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In addition to our normal news coverage, What Now Atlanta is tracking ways Atlanta’s businesses are adapting to the novel coronavirus and the challenges it brings to brick-and-mortars.
Cafe Sunflower after 25 years is closing its Sandy Springs location, at 5975 Roswell Rd, Ste 353, the vegetarian and vegan restaurant announced in an email to patrons this week.
Its Buckhead outpost, at 2140 Peachtree Rd NW, is staying put and is currently offering takeout.
Cafe Sunflower is the latest Atlanta-area eatery to succumb to the financial hardships brought on by being forced to temporarily closed as mandated by the state’s “shelter-in-place” order in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 (read our running list of closures here.)
Here’s the entire statement from Cafe Sunflower Owners:
Cafe Sunflower has been my family’s livelihood for over the past two decades.
My parents, Lin and Edward, started their careers in the restaurant business in the mid-70s after immigrating to the U.S. from Taiwan.
After working in my uncle’s restaurants, they struck out on their own.
Cafe Sunflower was born in 1994.
The community didn’t know what to make of a vegetarian restaurant then.
We had a few initial customers, and some customers saw our Asian faces and made assumptions about the food and never tried it.
It was through sheer luck and enormous amounts of grit that Cafe Sunflower began receiving recognition in Sandy Springs.
Being voted Best Vegetarian and eventually Best Vegan was a nice pat on the back for the effort my parents and our staff put into the restaurant.
But even better was seeing a community of customers grow along with our business, all sharing in a passion for tasty vegan cuisine. (We see some of you three times a week!)
It was through that support that my parents were able to employ a staff of nearly 30 and put three kids through college.
Operating a restaurant is a 24-7 job. Things are constantly needing to be fixed, vendors can’t come through with produce, burglaries happen.
Through all of these things and more, Lin and Edward were able to sustain not only one but two vegan restaurants in Atlanta.
Then came 2020.
We were into our busiest season when the pandemic hit. As with so many others, our business was mostly obliterated.
Difficult choices were made.
Employees—some who had been with us for decades—had to be laid off.
Now comes the hardest choice in these bleak times: we can only save one restaurant.
Today, it is with great sadness and difficulty that I let you know that our Sandy Springs restaurant will be closed permanently.
I know many of you have had special moments there, because we celebrated them with you: first dates, engagements, birthday parties, baby showers, and wedding receptions.
We have been so deeply honored to be a part of the Sandy Springs community for these past 25 years, and it is beyond difficult for us to say goodbye.
There is a lot of uncertainty ahead, but we are still fighting!
All of our energy is now going into our Buckhead location, and with that, I ask that our beloved Sandy Springs community continue to support us there in any way that you can.
We want to thank you again for all that you’ve done for our family, and for the families of our staff.
[Editor’s note: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is rapidly evolving as is its effect on Atlanta, and the City’s businesses and its residents. Click here for What Now Atlanta’s ongoing coverage of the crisis. For guidance and updates on the pandemic, please visit the C.D.C. website.]