The Depeaux Closes; Still Open on Weekends

UPDATE: FM Fats reports that he spoke with Depeaux owner Bill Sharkey today and was told that the Depeaux isn’t entirely closed and is still open on weekends.

It opened to renovation controversy (after a $250,000 move funded by the DPA) and high Cajun-food-hopes.  It closed quitely and without notice.

Until now.

A few days after a major refreshening of its “Business For Sale” page with the Shumacher Group, Carl reports that it looks like the Depeaux (in the old Decatur depot) has finally closed its doors for good.

No hours posted, mail slot sealed shut…no sign of life. BBQ joint moving in?

Photo courtesy of the Shumacher Group

88 thoughts on “The Depeaux Closes; Still Open on Weekends”


  1. Can you post of a list of businesses that closed in the last 90 days? Is that too much to ask?

  2. Man, I hope the bleeding out of the local economy can be staunched. And I hope some more variety comes in with any new businesses, b/c it sure seems like restaurants are biting it big time. On the other hand, if a BBQ joint moves into the Depeaux, it sure would be awesome if it was Community Q Barbecue!!!

    1. Just ate at Community BBQ again tonight. Incredible meat. I loved how the owner could tell us the source of each meat and whether or not it was organic or local or both. He works really hard to use locally sourced organic meats when they are available. He is also working to get a CSA pick-up spot at his restaurant. This is a place where the service is superb, the food is excellent, and they are “doing the right thing” in terms of their meat.

      1. i agree that the meat at community is fantastic & super yummy. i’ve been less impressed with the various sides i’ve tried thus far, however.

      2. I think i’d actually buy a “Community BBQ – Doing the Right Thing with our Meat” t-shirt. Just sayin’…

    2. Here we go again. Yes, the closing of Cafe Cliche and Depeaux on the same day is unsettling, but please hold the histrionics. Anyone who spends any amount of time on DM (lookin’ at you Cuba) is well aware that the Depeaux was in trouble before it even opened. The business owner made a terrible deal, spent an astronomical amount on the renovation, and then opened a restaurant that disappointed (and often disgusted) pretty much everyone who walked in the door. Then it closed. SHOCKER.

      1. Hey, dude, I SAID I wasn’t surprised that the Depeaux was on its last legs– I just meant I hoped that there wouldn’t be too many more restaurant/business closings in general. It’s disheartening, economic realities or no.

        And if you know I spend a lot of time here, then you’re spendin’ it, too, mon frere! 😉

      2. I went to the Depeaux once and that was enough. I thought the food was terrible and had no desire to spend my money to find out if that was the way they routinely served it up. I wouldn’t have even tried it once if my husband hadn’t made me. The big tip off to me that it wasn’t going to be good was that the only statement I ever heard about it in advance of the opening was that the owners had “great experience in the restaurant business.” No mention about any of their restaurant experience involving good food or flavor. Hmmm.

        BBQ is fine, but BBQ without beer hardly seems worth the calorie splurge, even if it is really good like Community’s. I’d like to see a place that serves delicious toasty sammies. Like steak marinated in stout and topped with onions and roasted red peppers and some real horseradish mayo. And really good salads.

  3. And yet … some places continue to thrive. Natural selection. Plus, not selling Akita beer for $6.25 a pint.

    1. They did that on Abita? That’s nuts. It’s one thing Brick Store never seems to do — sell beers at an outrageous markup. Especially on domestics, their prices are always fair, IMO. Might be a lesson for other local bars/restaurants. You are better off selling volume at a reasonable price than a little bit at an outrageous price.

  4. Wow, Cafe Cliche and the Depeaux in one day. That’s a lot of square footage per day. At this rate, by the end of March, downtown Decatur will be a complete ghosttown.

    Maybe we ought to reaccess our Decatur can’t do wrong sprit and figure out what is going wrong here.

    1. Harry, are you suggesting there’s something beyond the moribund economy and current implosion of commercial/retail markets manifesting on Ponce? Decatur’s pretty cool, but I don’t see how we could be immune to reality.

      Is there some reason why we *shouldn’t* be seeing this kind of thing?

      1. No, there isn’t. Plus, restaurants have an incredible failure rate even in good times. It’s a hard business to get right, and competition is brutal. Even in the best of times, a large number will fail.

