The Houston’s on Lenox Road is closing on March 31, What Now Atlanta reported Monday morning. Restaurant staff members employed for more than five years are apparently being offered a severance package. The restaurant, known for its steaks, burgers, and oft-ordered spinach dip appetizer, is located at 3321 Lenox Road NE in Buckhead near Lenox Square Mall.
According to the restaurant (owned by Hillstone Restaurant Group,) the reason for the closure is due to “failed lease negotiations.” However, further reporting by Tomorrow’s News Today seems to indicate this may not be the case. A source used in the story claims Houston’s owns the Lenox Road property. Eater Atlanta is working to confirm the exact reason for the closure and the property’s owner.
Update: A representative for Hillstone responded to Eater Atlanta’s request for comment and provided the following statement on the closure:
“Houston’s on Lenox Road will be closing after service on Saturday, March 31, 2018. The Lenox Houston’s opened in August of 1978 and was the second location after the first opened in Nashville in 1977.
The Lenox Road property is owned by an out of state investment group. Our lease was nearing a conclusion and discussions with the Lessor did not yield a long-term agreement.
Thank you to all our guests we have had the privilege of serving for nearly 40 years. Each member of our valued staff has been given the opportunity to continue with the company. We look forward to seeing you at the Houston’s on Peachtree or West Paces Ferry!”
Last October, the Lenox Road location became the subject of a national boycott of Houston’s by Grammy-winning Atlanta rapper and actor Clifford “T.I.” Harris. He, along with rapper Rick Ross, called for the boycott following claims of racial profiling by actress Ernestine Johnson who said she and her party were denied service.
In a February 2 Facebook post, Houston’s said discussions with T.I. and Johnson had been productive, prompting Hillstone to “evaluate potential issues.” The statement read in part:
“Hillstone does not and will not tolerate discrimination on any level and is committed to ensuring that guests from all backgrounds are treated fairly and feel welcome. Our belief is in equal treatment of all. Hillstone’s commitment to inclusiveness is vital to our long-term success and we will continue to work and be actively engaged to foster a strong inclusive culture.”
T.I. put an end to the boycott via Twitter saying, “Very Thankful for everyone’s support on this matter. Because of you all, & the Hillstone Group’s passion for progress we were able to make a difference. I’m happy to say... We may now enjoy the spinach dip again!!!!”
In 2015, Atlanta attorney Yussuf Abdel-Aleem sued Hillstone Restaurant Group for similar allegations claiming he as well as other people of color were asked to leave the Peachtree Road location on separate occasions.
It is unclear what effect, if any, the boycott had on the decision to close the Lenox Road Houston’s.
Eater Atlanta has reached out to Hillstone Restaurant Group for further comment and clarification on the closure.
The Lenox Road location opened in 1978. The Peachtree Road Houston’s as well as the Northside Parkway location remain open.
Houston’s, 3321 Lenox Road NE. Atlanta.