City shutters Rare Soul Tapas and arrests owner

City of Atlanta closes restaurant for operating without liquor license

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Rare Soul Tapas has been shut down by the city of Atlanta but plans to reopen July 4 as a new “nightlife concept.”

The restaurant at 554 Piedmont Avenue was forced to close mid March after Lorenzo Wyche, owner of Rare, was cited for selling liquor without a license, according to Kevin Jones, acting deputy director for the Fulton County Department of Health Services.

“The food service establishment named Rare Soul Tapas closed on today due to failure to have a food establishment permit,” Jones said in an email.

Wyche was arrested on April 28 and released on April 30 after posting a $2,500 bond, according to his Fulton County inmate report.

He was charged for “selling/dealing alcholic,” according to the report.

What Now Atlanta called the restaurant Friday and received a voice recording confirming the restaurant has closed.

“…Beginning May 1, the restaurant will be closed indefinitely for business,” the voice recording said. “We appreciate your support over the last five years and are in the process of reopening July 4 under a new nightlife concept.”

This isn’t the first time Rare closed. The restaurant caught fire more than two years ago and reopened in January 2011.

Wyche was not immediately available for comment.

Rare Soul Tapas
554 Piedmont Avenue Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30308

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak (CJS) is the Founder of What Now Media Group, Inc., the publisher of What Now Atlanta and What Now Los Angeles.
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Midtown Mary
9 years ago

HUH? – “the process of reopening July 4”? LEGALLY? Is that possible?
What right minded city official would approve a license for this guy now?

martin
9 years ago

wow…the flying biscuit in candler park has been selling alcohol without a permit for a while!

lorenzo wyche
9 years ago

It’s true…. I was working at social house cleaning the dry storage last thursday and received the phone call from my manager at rare that we had a problem.. I was thinking a leak, cooler issue or a server couldn’t come to work. so he tells me that the license hasn’t been renewed and there were some real official looking people at the restaurant.. So I immediately drive down there in my brown shorts and blue t-shirt to find out whats going on.. and it all went down.. “mr. wyche this” and “mr. wyche that” long story short the license… Read more »

SPARE US
9 years ago

A quick read of the many BAD Yelp reviews of his establishments tell a different story. It seems another line of work is in order. Bad service, Cold, poor quality food, and operating illegally do not a business make. It seems the patrons have been trying for a long time to “communicate” their displeasure with these issues via their reviews.

Now The City has spoken.

– “let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.”

former employee
9 years ago

isnt buying your beer and liquor from the package store illegal for restaurants?
isnt that proof that you know very well, that you have no valid permits or licenses?
does anyone care about what you were wearing that day?
do we really believe you travel the world?
do we care how many hours you work?
do you plan on fixing your issues with the IRS?
do you plan on fixing your issues with the Dept. of Labor?

Allison Wonderland
9 years ago

I admire your positive attitude, Mr. Wyche. Best of luck to you!

CB
9 years ago

I had never been to Rare, but I will say Social House is a f*ucking disaster as far as service goes. Good thing it seems like Mr. Wyche was focusing on that place.

lorenzo wyche
9 years ago

re spare us; i read every yelp review.. please log onto opentable and read 99 percent of the positive reviews.. ask the 700 guests i take care of every week how much they love the work we do.. are we perfect? no. but we work hard to deliver a great affordable dining experience. even if it hasnt made sense for us a a business. I can guarantee every one of my guests who have talked to me about their experience i take care of it personally. re former employee; its unfortunate that you have been misinformed. and the fact is… Read more »

Former Employee
9 years ago

Before I became an employee for Rare, I was a regular customer there. And the reason I was a regular there is because the food was GREAT and the bartender was GREAT! Not to mention, where else in Atlanta can you lounge and eat? The concept was amazing…

I admired Mr. Lorenzo for his dedication to his business.

I really enjoyed my time working there and I wish him the best of luck.

eddie f
9 years ago

HEY I LOVE RARE AND I MISS THE HARLEM BAR I KNOW LORENZO HAS BEEN AT THIS FOR YEARS AND EVERY TIME I GO INTO HIS SPOTS HE IS THERE SO KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK BRUH. JUST MAKE SURE I CAN KEEP GETTING MY BANANA PANCAKES AT SOCIAL HOUSE AND WE GOOD.

