Around Town: Closing? One of Marietta Square’s best-known eateries said soon to shutter
by Joe Kirby
Around Town Columnist
March 12, 2013 12:16 AM | 13725 views | 27 27 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print

ONE OF MARIETTA SQUARE’S best-known and longest-tenured eateries reportedly is on the verge of closing. Around Town was tipped off as it went to press on Monday that the restaurant had been unable to work out a satisfactory new lease with its longtime landlord and thus would be closing.

The restaurant has long had one of the most thriving lunch businesses on the Square, catering to workers at the Courthouse and other government buildings there.

Around Town was unable to reach the eatery’s owner as the MDJ went to press and thus chose to withhold the name of the restaurant until the story could be confirmed.

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IF THE STORY proves true, it would mark the latest episode in a shakeout of the downtown eating scene that began last spring when Krystal, which had presided at the busy corner of Whitlock Avenue and the Loop since the early 1970s, closed in April after the fast-food chain chose not to sign a new lease with then landowner F.C. Brooks Sr. The property was acquired in August by Joseph Goldstein, son of downtown Marietta property czar and City Councilman Philip Goldstein, and will ultimately reopen later this year as a Starbucks.

Then, in late January, two mainstays on North Park Square, Willie Rae’s and Simpatico, were sold by longtime owner Ben Lyman to Sterling and Nancy Wharton of Marietta. The Willie Rae’s menu will remain more or less the same, but Simpatico is closed for renovation and will be reopened as a local “farm-to-table” restaurant by the Whartons’ daughter, Katie Pfister, and her husband, Micah, both chefs. They also plan to open a bakery upstairs in Simpatico.

And Mariettans Kevin and Kammie Sakprasit opened Pier 213 Seafood last month at 35 South Marietta Parkway next to La Parilla Mexican restaurant.

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NO ONE WAS HUMMING that old ’60s soul hit “In the Midnight Hour” at the Cobb Courthouse late Wednesday, but it would have been appropriate. That’s because a jury trial in Superior Court Judge Rob Leonard’s courtroom dragged on not just past the midnight hour, but the first hour after midnight as well before reaching a verdict.

The divorce trial began last Monday and unlike most divorce trials, was heard by a jury rather than just a judge. One of the jurors had a job interview scheduled for Thursday in Ohio, so the jury “just wanted to get the case moving,” Leonard told Around Town afterward. “So we decided we would just keep working.”

Leonard gaveled the court to order at 8 a.m. Wednesday, then kept the trial going through lunch and into the night. The judge charged the jury for the final (child support) aspects of the case at 12:30 a.m. Thursday, and the jury did not finish its deliberations until 1:15 a.m. All told it was a 17-hour day.

“I felt like I owed it to the jury to help them get done that day and to help that juror get to his interview,” Leonard said. “I’m not aware of any other recent cases that have gone that long here. It’s my personal record and hopefully it will stand for a long time. I hope I don’t have to do it again. My court reporter has wrist-braces on today (Thursday) from all the writing she did yesterday.”

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WORD HAS IT that Cobb Superior Court Judge S. Lark Ingram fielded phone calls last week from both of Georgia’s U.S. Senators, Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, urging her to apply for an open seat on the federal bench in Atlanta. We’re told she was flattered, but is happy where she is.

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NORTHWEST COBB Commissioner Helen Goreham doesn’t have to face the voters for another 15 months or so, but potential opponents are already lining up to run against her in the wake of her politically unpopular votes to raise property taxes and against a program that would have kept county tax dollars from going to contractors who hire illegal aliens.

Former Kennesaw Mayor Leonard Church and the leader of one of west Cobb’s biggest homeowner organizations, Keli Gambrill, have already made known that they are thinking of challenging her in next summer’s Republican Primary. And a third potential candidate has now emerged.

He’s Carl Di Mare, a retired Cobb sheriff’s deputy who told Around Town he’s fed up with Goreham’s vote late last month against adopting the federal IMAGE ordinance for Cobb, which would have required contractors and subcontractors hoping to do business with the county to show that they had applied for IMAGE certification. The IMAGE program is designed to ensure that jobs funded with tax dollars go only to those in this country legally.

Goreham joined Commission Chairman Tim Lee (a fellow Republican) and Democrat Lisa Cupid to shoot down the measure, which had the support only of east Cobb Republican Commissioners Bob Ott and JoAnn Birrell.

“I think our west Cobb representative should represent the residents of west Cobb, not outside interests,” Di Mare told Around Town. “We need to make sure that jobs are available to legal residents, not illegal aliens that have broken the law to come here.”

“I especially disagree with (Goreham’s) IMAGE vote. That’s fundamental. You have a lot of people needing jobs who can’t get hired. But if the illegals weren’t able to hold those jobs, ----

DI MARE, like Goreham, is a New York native. He has a B.A. from the State University of New York in Stony Brook and a juris doctorate from Woodrow Wilson College of Law in Atlanta. Now 62, Di Mare went to work for the Sheriff’s Office in 1982 and retired in 2008. He was in charge of one of the “pods” at the Cobb jail, worked court security, was a plainclothes forgery investigator and did other tasks for the department.

