Midtown’s Five Napkin Burger closes after 12 months

Caleb J. Spivakrestaurants70 Comments

Five Napkin Burger Midtown Atlanta

Burger joint shuttered its doors Monday, August 13.

Midtown’s Five Napkin Burger has closed. The burger joint had only been opened for 12 months.

Five Napkin Burger replaced the iconic Nickiemoto’s restaurant, at 990 Piedmont Ave. NE, in August 2011 after Nickiemoto’s closed in December  2010.

What Now Atlanta spoke with Yancy Wilson, a manager at Five Napkin Burger, Monday afternoon. Wilson confirmed the burger joint closed its doors after service Sunday.

Five Napkin Burger was not immediately available for comment.

Developing…

Photo courtesy of burgersbarbecueandeverythingelse.wordpress.com.

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Caleb J. SpivakMidtown’s Five Napkin Burger closes after 12 months

70 Comments on “Midtown’s Five Napkin Burger closes after 12 months”

  1. Sub-urbanist

    What a waste. If they hadn’t done enough research to understand how to succeed in the Atlanta market, then they really are poor businesspeople. They tore down and rebuilt a restaurant to sell an overpriced concept in a city overrunning with burger joints. Plus, they did very little to reach out to the gay demographic even though they replaced an iconic restaurant in the very heart of the gay community. Just not a smart business. No wonder it closed.

    Now, if Hamburger Marys were to open there, I think it would do just fine!

    1. tmart

      I think the burgers were delicious and not overpriced at all. If I wanted a $2 burger guess what I can go to McDonalds. I think the only bad decisions that was made is to put a burger joint in a place where people are so very concerned about eating healthy. Take that same restaurant and put it in Buckhead home of the steak joints and it is a winner every time!

  2. Kevin

    Shocker. Not.

    I ate there once and was literally in awe that a company could be so stupid as to try and make a burger concept work at high-end prices. The only thing more stupid was that it took me actually paying/eating there to believe what my friends had been telling me.

  3. Michael

    This has nothing to do with the owners or any lack of judgement. They have been making this restaurant work amazingly, first in NYC (4 locations) and then in Boston and Miami for many years. The only thing they did wrong was think that the Midtown community was sophisticated enough to appreciate a gourmet burger. I actually liked the food and the atmosphere in the Midtown location, however, in NYC I can get a Kobe beef gourmet burger for the same price at Top Burger so I’m not saying 5 Napkins is the best burger place.

  4. Tammy

    “The only thing they did wrong was think that the Midtown community was sophisticated enough to appreciate a gourmet burger.” should read…
    “The only thing they did wrong was think that the Midtown community was stupid enough to pay 15.00 for a gourmet burger.”

  5. LaughingOutLoud

    Midtown’s not sophisticated enough to appreciate a place like 5 napkin? They were so sophisticated they ran a “kids eat free” promotion in a predominately gay neighborhood. What a joke. The food was mediocre at best. The service was terrible, and they had no idea what their demographic was or should have been.

  6. JonC

    Hopefully this makes room for something local, something that feels like part of the community – preferably something without “bar and grill” in the title.

  7. hirschinatl

    ??? The burgers were awesome at 5 napkin. I was ready to hate it before I tried it, but of all the Atlanta burger options, this was the ONLY one where you could clearly taste the quality of the meat. They made a damn good burger, I’ll miss them. Burger Tap you can make fun of all day long – that place sucked.

  8. It's about time

    This place was a joke and a huge eyesore. I feel bad for the people who worked there because they just closed without letting any of them know. Good riddance, midtown doesn’t need this shady business warping our community.

  9. Chris

    Sophistication….I think not. Midtowners are to savy to spend 15-18 bucks on a burger that was so so at best with even worse service. YEAH Burger has that winning formula. Seeing the kids eat free sign [who does that anyway?] was the telling point that they were a train wreck waiting to happen. Saw this comng months ago,

  10. Urbanist

    @ Sub-urbanist – You’re right, they did very little to reach out to the “gay community”, in what is essentially the epicenter of gay Atlanta. However, that area is also one of the msot central points of one of Atlanta’s most populous neighborhoods too. If the failure to court the gay demographic, as you suggest, is a reason for their failure, then that’s pretty sad for the city as a whole. This was a burger joint, not a gay themed restaurant. It shouldn’t have to “cater to” any specific demographic to keep it’s doors open. The bigger problem is, that the corner of 10th & Piedmont is so outrageously and flamboyantly gay, that it makes a lot of non-gay patrons uncomfortable dining/hanging out in that area. I have seen some severely unacceptable behavior at restaurants in that area (Campaignolo being one of them), that shouldn’t be tolerated from anyone, regardless of your sexual orientation.