  5. Harry I agree….as a resident of downtown Decatur and someone who loves to shop and eat in Decatur, I am very frustrated by the stores/restaurants that open and dont know how to truly run a successful business. It means doing something unique for a good price with good service. For restaurants it means doing food in a way that I cant do at home (you listening Sammiches & Stuff) or at least giving you good, attentive and competent service (you listening Sammiches & Stuff).
    I am getting tired of hearing about a place that is opening, getting excited by the possibilities only to find it pulled off poorly and out of business in a few weeks/months.
    I know the economy is not good for businesses right now but it is hard to ignore the fact that the places that seem to have figured out who they are, what they do, do it well and provide good service (TDS, Cakes & Ale, Yogurt Tap, Leons, etc) seem to be making it through.
    Wow…I am sorry to have to vent like that but…come on Decatur!

    1. Perfectly stated. I feel bad for those who go under (really), but those who survive have lessons to share. Including all of the establishments Billy lists. How is it we have one of the top beer bars in the nation? Beer has been around a long time, but it took The Brick Store to put together a niche idea that has people driving in from Palmetto. (And it’s not the turkey sandwich they’re coming to eat. Though the turkey sandwich IS pretty good…)

    2. Never really enjoyed the food at The Depeaux. Only visited there one time, right after opening. The food and service was not enjoyable. As far as Cafe Cliche, they did not promote the business, was not aware of there opening.

    3. Except that there are few businesses that have closed recently that were doing it right–Kaleidoscope and Whit’s End. I’ve never had better service than i had at Whit’s End. You may only be talking about restaurants, but then you should say “restaurants” and not “businesses.”

      1. I’m trying to figure out how to say this nicely…Let’s go with this. ( I am not specifically referring to the Depeaux here.)

        I am from a genteel South Georgia town and in general, I’ve always thought the business owners here in Decatur could be a little friendlier to their customers. ( Even some of the most successful ones) In turn, there are many, many, many exceptions to this blanket statement…as listed above.

        I often think our businesses are too focused on being “cool and hip” and not focused enough on making the customer feel important and encouraging their employees to do the same. They are in a service industry. ( We all should be really.)
        I know I spend my hard earned money much more freely when I have friendly service.

        I am not referring to any specific business mentioned, this is truly just an overall observation. And once again, many exceptions to this comment….most of whom have thrived the longest in our town.

    4. I have a comment to share with everyone that is criticizing the businesses that have had to close or are having financial difficulties in the city of Decatur. Lumping everyone into one category is so stereotypical. Unless you yourself have taken a risk and started a business and made it sucessful and thriving, then please keep your negative comments to yourself. It is more than easy to criticize someone for failing and to “think” you know what you would or would not do to run a successful business. The people that actually get out there and TRY to make their way are the ones that should be applauded whether they succeed or fail, especially with the poor economy that we are all facing ranging from business owners to consumers. I applaud business owners for investing themselves and at times, their LIFE SAVINGS to start a business that they believe in. The more ironical thing is that these same people that started these business started them with YOU, the people that are complaining, in mind. Otherwise they would have set up shop elsewhere, in another part of town. They thought enough of Decatur and the supposed “community togetherness” that Decatur is known for and hoped for the best. It is not only their faults that they did not succeed, you as a citizen of Decatur also should share your part in their failure. Especially restaurants such as Cafe Cliche who, as many have posted, had 2 of the most pleasant owners that I have ever met while patronizing Decatur restaurants, not to mention their food was always fresh. Open your eyes Decatur!!!

      1. I haven’t heard a whole lot of complaining about Cafe Cliche; most of the complaints here have been about how eating at the Depeaux was not a gratifying experience. Maybe people in Decatur are spoiled, but the onus is on restaurant owners to get customers in the door and paying for their services. If an eatery is redundant–Decatur is a small city–it will not do well, and you cannot blame customers for not patronizing an establishment that serves unworthy food with a rude or incompetent staff. Why? Because those customers will always go somewhere else where they get their money’s worth and good service. If the blame could be placed elsewhere, it should be placed on those establishments that get it right–after all, that’s where our money goes.

    1. Everyone always plays the “Taco Nazi” card on TDS, but I have to say, in all my years of patronizing both the Decatur and the West End locations (a couple times a month, on average), I’ve never been treated poorly. To the contrary, everyone’s exceedingly nice and easygoing when we go there. Maybe it’s that they recognize me as a regular. I don’t know. But I do not have the service issues there that others complain of.

