Highland Bakery Permanently Closes Its Decatur Doors

There's 'significant interest' for the space from several 'fast-casual users of varying cuisines':

Highland Bakery has closed for good in Decatur, at 319 W Ponce de Leon Ave.

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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.]

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

6 Responses

  1. Another victim of the Trump Pandemic I guess. Downtown Decatur is rapidly becoming a ghost town. I don’t know if the high rents are driving restaurants away but it’s too bad the city of Decatur isn’t working to try to keep these restaurants from closing. A local landmark like Highland Bakery should not be forced to close in a hot spot like downtown Decatur. Absolutely disgraceful

    1. That’s kind of true, but there simply is not that much to do in Decatur. In fact, it essentially is (and has been for a while) just a few blocks along Ponce with slightly better than average dining options.

  2. Decatur screwed the accessibility to their downtown businesses a long time ago.
    They’re also charging Midtown prices for commercial properties!
    Good luck renting that storefront.
    Karma, she a bitch…

  3. “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.”
    And brokers wonder why people don’t take what they say at face value.

  4. If we are “all in this together” the landlord wouldn’t be showing the space to other potential restaurants. This same thing is happening all over town in every neighborhood. Landlords aren’t looking to renegotiate when they can drive the business to close and re-lease the space. It feels like they are preying on small business and consolidating more power to the big corporate guys. If a Moe’s moves in I’m going to be upset.

    1. With the rents that are being charged, chains like Moe’s are about the only tenants that can afford to open up shop. Or maybe it will just sit there as a dark storefront.
      My tenant is on a sliding scale/percentage rent.
      It works well for both of us at the moment.

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