    Second – it’s sad to see people in what is essentially the center of the city, acting like they live in a suburb. $15 for a huge and hearty meal is not expensive. If you think it is, then please take that attitude where it belongs – any one of the Denny’s you can find all over the burbs. You live in a city, and there is a premium for that. Period. I’m not saying this restaurant had good food – I agree that it was mediocre – but anytime I hear someone criticize a restaurant because of the price of their food, they’re opinion becomes instantaneously meaningless….even more so when it’s over something that costs $15.

  11. Tammy

    The bigger problem is, that the corner of 10th & Piedmont is so outrageously and flamboyantly gay, that it makes a lot of non-gay patrons uncomfortable dining/hanging out in that area.

    Then don’t go there. I hear that Va Hi is a really swell spot.

  12. TB

    I thought their food was great and the prices were not so bad, didn’t realize there were so many cheap people in this community! Atlanta is supposedly a major city and I can’t understand why a city of this size doesn’t support or embrace nicer establishments?!!! I’m sick of restaurants that serve nachos, potato skins and chicken fingers as a “nice dining experience.” The people of this city needs to enhance their sophistication along with their palettes! Also, I knew the owner of 5 Napkin Burger and she was a huge supporter of the gay community and the neighborhood! Anyone who thinks less is clearly uninformed! I’m sorry to see them go.

  13. JBS

    They had the worst lease in the city. More expensive rent than Terminus Buckhead. They had food that no one liked or thought was a good value. They had bad service. They did not understand the neighborhood or the city. They were doomed from go.

  14. Victor

    I live one block away and ate there once…burger was mediocre and overpriced for a mediocre burger. I’m straight and go to restaurants that cater to the gay community in Midtown…problem with this place is they catered to no one with lackluster food and service. Good riddance.

  15. NOT a better OR a bitter bitch

    Wow, I’m seldom moved enough to bother responding to the under-educated or over-opinionated comments that people make when spouting off their support or “I knew it” attitudes about why a business fails.

    But to cheer at the closure and jeer at the owners of a company that brought a successful concept to Atlanta has nothing to do with their research and is instead, a glowing example of how we, as a community, pounce on the negative and don’t foster and support the positive. And as for the kid meals, the same people that think it was a stupid idea would also probably complain if there WEREN’T kids meals. I mean, we do all support the right of gay’s to have kids, don’t we? And do you also think it is ridiculous that Joe’s has kids meals?

    This company obviously thought we would like their concept, which has been bustling in NYC and elsewhere for YEARS. And they definitely tried to support the gay community in hosting more events and fundraisers than most businesses in the area. The failure is ours, not theirs. It was more than a burger joint, for goodness sake.

    The only comments that are accurate about this story is that we didn’t support a business that tried to support us and that you should be prepared to pay a premium for living and dining on the four corners of what many consider our gay hub, if $15 is a premium for you. If you’re not willing to patronize the businesses that spend the money to locate in an area for US, then you don’t earn the right to bitch and complain when they close. Why don’t YOU try to come up with a business plan that isn’t built sole on the profit of liquor and the gay’s quench to get drunk and see if YOU can survive the current state of the economy. I’d like to see it, really. And then you can see what people say when you close.

    Good Luck.

  16. JonC

    “The bigger problem is, that the corner of 10th & Piedmont is so outrageously and flamboyantly gay, that it makes a lot of non-gay patrons uncomfortable dining/hanging out in that area.”

    Let’s see – an intersection in one of the most conservative states in the nation where LGBT people feel completely comfortable to be themselves is a “problem?” Most people in the city see that as a positive, actually. I HIGHLY doubt that the possible lost business of scared heterosexuals is what did this place under. Seems like Midtown’s been doing pretty well for itself lately, flaming gays and all.

