Atlanta Bread, one of the early tenants of Columbus Park Crossing, has suddenly closed its doors.
The Smyrna, Ga.-based chain originally founded as Atlanta Bread Co. in the mid-1990s and known for its sandwiches, soups, paninis and salads on Wednesday listed the location as closed on its website, as did a Google search, calling the restaurant “permanently closed.” Customers reported the location had been vacated and no one answered the phone Wednesday.
Atlanta Bread was located at 5555 Whittlesey Blvd., next to Barnes & Noble bookstore. Columbus Park Crossing has been open about 14 years on the city’s north side, just off Veterans Parkway and J.R. Allen Parkway.
“After 14 years of serving the Columbus community our franchisee owned and operated location has closed,” Atlanta Bread said Thursday in an email statement. “We look forward to re-entering the market at a later date. Atlanta Bread thanks all of our customers for their support and our employees for years of service.”
Online reviews by Atlanta Bread customers on Google and Yelp indicated the Columbus location had been suffering from deteriorating service, conditions and food quality of late.
The restaurant’s most recent health inspection rating in May, posted by the Georgia Department of Public Health, was a “C.” It reported problems with adequate hand-washing facilities, food-contact surfaces, proper cold holding temperatures, personal cleanliness, utensils, equipment and linens, the physical facility itself and insects.
“Inside is not very clean, the seats and booths are torn up,” Carlee R. of Columbus said on Yelp on Christmas Eve. “The soda fountain was broken and all they had to offer was knock off brand canned soda. I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich, it was so spicy I couldn't eat it. It doesn't have anything about the sandwich being spicy on the menu. When I complained to the a staff member he told me he thought it was the worst thing on the menu. I do not recommend this place at all.”
Said Ashley Johnson on Google a week ago: “This place used to be a favorite Sunday spot for me and the husband. Now they have the main registers blocked off and (they’re) using the bakery to take orders. I ordered their baked potato soup and it no long looks or tastes like it did two years ago. Not to mention the food was served in a Styrofoam bowl. This place is no long(er) about good quality soups and sandwiches, this will be my last visit.”
Three weeks ago, Ashley Hickey left her feelings on Google as well: “How are you going to be open and run out of bread? And if you are slow, then the workers really need to go around and clean off tables and wipe down seats. This place has gone down hill quick.”
Last March, Atlanta Bread’s corporate office announced a “major brand revitalization” designed to distinguish it from competitors. The move included a revamped menu and a “welcome” store design.
Competitor Panera Bread operates a location at 6301 Whitesville Road in the Bradley Park shopping and dining area of Columbus.