What began as a temporary closure of the Zesto in Little Five Points earlier this year has become permanent.

Zesto, a fixture at the high-visibility corner of Moreland and McClendon avenues for 58 years, won’t reopen, Atlanta Business Chronicle first reported and co-owner Leigh Ann Livaditis confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The restaurant initially closed in May after a tree fell on the building.

Some of the parade spectators climb the roof of Zesto's to get a better view of the 10th Annual Little Five Points Halloween Parade.

Credit: Alexander Acosta / AJC Special

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Credit: Alexander Acosta / AJC Special

It was the “nail in the coffin” Livaditis said, after a trying two years for the location. Georgia Department of Transportation construction work on Moreland Avenue started in 2019, making the business difficult for customers to access. The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, staffing issues and trouble dealing with people loitering on the property, made it unfeasible to reopen, Livaditis said.

“We thought it would be better to market the property and see what might be a better fit there,” she said. “But we’re so sad to lose the Little Five Points store and not be in the center of such a vibrant community.”

Owned by Livaditis and her husband, Jimbo, Zesto also has locations in Buckhead, East Atlanta, Forest Park and Tyrone. A location on Ponce de Leon closed several years ago.

Livaditis said the Buckhead location on Piedmont Avenue is also “hanging on by a very thin thread” due to loitering issues in that area.

Zesto, which specializes in burgers, hot dogs and soft-serve, celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2019.

Zesto began in Atlanta in 1949 as a walk-up ice cream stand on Peachtree Road, across the street from Brookwood Station in Buckhead. Its roots in the region date back a year earlier, when Jimbo’s father, John Livaditis, was hired by the Taylor Freezer Corp., manufacturer of the Zest-O-Mat soft-serve ice cream machine, to oversee the opening of 30 Zesto units when the company decided that it wanted to expand its subsidiary ice cream shops into the Southeast.

Livaditis said she wants business at the existing locations to “stabilize” before making any decisions about opening new locations.

“We hope people will come and support our existing stores,” Livaditis said. “We fully intend to continue with Zesto in Atlanta. We’re so thankful for the support we’ve had so far.”

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