  17. midtownblue

    I liked the food, but it was expensive. Plus, it was too darned loud! I heartily second the motion to recruit Hamburger Mary’s. Heck – they don’t even need to remodel. How do we get the word to the owners of Mary’s that they should seek a franchisee? (I have no idea how these things work…)

  18. Local

    I ate here once with a group of friends. I think everyone at the table was disappointed. When they accidental served my burger to the woman beside me I thought “I am glad that sad burger isn’t mine.” Turns out it was. The sad squashed lamb burger that barely needed one napkin much less five. I was embarrassed to eat it much less have a 17 dollar tab for it.

    I am not surprised they closed. Hopefully something with great food will open there.

  19. midtowngay

    “it makes a lot of non-gay patrons uncomfortable dining/hanging out in that area. I have seen some severely unacceptable behavior at restaurants in that area (Campaignolo being one of them), that shouldn’t be tolerated from anyone, regardless of your sexual orientation.”
    @Urbanist, Really? Have you ever “dined” on Crescent Avenue? I’m curious how comfortable gay patrons feel on Crescent on a Friday night. I worked in a restaurant/bar on Crescent for 5 years and have seen men urinating inside and outside of the bar, women being evicted from stalls in the men’s room, various sex acts both in the restrooms and out in the general bar/dining area. I’m sure when and if you frequent these places you are sufficiently shocked and appalled..

  20. Really?

    @Urbanist Really? If you hate the gay community so much, then don’t come to Midtown. Gay people in Midtown are no more “flamboyant” than any of the fratty d-bags in Buckhead or the Highlands. Your comment is dripping with homophobia. As for 5 Napkin, the reason it didn’t work is b/c it’s a mediocre and expensive version of a concept that has completely saturated the Atlanta market. Nothing more.

  21. midtownblue

    Urbanist — you have the rest of the world. Until the heteros stop their flamboyant, in-your-face displays of sexuality in the other 98% the city, we gays will maintain the right to do the same whenever and wherever we can, even if only in Midtown. Please go elsewhere.

  22. Que

    @urbanist – I’ve always wondered why so many people dislike you so strongly when just disliking you would seem appropriate, but now I see why.

  23. Old South

    It goes to show that what works in many other places may not in Atlanta. The buzz and hype of world-class are burning good faith efforts by decent business people. Yard House will be next– hope im wrong.

    Moral of this- 5 napkin should look at a more progressive city in the South. The Carolinas or maybe Florida come to mind.

  24. Mallburnist

    Urbanist is currently at the Cumberland Mall food court. He will respond after he finishes his Gyro.

  25. AX

    I hate to see *any* business in Atlanta close, but I do agree with the comments that they failed in their market research. I understand that the concept works fine in NYC, Boston, etc. But it really sounds like they made the typical transplant mistake of not adjusting their pricing to the local market.

    In particular, looking at the Union Square, NYC menu on their website, I can see that the prices are similar to the Atlanta prices quoted above. So duh, Manhattan prices won’t fly in Atlanta. Any business consultant could have told them that in advance. Even McDonald’s and Starbucks charge more in Manhattan than Atlanta.

    Honestly, real estate prices near their other locations are 3x-5x more than near their Atlanta location, but they though that the pricing should be uniform?

    In Atlanta, salaries are lower and real estate costs less. If your business doesn’t recognize this reality it’s doomed to failure.

  26. Double D

    I knew this place was doomed the first day I went there. It’s too expensive to be a neighborhood hangout in Midtown. Personally I thought their Happy Hour and brunch were great. I am sad to see it go. Really good and pricey works in Midtown (Empire State South, Ecco). Cheap, fun and mediocre works too (ie it’s neighbor, Zocalo or Gilberts). But the combo of pretty good and pretty expensive is doomed to fail. Also, they were about one to two years late on the ATL burger craze. Again, I ate there a lot and I’m sad to see it go.

    Let’s hope something opens up there quickly as it sucks now to have 3 vacant buildings on that corner. I’ll put my money on it being a ‘chicken shack’ as that seems to be the latest craze.

