The Colonnade surpasses $100K GoFundMe goal

Longstanding Atlanta restaurant sought community support to stay in operation during pandemic

The neon sign at the Colonnade will stay lit – at least for now.

On the brink of closing due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, a GoFundMe campaign was launched last Wednesday on behalf of the historic Atlanta restaurant with a goal of raising $100,000. It surpassed that target over the weekend. As of mid-morning Sunday, donations tallied more than $103,000, with the help of more than 1,500 supporters who chipped in as little as $5 and as much as $1,000.

Located at 1879 Cheshire Bridge Road, the Colonnade is one of Atlanta’s longest-standing restaurants, second in age only to Atkins Park. Founded in 1927, the Southern eatery is operated by Jodi Stallings and her husband, David. Jodi Stallings has been involved in day-to-day operations for the past three decades, and she purchased it last year from her father, Paul Jones, who bought it in 1979.

In an interview last Thursday, Stallings told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that money raised through the GoFundMe campaign would be used for rent, utilities, food supply and to make payroll for its 36 employees.

Among the 1,500 donors who rallied to keep doors open was Manuel’s Tavern owner Brian Maloof. Two weeks ago, a successful GoFundMe kept him from closing his 64-year-old tavern at year’s end.

“This is another Atlanta landmark in trouble,” wrote Maloof on the Colonnade GoFundMe site. “Their history is rich and wonderful. They have the best fried chicken in the south. And this is where I met my future in-laws for the first time. My wife and her mother and aunt went here twice a month for the last 25 years. The Colonnade is a part of our family history. Atlanta would not be the same without it.”

Other donors expressed similar sentiments. “My wife Taylor St. Clair and I make a point of going to the Colonade (sic) on every occasion and every non-occasion. I am a native of Atlanta and in my 68 years of life I cannot imagine a world without the Colonade (sic),” wrote George Nikas.

Dozens of contributions were made in honor of family and friends who frequented the restaurant. “Dedicated to the memory of C. A. (Sonny) Eason who loved the Colonnade more than he loved life itself,” wrote donor Richard Patterson. “Long may you dine on Colonnade rutabagas, Sonny.”

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