Melton’s Says They’re Unsure Whether They’ll Reopen

Melton’s talked to WSB/the AJC about its rat problem caused by Pet’s Supermarket next door…

“We’ve been open for 17 years and never had a rodent problem until this thing exploded right next to us in early July,” said Aaron Melton, owner of Melton’s App & Tap. “We already took the proper precautions, and always took the proper safeguards. … Now we’re shut down and don’t know if we’ll ever be able to reopen.”

In a phone interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Melton said he voluntarily closed his restaurant, at 2500 North Decatur Road in the Medlock Plaza shopping center, on Nov. 6 after a customer spotted a rat there.

The article states that Melton’s went to court to have Pet’s Supermarket shutdown until the problem was remedied.  However, it sounds like it’s going to take upwards of $100,000 to do so, and it’s unclear at the moment where that money will come from.

Thanks to the 10 or so folks who sent me the link!

46 thoughts on “Melton’s Says They’re Unsure Whether They’ll Reopen”

  1. Unfortunately, I can see this problem being the death of that entire strip of businesses. I sincerely hope I’m wrong, but I have a very bad feeling about this.

    My wife takes vocal lessons at Firehouse. I don’t know if she’d want to take deep, diaphragm engaging breaths for 30 minutes a week knowing the business next door is a rat infested cauldron of germs, feces and rabies.

    1. I hope you are wrong. The last thing we need on Scott is another vacant building.

      IMO, Melton should use that $100,000 to get out of his lease and re-locate. I am not sure I will be heading back there anytime soon even if he re-opens.

      1. There was Melton’s in Oakhurst for a while back in the 2001 range. Didn’t last long. If he finds a location closer to Emory perhaps he’ll have a better result.

        1. I think it lasted until 2003-2004. Not sure how long it was open prior to that, though.

          It was in the absolutely cursed Saba space.

  2. This makes me so sad. I love Melton’s. I feel so badly for the owners and the terrific waitstaff.
    I hope that they’re able to recover from this.

  3. They have such a loyal following in the Medlock neighborhood and the DHYS baseball families at Medlock Park. Moving out of that area might not be a good idea, but across the street to the old Maddy’s location might work…

    1. Maddy’s building is probably a bit small for Melton’s. He ought to look into the Depot in Decatur for something that would be a fairly quick buildout. He’d lose his Emory following there, though.

  4. Or what about in the Publix shopping center? Closer to Emory, still close to Medlock/DHYS, and easy access from Clairmont and N Decatur. I need my chicken sausage pasta!!

    1. Not far from there, I think that place The Nest behind Bicycle South has closed up. It’s looked empty for a while now.

  5. The problem with that Maddy’s spot is that there’s nowhere near the seating of the old Melton’s. Assuming the Pet Supermarket gets this taken care of I’d have no problems returning to the old location. Agree with comments above that the Medlock neighborhood is the anchor of support and feel that a relocation any farther than, say, Suburban Plaza would kill it.

  6. Melton’s people and food are great and I hope they do relocate somewhere local, if they close up shop there. It sounds like they’re trying to do the right by customers if they refuse to open until it’s handled. But maybe it got so bad, it wasn’t out of sight from customers or sanitary.

    Good luck to the landlord trying to lease a restaurant space made vacant due to rat infestation.

  7. It is absolutely criminal that Pet Supermarket’s rodent problem may kill our beloved Melton’s. I will be back as soon as they open their doors and where ever that may be. I just hope it WILL be. Our Way Cafe got lots of donations toward their re-build from a benefit night hosted by James Joyce last year. I wonder if there’s another restaurant or group of restaurants that would pull together to raise money and try to save this neighborhood gem? Decatur/Emory populace cannot thrive absent the presence of Irish Nachos!!!!!

