Radial Cafe Shutters Its Beloved Flagship in Candler Park

The news follows the closure of the restaurant's College Park outpost last week.

UPDATE (October 17, 2018): [Renderings] Lazy Betty To Replace Radial Cafe in Candler Park

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Radial Cafe has closed its 19-year-old Candler Park flagship.

The news of the closure comes just a week after the beloved restaurant shuttered its College Park location.

Owner Frank Bragg, who purchased Radial Cafe in 2010 and later expanded to a second location, announced the closure in an email to patrons Thursday.

Here’s the email in its entirety:

“Normally, I am sitting in the office at one of the restaurants putting this newsletter together. There is chatter from my staff, clinking silverware in the dining room, the roar of the dishwashing machine and the click and clack of the walk-in cooler opening and closing; there are knocks at the door looking for help and almost always someone saying, “Frank, such and such is here to see you”. Operating a restaurant is a non-stop affair!

Today is different, however. There is no background restaurant noise – there is no action, no life. I am writing you from my home where I am trying to put everything into perspective.

Sadly, I hate to tell you that both restaurants are now permanently closed.

Last week, I had no choice but to shutter the College Park location. What a beautiful restaurant with so much potential! Unfortunately, it was not keeping up financially. Despite our best efforts, we were spending more than we were able to take in.

Closing College Park was supposed to help us keep Candler Park open. For many months, we have “borrowed from Peter to pay Paul” to keep both properties afloat, but Candler Park’s success was based on a plan with razor thin margins and less than a week after closing College Park, it was obvious that Candler Park had to be closed as well.

For over 19 years, the Radial Cafe brand has existed in the Atlanta market. It was always been a great example of the “little engine that could”. Despite its small size, it had a big place in the hearts of many people in our community. When I bought the Candler Park restaurant in 2010, I was aware of the enormous responsibility I had to protect this brand and to grow it responsibly.

I am sure you can imagine, but I can’t tell you how sad this day is for me. I am sorry I let you down! I am sorry I let down my team and the team-who-was-my-family. There are vendors and strategic partners who have been let down and my own family and friends who have supported me so enthusiastically over the last 7-1/2 years.

The best part of going to work every day was to see the familiar faces who trusted us to take care of them day in and day out. We took care of so many families and I am going to miss seeing “my kids” grow up. I am going to miss hearing about vacations. I am going to miss hearing about and participating in weddings and births and even deaths. Radial Cafe was my home and we ran it that way. My staff joked that we were a “yes-taurant” – always handling the simplest and sometimes craziest special requests, but that is how we were successful – sincerely and genuinely taking care of people!

We had issues and opportunities over the years, but I will always be very proud of our work. Not only did we create a safe, fun and eclectic environment for people to come and enjoy great food and drink, but we were active in our community and made a difference with donations of time, treasure, and talent. We raised the bar operating as an environmentally responsible restaurant and set an example, which many other restaurants came to follow. We won many awards for our food, service and ambiance over the years and were always grateful for these nods from the critics and the fans! I hope Radial Cafe will be remembered as a great restaurant and a great business.

Thank you for being there over the years. Your encouragement, support, love, feedback, kicks in the pants and presence made such a difference! I feel like we have been running this business together all these years and I am grateful for everything you have done for me and my team.”

No word on what’s next for Bragg but we expect to see him in the Atlanta restaurant scene again real soon.

Radial Cafe - Candler Park
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Photo: Official
Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

4 Responses

  1. It isn’t surprising. It’s a bit off the beaten track so everything has to be almost letter perfect to consistently bring in the kind of crowds needed to survive and it wasn’t. I’ve been there at least three times and service was seriously lacking at every visit so. After the last time, I simply decided not to go back. The food was good but I wasn’t willing to drive that far out of the way for poor service. I’m sorry they’re closing and I wish them well.

  2. I am saddened. I always experienced good service and most times there were many diners. Sometimes even waiting lines..So am bewildered by its lack of success. Will great miss Candler Park Radial.

  3. Not surprising. While the food was usually pretty good, the service was slow and iffy at best…and we gave it many tries over many years.

  4. I have eaten there many times as I was working in the neighborhood. The atmosphere was very good. But the food was just OK. The service was pretty bad. Like they were always understaffed. But the main thing was the food. It was just OK. In today’s environment if you want to charge 10+ $ for a hamburger it should be very good. Just look at Grindhouse. If you want vegan it needs to be real. not part time.
    I believe the place failed because it didn’t have anything unique except maybe its great location. Hope the owner comes back smarter and stronger the next time. Having your business fail is heartbreaking. But it aint the end of the world. Hopefully you have your health and can try again.

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