First the Little Five Points outpost of Zesto, then Rhodes Bakery on Cheshire Bridge Road. Both longtime establishments on Atlanta’s food scene are closing for good. Here’s what to know.
Zesto in Little Five Points
The Little Five Points location of Zesto temporarily closed in May after a large tree fell onto the restaurant following two days of heavy rain and severe storms in Atlanta. No one was injured. However, the damage was done to the 58-year-old iconic burger and soft serve ice cream joint on Moreland Avenue.
Zesto vice president Leigh Ann Livaditis told Eater at the time they were assessing the damage to determine when to reopen the restaurant. But, earlier this week, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported the building is now for lease or sale, with the AJC confirming the Livaditis family is closing the Little Five Points location permanently, calling the tree damage, coupled with the economic turmoil of COVID-19, the final “nail in the coffin.”
Initially meant to compete with Dairy Queen, Zesto was originally owned by the Taylor Freezer Corporation. John Livaditis opened the first Zesto in Atlanta in 1949 as a soft serve ice cream shop on Peachtree Street across from Brookwood Station. After Taylor Freezer Corporation began cutting ties with its Zesto franchisees, Livaditis moved the original restaurant to its present location on Piedmont Road in the 1950s and added hamburgers to the menu there. The Livaditis family went on to open four additional Atlanta-area locations, including the Zesto in Little Five Points in 1963.
Tom and George Rhodes recently sold the property to a real estate investor. The brothers cite the long commutes from their homes in Marietta and Roswell and the ongoing construction on Cheshire Bridge Road due to damage caused by a two fires this year as factors for the decision to close.
With a smaller bakery operation in Roswell, the Rhodes brothers plan to pare down the menu there, which will no longer include Danishes, cinnamon rolls, and coffee cakes. However, people can still expect to find cheese straws, petit fours, and caramel cakes on the menu at the Holcomb Bridge bakery.
First opened in 1930 during the Great Depression by the brothers’ grandmother, Magdaline Rhodes, as a cottage bakery from her home, Rhodes Bakery eventually opened as a permanent location in 1934 on Piedmont Road. The family relocated Rhodes Bakery to its present location on Cheshire Bridge Road in 1953. The Roswell bakery opened in 1997.