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Watershed Restaurant to close Decatur location, reopen another

courtesy of WatershedRestaurant.com

courtesy of WatershedRestaurant.com

Watershed Restaurant announced today that it will be closing its current location after dinner next Saturday, Aug. 6th. The restaurant is relocating to an undisclosed location but the email sent to customers makes it sound as though it will no longer be in Decatur. It seems that Watershed is trying to reinvent itself, even using the phrase “the ‘new’ Watershed” in the announcement. The new location is slated to open by the end of the year.

Here are excerpts from the email announcement:

The new location (to be announced) will combine a fine dining experience with a casual and comfortable atmosphere. The “new” Watershed will continue to serve the outstanding southern-inspired cuisine it has become famous for, including the award winning Southern Fried Chicken and Sunday Brunch. The restaurant design will offer guests a vibrant bar, spacious dining room, large outdoor patio, and ample parking. It will also include a private dining room where neighborhood residents, businesses and other community groups will be able to entertain, conduct business meetings, or celebrate special occasions. Owner Emily Saliers commented, “While it was not an easy decision to leave Decatur, we are unable to offer our guests these added amenities in our current location. We are deeply grateful to the Decatur community for 13 years of support.” Watershed’s Decatur location will be closing after dinner on Saturday evening August 6th so that the owners can begin working on the new restaurant which they anticipate opening by the end of the year.

–by Jenny Turknett, Food & More blog

– Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team. She also publishes her own blog, Going Low Carb.

65 comments Add your comment

VickiF

July 31st, 2011
9:15 pm

Total bummer.

AJ

July 31st, 2011
9:49 pm

Odd that they’re not staying open until the new location is ready. Wonder if there’s more to this story.

Fred

July 31st, 2011
10:09 pm

I thought Emily Saliers had sold her interest in the Watershed a while ago…….

Jeff

July 31st, 2011
10:21 pm

I got the same email tonight. Something sounds a little off to the story though….

Mysticsheesh

July 31st, 2011
10:22 pm

I hope gift cards are refundable… I just gave two as gifts!!

Patrick

July 31st, 2011
10:27 pm

Liked the food, but thought it was over-priced. Maybe they’ll “reinvent” those, too.

SAWB

July 31st, 2011
10:39 pm

Wow, even the Folkies are cashing in as they follow the money to North Fulton.

Steven

July 31st, 2011
10:41 pm

I hope the rebranding means new chef

Atlanta Native

August 1st, 2011
12:05 am

I ate there once years ago and thank goodness my wife never made me go back. I just took a look at their menu on their website; no wonder they’re closing.

Know A Good Restaurant When I Dine There!

August 1st, 2011
12:14 am

I’ve only eaten there once before and didn’t think it was all that.

foodie

August 1st, 2011
8:16 am

I just read about this place in an article “Top Ten restaurants owned by Entertainers” maybe it has cause an increase and they need a bigger location. But just like some of the comments I viewed the menu and thought the pricing was on the high side!

FM Fats

August 1st, 2011
8:24 am

John Kessler, you must have some inside poop. Is the lease up?

Decatur Dude

August 1st, 2011
8:36 am

Wow, I will miss paying $20 for 2 pieces of fried chicken. Bottom line- Decatur has great restaurants now and people don’t want to ripped off at Watershed anymore. It will NOT be missed.

dogg

August 1st, 2011
8:38 am

Obviously SAWB hasn’t been to Decatur lately. There are more new, great restaurants here than you can shake a stick at.

Chris

August 1st, 2011
8:49 am

I wonder if Farmburger killed Watershed. Farmburger patrons dominate the small parking lot and you can tell from Watershed’s statement that parking has been an issue.
Decatur has a lot of great restaurants, but Watershed will be missed.

Aspen

August 1st, 2011
8:56 am

yeah $5 for mac n cheese! what a deal! 31 for grouper. who pays that? nothing like 300% markup. i prefer to eat my grouper when i go to fla and it’s fresh.

