The lights are out at the final piece of angry chef Ron Eyester's restaurant empire. After temporarily shuttering to deal with some HVAC problems, Diner has closed for good, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It opened in Atlantic Station less than a year ago, and it's the fourth Eyester-branded restaurant to close in the last 12 months.
Regarding his future, Eyester tells the AJC he's "got a few irons in the fire," but doesn't plan to return to a kitchen full-time at the moment. Though, he's working on a "Big Nasty" Rosebud brunch menu to pop up at a downtown eatery. There's no word yet on what will move into the Diner space, but Eyester said there "some serious problems with the building."
Eyester, a Top Chef: Boston alum, opened Diner after months of delays on March 5, 2015, and the restaurant had problems from the beginning. In July, AJC critic Wyatt Williams gave Diner a zero-star review, saying he'd rather eat at Waffle House. Diner's troubled launch came at a time when Eyester's other restaurants, all located in Morningside, were struggling too.
After originally opening in July 2013, Timone's temporarily shuttered to revamp in September 2014. The chef reopened it as Timone's Pizza & Deli the following January, but it was permanently shuttered by July 2015.
Eyester posted a candid open letter to the Rosebud website last September, alluding to his problems and admitting he expanded too quickly with Timone's and Diner. Less than a month later, he confirmed he was closing and selling his longtime Morningside staples, Rosebud and The Family Dog, to focus on the Atlantic Station restaurant. Eyester debuted a new menu at Diner in January, but apparently it wasn't enough to overcome its rocky start.
"If I'm going to look at it positively, I think that Diner can ultimately give me a lot of diversity and really allow me to be creative as I want to be," Eyester told Eater Atlanta at the time of closing Rosebud and The Family Dog. "I'm not saying I ran out of ideas on North Highland Avenue — it's hard to speculate because I've been too busy solving problems. I'm anxious to get back to a position where I can drive the concept."
While plans for the Diner space haven't been settled, projects are in various states of motion at Eyester's former Morningside restaurants. The Family Dog reopened under new ownership in January, and local restaurateur Tom Murphy hopes to have Morningside Kitchen serving in the Rosebud space later this month. Michael Condon, the owner of Decatur's Calle Latina, is considering the Timone's space for a second outpost of his restaurant.