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Ludacris’ Straits Restaurant to close. What will survive in Midtown?

Ludacris, AJC file photo

Ludacris, AJC file photo

Midtown’s dining scene is poised to change once more with the closing of Straits Restaurant. This Juniper Street restaurant is owned by Grammy award-winning artist and actor Ludacris (Chris Bridges) with partner Chris Yeo.

In a statement, Bridges called Straits “a great segue into the industry.” Now, Bridges will focus on a new concept called Chicken N Beer, inspired by his 2003 album of the same name. Working with Atlanta Restaurant Partners, Bridges will open Chicken N Beer inside Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The emphasis here will be on comfort foods and craft beers.

According to the statement, Bridges has other plans for the Straits location but he is not ready to release those details at this time. What would succeed in this spot? Consider the fate of other ambitious Midtown restaurants. Think Concentrics’ Trois, Chocolate Pink Cafe and Riccardo Ullio’s Cuerno, Lupe and Beleza — all closed.

Also on the Midtown dining front, Patrick La Bouff of Dinner Party Atlanta and Darren Carr, co-owner of Top FLR and Sound Table are bringing a new restaurant to the former Cuerno space. This new venture, The Lawrence, will serve French fare with Southeast Asian flair. Maybe what Midtown needs now is a more casual concept?

Let’s also look what’s happening in Buckhead, where we have the new Tomo, Ocean Prime and (soon) Pano’s. Do people still expect high-end dining in Buckhead and high-end mixologists in Midtown?

What does Midtown need and what will survive? Let us know what you think.

You can also read about the closing of Straits as first reported by Leon Stafford and more about the celebrities dropping by Straits on the Buzz with Jennifer Brett.

–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog

31 comments Add your comment

jack trent

January 4th, 2012
1:48 pm

straits+ludacris=joke

jack trent

January 4th, 2012
1:51 pm

not all of the owners of top flr and sound table are involved in the lawrence. please fact check

PJ

January 4th, 2012
2:15 pm

Not to be confused with Chicken & Beer in Duluth next to Honey Pig?

james

January 4th, 2012
2:50 pm

@pj – I believe the use of the colloquial “n” instead of the tired and hackneyed ampersand signifies that this is an entirely revolutionary concept.

Grasshopper

January 4th, 2012
4:33 pm

I wonder what they will serve at Chicken n Beer?

Daniel

January 4th, 2012
4:40 pm

I think Midtown should look to how Brooklyn’s Smith Street is positioned. It’s an area of Brooklyn that is populated with smaller, hip and ethnic restaurants with most of them in the $10-$18 per entree range. There’s also a nice mix of smaller boutique shops with interesting gifts, clothes. Midtown needs to become more of a destination and/or needs to attract more people to live there to actually go out an spend money. It’s a great place with great assets like Piedmont Park, although it lacks foot traffic, retail, and establishments that serve the locals as much as the business person or suburbanite.

braxton

January 4th, 2012
4:43 pm

The Cuerno space is a very bad location…I hope the Top Flr owners don’t waste their time with that black hole of a location. As for Straits, it was way overpriced. Midtown needs more casual and/or mid-to-lower priced dining options. We are still in a recession people! As much as it pains some self-appointed Atlanta foodies, ITP (inside the perimeter) and Midtown in particular may need a few more chain options, unfortunately, to realize success.

bribe the concierge to bring you krystal...

January 4th, 2012
5:57 pm

“other ambitious” is not the Venn diagram for Straits, rather “PR polished turd.” Of course, the airport could always use more crap so hip-hip hoorah for Chicken and Beer. Am sure it will sit nicely next to Burger King. Pfft. Chris Bridges is a poser and a hack, read the reviews.

Choo Choo

January 4th, 2012
6:47 pm

Oh well… ANOTHER place to avoid at the airport.

Jack Nasty

January 4th, 2012
6:59 pm

Grasshopper, I bet they’ll serve tacos and margaritas!

Mike

January 4th, 2012
8:04 pm

As a Midtown resident I’d like to see…

1. More cheap ethnic options. It sucks that the best places are in a strip mall off Buford Highway.
2. A dive bar or two… not everything needs to be fancy. The Vortex is OK, but Midtown needs a grungy bar or two with a good jukebox. There’s plenty of places to open one.
3. A couple of casual places to eat would be nice… I appreciate the high end stuff but as a resident, I’m not going to eat that every night/weekend. It’s just not practical. The dining scene needs to cater less to people who live outside of Midtown.
4. A Japanese private room karaoke bar… please? Someone??

ATLOVER40

January 4th, 2012
8:09 pm

Live Music, GOOD food and NOT closing at 12:00am. This is an international city and the carpets roll up at 12am.

Please start catering to the people that are making the money not looking at videos trying to be Luda.

tim

January 4th, 2012
8:09 pm

Chicken n beer…………Gee, that took a lot of thought.