-EDDIE

9 years ago

Sorry to hear this Lorenzo. I don’t want to put my name on here, but you know me. With the new opening, you probably should stay away from the “Black Hollywood” theme and not so stuffy type people. Maybe I’m getting old, but I think people would appreciate more of a laid back crowd without getting judged on what you’re wearing. But I guess that’s everywhere in Atlanta now…..lol. I guess it’s not your fault that Atlanta has lost it’s southern charm. Good luck to you. =)

mypitboss
9 years ago

Too bad this place closed. The menu looks great. Ah well.

Micheline
9 years ago

LMFAO…

Gyver
9 years ago

LMMFAO!!!!!!!!!!
Saw it coming. You get out what you put in!
Deserved!!!

lorenzo wyche
9 years ago

re: micheline pierre (former waitress at harlem bar) your awesome.. funny. i remember the time a customer walked out on their tab and i came in at the end of the shift and comped off the bill without the manager knowing so you did’nt have to pay for it.. do you remember? i do. re: gyver aka wesley davenport (former kitchen manager at rare) i remember giving you an extra $900.00 cash so you could put that down payment on your wife’s wedding ring…. do you remember? i do. listen folks. I have been in this business since 1998 in… Read more »

ZoSoHomo
9 years ago

Zo, if you wasn’t so busy trying to bang all of the women that works for you, you could remember to pay your bills. This guy drives a 100k SUV but can’t pay his employees, his bills or his baby mama. Does anyone see how many time he has been locked up for dumb stuff? he has more mug shots than he dones businesses now. You make all black businessmen look bad.

former customer
9 years ago

What a loser you are proving yourself to be Mr. Jailbird. First, this site is posting Publicly accessible information. There is nothing any lawyer can do about it. Get your facts straight. Next time dont get arrested. (And worry about the only kitchen you have left.) This website is serving the Atlanta foodies and patrons well. It gives us heads up on whats going on in this great city, and warns us of where to steer clear from. You sound like an angry child. Face it, you have destroyed any small shred of hope with your lame comments. Secondly, constantly… Read more »

lorenzo wyche
9 years ago

lol…its been fun folks… if anyone has anything to say to me.. my door is open. 100 percent transparent..
404.310.7772
lw@lwrestaurants.com

best regards
-lorenzo

Marissa c.
9 years ago

I am a big fan of wyche restaurants.. I’m sure the people saying these hateful comments are probably jealous of his success. I get treated well by the staff at social house and will continue to eat there. I have met lorenzo several occasions and he is a pretty funny guy and cute too.. Good luck lorenzo

Shix
9 years ago

Wow. First of all, I really do appreciate you, sir, for saying something about the situation. So many times, we wonder what the owner or person is thinking when they have problems. As a person who desires to have my own business one day, I really do appreciate you mentioning what you identified as your issue & taking responsibility for what happened. I’ve had some ‘interesting’ times of service at the various restaurants, but I’ve had them at other places as well. I wish you continued success in all that you do. When you had to close Rare the first… Read more »

Lorenzo
9 years ago

Whoa… Whoa.. Whoa… Sounds to me like a few of the same people are airing out their personal vendettas on this “foodie” site under different call names. First of all I doubt a “former customer” stays up to 2am to sling unsubstantiated mud. And my businesses expand outside the restaurant industry and includes philanthropy and your right I do get something in return for what I do for others but guess what? the big man upstairs is keeping score of that not you nor me.. I don’t argue with fools because people from afar can’t tell who is who. So… Read more »

Hungrymama
9 years ago

Lorenzo, the food there was awesome! Rare was one of my favorite restaurants and I’m sorry to see it go. I loved the atmosphere. Where is the chef going now??? lol! Because for that fried cornish hen, piri-piri pork, blt-salad, and peach cobbler (to name a few) I will follow him.

lorenzo wyche
9 years ago

re: hungrymama
thanks so much.. the chefs name is anthony sanders… he is in south florida now.. super talented kid! facebook him.