  8. I hate that this has happened to Melton’s (and, of course, the awesome staff). I hope he is able to come back in or near the neighborhood and I’ll be one of the first in line when he does. I may never shop at Pet Supermarket again, though, because I’m more than a little annoyed that it took an injuction for them to begin to address the problem. As a resident of Medlock Park, I know those rats are headed to our houses next, and I’m not happy at all about it.

  9. I bought some cat food at the PetSupermarket right before it closed. My poor kitties have been acting very bizarre lately. One of them was terribly ill and racked up $700 and vet bills…she could not stop vomiting… The other one has been acting like a lunatic- beating herself up and growling for no reason.

    At first, I thought that the one that was ill just got old and developed a sensitive stomach and the one that was beating herself up was just trying to get attention. Now, with this whole rat injunction thing, I’m starting to worry about that cat food….

    Has anyone else had a similar problem?

    1. Native–

      I don’t know how wise it is to mention this, in fear of starting a firestorm, but I stopped shopping there in 2009 when a brand new bag of food sent my black lab to the ER with hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (spelled horribly wrong, I’m sure.)

      I had the exact same thoughts when this came up.

      1. I could never stand to go in there- it always had a horrible smell that couldn’t just be blamed on the ferrets

    2. I’ll rise to Pet Supermarket’s defense (sort of). We’ve shopped there for years with little or no problems, and our dogs have never been sick after consuming dozens of bags of food, treats, etc. purchased there. They’re one of the only places that carries the rarer foods that we use (Wellness CORE before it started appearing everywhere and they screwed with the formula, and now Nutrisca). We’ve never really had an issue with cleanliness either, and I never saw a rat there (the only stray critter of any kind I’ve seen in there was a cricket) or evidence of them (droppings, chewed packaging). The only complaints we had were failure to stock enough of the food we were looking for and occasionally bags having small rips or cuts (from a box opener or just rough handling, not from something trying to get into it).

      It sounds like they were in denial about their rat problem and that is unfortunate, especially in terms of affecting neighboring businesses. There’s no excuse for that, and I’ll certainly think twice about shopping there if and when they reopen. But I wouldn’t necessarily go jumping to conclusions about its ramifications in terms of being the cause of random pet illnesses. Talk to your vet (and possibly a lawyer) before lodging those kinds of claims.

        1. Actually, I wasn’t suggesting either. I was proposing that if actual harm could be proved, pet owners might consider filing suit.

      1. …Not to let their management off the hook, I’ve always found Pet Supermarket convenient, clean and well stocked with aquarium and canine supplies for our family’s menagerie.
        I never saw a sign of rodents (outside of their display cases) and the pet food purchased there never caused an issue with our pets. In addition to feeling bad for the owners and staff at Melton’s I also feel bad for the staff at Pet Supermarket as they were always helpful and courteous to me.

      2. I am not lodging any type of “claim.” As an attorney, I definitely know what a “claim” is and what constitutes “defamation” and my questioning the quality of the food I received is not defamation.

  10. Let’s connect the dots here- Melton’s into the Decatur Diner space: win-win!

    (p.s. still hoping for Indian on the square one of these days)

    1. I was thinking that, but wondering what they were actually going to do with that place. Supposedly changing hands but may not close. Who knows what the deal is. I would bet the rent is probably higher than where they are now, and the current location has no issues with parking which makes it simple to get in and out of. That’s part of the appeal. But they would gain new customers for sure.

      Indian would be awesome, as long as it includes a lunch buffet.

  11. I always thought that PS was dirty and complained several times about the care of the caged animals. Huge fan of Melton’s. We go often and food is always consistently good and wait staff top notch. Hope this is resolved fast!

  12. I LOVE Melton’s and hope they can relocate (how about the old night club building just past N. Druid Hills on Lawrenceville Highway?). We don’t want to lose this neighborhood institution.

    It is outrageous that the pet business failed to deal with the problem until it became impossible for the adjacent tenants.

  13. I already miss it…taking my kids to the bathroom three times during each meal, nasty looks from the Arsenal fan-waiter, waiting 30 minutes for my three year old to eat the waffle fries. Memories, like the corners of my mind!

