The 21-year-old pizzeria on Ponce is closing its doors late-April.
Murder Kroger might have taken its last breath but the grocery store on Ponce is still taking victims from the grave.
Cameli’s Pizza, which is situated in the development where Murder Kroger once stood (and where the grocery store will be resurrected as the shiny new 725 Ponce redevelopment project), is being forced to close its doors for good after 21 years, the pizzeria Friday announced on its Facebook page.
“As you may know, the Kroger redevelopment project has been underway since October. The parking nightmares, no Kroger anchor, the closed North Ave entrance, the closed Beltline access, and the construction mess, have all converged to result in dramatic sales decreases,” Cameli’s Pizza posted to the social media site.
“Our lease is up at the end of April and our landlord has been unwilling to offer any concessions to help Cameli’s weather the storm of this two year redevelopment process.”
Cameli’s Pizza late-2016 launched a campaign to save the pizzeria, at 699 Ponce De Leon Avenue NE. Now the owners are encouraging patrons to visit other locations.
Cameli’s Pizza is expected to close its doors late-April.
Here’s the saga in its entirety as told by Cameli’s Pizza Owner George Cameli (picking up after the quotes above):
Although Ford Factory Square, owned by DEL Development, has teamed up with New City Development (aptly named) on this project, they have offered zero information or help in dealing with the construction challenges. Even though we do have a contractual right to another 5 year term In our lease, it has become clear that our landlord is trying to push us out in order to cash in on the success of the Beltline and the Ponce City Mall. Our landlord is insisting on high ‘market’ rental rates. Extending our lease at higher rental rates while our sales decline is not a position that we can sustain, and we have decided that it is not worth fighting our landlord at this time for our lease extension option.
Twenty one years ago, we fell in love with Ponce de Leon even with all of its flaws. My family and I have tried very hard over the years to become significant contributors to our local in town community through our local schools, churches, sports teams, and neighborhood organizations. Our goal has always been to be a business that gives back to the community that has given us their support year after year. We believe that we have the toughest customers on Planet Earth for braving the gauntlet that Ponce de Leon could sometimes be (not so much anymore). From the bottom of our hearts, my family and I would like to thank all of you for supporting us throughout the years.
There is some good news here, though. Ponce will be open through most of April and our L5P location will remain intact. Our L5P location has ample seating and ample free parking to accommodate all of our incredible Ponce customers. We have a spectacular rooftop patio and bar with a downtown skyline view, which is gorgeous at sunset. We also have a street front patio and another non-smoking bar downstairs. We have events throughout the week: Movie night, Comedy night, and Vinyl DJ nights on the rooftop patio, Game Board night, Trivia, and Karaoke downstairs. Our L5P location has the same great food and the same relaxed atmosphere. Print out a coupon for a FREE SLICE or 50% ANY LARGE PIZZA at our L5P location here http://www.dropjawcreative.com/CAMELI/Postcard.jpg. You can also get Camelis delivered to your house through DoorDash, Zifty, UberEats, or Grubhub
Camelis needs your continued support, so please make our L5P location your new home for great pizza and drinks. We promise to continue to support our local community and we look forward to another twenty one years of serving you and your families.