    Personally I feel like we might have too many restaurants in our area. Don’t think there are enough people who like to or have the money to go out to eat to support these restaurants. Need more jobs and people in these condos/apts.

    One positive is that piece of crap eyesore on the corner of 10th and Peatchtree is getting new tenant.

    Peace.

  27. Me

    I am devastated…just devastated! Whatever will we do now? Surely not go to Wendy’s for a much better (and I mean much better) burger without the snobbery surcharge. Whatever will our little pretentious little (and big ones for that matter) queens do now??

  28. AX

    I should add that I personally don’t see the problem with a $15 burger, I have certainly paid to get a pretty good burger at e.g. Bistro Niko. I’m just pointing out that they didn’t make any accommodation in their business plan for the differences in demographics between Atlanta and their other locations, which was an obvious mistake. (I bet they didn’t make the corresponding mistake of paying the staff here the same wages they pay in Manhattan or Back Bay!) Empirically, different markets require different numbers on the cost and price side of the ledger.

  29. Jules

    Chalk another win up to the free market. To be the man, you’ve gotta beat the man. Yeah Burger, Farm Burger, Grindhouse Killer Burgers, George’s…them’s the man.

  30. Rick

    It closed for one reason and one reason only. $15 for a burger and ANOTHER $15 for top shelf mixed drinks are not a terrible price when you’re receiving top-notch, high-end, incredible service (I.E. not having to ask for drink refills, not having to repeat special instructions for your order when they bring it incorrectly). But – on average – a meal there lasted about 1.5 hours (for a burger) and the servers seemed like they could barely memorize their own name, let alone provide the type of service you’d expect at that price FOR A BURGER. That aside, the quality of the meat was good, but it wasn’t the best tasting food, burger or otherwise, I ever tasted.

    Also, the amount of time and frequency with which the staff spent trying to jack up your bill with upsell suggestions made was chincy. How about simply not bringing the wrong crap out an hour after you ordered it?

    To say that straight people were uncomfortable because of the location is ridiculous. Check out Compagnolo next door. It’s patrons are very mixed and … the servers are competent and the food is fantastic for around the same prices.

    They should’ve imported the kitchen and server help along with the concept.

  31. jjeff

    Can someone tell me why Nickimotos failed, in the first place??? Same menu for several years? Because back in the day, that was the spot, and I think that’s what most folks her long for — the place with a great scene, good food and good times. Five fart was not it.

  32. Tammy

    Can someone tell me why Nickimotos failed, in the first place???
    Like Vickery’s it just got old and they didn’t really do anything to update it. I find it odd that restaurants sometimes just decide to stay stuck in the year that they were opened. Einsteins is a good example of a restaurant that threw off the 1990’s and has stayed successful.

  33. Urbanist

    @ Tammy – That’s the point, a lot of people don’t go to that area of town, because of how obnoxious the behavior is around there. As a result, multiple restaurants have failed (because a lot of the population that’s around there simply becomes off-limits as a customer base), and you don’t see very much “expansion” either.

    @ JonC – “Let’s see – an intersection in one of the most conservative states in the nation where LGBT people feel completely comfortable to be themselves is a “problem?”

    When “being yourself” is publicly inappropriate, yeah, it’s a problem. This sh*t I saw at Campaignolo the last time I was there was inappropriate regardless of your sexual preference, and it drives people away. The fact that the entire corner operates as a haven for inappropriate activity is part of the reason why it’s difficult to have more than a couple businesses in that area.

    “I HIGHLY doubt that the possible lost business of scared heterosexuals is what did this place under.”

    I don’t think this was the only factor, but when you have pretty incredible demographics in the area, and a gourmet burger joint can’t survive in a city that loves burger joints, and in an area that has far too few restaurants per capita, I think it’s certainly part of it.

    @ MidtownGay – “Really? Have you ever “dined” on Crescent Avenue? I’m curious how comfortable gay patrons feel on Crescent on a Friday night. I worked in a restaurant/bar on Crescent for 5 years and have seen men urinating inside and outside of the bar, women being evicted from stalls in the men’s room, various sex acts both in the restrooms and out in the general bar/dining area. I’m sure when and if you frequent these places you are sufficiently shocked and appalled..”

