Chef Kevin Rathbun won’t be reopening Rathbun’s and Krog Bar in Inman Park’s The Stove Works adjacent Krog Street Market, at 112 Krog St. NE.
But it’s not because of financial hardship brought on by being forced to temporarily close mid-March in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“The decision to close Rathbun’s and Krog Bar has absolutely nothing to do with the coronavirus,” Rathbun in a telephone interview Monday told What Now Atlanta (WNA).
Instead, the lease at the space was up, and Rathbun and The Stove Works’ new owner, Asana Partners, couldn’t reach renewal terms.
“I had until the end of 2020 to make a decision but the increase in rent really wasn’t my cup of tea.”
Asana Partners is planning on tearing down the restaurant space and building a breezeway to the Atlanta BeltLine, according to Rathbun.
“Asana Partners won’t be providing a statement,” a company spokesperson Tuesday told WNA.
Rathbun’s and Krog Bar, staples in Inman Park for nearly 17 years “before the area was cool,” could reopen in a year or two.
But as with sister eatery Kevin Rathbun Steak, Rathbun will only reopen the restaurants in buildings he owns.
One possible option for Krog Bar is actually adjacent Kevin Rathbun Steak, the chef said.
“Leasing is not something I want to do anymore. Buying a property would be the best thing.”
Rathbun’s “lofty goal” would be to at least reopen Krog Bar in mid-to-late 2021.
The chef is keeping the restaurant’s furntiture, marble bar, etc., with the plans of reusing it all in a new space.
As for Rathbun’s, “I just haven’t found that building yet.”
Sister concepts Kevin Rathbun Steak and KR Steakbar could reopen as early as June 2, 2020, at which point the nearly $100,000 in pre-sold gift cards by parent company Rathbun’s Restaurant Group to “assist our furloughed hourly employees” can be redeemed by patrons.