Radial Cafe closes Candler Park location within a week of College Park closure

Radial Cafe Grain bowl / AJC file photo

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Radial Cafe Grain bowl / AJC file photo

In a one-two punch for fans of Radial Cafe, the eatery has closed its flagship Candler Park location  within a week of closing its newer College Park location.

Owner Frank Bragg penned a message to customers posted on the Radial Cafe Facebook page addressing the closure:

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 everyday 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 ambience 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.

Located at 1530 DeKalb Ave. NE, Radial served brunch, lunch and dinner and was known for being a "green" restaurant, making environmentally-friendly efforts including composting and using low-flow toilets as early as 2007, according to a 2018 AJC story.

The College Park outpost closed after less than a year.


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