    I have dined on Crescent before, and I find the chaos that hangs out in front of Opera, and around the bars in that area equally as disgusting. I’m hopeful that the 2 new apartment towers that are opening right there, along with some better restaurants (Lure), will act as a catalyst of improvement for that general area to change. However, having a mega-club that attracts every small-town, Affliction loving piece of trailer trash within 40 miles, with it’s faux door policy, will always be a major deterrent. The fact that there can be shootings in that area (which there was just a few months ago) is also friggin’ depressing.

    @ Really? – “If you hate the gay community so much, then don’t come to Midtown. Gay people in Midtown are no more “flamboyant” than any of the fratty d-bags in Buckhead or the Highlands. Your comment is dripping with homophobia. As for 5 Napkin, the reason it didn’t work is b/c it’s a mediocre and expensive version of a concept that has completely saturated the Atlanta market. Nothing more.”

    I’m pretty sure I never said I hated the gay community. I hate people who don’t know how to act appropriately in public, and this city is full of them. I avoid Buckhead like the plague. It’s a neighborhood where every hick who went to an SEC school, and thinks the definition of success is a BMW and a boob job, congregates to get incoherently drunk at the same 2 shitty bars 3 nights a week. I avoid 10th & Piedmont area, because it’s an “in your face” display of sexual agression. It almost seems like people are acting like trashy children just to prove a point. I hang out a lot on the Westside, and in Midtown (away from 10th & Piedmont), when I am in town. Those are areas that have decent restaurants, a stylish crowd, and patrons who can assimilate with each other, regardless of sexual preference, without acting like a bunch of drunk, trashy, obnoxious kids.

    @ MidtownBlue – “you have the rest of the world. Until the heteros stop their flamboyant, in-your-face displays of sexuality in the other 98% the city, we gays will maintain the right to do the same whenever and wherever we can, even if only in Midtown.”

    I’m sorry, but I have almost never seen adult heteros act the way I’ve seen some of the gay community act in the 10th & Piedmont neighborhood, and at a restaurant nonetheless. As I’ve said, the worst display I have ever seen was at Campaignolo – what is supposed to be an upscale, chic restaurant – not a trashy bar where it’s acceptable to findle each other and agressively make out in public. Not acceptable regardless of orientation, as I said.

    “Please go elsewhere.”

    I do, and so do a lot of other people – which is a contributing factor to the repetitive business failure of that area. Get it?

  34. JonC

    Also, it’s pretty funny how the Flying Biscuit seems to always stay packed (with plenty of non-Midtowners, I might add) with all this rabid behavior going on at 10th and Piedmont.

  35. Dan

    Another nail in the coffin for Atlanta. Seems like I’ve read about more places closing around here, especially in Midtown, then I can ever remember.

    Salaries down here just can’t support higher end prices and dining like 5 Napkin Burger, especially in this economy.

    The larger issue is the way people live down here. Up north, 5 Napkin Burger is located in densely populated areas where people live and work. We don’t like to live in densely populated urban developments down here. The Lindbergh transit-oriented development has been a laughable failure. That intersection of 10th and Piedmont is just not a highly developed area. I rarely see that many people walking around there. If there’s not much else to do down there, people aren’t just going to fight traffic to drive down and eat at 5 Napkin Burger or any other place.

    Until Atlanta and it’s people get serious about getting out of their cars and living in densely populated areas where you can work and shop and eat, we will continue to have this problem.

  36. dave

    The major problem is that places like this, like most restaurants in Atlanta, aren’t really tied to actual neighborhoods that have real name cache, where people live and they shop and they eat.

    In many other large cities, you have actual neighborhoods that attract different types of people, neighborhoods that have distinct boundaries, neighborhoods where people don’t need a car, where they go to shop and eat.

    In DC, you have DuPont Circle and Adams Morgan and Georgetown. In Chicago, you
    have Lincoln Park, Wrigleyville and the Mag Mile. In Boston, you have the North End, the Back Bay, Beacon Hill and Kenmore. These neighborhoods are all thriving with restaurants and shops and foot traffic. People live in these neighborhoods. People shop and eat in these neighborhoods.

