Published on April 15th, 2015 |


OK Cafe owner: city causing delay in re-opening to late summer

(UPDATED INFORMATION: The OIK Cafe finally got its building permits issued on Thursday, April 16, according to activist Buckhead resident Lynne Moscow, a friend of BuckheadView. She wrote in an email that contractors were on the site Friday and construction work should begin very soon.) 

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.

Fire truck at the scene of Dec 6 fire at the OK Cafe.

Fire truck at the scene of Dec 6 fire at the OK Cafe.

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.

OK Cafe co-owners Susan DeRose and Richard Lewis.

OK Cafe co-owners Susan DeRose and Richard Lewis.

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.

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    5 Responses to OK Cafe owner: city causing delay in re-opening to late summer

    1. We are hungry! Especially for Ok ‘s food. How can we help? Get the job done – and now..

    2. Jams dorsey says:

      Please let me know when you open. Thank You

    3. James Williamson says:

      Let’s see, do the “City of Atlanta” demands have anything to do with the Civil War mural that has always been on the wall in the restaurant? Could the two counsilwomen,Yolanda Adrean and Sally Silver be trying to use their position with the Atlanta City government to force a privately owned restaurant to bow to their personal prejudice! Hmmmmm!

    4. Gary G. says:

      Watching the progress from 75 and looking in the window . I can already taste the country fried steak,mashed potatoes, squash casserole,corn bread and being able to see the hardest working team in the ATL….

    5. Jim Fincher says:

      As a former General Contractor I have to say that the City of Atlanta Building Permit Department is an absolute farce. It is well known to all Atlanta builders and contractors that obtaining a permit in that jurisdiction will always be an ordeal and will always take longer than any other jurisdiction in the Metro area.
      Not only are the bulk of the people there incompetent, there is absolutely zero urgency on their part to expedite anything except their lunch hour and break time. Very much reminds me of all my trips to the Atlanta VA Hospital.

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