He is unmarried, has a grown son, Matthew Di Mare, and lives just off Ernest Barrett Parkway in the Cheatham Hill district.

He says the county needs to cut spending, but needs to raise the salary and benefits for employees to make them more competitive. He also complains the county has bought “excessive parkland” and paid “top dollar” for it; and says the county has spent too much building sidewalks along rural roads that are rarely walked on but which will have to be maintained.

This would mark Di Mare’s first try for elected office.

“I’d like to see change in west Cobb. Foremost, we need to protect our citizens. The Cobb Chamber has its uses, but they’re not the citizens of west Cobb,” he said.

Di Mare, not surprisingly, also is a strong supporter of continuing Sheriff Neil Warren’s use of the controversial 287(g) program that identifies illegals brought to the jail on other charges.

“Proportionally, a very large part of the crime in Cobb is caused by illegal aliens,” he said. “We definitely need to keep 287(g).”

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GEORGIA Attorney General Sam Olens has joined a bipartisan group of 19 attorneys general to file an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief that asks the Supreme Court to review a case challenging a new New York law that the AGs contend infringes on the constitutional right to bear arms. That new law specifies that those seeking to bear arms in public must first provide specific proof to a state official that they need the gun to defend themselves.

The AGs say the case gives the Court an opportunity to 1) determine whether Second Amendment protections have the same force outside the home as they do inside the home; and 2) resolve whether governments can force citizens to provide evidence supporting a specific need to obtain a concealed weapons permit.

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SIX FLAGS OVER GEORGIA opens for the year on Saturday. Guests who donate six or more non-perishable food items to MUST Ministries can enter this weekend for just $20.13 per person, according to park President Dale Kaetzel. The newest addition to this year’s line-up, by the way, is the SkyScreamer, an extreme swing ride that spins guests in a 98-foot circle at speeds of 40 mph atop a 24-story tower. That will make it the tallest ride at the park.

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FOUR PROMINENT HISTORIANS will headline next week’s March 23 symposium at Kennesaw State University’s Civil War Center, titled: “1863 — Struggles East & West.”

Larry Daniel will discuss “The Western Theater — The Mistakes Made,” Larry Hewitt will provide insights on “Port Hudson: The Most Photographed Battlefield of the Civil War,” Richard McMurry will deliver a lecture titled “Getting Right With Gettysburg,” and Dr. Brian Wills of KSU will share information on “The Logic of Logistics: The Suffolk Campaign of 1863.”

The talks will take place from 9 a.m.-noon at the KSU Center, 3333 Busbee Dr., NW, Kennesaw.

And at 6 p.m. March 22, musician Ross Moore will perform period tunes at the Marietta Museum of History.

Both events are free. For more, go to www.kennesaw.edu/civilwarera.

 

Comments
(27)
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1legup
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April 18, 2013
MONOPOLY,that's the game that the Goldstein's and the other Square property owners play best.Until the Council inforce property codes it will be more of the same.
cold & bad
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March 14, 2013
That place was a dump, and the food sucked. Every time i was in there i thought the tarp on the ceiling was going to fall down, and i was pretty worried about the peeling paint in my food. Let's be really honest, places like that need to either up their game or move on if you want to bring the square forward.
zzzzzzzzzzzzzz......
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March 14, 2013
Marietta Square is just plain boring, outdated, homophobic and judgemental.

It will NEVER be like Decatur. Decatur has a diverse, educated, artistic, thoughtful, provocative class of people.
Philip is the reason
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March 13, 2013
There is one common theme with all of this. It is that Philip Goldstein is the owner of all these properties. He writes into each lease that any improvements made to the property will be his. He does not spend a dime to bring them up to code and therefore many good restaurants that could move into the square will never due so due to the upgrades needed. It is amazing how the City can be in a law suit with the former owner of Krystals while Mr Goldstein who is also a city council member secretly meets with him. Oh wow, it is interesting that the property is now owned by his so and will be the new Starbucks. The city needs to force Mr Goldstein to bring these properties up to code or face major fines.
VFP42
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March 14, 2013
Of course he doesn't improve his properties. Why would he?

I think he wants the Square to be BARELY attractive enough that people who believe it when their friends say "you should go into business doing whatever your hobby is" will, out of their own total ignorance of business, come sign one of his leases . That keeps the rents coming in but also keeps property values falling so he can buy more properties at a low price.

If ever I have seen an prime example of monopoly abuse, I feel like the Marietta Square is it.

I think we need a monopoly buster, and only the Feds can do it.