    What neighborhoods in Atlanta can you really say that about? Really the only one that comes to mind is Virginia Highland, right at the Virginia/Highland intersection. Even Virginia Highland has more car traffic than foot traffic and doesn’t have real defined boundaries and
    certainly doesn’t attract many people from outside the area. Those other neighborhoods in other cities do.

    Until this region gets serious about investing in the city and investing in dense, transit-oriented
    development, Atlanta will continue to be a soul-less region. I’m not holding my breath. It seems like this region is more concerned about breaking up into pathetic little sprawl-ville enclaves like Brookhaven and Milton rather than coming together as a region and building something great. What an awful, depressing place to live. Too bad I’m stuck here.

  37. Old South

    Atlanta is a magnet for deviant and derelict urban behavior. It has been for a long, long time.Longer even than any of us, I suspect.

    The people from up north do not understand the difference in their urban context and this one, until they come down here.

    Atlanta is very unique but not in a good way.

  38. Urbanist

    It’s funny, in a really sad kind of way – The Atlanta MSA has a relatively large population of people from all over the country (and world to a lesser degree). Of course, many of them moved here to buy a house in a box in the burbs, and aren’t really part of the “city”. However, those that moved to the “city” of Atlanta from other areas, seem to very plainly understand the problems, and for the most part understand what needs to be done to at least begin to solve those problems. However, the people who have lived in Atlanta for their entire lives, or those that moved here from some small po’ dunk town in the south (or on the fringe of the MSA), have a “If you don’t like it, leave!” attitude towards anyone who makes suggestions to fix the status quo. It’s like how a pig doesn’t know that slopping around in sh*t all day is a bad way to spend your time, because he’s done it his entire life.

    So, what happens is those from other areas who would actually like to buck the status quo, and see changes that help the MSA, leave (myself being one of them). They realize that change is not likely, and therefore the problems will likely just get worse. They then get faced with a three-pronged decision: (A) Choose to move to the suburbs, and let your entire life be sapped of anything and everything unique, stimulating, or interesting (B) Stay in the city, and watch is slowly disintegrate into social mush, or (C) Leave for a place that has its act together, understand its challenges, proactively operates to solve them, and continues to draw jobs, talent, intellect, and growth as a result.

  39. Tammy

    Darlin, a hamburger place closed. It was over priced for the market and the food wasn’t good. This isn’t the end of the world.

  40. Really?

    @Urbanist Do you really want to see intown Atlanta grow with more livable/walkable communities? Besides the obvious (better transit, etc), you should create a community where your gay residents feel welcome. Every city mentioned here as an example, CHI/BOS/DC (and I’ve lived in all 3 btw), has a large, vibrant gay community. Have you ever been out in Boystown (CHI) on a saturday night? I promise you will see far more than whatever you saw at Campagnolo.

  41. Jonathan

    Urbanist, I fully agree with what you’ve said in this blog. As to the person suggesting that a Chick-fil-A should open on that corner, I do hope you were kidding.

    Tammy, it’s true that just a hamburger place closed. But sometimes things like this serve as a reminder that we have a lot of problems in this city that we simply do not need to have. To the person that said that it is sad that a popular New York chain took a risk and invested in an Atlanta location only to fail in less than a year – you are right. It’s kind of embarrassing regardless of what type of food it is, what the price point was, etc. I don’t think that they did enough homework when selecting that location, but they poured a lot of investment into that restaurant only to have the community completely reject it.

    I know, it may just seem like that’s the nature of the business world. But it’s okay to examine the reasons why in a city that possesses this much natural beauty, this many F500 companies, several renowned institutes of higher learning, one of the country’s largest gay communities, an outstanding artistic community, etc etc that we have SO many problems putting together a solid organic fabric that EVERYONE can enjoy.

  42. Urbanist

    @ Tammy – This isn’t just a burger joint closing. It’s a burger joint, it’s independent bakeries, it’s clothing boutiques, furniture stores, and on and on. It’s not creative destruction, it’s just destruction.

    @ Really? – All of those cities have thriving gay communities…but they also have a thriving, integrated community as a whole. Atlanta doesn’t have that. Also, nobody is talking about having a community where “gays don’t feel welcome”…I’m talking about having a community where everyone feels welcome.

