The Canteen Food Hall Closes After Landlord Threatens Suit For $20,000 In Back Rent

'The unwillingness to consider any rent relief during the past two months changed the path forward from uncertain to impossible.'

This post is an update of: [Update] The Canteen Now Open In Midtown

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Micro food hall The Canteen has permanently shuttered after the restaurant’s ownership was threatened with a lawsuit by its landlord for $20,000 in back rent, according to a report from Eater Atlanta Tuesday.

Jennifer Johnson, a partner in Rye Restaurants, the name for the family of eateries that includes The Canteen, confirmed the news in an email Tuesday to What Now Atlanta.

Here’s the statement in its entirety:

We first want to thank all of the wonderful staff members who made it possible, from preparing for the opening to the day-to-day operation to closing the doors. It has been a pleasure and privilege to work with all of you.

We look forward to continuing to work with many of you in our other restaurants.

We also want to thank all the loyal customers over the last several years. Our goal from the start was to prove that food could be both fast and high-quality. We appreciate all of the patrons who embraced and supported that vision.

The Canteen has been a challenge. We always enjoyed tremendous weekday support. Being in a business- heavy area, nights, and weekends never developed the traffic that we hoped they would. We were affected by seasonality to a much greater extent than any of our other university-adjacent restaurants. The Canteen ultimately operated on a very thin margin, relying on busier spring business to carry it through the slower summer months until traffic resumed in the fall.

When Georgia Tech and surrounding businesses closed down in March, business disappeared. With the pandemic taking out our spring business, surviving the summer would be difficult under the best of circumstances. We decided to close temporarily in mid-March, hoping to cut all expenses to the bone in the hope that we could come out of this intact. Closing only cuts the variable expenses like payroll and inventory.

It is the fixed costs, like rent and utilities, that remained. We recognize that our landlord was under no obligation to help–we had signed a lease–but the unwillingness to consider any rent relief during the past two months changed the path forward from uncertain to impossible.

The good news is that everyone can continue to enjoy Fred’s Meat & Bread and Yalla at Krog Street Market, and TGM Soup Co. and all the old TGM Bagel favorites at The General Muir at Emory Point. Those locations currently are open for takeout and delivery.

Thank you again for your support of The Canteen. We wish you all good health and happiness as we move through this difficult time.

Eater reports that the dispute has since been settled and as a result, The Canteen, LLC will relinquish the property by the end of May.

The Canteen, which debuted in Tech Square in 2017, housed Square Bar, Yalla, Fred’s Meat & Bread, and TGM Soup Co.

Click here to read Eater Atlanta’s thoughtful report in its entirety and click here to see an unfortunately long list of local eateries that have pulled the plug amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

[Editor’s note 1: an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that The Canteen, LLC was sued. The company was threatened with a suit but one was never formally filed.]

[Editor’s note 2: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is rapidly evolving as is its effect on Atlanta, and the City’s businesses and its residents. Click here for What Now Atlanta’s ongoing coverage of the crisis. For guidance and updates on the pandemic, please visit the C.D.C. website.]

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

20 Responses

  1. What a shame and what a disgrace. The Canteen was a great operation, with great food stalls and great energy. It brought life to Georgia Tech and the Midtown area. Now it’s all gone. There are several villains here. One is the landlord. Why couldn’t rent be frozen until the pandemic is over? Not sure why something couldn’t have been worked out there.

    The far worse villain is Trump and the deplorables at the federal government. We’re dealing with the Trump Pandemic. Trump owns all of it by firing CDC staff and scientists and Obama’s Pandemic Response Team that could have isolated the virus in China before it spread. Trump also engaged in a cover up for months about the virus. After being told by many advisors and Biden in January to do something about the pandemic and that 500,000 Americans could die, Trump lied to Americans, calling it the flu and a hoax and going golfing and on his hate rallies. So we’re in this dysytopian apocalypse because of Trump. And small businesses are falling by the wayside because of Trump’s negligence and incompetence and now small businesses can’t even get help from the federal government to survive. What a sad day for Atlanta and for downtown. With every step forward, downtown takes about 20 steps back

    1. Well said Jay.
      The Trump clan is soulless, and I just don’t understand landlords that have no
      compassion and no willingness to negotiate during this time.
      It gives us landlords a bad name.
      So they’d rather have a vacant property that will possibly stay vacant for six months or longer??? Shame on them!
      But ya know what– Karma, she a bitch…

      1. People perceive landlords as agile to make concessions in real-time. More times than not, their hands are tied as most have mortgages to service. In the loan docs with their lender are covenants that do not grant them the power to re-structure/modify standing contracts without lender approval. Landlords are in triage mode, too and many will lose their asset under the rent erosion. To assign blame to political cause is naïve.

