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UPDATED: ESPN Zone in Buckhead closes

 

Kenny Meatows with Henry incorporated used a boom to elevate him high above Peachtree Road to fix one of the moving heads of a sports figure on the front wall of ESPN Zone at 3030 Peachtree Rd in Atlanta, Georgia Wednesday September 30, 2009. The heads of the sports figures are animated by motors and the basketball figure's motor had failed. Meatows also spent his time up in the air to replace some of the stadium lights that are adorned across the top of the building. Fans wondering what Matt Ryan's favorite movie is or what Michael Turner thinks of the 3-4 defense might find answers by attending the weekly tapings of Falcons Face to Face at ESPN Zone in Buckhead. Hosted by WXIA sports anchor Fred Kalil, Falcons Face to Face is a weekly television show, taped on most Thursday nights at 7:30pm in ESPN Zone's Studio Grill. John Spink, jspink@ajc.com

Kenny Meatows with Henry incorporated used a boom to elevate him high above Peachtree Road to fix one of the moving heads of a sports figure on the front wall of ESPN Zone at 3030 Peachtree Rd in Atlanta, Georgia Wednesday September 30, 2009. The heads of the sports figures are animated by motors and the basketball figure's motor had failed. Meatows also spent his time up in the air to replace some of the stadium lights that are adorned across the top of the building. The repair work was done just days before the sports-themed eatery closed for business. Photo: John Spink, jspink@ajc.com

This just in: Formula PR, the El Segundo, Calif-based media reps for Buckhead’s ESPN Zone have confirmed to Buzz that the sports-themed eatery has closed.

 

In a statement just emailed to Buzz Central, operators cite the current economy for the shuttering:

Dominic Minniti, general manager, Disney Regional Entertainment: “We have enjoyed being a part of the Buckhead business community for nearly ten years.  The overall economics of continuing this operation has given us no option but to close.”

 Added Rick Alessandri, senior vice president, ESPN, who oversees Zone operations for ESPN“A decision like this is never easy.  We recognize and appreciate the commitment and years of service of all of these employees. Unfortunately, the current economic environment offered us no other choice.”

 Company reps tell us the sports-themed restaurant that first opened its doors here in January 2000 had approximately 140 employees.  Today those workers received “a 60 day administrative leave package.”

134 comments Add your comment

DaveDawg

October 1st, 2009
3:36 pm

In 10 short years, City Hall transformed Buckhead from a hot spot to a dead zone. Nice job morons!

Joe

October 1st, 2009
3:42 pm

I went there two years ago and they didn’t have any high def tvs while Fox Sports Grill was all high def, so I never went back. Can’t be a sports bar and not have the latest technology when your competitors do.

val

October 1st, 2009
3:42 pm

Enter your comments here
ESPN ZONE!!!!! OOOOOh No!!!!! The food was fabulous and tasty!!!! I even had my book club meeting there. Thanks for a GOOD TIME!!!!! You’ll be surely missed!!!!!

reservoirDAWG

October 1st, 2009
3:46 pm

I went to the Chicago location last Thursday to watch the Ole Miss game and the food was awful. If the Buckhead location is like Chicago it is not surprising.

Alan

October 1st, 2009
3:55 pm

Ha ha. Anyone surprised? Buckhead used to be great before the thugs ruined it. Had the ESPN Zone been built in East Cobb or Alpharetta, it would still be thriving.

Mirna from smyrna

October 1st, 2009
4:01 pm

Been to the Times Square,Atlanta, and L.A. locations and they are all the same. Overpriced Applebee’s quaility food (not a compliment) Tee shirt stores. Same as the Hard Rock, ETC. I hope the displaced employees catch on somewhere else in the next 60 days. A great sports bar is locally owned and operated like the Fieldhouse in Dacula. Check it out if your ever in the area!

kw

October 1st, 2009
4:03 pm

I haven’t been there in a long time, but if the other comments about food and not having flatpanel televisions are true, then yeah, I can see why they closed. Come to think of it, yeah, I haven’t been back…I go to places like Stats, Dantanna’s or Taco Mac, instead. Maybe, a lot of others are doing the same.