Lorenzo
9 years ago

Re: shix Great observation.. In fact the website did say that the restaurant was not open and asked for people to leave contact info for grand reopening.. Phone was messages as well like it is today. And the employee that was layed off was done so under favorable terms with severance. The business just couldn’t support the 50k salary and we are still friends. My suggestion is to just do it.. That job will be waiting for you if you decide being in business for yourself isn’t for you… If you need help with your ideas I invest and have… Read more »

Nick
9 years ago

Caleb – keep up the good work. This guy is a joke. I bet he wouldn’t be coming after you and your website if you posted a positive review about his establishment.

Lorenzo – word to wise – Don’t attack the messenger….oh, and get a liquor license.

Lorenzo
9 years ago

Re: nick
Attack? Really? Your a joke. If Caleb wants to write about me I’m going to respond to him and anyone else for that matter..
At the end of the day your spending your time talking about me.. I have several liqour licenses.. Word to the wise.. Go screw yourself.. Lol

Lorenzo
9 years ago

I posted my first response to communicate with the readers of this blog about what was going on with rare… That’s it. Now it’s turned into something else.. But guess what I am my own man.. Self made millionaire at 25… Successful in multiple businesses in several industries… Im a artist so I’m passionate about my work… And I will respond to every ignorant, hateful comment and thank my supporters.. I’m sitting at wholefoods outside enjoying a naked mango with my honey on my iPhone… Totally unaffected by the haters… And anyone else who has anything but positivity.. I love… Read more »

Noted Food Critic
9 years ago

Wow, how unprofessional.

DJ NePhu
9 years ago

As a former DJ for RARE it was a cool spot to kick it at. However there were some miscommunication between you and management, but what establishment doesn’t have those. It was a great experience for me and exposure. I could be one of these bitter people on here complaining about the pay but I played chess with the situation. Preciate the look-out Zo!!!

9 years ago

Just stop everyone……lol.

Justone
9 years ago

Wow, as a “foodie” I hate to hear bout a spot that everyone likes being closed down. People frown when you up and smile when you down. bad business

Alicia B.
9 years ago

As a former manager for Lorenzo i would like to say he is one of the hardest working people i have ever worked with i have since worked for other restaurant groups including the biggest ones and the owners of the other restaurants walk around like you dont exist and Lorenzo speaks to everyone.. he is always at his places even carrying food and stuff around in his car. LoL. I think its really unfair to judge someone unless you have been in their shoes. And i have worked with him and have learned so much about the restaurant business… Read more »

Anonymous Food Reviewer
9 years ago

hey lorenzo i totally understand your point of view… your damned if you do and damned if you dont.. I dont think people realize the work that goes into building a good restaurant and i like the fact you wear your heart on your sleave. im doing a reality show on restaurant life and will call you to see if i can feature you.

Your hilarious dude!!
P.S. at least you don’t look like Nick Nolte in that poster board.

ZoSoScrewedMeToo
9 years ago

as a former employee I’ve seen Zo beat down his ex wife in the kitchen of Harlem Bar in front of all of his employees and guests. He doesnt pay his employees but sure loves to sleep and have babies with them.. This man owes the IRS over 500k in taxes…umm yeah good luck with getting that liq license. You just filed for bankruptcy not too long ago. you’ve been to jail for beating your ex wife and for not paying her, her divorce settlement. You have multiple lawsuits out. I’m sure hes about to be on the next episode… Read more »

justwannalaugh
9 years ago
Mami
9 years ago

Karma is a biotch senor Wyche! You screwed over a lot of people trying to get to the top, including your ex wife, and now she’s going to be more successful than you without any help from your cheap ass! How does it feel?? Revenge!! haha

You are a joke,Have you paid PFG back for all the food they have given you.I hope your sh*t burns the f*ck down.You need to turn in that fu*king white snow flake truck of your in before they repo it again.And you know that Babies your’s.She looks just like you,you can even see it in the child’s eye.Oh I’m sorry your gay!Your food sucks,your prices are too fu*king high.You know my mama said once God don’t like Ugly . Your a fu*king Monkey to this city! You need to torch rare up like you did the first time to get… Read more »

If Old Spice wants to sell body wash, then they should use zo-zo promo. This man invented swagger in cheating mother fu*kers about there money.Please don’t try to open up another place.Do Atlanta a big fu*king favor.

