 am

I am sad to hear Craft is leaving. I really enjoyed my food and the experience there. Yes, it was expensive but eating out is a treat for me, not an everyday occurrence, and so the expense was not a big deal. I would love to know where the so-called foodies who posted here like to eat in Atlanta. If you are the type to want the Varsity over places such as Craft, why bother posting?

Billy Joe Bob

December 17th, 2010
10:49 am

Who would pay this much for food?? You can get so much more food for your dollar at Chili’s (and the quality is nearly the same).

bob

December 17th, 2010
11:03 am

tom drinks diet coke and he calls himself a real chef. What a disgrace, he enjoys the taste of aspartame…what a lesser human