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Is J. Alexander’s Next Restaurant Row Business to Close?

Written By Scott Joseph On March 13, 2013

Update 4/2/13: Yep. It was all true, even though the restaurant and its management had no comment right up until the end. And why did it close? Part of the reason may have had to do with its sky-high rent, which one of my sources said was more than $50,000 monthly. Also, this was the poorest performing J. Alexander’s in the chain, which has locations in 13 states. With the myriad options of restaurants along the Sand Lake Road Restaurant Row corridor, J. Alex ultimately couldn’t compete. 

What will go in there next? I hope it’s a good restaurant owned by someone who can negotiate a more favorable lease agreement.

Is J. Alexander’s closing?

It’s a good question. In fact, the people who work at the Sand Lake Road restaurant would like to know the answer, too.

“We’ve been hearing that for a couple of years,” one staffer told me when I called to find out. I was alerted by Flog regular Joe Sarrubbo, who had seen a note from a diner on J. Alexander’s Urbanspoon listing that the Restaurant Row eatery would close April 3. Repeated calls to the restaurant’s corporate office in Nashville have gone unreturned.

J. Alexander’s opened September of 2008 in the then-new Rialto strip that now also holds Ocean Prime and Bar Louie. My review in October of that year noted that J. Alexander’s was apparently another in a long line of restaurants that wanted to out-Houston Houston’s (which, at least locally, is now called Hillstone). And, as I noted, it came pretty darned close. There were several things I liked about J. Alexander’s, not the least of which was its very good and very affordable food. (It served — serves? — a wonderful prime rib for $21; at least that was the price a few years ago. The website doesn’t list a full menu or the prices of the food.)

So did — or do — a lot of other people. The person at the Orlando store with whom I spoke said that business has been steadily growing in the past 5 years. But even the regional manager, I was told, was being evasive about a closing when staffers (including, apparently, the restaurant’s general manager) asked about the rumors.

Timpano, another longtime Restaurant Row eatery, closed recently and will be razed to make way for an Eddie V.’s, a new Darden acquisition.

So, what have you heard? Is J. Alexander’s closing? Do you care? Leave a comment below.

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