      1. The problem is, we did like the food there but the attitude and service stinks (of the half dozen times we went). Last visit the manager told us could not enter the restaurant from the patio. It was pouring rain and we got the the first entrance we could from the back parking lot. He said “sorry fellas, you have to go to the front door.”— Sorry, we don’t have to ever come back.

      2. Yes, several of TDS’s “rules” are useful and understandable. However, LOTS of restaurants have “rules” but don’t enforce them in the nasty, rude way TDS does. And, in my experience most workers at TDS are grumpy…even if no one is breaking the rules.

        But the food is still good & cheap, and thankfully you don’t have to interact much with the employees in order to eat there…otherwise, I think they’d have the same fate as the others we’re talking about.

    2. Lump’s right. If you play by the rules, you get great service at TDS. The staff there is exceedingly friendly. And the rules are in place for a reason. They have a lot of eager eaters to move through. If you can find another restaurant with that level of quality in terms of food at such a reasonable price, go eat there. If you want gourmet on a dime, eat at TDS and deal with the rules.

      1. I agree–I like the TDS rules. Now I can’t stand going to other places where patrons are allowed to “save” tables. Those are the places where I walk around with a tray of food with no place to sit glaring at the “savers.” They just want to keep the line fair and organized and keep the hot food thoroughfare clear.

  6. Right before the Saints are in the Super Bowl, bummer, I was going to cater my superbowl party from there. That is the second Lousiana place that has gone down in Decatur, anybody remember the name of the place that is now the Grange.

  7. Sure, Decatur has lost a lot of businesses, but the vacancy rate is better than most. On the square, there’s the Pharm House space, and nothing else that I can think of. Cafe Cliche, the Depeaux were both doomed from the start. I predict a quick turnaround on the Depeaux space. It’s essentially turn-key at this point, as opposed to the nearly-condemned mass that it was 5 years ago.

    1. It has been great to see that with every business closing, there seems to be another entrepreneur willing to roll the dice, and those entrepreneurs know that Decatur may offer the best shot at survival. However, to Harry’s point, is there something going on here besides just the economy, and/or poor food/service?

      My hypothesis is that we have too much retail square footage for the number of people in Decatur proper. This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem; however, because Decatur is an island of relative affluence in an otherwise blue collar Dekalb County, our ability to draw from a wider area is limited (our neighbors to the west have their own shopping areas, eg VaHi). I believe the solution lies in a) higher density housing around the square, and b) more of that housing catering to 20- and 30-somethings.

      1. “Decatur is an island of relative affluence in an otherwise blue collar Dekalb County.”

        Is the above statement representative of how City of Decatur residents view Dekalb County in general, and themselves in relation to it?

            1. Willing to eat crow here. When I think about Dekalb County I tend not to think about the neighborhoods you all have mentioned, and I apologize if I’ve offended anyone. I’m still a relative newcomer so forgive my ignorance. I think if you look at where Decatur is within the County, it is still factually correct that the City has higher spending power than many parts of the County that would be considered part of its retail trade area. However, my main point is that there isn’t enough density to support the amount of retail space we have if we’re not pulling from a larger area. I’m more interested in reactions to that idea than on promoting class warfare.

  8. Is it a fact that they’re closed, or is it conjecture?

    Their ad in the newest Creative Loafing says they’re going to be open on weekends.

    Not that that proves anything, but neither does any of the evidence presented by this blog, or John Kessler. Or Carl, whoever he is.

    In any event, it’s pretty obvious that they will be shuttered at some point in the near future.

  9. Mediocre food and service, high prices, and a dining room where you could fire a cannon and nobody would hear it. Good riddance!

    Trackside?

    1. No, they are not open on weekends. The place was completely dark this entire weekend. I planned on getting some take out there on Saturday and ended up at Feast instead. I’m not surprised to see Depeaux close. They often ran out of certain items and most dishes were way too salty.

    1. Yes, please! The Freight Room was for many years Atlanta’s best venue for touring and local folk, acoustic, and Americana acts. Now that the building isn’t falling down, I’d love to see the depot become a great music venue again… with Community Q in there serving the food. 😉 Add some bang up coffee, and desserts from Southern Sweets, and you’d have perfection!!

  10. Am I the only person that really does not like “Creole, New Orleans” food?

    Its the one type of food that I have never taken to. I don’t know why. I just don’t like it.

    THere’s Front Page News, but other than that, I really don’t even know of any other successful restaurants that serve this type of fare.