Appetizers
Today’s Soup7
Fried Oysters, Caper Remoulade, Pickled Vegetables 10
Crispy Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps, Steen’s Cane Syrup, Dijon, Creamy Coleslaw 8
Sapelo Island Littleneck Clams Steamed in White Wine, Garlic, Leeks, Smoked Bacon12
Crawfish Pies 9
Selection of Southern Cheeses13
Butter Bean Hummus, Crudités, Homemade Pita12
Pimento Cheese with Crisp Celery8
Salads
“Shed”6
Beet Salad with Pistachios, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Shaved Fennel 8
Wedge Salad with Roasted Red Pepper, Soppressata, Gorgonzola, Olives 8
Entrées
Seafood Jambalaya 26
Porcini Crusted Sea Scallops, Tuscan Kale, Potato Gnocchi, Wild Mushrooms24
Day Boat Grouper, Sauteed Okra, Feild Peas, Tomato, Mint 31
Grilled Heritage Pork Chop, Okra, Tomato, Peanuts, Bacon Jam 22
Prime Beef Burger, Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, French Fries or Onion Rings14
Baked North Georgia Trout, Lump Crabmeat, Shaved Asparagus, Creole Butter 25Sauce
Grilled Marinated Hanger Steak, Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Marmalade20
Seasonal Vegetable Farrotto16
Side Dishes
Field Peas and Tomato Salad 5
Fried Okra 5
Buttered Asparaus 5
Okra, Tomatoes, Peanuts 5
French Fries5
Onion Rings5
Fried Cauliflower5
Mac-n-Cheese 5

Mama

August 1st, 2011
9:11 am

From one restaurant owner to another – closing to reopen in a newer better location in 3 – 4 months doesn’t REALLY mean closing to reopen in a newer, better location. “By the end of the year” any loyal customers will have found somewhere else newer and better. Even the best customers won’t hang around that long. I think the uniqueness of Watershed brought in a lot of customers, but the prices kept them from coming back. Newer and better is always more expensive, so as I see it, so long Watershed.

ATLien

August 1st, 2011
9:13 am

@Chris – I thought the same thing. Now, maybe FB can expand or switch spaces?
There are so many good paces to eat in Decatur and I didn’t make the effort to go to Watershed. I wish them well and hope they stay close to Decatur.

dr. zorders

August 1st, 2011
9:16 am

We stopped going there years ago because: their chairs are uncomfortable, their menu was stagnant, the restaurant was dingy, and it was a bit pricey for what you got. Looking forward to what is going to move in that location.

babs

August 1st, 2011
9:20 am

We loved it, and cannot wait to see where it ends up…. it was a neat location. You all sound crabby to me.

Shawn

August 1st, 2011
9:32 am

One of my favorite restaurants. A little pricey, but always worth it. Sorry to see them go.

g

August 1st, 2011
9:35 am

Watershed = Over Rated!

Hmmm.....

August 1st, 2011
9:41 am

Hmmm…. I’m wondering if they will be moving to Roswell. Downtown historic Roswell is exploding with new restaurants these days, and we just saw yesterday where another historic house on Canton is being converted to what looked to be a new upscale southern-cooking place. Could it be the reincarnation of Watershed? Roswell is about the only other place I know where people would pay close to $20 for good fried chicken. They already do at Greenwoods. Hmmmm……

Veronica

August 1st, 2011
9:45 am

I would bet they wont be back like so many other restaurants and small businesses, even chains, that have closed during the difficult economic times. And while I went to the same HS as Emily Sailers, her younger sister was in my class, I think Watershed is overrated too. Maybe they are losing business to Farm burger in that same small area. But I would be surprised if they close up in an area where they do have a dedicated following, an area that has foot traffic, a big fish in a small pond to move…where? Buckhead? OTP? Downtown, East Atl? I think they are done.

1164mgc

August 1st, 2011
9:49 am

Sounds fishy to me. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You’ve got a loyal clientele and now you’re moving away… if you don’t really close for good. I think it’s a mistake.

I M Hungry

August 1st, 2011
10:07 am

Something fishy going on here. (pun intended) Watershed had a decent run in Decatur but something’s not being said regarding the closing. For me, it was not one of those “I must return agin and again” places. Too pricey for the offerings. But I truly respect that it IS a must for some. At any rate, “moving” a niche restaurant is almost always a disaster. In a way it says to the current clientele ‘We’re better than you and we’re moving to where the YOU are better!’ No bueno! Even if it is “re-invented” in Alpharetta, Johns Creek, etc. look for it to be gone again in <6 months.

M. Johnson

August 1st, 2011
10:22 am

Lovely restaurant with great history and a chef who is committed to Atlanta. I will miss Watershed in that spot.

Wishing them only the best.

Melissa's mom

August 1st, 2011
10:28 am

I went there only a couple times and although the food was good it was too expensive. One shouldn’t have to pay $100 for a fried chicken and vegetable dinner for 2, even if you get a glass of wine with it. Besides, the fried chicken at Colonnade or Matthew’s Cafeteria is twice as good. The folks at Watershed act as though they invented this type of food. Any southerner knows it’s been here forever.

