The property on which Zesto resides was recently sold, owner Jimbo and Leigh Ann Livaditis told the AJC, calling the decision to shutter this particular location “hard”, as the Livaditis family once lived in an apartment nearby.
“We were probably one of the longest continuous businesses on Piedmont. I am on Piedmont every freaking day. It’s my street,” Jimbo Livaditis said in an interview with the AJC. “It pains me. We like to think we fought the hard fight.”
Leigh Ann Livaditis added that the Piedmont Road location struggled over the last year with labor shortages and issues with people loitering around the restaurant, which she says “deterred patronage.”
It’s unclear what the new owner has in store for the property or whether they plan to keep, restore, or raze the current building. Both Splash laundromat and Fiesta Foods grocery store next door are also included in the purchase.
The Little Five Points Zesto on Moreland Avenue temporarily closed in May 2021 after a large tree fell on the building following two days of severe storms. The Livaditis family ended up closing that location permanently last December. David Smith and Paul Jones open vegan pizzeria Pizza Verdura Sincera in its place later this year.
Zesto was originally owned by the Taylor Freezer Corporation. John Livaditis (Jimbo’s father) 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 Piedmont Road in the 1950s and added hamburgers to the menu. The Livaditis family went on to open four additional locations, including the Zesto in Little Five Points in 1963. The Piedmont Road restaurant moved to its present location in 1971.
Only the East Atlanta and Forest Park locations remain open and under family control. The location in Tyrone, Georgia, is owned by a Zesto franchisee.