  14. Think the fundraiser is a great idea. I haven’t been to Melton’s that much lately but definitely will be there when their doors reopen to show support. Melton’s is an indie business and Pet Smart is a corporation. Hate it for Melton’s owner and staff.

  15. I have understood the Melton’s love. But I am sure other people outside of Mexico don’t understand why I will eat Mexican (or Mexicanish) food 6 times a day.

      1. Maybe DM will consider giving us one for Xmas! I don’t know if I can really explain, I just like the vibe. Smaller place, no frills, good food, nice waitstaff. Every time I have been in over the past few years, there’s always the exact same bartender working. It just feels like what a neighborhood place should feel like to me. And it’s a very “come as you are” kind of place, no need to doll it up like I would if I were headed to some of the other places around here.

  16. I vote Melton’s move to AE – perhaps the old Avondale Pizza Cafe spot in Avondale Estates? Now that the major development is off the table, I’d love to see that be utilized again. We certainly have plenty of space. But, the Decatur Depot sounds like a great idea, too.

    I disagree with the theory that folks won’t follow it. I posted the story on FB yesterday (with the suggestion it move to AE) and had friends lobbying to bring it to Marietta. Clearly they were already traveling to it. And Emory kids certainly can (and do) go as far as Decatur. I think the one in Oakhurst was just too close to the original and not different enough from UJoint, not to mention the space does seem to be cursed.

  17. New FB post sounds very hopeful that they will reopen. They will know more next week and are working with their landlord.

  18. Please move into the space vacated by Blue Elephant Books in Publix shopping center! Puuuleeeessseee. Love Melton’s and don’t go there often enough. Hope they re-open somewhere soon.

  19. A few thoughts.

    1. Melton’s used to be in the location now used by Saba in Oakhurst. It failed there. We are not talking about Delmonico’s.
    2. The new WalMart complex diagonally across from Pet Supermarket is supposed to get a Petco. Conspiracy theories?
    3. Aren’t stores like Pet Supermarket supposed to be inspected regularly? Anyone hear of rat bait?
    4. There’s an assumption here that a pet store and other stores can’t live next to one another, and that seems crazy to me.

  20. A lot of assumptions going on here… I frequent this strip of businesses as well and as a contractor I can say that the entire building is very old and outdated. I would have to assume that the rats entering the structure would probably be the fault of the landlord. Common sense would tell you that the rats would probably be more centralized to the pet store since its full of pet food. Maybe the pet store is just as much a victim as Melton’s. Hard to believe they would be ok with rats eating their merchandise and just not do anything about it, all retail stores have regular exterminators. Think before casting stones.

    1. The article says the inspector traced the problem to structural issues, as well as the Pet Supermarket side, so they clearly have some blame somewhere. Not to mention the judge ordered PS closed until they fixed whatever was going on over there, so there was some evidence they had a serious problem they weren’t adequately addressing. Another piece I read said they found 300 rats on the PS side, and I have to wonder why they would need to be ordered to close to address something like that.

      I realize PS hasn’t been found guilty of anything, but the “no comment” makes me wonder. Why not “we’re victims too” or “as soon as we found out, we made every effort to eradicate them as quickly as possible” or something like that?

      1. W/o naming employees of Pet Supermarket, I’ll just say that this person said the exterminator was killing over 50 rats a day at one point recently before they finally closed and it didn’t make a dent in the rat problem.

        on another note,

        Wife and I used to buy our dogfood there, (Nutro Ultra) and more than once after getting home, I noticed a small hole in the bags, and at one point, while pouring some of the dogfood into a bowl, someone that did not appear to be dog food. I assumed (it seems now I was wrong) that maybe something had gotten into the bag at the factory, and it was a one time thing, so I tossed the food (in hindsight, should have called PS) and got more.
        Lesson learned.

        Haven’t bought dog food there in months now.

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