Bayou Connoisseur

August 1st, 2011
10:41 am

I really liked how you had to shout to be heard at your own table. It still had the acoustics of a gas station. But overall, I deeply regret this move / closing. Watershed put Decatur on the map for quality / fine dining. We went on very special occasions. They don’t need to move and get a patio — they need acoustic tiles and a retooled menu for post-recession customers. Come on Emily — think.

Decatired

August 1st, 2011
11:02 am

WATERSHED has the best everything…including AIR! What, oh what, shall I now do when I want overpriced food, with snobby service and horribly uncomfortable seating? What to do, what to do?

THE RESTAURANT SKY is falling, THE RESTAURANT sky is falling!

RK

August 1st, 2011
11:06 am

Maybe the new chef didn’t work out…

Laura

August 1st, 2011
11:24 am

Ta-ta Watershed….you’ve been off my radar for a while. Your food was tasty but very overpriced for southern fare, and Decatur deserves better.

pj

August 1st, 2011
12:07 pm

Decatired, I’m sure you have quite a few places in the city to choose from : )

veemmmgee

August 1st, 2011
12:07 pm

We tried to eat in there on a Sunday a couple of years ago – the wait was horrible, and the noise level deafening. Maybe the new location will be larger and quieter…

Joe

August 1st, 2011
12:08 pm

Oh darn. I don’t get to have the option to buy overpriced food and overpriced wine. Oh darn, darn darn!!

Geodu

August 1st, 2011
12:10 pm

I wish we would have known this last Saturday night. Our party of 8 could have avoided a horrible meal and pretentious and unqualified staff… it will not be missed

jim

August 1st, 2011
12:10 pm

They are closing for good …. count on it.

rita

August 1st, 2011
12:12 pm

It was too noisy anyway! I hope the new location will be quieter!

Patrick

August 1st, 2011
12:18 pm

Wow, very glad to see the other “overpriced restaurant” statements. Like I said, good food but horrible prices.

Atlantan

August 1st, 2011
1:11 pm

I liked the place – particularly the hummus and shrimp toast. Sorry to see them go and hope they reincarnate closer to Midtown.

Grasshopper

August 1st, 2011
1:11 pm

Wow, the fangs are out today! It’s amazing how many people bear ill will towards a restaurant. You would think Satan himself was behind the grill!

I think that the word over-priced applies to about half of the trendy restaurants in this (or any other) town.

And isn’t the current chef one of Kessler’s buddies? I wonder if he can spill the beans about the new ‘move?’

Grasshopper

August 1st, 2011
1:14 pm

And it doesn’t strike me as odd to close before the new location is ready; who wants two mortgages/leases?

Chuck Snow

August 1st, 2011
2:01 pm

It was never really special although it was priced that way , about all I can say at this point is Buh Bye..

RestSupply

August 1st, 2011
2:13 pm

The speculation is just that. WS will be new and won’t be in a too small noisy building (concrete floors) with no special events space, a landlord unwilling to renew the lease (kind of a key issue) and inadequate parking. Access to Decatur for the bulk of Atlanta is awful and that stiffled WS’s growth potential. Though WS was a Decatur redevelopment pioneer almost 15 years ago, Decatur alone can’t/won’t support it. Did I forget to mention the landlord won’t renew the lease? Minor detail.

Alan

August 1st, 2011
2:43 pm

Went a few years ago with my wife for the ‘award winning southern fried chicken’ and I’ve had better at Kroger (it wasn’t even crispy, what’s the point?) and it wasn’t $20. Never went back. Good luck with that.

Chris

August 1st, 2011
2:46 pm

Just read Atlanta magazine ranked Watershed in the top 50 restaurants in the city. Congrats, Watershed! I hope you do well in your new location and are able to move far from all the haters on this blog.

Geodu

August 1st, 2011
3:03 pm

Atlanta Magazine? Wow, there is an endorsement (did you also see their ads in the previous issues??)…..Not haters, just people that want a good experience and friendly staff when having an evening out.

kendall

August 1st, 2011
4:56 pm

I had one of the worst meals of my life at Watershed a year or so ago and have not been back. I was ok with the prices, but have never cared for the environment (chairs, screaming children, noise level). Once the food turned me off, I lost all of my tolerance for the other stuff.

Slick

August 1st, 2011
5:13 pm

Went there once; it was overrated.

Sam

August 1st, 2011
6:52 pm

THEY GAVE THEIR STAFF A FIVE DAY NOTICE!!!!!!! Hmmmm….that’s a sign right there that something was not right.

SAWB

August 1st, 2011
7:10 pm

Well, I said Watershed will probably relocate to North Fulton not sure why that was considered an attack on the quality of restaurants in Decatur. I live nearby and eat in Decatur almost weekly, so no hatin goin on here.