    Atlanta – too busy maintaining the status quo to “get it”…

  43. BCATL

    @Jonathan

    Tammy is right to an extent. Overall was it overpriced? No. In comparison to its other intown competitors (Farm, Flip, Highland Tap)? Yes. And those places also offer a better ambiance (with the exception of Flip). Many have commented that our “burger market” is oversaturated. Which it is. It doesnt mean I will complain when a burger place opens like some morons that get on here do, but it does mean that it will be harder for them to stay open when their prices are higher and their food isnt as good. It wasnt that this place was terrible or overpriced, it just wasnt as good as its competitors in either category. It doesnt speak to the city as much as it does the business. They attempted to jump on the Atlanta burger band wagon and they did it way too late and in a place that probably cost too much money for their setup and they didnt have any wiggle room to adjust.

    There are plenty of other restaurants that have survived in this city, and most that we see fail are usually copycats of something else, which again speaks to the business owners and not the city. We have plenty of restaurants that have succeeded, many in obscure locations when considering a more typical location (Agave, Woodfire Grill, La Grotta quickly come to mind.) There are also plenty of other local establishments that have prospered and are great (Iberian Pig, South City Kitchen, Ecco). Usually the term “vote with your wallet” annoys the hell out me but in this case it was true. A burger place that was late coming to the party and shutting down isnt indicative to the city’s problems. There are plenty of other elements that attribute to that, but this is definitely not one of them.

  44. Midtown Resident

    Urbanist,

    LoL. I haven’t been on this site in a good year, but I remember you very well and how disagreeable you were. You’re still here and as disagreeable as ever…and you’re still completely anonymous!

    Strictly on a ratio basis, and having spent some time in these cities, I don’t think Miami, New York and Boston have the same burger saturation we have going on here. I can’t speak to pricing as I never ate at 5 Napkins (just drank when us gays took it over on a Friday night…my whickey and cokes were $10?, not bad for full size glasses).

    STK and Cucina Asellina are also NYC concepts that seem to be doing fine because they know how to market and play to their strengths, and STK is about as expensive as it gets anywhere.

    5 Napkins at least left one of Atlanta’s most vibrant corners with a completely disgusting faux brick suburban outparcel looking building! And for that I can’t possibly sympathize. They completely fucked up that corner.

  45. Jonathan

    I agree, BCATL, but all of the places that you mentioned are in separate nodes that you have to drive to. I wish we could get connected, walkable urban districts with a variety of local restaurants such as the ones you mentioned.

  46. Midtown Alexander

    Amazing all the negative idiots who think midtown is closing and this in a sign of a bigger problem. In the recent months look at all that has opened or under contruction in Midtown: Mi Cocina, Campaignolo, The Lawrence, Vinnys Pizza, Senior Patron, 2 new residential towers under construction both with ground level retail, Midtown Hotel converting to Hyatt, new Hilton property, a third Novare building with significant ground level retail, major expansion of Gilbert’s, new apartments at North/Juniper, a botique grocery store to name a few. These range from cheap to pricy, what we need. Places close, places open. There is a lot going on in Midtown and a lot of residential which will bring more foot traffic and make these thriving places. There is more opening than closing. Also, a year ago, who would of thought Atlantic Station would have transformed so much? 5 Napkin was awful. Consumers chose not to go there and I am excited to see what comes in. I bet it does not sit empty long.

  47. Tammy

    “5 Napkins at least left one of Atlanta’s most vibrant corners with a completely disgusting faux brick suburban outparcel looking building!”

    Look on the bright side. The facade can be easily changed and they did spend a lot of money rebuilding that site from scratch. They basically have provided an infrastructure gift to the next company that comes in and wants to open a place in that location.

  48. Urbanist

    @ Midtown Alexander – Just to address all your “positive” news:

    Mi Cocina – a chain restaurant, just like every single other business in 1010, that does nothing to provide any sort of sense of personality to our city. We could have every vacant space in the city filled by an Applebees, and that doesn’t make it a positive thing from an “It would be nice if we had a real city, with a real and enduring persona” perspective.

    Campaignolo – Give this a little more time, and it’ll be gone. No long term potential here.

    The Lawrence – A very positive addition to a cursed spot for restaurants. These guys are quite possibly Atlanta’s best restauranteurs, and I hope this lasts, but the traffic here seems pretty weak.

