Airport officials say a large ceiling panel above the host stand at celebrity chef Cat Cora’s restaurant near gate 25 on the concourse came down around 8 a.m. Thursday morning, injuring at least one person.
During an 11 a.m. press briefing, an airport spokesperson indicates the “floating ceiling” which fell earlier this morning appears to have been “mis-attached” to the “rigid roof deck” during construction of the restaurant four years ago. The ceiling panel could weigh between 700 and 800 pounds and is approximately 20 feet long.
A review of the permitted drawings is underway to determine whether the restaurant’s build out was constructed according to plan. Cat Cora’s Kitchen was under the Hojeij Branded Foods airport concessionaire umbrella in 2016, which included P.F. Chang’s, Varasano’s Pizzeria, and Atlanta Hawks Bar and Grill. Paradies Lagardère acquired Hojeij in 2018. Airport officials also plan to review permitted drawings from the concessionaire’s other Hartsfield restaurants.
Airport officials are providing an update on the partial ceiling collapse inside a restaurant on A Concourse.Posted by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Thursday, February 13, 2020
A passenger sent us these photos from inside Terminal A at Hartsfield Jackson...ceiling just collapsed this morning at one of the restaurants. We’re working to find out if everyone is okay pic.twitter.com/VcPZk7wd0n— Steve Gehlbach (@SteveGWSB) February 13, 2020
Paradies Lagardère provided the following statement to the media:
“This morning at the Cat Cora’s Kitchen restaurant, which is operated by Paradies Lagardère at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Concourse A near Gate 25, there was an incident involving a portion of the ceiling collapsing right before 8:00 a.m. EST.
First and foremost, we appreciate the swift response by airport personnel and our own teams in assisting with the situation. The safety of our guests and employees is deeply important to us. We are currently working with the airport and other partners to fully evaluate the situation, including any potential injuries and/or facility damage. We will share the results of our investigation as we receive them.”
Cora responded to the collapse on Twitter, saying she received a call from Paradies this morning alerting her to the incident at the Atlanta airport restaurant.
Cat Cora’s Kitchen remains closed until further notice.
Nearly five inches of rain has fallen in Atlanta since the beginning of the month, most of which occurred in the last three days during several rounds of heavy rainfall, causing occasional weather-related ground stops at Hartsfield. Another inch is possible today with this latest round of rain, as a cold front approaches Georgia tonight.
It’s unclear if recent rains contributed to the ceiling collapse.
This is Cora’s fourth airport-based Cat Cora’s Kitchen. There are also locations at the Houston, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco airports. The restaurant serves what Cora described in 2012 as “high-end comfort food made with healthy ingredients and low-calorie preparations.”
Update, February 13, 1:30 p.m.: This story has been updated with a statement from chef Cat Cora.
Update, February 13, 12:51 p.m.: This story has been updated with a statement from airport concessions company Paradies Lagardère.
Update, February 13, 12 p.m.: This story has been updated with new information from officials at Hartsfield-Jackson airport.