Yeah, Buckhead is not the party destination it once was, but I think this is more of a result of greater competition (the places I mentioned above) than anything else. Think about it, those other places have all opened SINCE ESPN zone first opened, as has Fox Sports Grill. Taco Mac has been on an expansion binge. Maybe many others, like myself, find those places more appealing.

Ghost

October 1st, 2009
4:12 pm

DaveDawg is absolutely correct! Buckhead is DEAD now, as evidenced by the closing businesses and the empty condo buildings.

Gary

October 1st, 2009
4:12 pm

The explosion of sports bars in the farther north suburbs are the reason for this. Every northern metro county has at least one Taco Mac (the best!) and several other sports oriented bars. No need to travel to Buckhead anymore for overpriced food when you can get it cheaper closer to home.

Also anything ESPN is overrated anyway.

Jason

October 1st, 2009
4:13 pm

Their food was weak, and they never got any new video games. Who wants to play NFL Blitz 2000 every time?

the real Old Gold

October 1st, 2009
4:14 pm

My wife and I went there on our first date, and they didn’t have sweet tea…. never went back.

p.s. I wonder if they’ll sell the Smoltz, Maddux, Glavine version of Stone Mountain carving.. if so… I really would want it.

lawcat

October 1st, 2009
4:14 pm

Enter your comments here It was the worst experience ever. Food was awful. Service terrible. Too expensive!

Rob

October 1st, 2009
4:15 pm

I went there the night before the Peachtree and the service was awful and the food was worse. They got almost everything wrong with our order and initially were only going to comp us for the one thing that they got right. I am not surprised that they did not make it. Economy or not, bad service and food quality will get you closed fast.

DeaconPeach

October 1st, 2009
4:15 pm

What Gary said. ESPN Zone was overpriced & the food & atmosphere was overrated. Gimme Taco Mac any day & twice on Sunday!

OneRyder

October 1st, 2009
4:17 pm

The place was “ok” for a one time visit. After that there was nothing else to draw a local resident back to the place. Combine that with the fact that residents wanted to kill the party crowd atmosphere, and it that place was destined to be an after thought.

Matt

October 1st, 2009
4:17 pm

OVER RATED clap, clap OVER RATED clap, clap….

Lousy food, lousy location and waaaaaayyyy too expensive.

Chris

October 1st, 2009
4:20 pm

I agree with Davedawg…Atlanta’s politicians and buckhead community leaders killed buckhead! Look at it now. Empty shops, condos, land, etc. So instead of clubs, we get GUN and hunting stores (Chucks Firearms Inc) in buckhead! City Hall royally screwed up buckhead. Thanks for killing the party and bringing more guns to buckhead.

Bill

October 1st, 2009
4:22 pm

Old video machines; sports bar food; outdated TV technology; and over priced. Good riddance.

P

October 1st, 2009
4:24 pm

Can we now get ESPN to go away in other ways also? Way overhyped, overrated and overcontrolling of the sports industry. They were good when they were humble and the new kid on the block. but now?

Eric

October 1st, 2009
4:24 pm

Hmmmm…..I seem to remember Lenox Mall being closed down during the NBA All-Star game because there were basically 60k loiterers in the mall. Maybe that’s what happened here, cause everytime I went in the place was packed.

EJ

October 1st, 2009
4:27 pm

ESPNZone sucked, period. Other Buckhead restaurants seems to be doing just fine (Cheesecake Factory, Brio, Bones, Fogo, etc). The food there was WEAK, and they didn’t keep up with competitive offerings. Can’t blame this on politicians.

EJ

October 1st, 2009
4:28 pm

typo – “seem” to be doing…

P

October 1st, 2009
4:28 pm

I believe Chuck’s firearms has been in Buckhead for a long time just not at the present location.

I never associated ESPNZone with Buckhead but I do agree that Atlanta leadership snuffed it out (Buckhead nightlife). It was great while it lasted but just like Underground Atlanta from the 70’s all good things seem to come to an end in Atlanta. I miss “The Lodge”

Al

October 1st, 2009
4:29 pm

Okay, let me get this straight…”thugs” (the new colloquialism for the n-word) are responsible for Buckhead falling off and their absence also contributed to the failure of the ESPNZone? That’s pretty counterintuitive if you ask me. Buckhead has become what it wanted to become…..a pseudo haven for older wealthy white folks. You can thank Sam Massell for that, not City Hall. Diversity is what makes neighborhoods strong and cities vibrant but until we get over this whole black vs white thing, we’ll never become the world class city we aspire to be.