If the majority property holder of the Square did not have what seems to be a prome directive of "lower the property values so my family can buy low," think how this place would thrive. It almost thrives despite the directive. ALLLmost.
Joseph Pond
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March 12, 2013
I would like to know who is going to run for District Three. We need a commissioner who represents the people of District Three, not the Chairman and the Chamber of Commerce!
Jim Warren
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March 12, 2013
Regardless of the politics, I certainly hope that our square will begin to be filled with restaurants that actually offer something more modern and healthy and..ahem...not so overpriced. If Decatur can become a destination for eating, so can our Marietta Square. Best of luck to the Sakprasits and Whartons on their ventures.
Decatur Destination
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March 13, 2013
Like it or not Decatur has become a destination because it has access to MARTA.
Marietta 20s
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March 12, 2013
As a lifelong resident, and young, married person in Marietta- the restaurant scene on the Square is a joke. If you take a trip to downtown Roswell, or even downtown Woodstock, the restaurants are packed, with great menus, live entertainment and plenty of options. If my husband and I are celebrating a birthday or anniversary, and planning on having a nice meal, we sure aren't spending our money at the Square. What if I want to take clients out for a nice business lunch? I certainly wouldn't pick downtown Marietta. Three ice cream shops, a hookah lounge, 2 theaters, and a small handful of middle priced, decent restaurants? No thanks.
Jim Warren
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March 12, 2013
I agree. We even drive to Acworth for meals rather than our square, and that is really a sad commentary.
GloverHater!
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March 12, 2013
I want to thank Marietta 20s for their thorough and accurate comment. The Marietta Square is a joke and sooooo overrated! I would even recommend a Taco Bell at this point (and I hate Taco Bell!)I will however give a shout out to Kiosco which is on the right passed Marietta Pizza. This place is legit with awesome food and service. I recommend passing on everything else...And not that that you would but don't waste your time at the Hookah Bar. You will find that the buzz you get from the tobacco is not strong enough to escape you from the reality that you made the bad decision of spending an evening at the Square....!
Mariettan
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March 12, 2013
"The restaurant has long had one of the most thriving lunch businesses on the Square, catering to workers at the Courthouse and other government buildings there."

How can you not know what sandwich shop that is. I think there's a law that says you have to be a lawyer or work at the courhouse to be able to eat there. ;-)

Pizza Lover
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March 12, 2013
It better not be Marietta Pizza Company!
Seachelle
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March 12, 2013
It's not Marietta Pizza Company.. I know FOR SURE..
VFP42
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March 14, 2013
What is up with their generic boxes? That gives me concern that generic ingredients may be next.
Dell McCormick
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March 12, 2013
Eatery?? It's called a restaurant.
Merriam Webster
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March 12, 2013
eatery [ˈiːtərɪ], eaterie

n pl -eries [-ərɪz]

Informal a restaurant or eating house

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
West Cobb Citizen
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March 12, 2013
I'd happily vote in Carl Dimare as Cobb Commissioner! And as far as the square goes, it has always been a favorite place for me to visit, but I think a lot could be done to improve some areas.
Samuel Adams
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March 12, 2013
The "get it done" attitude of Cobb's court and the jury discussed is exactly why I want to live and work in this county. I'm proud of the efforts by these folks, and just wanted to say thanks to them. Today we are tired of hearing about the obstruction, meanderings and intentional devious agendas of our public servants, but this citizen jury and those in authority that day showed we can still accomplish good things.
Thank You Samuel
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March 12, 2013
Dear Samuel. You cannot begin to know what a breath of fresh air your comments are. I commend you. Most of the people posting out here are doom and gloom, filled with hate, angry, not willing to listen to others, talking cheaply and doing nothing. Your words "want to live in this county; proud; thanks; accomplish good things" are something one rarely reads out here. Such negativity abounds and then here you come along. Kudos. Thanks. Write more. Positivity. Love it, love it, love it.
VFP42
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March 12, 2013
Yes it's time for some more of "out with the old, in with the new."

With the old folks home being under renovation, Theater in the Square went away. Now hopefully Shillings will finally go away too.

If we can make sure these relics stay dead and buried, perhaps Marietta can finally move forward and attract people who might actually use all these fancy sidewalks (rather than, say, judges who DRIVE the block to the post office) for walking rather than for tossing their Space Shuttle McDonalds litter!

Dont Like Negativity
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March 12, 2013
.....and then along comes VFP. Filled with venom. Oh, well.
Mableton Native
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March 12, 2013
VFP42: I will tell you a short story. When I grew up in Mableton there was a retired doctor that bought a new Cadillac every year and he drove one-eighth of a mile to the soda fountain in the drug store and bought a cup of coffee for a dime and carefully counted out pennies to pay for it. That doctor taught me more about life than any school ever could. Let us not knock down people. Let us be that example the old doctor was. I agree there is a time for the new to come in and for the old to go out, but we should highly cherish the old and what they can teach us.
VFP42
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March 14, 2013
Only at the MDJ would readers project their own bitter negativity onto an expression of hope for a better future. Hell the FIRST WORD was even "YES"
Common Sense
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March 12, 2013
Wouldn't a "property czar" be someone who consficates by force rather than through business transaction?
Thomas Paine
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March 12, 2013
You are correct, the better term is cartel member. Just a few property owners control the Marietta Square.

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