Water main breaks force numerous Atlanta restaurants to close Friday

Workers take care of a water main break at Joseph E. Boone Boulevard and James P. Brawley Drive in Atlanta on Friday, May 31, 2024. (Arvin Temkar / AJC)

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Workers take care of a water main break at Joseph E. Boone Boulevard and James P. Brawley Drive in Atlanta on Friday, May 31, 2024. (Arvin Temkar / AJC)

The three Atlanta water main breaks on Friday that caused disruption to government buildings, public health institutions and attractions have also impacted dozens of area restaurants.

Numerous eateries across Little Five Points, Downtown, Grant Park, Old Fourth Ward, the West End, East Atlanta, Midtown, Inman Park and Candler Park were forced to close due to water outages or low water pressure.

Operations were halted throughout Krog Street Market, whose vendors include Superica, Ticonderoga Club, Little Tart Bakeshop and Fred’s Meat & Bread, among others.

Headed into what was expected to be a busy weekend, the timing is not ideal for restaurants.

Reid and Sophia Trapani of La Semilla decided to close around 3 p.m. after the water pressure slowed to a trickle and neighboring Reynoldstown restaurants began shutting their doors. Reid Trapani said they were banking on this weekend to make up for the lost revenue from Memorial Day weekend when many people were out of town.

“It’s really detrimental to think about not being open for tonight,” he said.

Not only will they lose a night of customers, but they also have labor costs from the cooks who prepped earlier in the day, and they might have to throw out vegetables, sauces and drinks that won’t last until tomorrow’s service.

Paul Calvert of Ticonderoga Club said he anticipates losing at least $10,000 from Friday’s closure. ”It’s particularly difficult now with our initiative to provide staff with a good wage and health benefits,” he said. “With the rising cost of everything from fish to limes to linens, every little bit is essential. We can’t afford to lose a Friday night.”

Calvert also lamented the “thematic connection” of this unexpected closure to the burst pipe in December 2022 that forced a monthslong closure.

Todd Ginsberg of Fred’s Meat & Bread and Yalla said Fridays are their second busiest day for business. He estimates that closing for the day will cost tens of thousands of dollars, and staff members who work five days a week could lose more than 5% of their total income for the month. “Anytime business is impacted and you’re relying on that money to pay bills and that sort of stuff, it’s a challenge,” Ginsberg said.

Some restaurant operators are glad to have at least gotten in lunch hours before the lack of water shut things down.

Will Silbernagel decided to close his Summerhill restaurant How Crispy at 2:30 p.m. after opening at 11 a.m. “We still had water, but the pressure was getting low and I didn’t want to be caught with a day’s worth of dirty dishes sitting in the sink. I tried to be proactive about it.” Silbernagel said. “We’re going to be down a couple of grand ... but hopefully we can make up for it this weekend with some specials and deals.”

After experiencing water pressure issues, Tio Lucho’s in Poncey-Highland opted to close the dining room but remain open for takeout. Elmyr in Little Five Points is open, but with limited service.

A 32-inch water main is broken near the intersection of Joseph E. Boone Boulevard and J.P. Brawley Drive; the second water main break is a few miles east at 2922 Glenwood Ave.; and the third break is on East Beechwood Drive near the city’s northwestern edge, according to the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management.

The running list of restaurants that are closed Friday include: 42 Bar and Grill, Banshee, Big Softie, Birdcage, Boxcar, Burle’s Bar, Der Biergarten, El Tesoro, Emerald City Bagels, Fellaship, Firepit Pizza Tavern, Fred’s Meat and Bread, Gigi’s Italian Kitchen & Restaurant, Gunshow, Hop City at Lee + White and Krog Street Market, How Crispy, Indaco, Kevin Rathbun Steakhouse, Krog Street Market, La Semilla, Lyla Lila, Magic City Kitchen, The Midway Pub, Poor Hendrix, The Porter Beer Bar, Six Feet Under, Staplehouse, Stats Brewpub, Three Little Tarts, Ticonderoga Club, Twin Smokers BBQ, Wrecking Bar Brewpub.

Other impacted restaurants can post their open or closed status by commenting on the @ajcdining Instagram post about the water main breaks.

— Please return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates.

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