Atlanta Restaurant Scene

New employee, would-be customers find doors locked at Gladys Knight's Chicken and Waffles

A day after the Georgia Department of Revenue shuttered all three locations of Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles restaurants due to criminal theft charges against Shanga Hankerson, owner of the restaurants and son of Gladys Knight , people are reacting to the sudden closure of the popular Atlanta-based dining concept.

At 11 a.m. this morning, a handful of would-be customers stood in front of the entrance at 529 Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta. Normally, the restaurant would open for service at this hour. Instead, the unsuspecting crowd encountered a handmade "closed" sign taped to the locked door.

Especially surprised was Amoni Fields. "Today is supposed to be my first day of work," said Fields, who was hired as a hostess at the restaurant on Monday, June 20. "I was hired Monday. I come back Wednesday, they are closed. That's crazy," she said.

Fields stated that no one from the restaurant called to inform her of the closure. "Why didn't anyone call me?" she questioned aloud, adding that she had taken a bus and a train from her residence in Sandy Springs to arrive at her new place of employment.

Among those expecting to put a fork into chicken and waffles were Quinci Miller and Jasmine Johnson, visiting from Little Rock, Arkansas. "Every time I come to town, I eat there," said Miller. "We'll go somewhere else," said Johnson.

Damian Lopez and three of his friends had driven from Naples, Florida for a quick tourist visit to Atlanta. Last year, Lopez tried to settle his fix for chicken and waffles at the famous restaurant but he was deterred by the long line. He had hoped that today he'd have better luck. "We are just trying to get some food," Lopez said.

Thus far, the restaurant has been quiet regarding the closure. While phones go unanswered at each location, an employee at the corporate office did pick up the phone, but stated that she could not provide further information at this time.

There is no announcement regarding the closure on the company's website nor has it responded to events via social media. The last Facebook post for the Peachtree location was on September 9, 2015 and September 18, 2015 for the Facebook account for the Lithonia address.

The most recent tweet from its Twitter handle, @GladysKnightChk, was March 7, where it stated “Peachtree location was re-inspected this AM & scored 90/A! Look forward to seeing you soon for our signature dishes.”

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About the Author

Ligaya Figueras joined the AJC as its food and dining editor in 2015.

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