Highland Bakery has closed for good in Decatur, at 319 W Ponce de Leon Ave.
The restaurant has been shuttered since mid-March to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and won’t reopen, Jack Arnold of Stream Realty Partners, Highland Bakery’s landlord, Tuesday told What Now Atlanta (WNA). It was the breakfast-all-day chain’s first franchise and opened under the direction of Jill Johnson.
“We are actively marketing the space to new users and have significant interest in it already,” Arnold said. “Predominantly fast-casual users of varying cuisines.”
Highland Bakery Decatur’s 3,080-square-foot space, on the ground level of The Place on Ponce apartment mid-rise, has been listed for rent since early May.
Stacey Eames, the president of Ingrained, Inc. (DBA Highland Bakery), told WNA the restauranteur was in active negotiations to keep the restaurant going. “We have been back and forth with the landlord on finding a solution on reopening knowing the sales aren’t going to be what they used to be,” Eames said. “We have to be in this mode of operation that we’re all in this together.”
Eames said that an ideal solution—at least for the time being—would be to pay “percentage rent” amid the COVID-19 outbreak as people slowly start patronizing restaurants again. Percentage rent is paid based on the tenant’s gross income rather than a fixed monthly or annual value.
“I guess the landlord has already made the decision that they’re giving up the space for us. I was really shocked to see they were telling us that we’re not going back in the space. We still have the keys.”
Eames said Johnson would ultimately close the restaurant as Stream Realty has seemingly already made up its mind to find a new tenant rather than come to an arrangement regarding rent.
This particular stretch of W Ponce de Leon Ave in Decatur has seen a wave of restaurant closures in recent weeks. The Pinewood—across the street—and Ted’s Montana Grill—a block east—like Highland Bakery both temporarily closed earlier this year and never reopened.
[Editor’s note: this article was updated after What Now Atlanta spoke with Stacey Eames.]