Tj

October 1st, 2009
4:29 pm

I agree with all the above however I would add a couple of others to those that closed the party down in Buckhead. You can also thank the Buckhead Business Coallition who bought the buildings and did not renew bar leases as well as always critical Sam Massell!

Dead Mike

October 1st, 2009
4:31 pm

Mmmm. Loved their french fried potaters.

kelly&carriefan

October 1st, 2009
4:31 pm

R.I.P. Buckhead.

IC Atlanta

October 1st, 2009
4:32 pm

Food wasn’t good and newer (see better) competition replaced them. City Hall didn’t kill Buckhead – the out of control mayhem, crime and murders that took place there killed rowdy Buckhead.

The condos might be empty now, but the investment made in that area since “the death of Buckhead” is vast and the area will be much better for it in the long run.

Besides how long can a place like Uranus stay open anyway?

SSS

October 1st, 2009
4:32 pm

HMMMMMM, MAYBE THE PERFECT LOCATION TO RE-OPEN THE GOLD CLUB!!!!!!

YAAAAAAAAAAAA COME ON!

SSS

K_Chub

October 1st, 2009
4:32 pm

City Hall messed up Buckhead’s night life…really??? Were members of City Hall were cruising around Buckhead all night long with their loud music causing massive traffic jams and car accidents? Were City Hall members pissing in people’s yards, causing property damange and getting DUI’s all over Buckhead every weekend night? Were City Hall members starting fights and shooting people on a weekly basis in Buckhead?

As a resident of Buckhead for the past 10 years I am proud to say that my neighborhood has changed for the better. The residents of Buckhead use to be held hostage by thugs, frat boys, druggies, and wannabe’s every weekend and now we have our neighborhood back. Those of you who think City Hall ruined Buckhead obviously don’t live in Buckhead. As far as ESPN Zone is concerned – who cares that place was nothing more than a suburban tourist attraction – anyone who actually lives in Buckhead would never go there. You can take the crappy Cheesesteak Factory too.

Say what?

October 1st, 2009
4:33 pm

Interesting comment…not smart, but interesting non the less. Anyways…

ESPN was OVER-PRICED and the food wasn’t that great. The location wasn’t the best for customer traffic.

Downtown or Midtown were better locations to support this type of established meet.

You can’t feed fish on DRY land! The water obvisouly was a more sports/entertainment/walkable oriented area such as downtown, Atlantic Station or Midtown.

When was the last time three bestfriends gathered in Buckhead to enjoy a good game of sports?

THIS IS WHERE YOU’LL HEAR THE CRICKETS!

- My point excatly!

Larry Jones

October 1st, 2009
4:34 pm

Club Uranus was before it’s time….

Former Buckhead resident

October 1st, 2009
4:36 pm

Buckhead was fun and relatively safe for many years. That all significantly changed in the late 90’s and became nationally known after Ray Lewis and his “friends” decided to murder someone in the Buckhead Village. So, thugs or not, it’s obvious what happened!!!

Mr Fix it

October 1st, 2009
4:37 pm

DaveDawg … spot on.

bill

October 1st, 2009
4:37 pm

I blame the demise of Buckhead to those nightclubs that starting catering to the hip-hop crow. Read that anyway you want to. It got too dangerous for others to go down there because of that crowd. It was like freaknik every weekend. Lots of trouble but very little money being spent. The law abiding patrons did not feel comfortable going down there. The city did what they had to becuase of the crowd that was going there.

CJ Dawg

October 1st, 2009
4:37 pm

I went there on a business trip several years ago. It was awful. Nothing exciting about it. The place was basically empty. Our night was about ruined until we saw…COYOTE UGLY nearby. I still say thank you to CU’s every night in my prayers!!! I don’t remember much after Coyote’s though….