    Vinny’s Pizza – Really? This is a positive addition for you? A chain pizzeria? Maybe I should just stop here.

    Senor Patron – Again. Really?

    2 New Residential Towers – no arguments here…as I said quite some time ago, which people fervently disagreed with, Atlanta needs more dense rental construction in town.

    Midtown Hotel converting to Hyatt – Yep, after it went into foreclosure, and picked up a nice sterile brand to reflag itself with…just like the Renaissance. Maybe this new Hyatt will get a new McDonald’s at ground level! That would be great!

    Too much chaining makes me tired…

  49. Midtown Resident

    Dear Caleb,

    I took a long break from this site because your most frequent poster essentially made it unbearable. I have come back this week and he’s still here! He makes good points when he’s not berating and personally attacking/insulting other posters or this city, but he’s so strident and tiresome with his constant drole and negativity and your site hasn’t had truly ground breaking news in a while to make me bear him; I have to go back on hiatus.

    I doubt I am alone, but you have a poster who literally ruins your entire blog. You should be aware and I fault you with allowing his posts! Can you at least edit them? He’s insane. His ideas are decent and shared by many, but his posts are not going to get these good ideas implemented. Positive people get things done. Negative people like this guy bitch and moan. This guy is insane and if I were his shrink I would have him maxed out on xanax!

    He’s obviously a sociopath. 95% of the time it’s this guy vs every other poster, and he clearly loves it. He loves taking on everyone and every thing. He reeks of hate and ill will and very clearly needs to take a cold hard look at himself. Every other forum or blog I know of or participate in would have taken him out of the picture at the outset.

    And need I remind you that some posters go out on a limb and go by their name or include a picture or website. If you are going to let him insult your followers the way he does, you should make sure he goes by his full name, which you should verify with his corporate email (does he even have a friggin job? he’s so disagreeable I can’t see anyone hiring him!)

  50. midtown blue

    Yes, Caleb, except that this is not a democracy. This is a blog, and you personally moderate the entries.
    In other words, you approve of each posting — not that you approve of the point of view, but you approve that the commentary meets certain standards. Your stated rules of conduct (linked in the previous post) are fine. Your readership has repeatedly told you that Urbanist is violating the terms of acceptable community use, specifically by the use of “rude” and “abusive” commentary described in your introductory paragraph.
    Urbanist has obviously not agreed to “keep it polite, please” (your wording), and your readership is asking for you, as moderator, to refrain from posting any of his rude and/or abusive commentary. Urbanist does not post to this website — you post his comments to this website. Your readership is asking you to consider his comments as violations of your policy. Urbanist should be, of course, welcomed to make constructive comments that fulfill the intent of the blog usage policy.

  51. Toney

    Why is this such an indictment on Atlanta or midtown, nimrods…I never even ate at the 5 Napkin here…my foolish decision to eat at the one in South Beach made sure i wouldn’t make that mistake twice. Over-priced and mediocre. Period.

  52. Urbanist

    This is kind of ironic – it’s like a pseudo real-time display of the status quo loving mentality that has only one option for dissent and irreverence: kick it out. It’s the same mentality that paralyzes this city from any real progress.

  53. Old South

    Usually, when someone is hitting a nerve, it hurts.

    I’m negative too on Atlanta. It comes from watching it slowly circle the drain. Those of us who thought the city would really be something, are leaving or are now long gone. It wasn’t always a place of empty storefronts and ghetto bars.

    Urbanist is hitting a nerve, but he’s 10 years too late.

  54. Midtown Yeti

    Unfortunately, I think the restaurant scene in Midtown (and Atlanta in general) leaves much to be desired. There are a few gems like Abattoir and Miller Union, but on the whole, if you spend over fifty dollars per person on a meal in this neighborhood (or just about anywhere in Atlanta), you’re going to get ripped off, either in the quality of the food, the quality of the service, or both. I don’t understand why this is the case, but it does seem to be the rule rather than the exception. I agree that Five Napkin was a big disappointment for the prices they were charging, and I can’t say I’m going to miss them. I think Yeah Burger makes a much better hamburger than Five Napkin for a much lower price.

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