    Just sayin.

    1. I’m willing to try Pirate’s Pub at Clairremont and Buford Highway. The kitchen is run by Joe Dale’s son. If he learned anything at his pappy’s knee it will be worthwhile. My only complaint about Joe Dale is that he took soooo long to prepare his food. (But it was always worth the wait.) For those who don’t know, he operated Joe Dale’s Cajon House, then cooked for years at Fuzzy’s Place.

    2. My husband doesn’t really like it either, so that coupled with lackluster reviews means we never ate at Depeaux. We did have a few really good meals back in the day at Ya Ya’s, though.

    3. Have you had it in New Orleans? Because in Atlanta, the only place that even comes close to real creole/cajun is Gumbeaux’s out in Douglasville. Everyplace else I’ve tried is a horrible, cartoonish version of the fare. It’s like only eating at El Toro and Taco Bell and deciding you don’t like Mexican. Bares little resemblance to the genuine article.

      1. You’re spot on, lump. I’ve just about given up on getting any really good Cajun food here in the metro. Not knocking people’s personal tastes, but I thought the Depeaux was barely so-so, and YaYa’s food was just abysmally bad– when I ordered crawfish etouffe there once, it had a slightly gummy, slimy taste & texture. When I asked the waitress to please bring me something else, she asked why, and I explained that the taste was “off”. She then said, “Oh, there’s nothing wrong with it– we just use a roux-less etouffe!” Excuse me? You’re trying to make etouffe without a roux?!? That’s like trying to make Eggs Benedict without the Benedict! I knew that place was done for, and the rest is history.

        I haven’t tried Gumbeaux, but I certainly will now!

  11. You either like Cajun food or you don’t like it. Ate there several times, owner was a very nice gentlemen but, the food was too spicy and the hushpuppies (my wife makes the best) were absolutely awful. A good old southern, home cooked food restaurant would be a nice addition to the restaurant scene in Decatur.

  12. “This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem; however, because Decatur is an island of relative affluence in an otherwise blue collar Dekalb County”

    Wow. Really? What about Druid Hills, Emory, Dunwoody. etc.? DeKalb County all.

    1. Also: Oak Grove, Northlake, Smoke Rise, Lake Claire, Candler Park,much of Brookhaven, parts of Tucker, etc.

      Dectaur is far from the “island of relative affluence in an otherwise blue collar Dekalb County.”

  13. I’ve never worked in food service and hope I never will, but “weekends only” doesn’t sound like a recipe for success. Evenings only, without lunch, works for a lot of places, but, unless they can draw a sports event crowd, I don’t think many folks are likely to come only on weekends. If someone not in the know stops by during the week on spur of the moment and finds the place closed, it’s not likely they would return on the weekend.

    I’d be interested in hearing from people who are in that business to confirm or deny my supposition.

  14. My apologies for creating a firestorm. Here’s the situation I found yesterday: the only signage was on the rickshaw (or whatever it is) indicating they’re open Tue-Sat. There were no posted hours on the door or any other signage. The mail slot was duct-taped closed, which to me says they wouldn’t even be back to get mail. I spoke with staff at Feast, who indicated folks considering opening a BBQ establishment had recently looked at the Depeaux space. They also mentioned that when Depeaux had been open this year, they were doing so without an alcoholic beverage license (and obviously had lost customers as a result).

    It’s too late to save the Depeaux now, yet I continue to wish that Decatur would actively work to recruit and attract businesses that are appropriate for the area (meaning ones that we’ll actually patronize consistently because they fulfill a need). We’ve had more than enough places like Café Cliché, Caribbean Harry’s, Mocha Match, and The Dressing Room. I found an old issue of Decatur Living (remember that advertorialish pub?), and all but one of the featured businesses have already closed.

    1. It’s too late to save the Depeaux now, yet I continue to wish that Decatur would actively work to recruit and attract businesses that are appropriate for the area (meaning ones that we’ll actually patronize consistently because they fulfill a need).

      ___________________

      How, exactly, is Decatur supposed to do this? It’s far better to let entreprenuers open whatever businesses they want to (subject to existing laws, of course), and then let consumers pick those that succeed or fail, based on patronage. The city hasn’t had any problem supporting the restaurants it likes. Those of less quality have been struggling, as they should.