JDW

October 1st, 2009
4:38 pm

YOu guys have selective memory about Buckhead…it was great in the 80’s but the hip hoppers turned it into a shooting gallery. As someone who lives in Buckhead, I am not sorry they are gone.

Sadtoseeitthisway

October 1st, 2009
4:40 pm

In recent years, what was the appeal in going there? It reeked of being empty WAY too often. If you sat out front you got a very depressing view of where your favorite bars used to be. While inside you realized this place is holding on waiting for a celebrity to walk through the door. There aren`t enough first time tourists coming in or local dads spoiling teenagers to pay for the high overhead. Oh! and when you go to your car, be sure to dig deep, again, to pay the parking guys in a very empty lot out back. It really made you want to patronize your “local” sports bar.

bill

October 1st, 2009
4:40 pm

Hey AI: you say: “Diversity is what makes neighborhoods strong and cities vibrant” How about providing a example of that becuase that sounds like a pile of politically correct BS to me.

Al

October 1st, 2009
4:42 pm

Oh yeah, the rowdy white “frat boys” were just sowing their wild oats by drinking, puking, partying, getting DUIs, date raping, and being generally obnoxious for years but heaven forbid students from the AUC show up too…it suddenly becomes a war zone in need of immediate police action. Not excusing the behavior of either group, but let’s not recreate history and try to romanticize this fictitious Buckhead utopia.

Al

October 1st, 2009
4:44 pm

Bill…let’s look at Midtown, shall we: gays, students, whites, blacks, and Asians. Oh yeah, there are plenty of black folks in Midtown…even some who don’t care for loud music and who are actually law abiding citizens.

Suburbanite

October 1st, 2009
4:44 pm

The “rowdy crowd” and “thugs” have been out of Buckhead for a very long time. I work near the ESPN zone and Im surpirsed its lasted as long as it did. The food was horrible and it was just a misfit for the area. You people kill me, always ready to blame others for the demise of your neighborhoods. Blame yourselves!! When was the last time you patronized the ESPN zone? Also, maybe you should blame the investor for closing all of the night spots in order to replace them with high-end stores. There is a big boarded up hole where your high end store are suppose to go.

tony

October 1st, 2009
4:44 pm

Enter your comments here
Al, you are sooooo right…mediocre establishments just like these thrive plenty in East Cobb and Alpharetta….no personality, no substance…just like all those silly sub-divisions. Can you say, Wild Bill’s and Medieval Times…WHO goes to those places?

Alright

October 1st, 2009
4:45 pm

Diito to Al!

Dmoney

October 1st, 2009
4:46 pm

suggestion, move ESPN ZONE to the South West side of town. i.e. WEST END!

tony

October 1st, 2009
4:46 pm

Enter your comments here
sorry not Al but Alan!

[...] I would have to say Eclipse di Luna in Park Place across from Perimeter. Sad news sports fans, ESPN ZONE has closed. UPDATED: ESPN Zone in Buckhead closes | Peach Buzz [...]

UGAIsSoLastYear

October 1st, 2009
4:49 pm

When I was in school (I’m dating myself), Carlos McGees was the place to be in Buckhead. That and many other places. Over time they kept disappearing and I never knew why. It was a happening, fun place to hang out. Now it isn’t. Really, where in Atlanta is there a lot of foot traffic? I don’t see it and I am right in the middle of Midtown. Atlanta will never be a Chicago, NYC or Vegas where you have thousands of locals and tourists walking and milling around. With numbers, comes a sense of safety and fun.

Katrina

October 1st, 2009
4:50 pm

Thank you TJ! Atlanta’s City Hall had nothing to do with how Buckhead is now. That was the doing of the Buckhead Business Coalition and Sam Massell. There’s no need to look to downtown Atlanta to figure out what happened in that community. The leaders in that community is what happened. THEY closed down the “party” in Buckhead. That and the economy are the reasons why Buckhead is currently “dead”.

CSK

October 1st, 2009
4:50 pm

It’s so funny to read all the comments from the people who just moved to Buckhead because it’s more affordable. Actually I’m white and I’ve seen more white thugs with gold teeth than blacks…