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Changes afoot with Vinings restaurants
by Everett Catts
July 17, 2014 04:23 PM | 7672 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Vinings restaurant scene is undergoing some changes following the July 1 closing of Garrison’s Boiler and Tap in the Vinings Jubilee.

Garrison’s, which opened in 1998, was sold to Tom Murphy, owner of Murphy’s restaurant in Virginia-Highland, and two business partners: investor Dave Green and Murphy’s chef Ian Winslade, for an undisclosed amount. Construction on a new restaurant, which is the second one related to Murphy’s, has already begun. It is expected to open in mid-September.

Julia Baker of The Reynolds Group, a west Midtown-based public relations firm, speaking on behalf of Murphy’s, Thursday said she did not know if the new restaurant would be another Murphy’s or a concept of the eatery because the owners had not provided that information yet. She also said the owners were not available for an interview as of Thursday afternoon.

Jeffrey Landau, CEO and owner of Metrotainment Cafes, a west Midtown-based company that manages 11 metro Atlanta restaurants and owned Garrison’s, said he got a good offer from Murphy’s.

“We were litigating with a former lender [Alpharetta-based Miller Capital Ventures LLC],” he said. “As part of that settlement with [it], we decided to sell the restaurant to facilitate the settlement.”

Landau said he could not disclose any more details of the settlement. Metrotainment owned two other Garrison’s locations, in Dunwoody and Johns Creek, before those closed about five years ago due to the recession. Landau said selling the last one was bittersweet.

“We weren’t happy with that [having to sell it], but we’re pretty focused on our Hudson Grille concept,” he said, referring to one of its other concepts. “We didn’t have any more plans to open any more Garrison’s [locations]. It was a successful restaurant and a very good restaurant. But Metrotainment’s focus is Hudson Grille. We have five locations. … We’re more focused than ever on expanding Hudson Grille and it frees up some of that focus.”

Two Hudson Grille locations are in the area: Brookhaven and Sandy Springs. Landau said the company plans to open another in Kennesaw in December.

Back in Vinings, he said all Garrison’s employees, about 30, were offered jobs across the street at La Paz, a Mexican restaurant Metrotainment is now managing, or at other Metrotainment eateries, and about 75 percent accepted them. At La Paz, which opened in 1996, Landau said he will be meeting with the owners in the next two months to discuss likely changing its name, décor and menu.

“It would [still] be gourmet Mexican dining concept, without question,” he said.

Landau also said a Garrison’s could open again in the future, possibly back in Vinings.

“We very much like the concept,” he said.

Ross Henderson, who has lived in Vinings since 1980, said he was a regular at Garrison’s, often walking there with his wife Dana.

“It [was] one of the most favorite restaurants of mine in the Vinings area,” he said. “It [was] just a meeting place for Vinings. Dana and I walked in there the other day and saw [former next-door neighbor] Matt Towery and his wife [Dolle]. We had the most wonderful time. … But wow, if a Murphy's or a concept like that comes in, that will be wonderful.”

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