Published on April 15th, 2015 |5
OK Cafe owner: city causing delay in re-opening to late summer
Loyal patrons of the OK Café over the years—and there has to be thousands of them—apparently will have to wait a bit longer for the popular Buckhead power breakfast and lunch restaurant to reopen following a fire on Dec. 6 of last year that closed the establishment.
Initial reports following the fire suggested the restaurant, located at the corner of Northside Parkway and West Paces Ferry Road, would be repaired and might reopen by May. OK Café opened July 8, 1987 and many the café employees have been with the company for years.
Also shortly after the fire it was reported that the restaurant employees would be paid during the time the restaurant was closed for repairs and to the reopening. BuckheadView wondered if that was still true now that the re-opening has been delayed and no visible repair work has been performed.
BuckheadView contacted OK Café owners Susan DeRose and Richard Lewis through emails to the marketing manager of their Liberty House restaurant company. Both DeRose and Lewis were said to be out of town on business. The company also owns Blue Ridge Grill and Bones restaurants in Buckhead.
DeRose emailed back the following response to BuckheadView’s questions: “We are planning to reopen OK Cafe in late summer. Yes the employees will be paid for their time off. The reason for the long and irritating delay can be blamed on the city of Atlanta’s demands.”
BuckheadView has attempted to get a clarification of “the city of Atlanta’s demands” that have apparently caused he delay in re-opening the restaurant, but had not yet received further information from DeRose.
BuckheadView also attempted to find out what city demands had been made of the owners of OK Café through emails to Dist. 8 City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean and Sally Silver, the senior representative in the office of Dist. 7 City Councilman Howard Shook. Neither have shed any light on the situation.
The early Sunday morning fire on Dec. 6 damaged the area over the takeout order room at the OK Cafe, a Buckhead landmark restaurant that has been popular for power breakfasts and lunches among business and community leaders for almost 30 years.
People on the scene at the time of the fire said the dining room seemed to be okay. There were about 60 people in the restaurant when the fire broke out.
Melissa Roberts, who was one of four servers at the cafe when the fire started, was quoted as saying the blaze appeared to have started upstairs in a water heater near a storage area.
Roberts said the fire spread downstairs to the bakery area and employees tried to douse the blaze with fire extinguishers. When that didn’t work, the fire department was called and the dozens of patrons who were dining at the time were asked to clear out.