On The Outside Looking In
9 years ago

I find it interesting that so many people want to throw stones at Lorenzo. There are so many people out there that have no idea what it takes to start and operate a business. No idea what it takes to be an entrepreneur. That’s why they have jobs working for someone else. Listen, I’m not commenting here on this site to defend anyone. But I am writing with the hopes that someone will read this and think. The fact is that without failure there is no progression. With failure, comes solutions, you figure out how not to do something. I… Read more »

On The inside Looking out
9 years ago

Dear “On The Outside Looking In”
Your screen name could not have been better chosen. Because if you knew the details of this Bozo, you would know that many people have shouted at the top of their lungs: “HEY LOOK OUT, YOURE GOING TO CRASH!! GET OUT OF THE WAY!!!”
– only to have him reply in the rudest, most foul manner: F*ck you! I’m the boss, I’ve travelled to 2 countries, and have on sunglasses at nite! So F you! ”

That is when you pray the truck speeds up.

9 years ago

I could have sworn Wes was married before he started at Rare you F*CK! You break mor Backs then CRACKAS!

The Therapist...
9 years ago

I laughed just by reading the responses! My friend sent me to this page to get some great laughs and I did!! I must say I really enjoyed reading “On the Outside Looking In” comment. It made the most sense and appeared to express balanced out of all the responses. However, Mr. Lorenzo you have a lot of people not for you and your business. I encourage you to listen to everyone (your supporters and non-supporters), thank them for their statements even if you disagree or not, and not state what you have accomplished in the past(let others brag about… Read more »

Swamimommi
9 years ago

Upon reading all of the previously posted comments, and learning about the circumstance through a close friend & being a former employee of the Harlem Bar, I can only say, that No body is perfect. We ALL have our issues, & things to work on, We ALL have something in which to Improve in our lives, and I have learned that it is through challenges, hard times, & set backs, that prepare us for much more fruitful experiences in our lives, no matter how sticky a situation may present itself at that time, know, that its to make us better… Read more »

Food Lover
9 years ago

Wow you worked with Chef Anthony Sanders,I been following his work for years.He has to single most UNDERATED chef in the country.Can anyone Find him Atlanta Needs him?

foodlover
9 years ago

WOW! MR WHYCHE I HAD NO IDEA THAT YOU WORKED WITH CHEF ANTHONY SANDERS HE HAS TO BE THE MOST UNDERATED CHEF IN THE COUNTRY.IF YOU READ RARE’S MENU ITS NOTHING LIKE HARLEM BAR OR SOCIAL HOUSE. ONLY A GREAT CHEF COULD’VE PULL OFF A MENU LIKE THAT.I BEEN FOLLOWING HIM FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS. DO YOU HAVE HIS CONTACT? IF SO LET HIM KNOW ATLANTA NEEDS HIM

lorenzo
9 years ago

LOL
Its pretty funny when you have been around people so long you can read their “anonymous” posts and tell immediately who they are, you 2 are just “crazy nastyass honey badgers”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r7wHMg5Yjg

lorenzo
9 years ago

I AM THE HEAVYWEIGHT RESTAURANT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwZ77IuKu2U&feature=related

On The inside Looking out
9 years ago

Im working on my PHD; player hater degree. I graduate in the fall yall.

sweetgabrown
9 years ago

smh

yourkidsfavoriteteacher
9 years ago

I have had the pleasure of dining at several of Lorenzo’s places and in fact met my husband at rare several years ago. I really miss that place and hope it opens up bigger and better. Good Luck!