      1. CED is supposed to attract businesses and merchants that will work here. It only benefits the City to attract ones with long-term viability so that we don’t have the reputation for constant turnover. Obviously this particular economy poses unique challenges, but there’s gotta be a better way to sell Decatur than as a test market of sorts. We have a serious need for quality employers here that will pay a living wage so that workers can actually live in the City. We also need employees of those businesses to patronize our restaurants and retail establishments during the day. Are we aggressively marketing the City to get those companies to relocate here from other parts of the metro area or out of state? Or are we instead spending more money advertising the embarrassing Mallternative concept so that people can visit on a Saturday night before Christmas to discover there are only about three retail stores actually open?

        1. Carl, I suggest you make an appointment with Lyn Menne so that she can tell you what the Development Authority’s strategy is. I thought you were in tune, but it sounds like you need a refresher.

          1. Carl, its seems you’ve drifted off the plantation.

            Like Steve mentioned, you need to go back to your Decatur 101 re-education class and get back with the program.

            I mean 30 years ago, Peggy, Lynne, and the gang found Decatur in a sorry state and turned things around. They have a “can’t go wrong” vision for our city and should not be questioned. No one else could possibly know better than them.

        2. Hi, Carl. I think the issue here is that you’re not discussing strategy so much as you’re questioning tactics. Is the City following the specific tactical approach that you favor? Maybe in some ways yes, in others no. Certainly, making assumptions from previous posts you’ve made, you wouldn’t likely have a hap’nin downtown address (or would have had less choice in one) if not for some success of City efforts.

          There’s no question that each tactical step the City takes is driven by a larger strategy, because it was a citizen-led strategy, it’s documented in the form of the Strategic Plan, and it’s referenced often in ongoing city business and decision-making. Which is all to say that, over the next few months, the City is ramping up to do the Strategic Plan for the next ten years. If ever there was a time to have impact at the “strategic level” rather than disagreements over subsequent tactics, this is it.

          You seem like someone committed to this city in the long term. I hope you’ll get involved and get your ideas into the mix.

    2. “the rickshaw (or whatever it is) ” — It’s an old baggage/freight cart, from when the depot served as a train station. I’ve always been impressed that those old baggage carts survived and remain on the property, IMO they add substantially to the authenticity.

  15. Well, while we discussing vacancies, what the heck is going on with the burned out Trackside Tavern space? It’s been over a year, and every day it becomes more of an eyesore. It was sad to have to lose the Trackside and The Fifth Earl, but it’s just as bad to have to drive or walk past the damaged building every day. Is there any way to encourage the owner to get moving on rebuilding? As for the Depeaux, we went there twice. The second time, our feet stuck to the floor, our napkins to the table, and cutlery and glasses were dirty, and both time the food was third rate. No mystery to me why they closed.

  16. it is very very hard, with so much to spend on licenses, taxes, inspections, when you are barely making it..these do you in. I see so many other fellow Decatur business owners having to work other jobs, just to keep their “dream” alive..
    to the Sharkeys..I saw all the work you put into that place, the time and money to bring an outstanding restaurant to Decatur, I hate to see you go..

    1. Thank you for acknowledging the hard work of the real live people who put their best efforts into providing these businesses in our community. My husband is from Louisiana and we have had some very good meals at the Depeaux. I wish the Sharkey’s well.

  17. Bo said:

    “However, my main point is that there isn’t enough density to support the amount of retail space we have if we’re not pulling from a larger area.”

    It probably is true that Decatur isn’t dense enough support it’s retail market without outside help. I’m not aware of anywhere in Atlanta that is dense enough to support a retail market that is of a similar scale to Decatur’s. I know from first hand experience that Decatur retailers get a pretty significant number of sales from non-residents.

  18. I have said it once, I will say it again. Either reopen the Freight Room or move Trackside to the depot.

  19. i am gonna miss those 1.99 margaritas!! its true that its funny how some places go under when other ones weather the storm. i was at j.christophers this morning and they had no servers,the cook was trying to wait tables and cook,my guest and i just left. that place is horrible,but its still here.

  20. I wonder if the artwork and other New Orleans themed items will be available to purchase from the Depeaux.

    Although I did not like the food or the service, I did like the scenery on the walls.

    When the waiter once told my wife and I that Cajun food got its beginnings in New Orleans, we knew the future of Depeaux was not good.

    While we will continue to patronize other restaurants and businesses in the area, we will continue to fix the New Orleans Creole cuisine ourselves.

    Just my 0.02 from a WHO DAT native.

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