With 2015 behind us, it’s time to reflect on the stellar openings and sad closings that marked the year, the most dramatic being the sudden demise of the Here to Serve Restaurants.
Twist, Smash, Shucks, Prime, Coast, and multiple Noche locations unexpectedly shuttered in October, no longer able to make payroll. Perhaps an omen of things to come, Here to Serve had recently closed Goldfish, Aja, and Shout amid troubles arising from a lawsuit brought by Phipps Plaza and Lenox Square. Apparently, they had signed on with Tom Catherall, not his now ex-wife Leigh, who acquired the company through her divorce settlement.
Over the years, Catherall made his mark on Atlanta’s restaurant scene, first with Southern fusion dining at Azalea, and then his wildly popular bistro called Tom Tom at Lenox. It was my favorite restaurant for years, and among the first to serve a salad of field greens rather than iceberg lettuce. It was a game changer. He would establish Here to Serve a few years later in 1996, coinciding with the opening of Prime, also at Lenox.
The mass closing was shocking news for Atlanta’s food obsessed, as well as the company’s employees. Many of the displaced servers, bartenders, line cooks, and managers were scooped up by the array of new establishments here to serve Atlanta something fresh.
Perhaps Catherall will be serving knuckle sandwiches at his reincarnation of Tom Tom in the original Noche space in the Virginia Highlands.