As Smyrna-Vinings Patch reported last week, The Grape in Vinings Jubilee closed its doors to conclude 2011, but Paces Holding/Vinings Jubilee Property Manager Terri Hilderhoff promised that another eatery was ready to fill the space. It looks as if that restaurant will be the Atlanta-based Cafe At Pharr.
As reported Friday by What Now Atlanta, this will be location No. 5 for Cafe At Pharr. There are currently locations in Buckhead, Chastain and Miami Circle with a Brookhaven spot on the way.
Located in the former Folks space, the upscale Mexican restaurant features a logo of two friends riding horseback into the sunset. Spicy is nice as the menu includes everything from smoked chicken empanadas to braised brisket tacos to El Patricio Grande burritos and so much more.
And with 36 different tequilas, a margarita would appear to be a must. The restaurant is set to open on Thursday, Jan. 19 and is expected to have created 40-50 new jobs in the Jonquil City.
That’s a good thing because the conclusion of December also saw owners Howard and Krissa Garnell close the doors for good at in Smyrna’s Market Village. Café Michael had been in this previous spot and both eateries had a loyal fanbase.
This past week, Smyrna resident Jay Scott was caught by surprise to find the restaurant closed when he stopped by for lunch.
“I’ve been coming here pretty regularly for about a year he said. “It was excellent food and the service was really good. I thought it was going to make it.
The Garnells could not be reached for comment. There has been speculation from those close to the Market Village retail climate that a new restaurant would soon take its place. One of those mentioned is located within the same building. A Zucca representative could not be reached by Patch on Friday afternoon.
There continues to concern from city officials and residents about the number of empty retail spaces in the Market Village, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary of opening this year.
“For Lease’’ signs are common throughout the downtown complex, which consists of six buildings with five different owners, none of which are the city. The overall rate of retail vacancy in the city is 20 percent, but in the Market Village it is 40 percent. There's little doubt the prolonged swoon in the economy has hurt small business retail stores in the Market Village.
The owners control the rent, and they have reportedly dropped their rates from the once $20 per square foot they once charged. The city did help stage an open house for prospective businesses during the Fall Jonquil Festival, but most owners are not ready to expand or open in the Market Village.
Some encouraging news is that the building owner where the Snap Fitness closed last March, has finished reworking the terms of ownership with the bank and can again market the retail spaces after being prevented from signing new leases for much of 2011.
“I keep waiting for this area to have a moment kind of like Little 5 Points or the Virginia-Highlands,’’ said Scott. “It doesn’t ever seem to catch. I’d like to see it more like Atlantic Station where they combine a variety of restaurants and businesses that appeal to people from a variety of different economic backgrounds. That way we could get every part of the tax base going in one area.”
You’re never going to get a large market like a Trader Joe’s or such, but some suggestions here at Patch for what's best for the Market Village have included a children’s hair salon, bookstore/coffeeshop, or a small, full-time, local food cooperative.
In our August story on the Market Viallge, Patch user J. Mitchell commented:
Ten Realistic Retail Themes for a Vibrant Downtown
1. Lifestyle and wellness retail
2. Community gathering place businesses
3. Retailers that celebrate local heritage
4. Stores that entertain
5. Stores that celebrate local arts
6. Stores that educate
7. Stores with a community and global perspective
8. Gift and indulgences stores
9. Unique destination retailers
10. Neighborhood-services retailers
So, what business would you like to see in Smyrna's Market Village?