Serpas True Food closed Thursday, July 15, after 12 years on the edge of Auburn Avenue in the Old Fourth Ward. According to social media posts, chef-owner Scott Serpas was unable to reach an agreement on the renewal of the lease with the landlord for the Cajun-American restaurant.
A native of southern Louisiana, Serpas opened his eponymous restaurant in 2009 inside a warehouse space at the corner of Auburn Avenue and Irwin Street in the Studioplex complex. Its opening came approximately three years prior to the opening of the first portion of the Eastside Beltline and the rapid development along the trail that was soon to follow, including a $300 million overall of the former Sears, Roebuck & Co. building into Ponce City Market.
In a 2018 Restaurant Informer interview, Serpas says his rent was locked in when he acquired the space in 2008. Since then, the popularity of the Eastside trail has only increased and dozens of restaurants and Krog Street Market have opened within a quarter-mile of the restaurant, increasing competition, and ultimately rents in the area.
A similar scenario faced chef Guy Wong (Ruby Chow’s, Ton Ton Ramen) in 2018 when he also could not come to an agreement on the lease for his pioneering Old Fourth Ward restaurant Miso Izakaya less than half a mile away. In 2016, chef Jay Swift closed his seminal restaurant, 4th & Swift, citing a drop in sales following the openings of neighboring Ponce City Market across the street and Inman Quarter a little over a mile south off the Eastside Beltline.
According to a September 2020 restaurant review by the AJC, Serpas closed during the first three months of the pandemic, reopening for takeout and delivery in June last year. The dining room, which normally seats 160 people, reopened last August, but at limited capacity.
The chef’s other restaurant, Dixie Q, remains open in Brookhaven.
Eater reached out to Serpas True Food on Thursday evening for comment on the closure.