        1. Good point. Sitting on vacant, custom built commercial space is an outstanding way to lose money. Landlords aren’t trying to lose money. It seems pretty unlikely that the landlord just decided to be dicks.

        2. “To assign blame to political cause is naïve.”
          If you don’t see that we have a self-centered buffoon & his grifter family running this country, I don’t know what to say.

          I’m thankful that I’m an agile and compassionate landlord.
          My tenant is now on a sliding scale, and I’m certainly not bringing the money in that I was.
          I’d rather do everything in my power to keep a great tenant, and not have a vacant property to try and rent.
          Nobody is going to jump at opening a business that’s surrounded by
          Midtown has already had a problem keeping it’s retail spaces rented.
          Maybe they’ll learn their lesson…

          1. Like Trump or not, and I am personally not a fan.. its not like this is an exclusive to America problem that you could directly blame the president for this mess.. Others countries are going through the same restrictions, some looser some stricter. But they all have the same economic hardships regardless. People losing their jobs in Europe and Asia just like they are in America..

            1. Yeah, but the messaging we’ve been receiving (here in the USA) has been filled with conspiracy theory distractions, and vindictive actions.

    2. You have got to be the dumbest person on the planet. It is well documented China tried to cover the virus up. Unbelievable that someone with your brainpower can even turn on a computer.

      1. Of course China delayed the truth.
        We need to rely much less on China– particularly with medications & other medical supplies.
        That doesn’t mean the White House didn’t totally bungle this up, and create friction in doing so.
        The stuff that’s come out of the White House, at this time, makes me cringe.
        Clinton, Bush, Obama, would have handled this crisis in a much more
        thoughtful/diplomatic/educated kinda way.
        This president is only worried about polls, the election, personal loyalty, $$$, and his own bizarre ideas of creating friction.
        This isn’t a politically oriented site, and I usually refrain from politics– so I’m done with the political aspect of this conversation.

        1. “Of course China delayed the truth”
          Then how could any previous administration done any better short of an early Travel Ban? Oh wait…..
          “We need to rely much less on China”
          Hasn’t Trump been saying this since basically forever?
          There is plenty to blame Trump about but a virus that originated in China and was hidden and suppressed by the Chinese isn’t one of them. Look at all the other countries that have been affected worse than we have. Is Trump to blame for that also? The buck starts and stops with China on this issue. There is a reason 100 countries have banded together wanting answers or monetary payments from China as restitution for China’s lies and suppression.

          1. “Of course China delayed the truth”
            “Then how could any previous administration done any better short of an early Travel Ban? Oh wait…..”

            Intelligence agencies gather information for us when we don’t trust other nations to share it with us openly. They did that but were ignored. All of the steps that were ultimately taken could’ve been taken 2 months earlier. The federal government could’ve lead instead of reluctantly followed. A travel ban from any other administration would’ve been taken seriously if they hadn’t previously wasted time and political capital instituting multiple illegal travel bans.

            It is entirely possible for China’s government to have engaged in a horrendous cover-up AND for our own administration to have mounted an embarrassing and ineffective response. It appears that both are the case. It is time to stop defending this administration’s response. 1.5 million cases, 95,000 deaths. By absolutely any possible metric it has failed.

  2. This is such a shame. The Canteen was a really neat place with quality food stalls. I really enjoyed going and reading the GT paper while having a quick bite when in Midtown. It will be missed!

  3. I guess WNA wants to replace Curbed and get some ad revenue with all these off topic comments allowed on here…

    1. I thought the first comment on this article was satirical with all the obvious baiting and conspiracy theory, but it was either sadly genuine or everyone missed the joke.

  4. I’d love for this to be a place that doesn’t bring politics into everything. There’s so much happening now that is not political in cause, and many of us are getting really burned out having to read political bickering in every comments section on anything.

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