avant27
9 years ago

I am a former employee of Rare, i wasnt always satisfied with the way things were run, and no Lorenzo isnt perfect(no one is), there were several things that could have been handled differently, but i am extremely thankful for Lorenzo providing me with a job, a job that helped to provide for me for a little over a year. I am grateful for i had some the best times and met some of the greatest people in Atlanta (my former co-workers). Lorenzo, regardless of his faults, the man has a pool of knowledge and work ethic that i admire,… Read more »

mixologist22
9 years ago

I have worked for Lorenzo at 2 of his restaurants and I think he is a freaking genius 3 restaurants by the age of 27! are you serious?!!. One day we were all standing around the bar at work and he told us his story and how he got to were he is. The man needs to write a book. And he is always sharing knowledge with people around him. I suggest all the haters on here should have listened and maybe they would be thanking him instead of bashing. I am a aspiring owner and hope to have as… Read more »

misstali
9 years ago

I worked for lorenzo and I really enjoyed it. I made a lot of friends and good money.

Randee
9 years ago

Much respect Lorenzo,

Those who aren’t restaurant entrepenuers haven’t
the slightest idea what being involved in
these nearly 7 day week / 24 hour expensive
undertakings entail. I congratulate you for the success
that you have had and wish you much more
success in the future. ” Every failure leads one
that much closer to success! ” Never stop
chasing those dreams. The GREATESS hope
of all is hope for the FUTURE. Roll on my
Brother!

my 2 cents
9 years ago

I worked at rare and think lorenzo was a good owner very hands on and always telling us to focus on the guests and providing great service… I have nothing but positive experience.
Thank You.

jonathan
9 years ago

I saw this a while ago and wasn’t really familiar with Rare but i recently ate breakfast at The Social House and wanted to lick the plate. Too bad I didn’t get a chance to visit Rare before they closed.

so sad eater
9 years ago

Aw man. I really love Rare and have been a customer at all of Lorenzo’s places. The food and the service is always excellent. I always make it my first stop when entertaining visitors from out of town. Definitely will be missed.

business leader
9 years ago

I have had the good fortune to work with Mr. Wyche and have nothing but positive things to say. I believe all businessman go through challenging times and this too shall pass. What a bright talented guy. I wish you the best and expect that you will make it through this transistion.
Good Luck!

business leaders boss
9 years ago

You know its a sad state of affairs when you have post post “positive” comments about yourself. Lorenzo has always been, and will always be a complete loser, crook and fraud.
Take a glance at the reviews of the dump he calls a restaurant “social house” on Yelp.
What a joke this guy is. Please move away – soon. Before you end up in jail for the 5th time.

great job sir
9 years ago

Haute Living Magazine Ranks The Social House as top 3 best places omlettes in Atlanta…

http://www.hauteliving.com/2011/04/top-5-omelettes-in-atlanta/

congratulations
Lorenzo!!

grtrpermits
9 years ago

I heard about this post recently. How come folks try to tear down good people who do good work. I do permit expediting in the city of Atlanta and many restaurants and bars do not renew their licenses on time resulting in fines and penalties. This actually happens pretty often. I hope Lorenzo gets better personnel to handle these details. If you need help in this area I am very reasonable. grtrpermits2006@gmail.com

Shelvia
9 years ago

Lorenzo, I patiently await the day that Rare Reopens. I will be there with the girls and with bells on.

Knew it all along
9 years ago

From the moment I met this loser I knew he was a piece of crap. Actually I knew it before I officially met him. Anytime a employer knocks up his assistant and screw around with other female workers at his restaurant, he is nothing but a scumbag. A real business man that is about business knows you dont sh** where you eat and the closing of all his restaurants is sheer proof that he’s not about business. And how can we forget his language that he has used on this blog. What business owner with any class does that. You… Read more »

L.T.
8 years ago

Wow, is all I can say, Many of the former employees laughed and joked when the shoe was on the other foot. When they saw Lorenzo’s treatment of other guests/employees/promoters it was all fun and games until the shoe was on their feet. Its really sad because the food, the drinks, the ambiance in Rare was AMAZING. It was really original, and unique. All it needed was someone to care. He’s had managers that worked there, loved what they did, and showed genuine concern about his establishment, because of what IT was and not what HE was, and he couldn’t… Read more »

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