Sweet Auburn Seafood restaurant is closing at the end of August in the historic Sweet Auburn district. According to WSB-TV, the Southern-style seafood restaurant and lounge on Auburn Avenue officially closes August 31 due to financial strain caused by the ongoing health crisis and recent “violence in the area.”
White paper now lines the windows and the curtains are drawn along the front of the restaurant, and a “Sorry, We’re Closed” sign hangs on the front door.
A representative for Sweet Auburn Seafood confirmed the closure to Eater Atlanta Monday afternoon. Owner Patrick Williams told WSB on Saturday that the downturn in the restaurant’s dine-in business over the last few months, coupled with illegal street parties and an uptick in crime in the area, have made it difficult to continue running Sweet Auburn Seafood.
Williams called the closure and the circumstances behind it “very demoralizing.” However, he isn’t against the idea of reopening the popular restaurant and bar at another location in the historic district next year, and isn’t giving up on the neighborhood. “We look forward to a bright future back in the Old Fourth Ward District,” the representative writes to Eater.
It’s already been a difficult summer for Williams and his family. His father and Sweet Auburn Seafood co-owner, Paul Williams, died in July. He was 67. The elder Williams opened Sweet Auburn Seafood in 2014.
“This was the commercial hub for black businesses in Atlanta,” he told Invest Atlanta in 2018 of why he was opening the restaurant in Sweet Auburn. “I really wanted my name, my family name, to be part of the resurgence of this area.”
The Sweet Auburn district is home to several historically significant sites, including Ebenezer Baptist and Big Bethel A.M.E. churches, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, the Atlanta Daily World building (first Black newspaper in the country,) and Atlanta Life Insurance, founded in 1905 by African-American businessman and former slave Alonzo Herndon.
Sweet Auburn Curb Market is also located on the edge of the historic district inside the old municipal market, just east of downtown Atlanta and Georgia State University. The market includes several food stalls, an outpost of Just Add Honey Tea Company, a juice bar, produce and meat stands, and other small retail shops.
A third location of vegan burger joint Slutty Vegan should open later this month on Edgewood Avenue in the neighborhood, next door to Edgewood Pizza and its forthcoming bar Handlebar.
Update, August 10, 3:30 p.m.: This story has been updated with confirmation and comments from Sweet Auburn Seafood.
- The Atlanta Restaurants Now Permanently Closed Due to the COVID-19 Crisis [EATL]
- 18 Atlanta-Area Restaurants to Grab a Seafood Meal To-Go [EATL]
- Popular Sweet Auburn restaurant to close due to COVID-19, violence [WSB-TV]
- Small Business Spotlight: Sweet Auburn Seafood Approaching 4th Anniversary [InvestATL]