MG

January 4th, 2012
8:11 pm

The problem with Midtown is places keep opening that do not cater to the demographic of people who live there… like Straits! Before these stores/restaurants open, they need to do some research.

Rick Bray

January 4th, 2012
8:37 pm

You know what would be cool…would be a parking lot where you could have a food truck meet up, tables, holiday lights, security, music and clean up. ATL has some awesome food trucks and this would be a fun, funky, affordable concept.

Jack's therapist

January 4th, 2012
8:45 pm

Ok jack trent, they’ll fact check after you check your passive aggression at the door.

Jason and Steve

January 4th, 2012
9:25 pm

Chicken and Beer? Seriously?

Chicken and Waffles? Really?

Flying Biscuit? Huh?

OMGEEEEEEE! No wonder ppl think Atlantans are wardsback.. OOPS, we mean backwards!

Buckhead Barbie

January 4th, 2012
9:35 pm

Those restuarants in Midtown are waaaay to close to the up tight wanna-bees who live in the residential area.

Those ppl were attracted to Midtown’s “Je ne sais quoi,” and then they complained and demanded that everything close at 8 p.m…

So now, us folks with money choose to go to Midtown West and Vinings for a night out with our friends.

Perhaps the ppl in midtown EAST would be better served by opening another five guys burger, a mellow mushroom or a willy’s.

Earl

January 4th, 2012
9:40 pm

How about zaxby’s or joe’s crab shack?

Edward

January 4th, 2012
10:42 pm

I will second Mike’s list.

jack trent

January 5th, 2012
3:43 am

cheap ethnic eats in midtown?? are you kidding me? the rent there is too high

Baltisraul

January 5th, 2012
7:14 am

atlantaover40……..catering to the people with money, you say. That has not worked to well the last 8 years now has it!!!! You want to lose a ton of money? Start an upscale resturant in these tough econmic times. Geez!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edward

January 5th, 2012
9:24 am

Greedy developers are the biggest issue for Midtown restaurants. They attract a restaurant to one of their fancy new buildings, let it get established, then they demand a 300% (or more) rent increase that no restauranteur can accommodate. So, otherwise great restaurant closes. How many times does this have to happen in Midtown before someone gets a clue? It seems some developers would rather have empty spaces than a successful business operating there. Doesn’t make sense.

Dale

January 5th, 2012
6:53 pm

As others have said, rent in the area is too high for sub $20 check average restaurant. Even in this real estate collapse, I have discovered landlords would rather have their buildings sit empty than lower than rent rates to attract new tenants or keep existing ones.

JeromeMJ

January 6th, 2012
1:45 pm

Good food would be a start. Most every restaurant serves really greasy food with a ton of salt instead of using quality ingredients made fresh. Restaurants expect you to pay for a trendy place not decent food. I personally resent someone’s hands rubbing my food. Instead of makeing chutney fish with olives, watermermelons, imported toe jam and any other weird things you shouldn’t combine what about just learning how to make great ingredients correctly. Maybe then someone will come back and eat at your off-track over-priced, overly self absorbed dive.

Not sad...

January 6th, 2012
4:20 pm

Who cares. Why would anyone open a restaurant called “straits” in midtown anyway? Fools…

LawDawg

January 6th, 2012
4:53 pm

Jason and Steve – I am not sure how two people post one comment. Either way, you have definitely proven that two heads are not always better than one. What I’m saying is that is the worst thing I have ever read.

LawDawg

January 6th, 2012
4:54 pm

Edward – It’s fun to make stuff up, isn’t it?

Baltisraul

January 7th, 2012
10:08 am

jeromeMJ……if you do not like chefs mixing food with their hands, eat at Hardy’s. Dumbest comment in years on this blog.

Jason & Steve……sending a combo post, are you. Do you each take a turn writing every other word?

Now thats funny, don’t care who you are! Keep it real, boys!

cc

January 7th, 2012
3:55 pm

Juniper as a whole is suffering… when Loca Luna moved out people forgot to cross over from Peachtree- leaving the street and all thats on it in the dark. I loved Mitra and the greek place that were across from Straits. Now when you go through there it is a very empty lonely little street. Sad…. really sad.

As a Midtown resident, i would love to see more life brought back over there with a variety of things… that give our neighborhood more options… and Please no more sports bars or pizza places… we have enough. Maybe a high end place that serves tapas menu for the nights you want something good and its not in the budget. Even a game bar with darts and pool and trivia would be a welcomed addition.

For now, I will just hope MuLan can stay open over there…. BTW if you haven’t tried MuLan…. you should lol….. and thx b/c now i know whats for dinner

Edward

January 7th, 2012
4:04 pm

Yay! Demented stalker is back! ;-)