FryThyBrain

August 1st, 2011
8:35 pm

Good riddance. What a waste they were to prime real-estate space!!

Firefly

August 1st, 2011
8:58 pm

Wow. I can only hope that the owners and staff do not read this ignorant and irrelevant banter!! Watershed is and will continue to be a wonderful restaurant! I, for one, will go wherever they go! I have only had wonderful experiences, of which, I have chosen to share with my family and friends time and time again for special occasions and casual nights out!! Seriously, people, if you want crunchy and cheap fried chicken, go to KFC! Good luck Watershed! See you soon!

Rhonda

August 1st, 2011
9:25 pm

To frythybrain…really? Hateful, hateful people should be banne to Ruby Tuesdays!! We love Watershed!!! Can’t wait to see where you go!!

Jenny Turknett

August 1st, 2011
9:54 pm

While I do think that there were some service and pricing issues, Watershed was an asset to our restaurant landscape. And, I think Joe Truex was never really given the chance to show his stuff. How hard must it be to come into an iconic restaurant like Watershed and have to make dishes created by the legendary Scott Peacock? When Truex was given a little freedom to make his own dishes, he had more success. I think this is a great time for Watershed to reevaluate and I hope they do reinvent themselves and reopen as indicated.

Decatur Resident

August 2nd, 2011
9:36 am

I for one am not sorry to see it go. Regarding whether or not the property owner did not renew the lease, I’m not sure if that is true or not. However, if it is true, you have to ask yourself why. Could it be the “no one’s better than me” attitude of Watershed. I’ve never been there, but have heard LOTS about it. And after seeing the menu and the prices, I can tell you that I would have been at Cafe Lily, Cafe Alsace, Iberian Pig and others LONG before I would go to “what’s its name? Watershed”. Also, Watershed was NOT the one that defined Fine Dining in Decatur. Cafe Lily was!!

oz pizza

August 2nd, 2011
9:40 am

still not over OZ pizza leaving they in my mind have the best Pizza in Atlanta

reebok

August 2nd, 2011
9:45 am

to each his own…but if Watershed is not the most overrated restaurant in Atlanta, it’s only because Atlanta is a pretty big place.

Know A Good Restaurant When I Dine There!

August 4th, 2011
2:22 pm

@ Firefly: I also hope that Watershed’s owners do not come across this blog. While I only dined there once and did not enjoy it, I do not want the owners’ to read this blog and feel beaten up over some of the unnecessarily harsh, destructive criticism. On to bigger and better, I say!

Know A Good Restaurant When I Dine There!

August 4th, 2011
2:22 pm

pinkbunny

August 4th, 2011
3:40 pm

I am sorry–and astounded–to hear that so many people had issues with Watershed. It has been one of my favorite restaurants in the Atlanta area for years, consistently excellent in quality. The fried chicken is close to perfect, the shrimp grits heady and fragrant, and the vegetable plates are standouts regardless of the time of year they are ordered. I have always been delighted with the service, I have never had to wait for a table, and I always felt I got my money’s worth. I’m sorry it will be gone for so long, but I do hope it reopens somewhere not TOO far away. There are those of us who consider it one of our favorites.

mUFFIN

August 4th, 2011
4:00 pm

I never even went there. I perused their menu online a couple of years ago and saw the prices and said “eh, forget it.”. if i’m going to spend that much money on a dinner out, i want more than the standard southern fare that i grew up on. i’ll go to my mom’s for the best fried chicken and pimiento cheese!

[...] announcing last weekend that it would be closing its Decatur location and reopening another later this year, Watershed Restaurant spread the word that it will offer its [...]

Leelee

August 5th, 2011
11:14 am

My sympathies go to the staff – many long timers — who were shafted by five days notice who can hardly afford to wait for a reincarnation months later. I hope they all find good jobs elsewhere, but know it will be a challenge. That said, I did enjoy the food through the many early years of Watershed, but the price points did become a turn off to me. (I will never forgive them for that $12 bowl of mussels with something like 6 or 8 mussels in it; the cheapest ingredient you can find — compared to the wonderful big bowlfuls at same or lesser prices at Brasserie Le Coze or later FAB). In recent times, parking had become nightmarish for what to me evolved into a boring menu of things that I could make as well or find elsewhere for less money and hassle. Still, it is sad to see one of the Decatur pioneers disappear, making more room for the sea of mediocrity that is most of Decatur’s dining.

nique

August 5th, 2011
1:27 pm

Heard it was pretty good, hoping it moves to Midtown so I can get to it a bit easier. Any rumors on what part of town it might be moving to?